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Tale of Johnson and Johnson, plus much more

For Brandon Johnson, is the best yet to come? On August 2, I wrote following the Bengals Friday scrimmage that Brandon Johnson "continues to shine closing the window for Keith Rivers to make the starting lineup." Little has changed, aside from being demoted for a highly talented, much anticipated rookie linebacker from USC; though I argued that Johnson should be given opportunities to play, maybe moving him to SAM. Like then, Brandon Johnson has stepped up while Keith Rivers was sidelined (this time, a broken jaw). Johnson is a keeper. Dating back to the first game against the Steelers, Johnson has recorded 33 tackles, an interception that led to a touchdown against the Eagles and two passes broken up. Along with the interception against the Eagles, Johnson tied a career-high seven tackles, followed up with a personal best eight tackles against the Steelers on Thursday. I don't think we've seen the maximum potential from this guy yet.

Get used to it son, you're in Cincinnati for the long haul. Rather than moping about being a Bengals wide receiver, make a concerted effort to lead beyond a collective abysmal season. Palmer isn't here, so passes will be limited. The line is weaker, so routes need to be shortened. To define greatness, Chad should look beyond and help this team weather the storm of controversy. Statistics do not make legends; rather lead teams through rough stormy waters.

"To come back and say everything's OK, it's not OK," he said. "The things I felt back then are still the same. Being here and being a player and being the only player that sort of...voices his opinion about what's going on and what's right and wrong, after doing so for such a long period, I couldn't come back with the same spirit of 'Here we go, let's go.' It's the same Chad. Fiery.

"I came in quiet and focused," he said. "I tried not to be a distraction the entire year. I've done that very well until the altercation when I left the meeting. There's nothing wrong with my game."

He also said he can't understand why his numbers are down because, "I'm always open."

Getting open hasn't been the problem, though earlier in the season his cuts were flat, and his breakaway speed was limited with a bum ankle. By the time Johnson was finally healthy, Fitzpatrick's look concreted to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who lines up everywhere on the field, goes into motion and runs any route with flawless precision. Problematic is how long the routes take to develop, asking Fitzpatrick to take 5-7 step drops for 15-yard square routes, or curl, curl, curl. By that fifth step, Fitzpatrick is already bailing out of the pocket, many times unprompted inside a clean pocket, with a mind to gain yards with his legs; rather than looking downfield where Johnson could easily break away from the best defensive backs in the league.

Though I agree with most of you, in the end, Johnson isn't going anywhere. His trade value has collapsed significantly since the off-season and the cap hit will always weigh heavily if the team wants to release him.

(and yes, legal or not, I refuse to call him Ocho Cinco or any variation of)

Fines are like sail boats, wherever the wind blows. How does Patriots tackle Matt Light and Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder get fined $15,000 each for fighting, when the Whitworth/Henderson fight was a collective $10,000 less?

And who said 30-yard field goal attempts are boring. No word on if 18 other players were fined for "unnecessarily being near the fight area" (aka, on the field).

More. So. Much. More. As per every other year, no Bengals were named as semifinalists to the Pro Football Hall of Fame of the five named (annually) on the original nomination list earlier this year... the NFL might have serious debt concerns... big game between Patriots and Steelers... Brady Quinn is out for the year... round two of the Bengals / Ravens...