Bering Sea Bengal's assessment is that releasing Willie Anderson and Rudi Johnson was for health reasons. Marvin Lewis said as much. I disagree with this, which C Trent points out saying "Anderson practiced more this preseason than he has in the past."
The team needed reasons to cut both players that helped them save money under the cap, as well as a few millions in the pocket; since neither were projected starters, the Bengals didn't want to pay them as much. In truth, it's a reasonable business decision; but so is putting together a successful product with parts that help you to those ends.
However, it's difficult to find anyone write that the Bengals are a better team after Anderson's release; though mostly everyone does a good job pointing out that he's not young, has suffered injuries in recent seasons, and is a bit costly. Of which, two out of three actually apply to this season.
In the case of our running backs, releasing Rudi Johnson doesn't hurt the team with Chris Perry coming on and Kenny Watson proving his worth last season. On the other hand, I don't see releasing Anderson, promoting Scott Kooistra and Todd Collins as the team's primary backup tackles, as something that makes the team better. I see it as hurting the team's depth. However, Kyle Cook got a roster spot, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.
Paul Daugherty is arguing the business side of things, saying that "when your time is up, you better be moving toward the door, so you don't get shoved that way."
Scott Priestile concludes the same way most others are after cutting Anderson, Rudi Johnson and veteran Deltha O'Neal, "While Lewis's logic is questionable, the team's direction is indisputable. The Bengals are younger, cheaper and healthier today than they were last week."
But are they better? Nearly everything I've read consciously avoids answering that question using the same talking points that Priestile has. The Bengals are younger. So what? Some of the league's best players are "older". They're definitely cheaper, but aren't magically healthier this season. Just look at our wide receivers and safeties. Are they "healthy"?Chick Ludwig wasn't impressed with Lewis during the press conference that announced the cuts. "Some coaches would’ve began their news conferences with filibusters full of praise in tribute to their fallen warriors. Not Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. I had to “pry” some praise for Willie Anderson out of him. Is Marvin callous or compassionate? Judge for yourself."
Anyway, enough about all that.
A player the Bengals deemed a project, with tons of potential ruined by injuries, was Eric Henderson. Going from defensive end to linebacker, to hybrid pass rushing DE/LB, seemed like a hell of a proposition. While with Georgia Tech, Henderson recorded 25 career sacks, and 59.5 tackles for loss. A three-time all-ACC player, Henderson finished his college career with 176 tackles, seven forced fumbles and eight pass breakups. Against Auburn in 2003, Henderson recorded three sacks and four tackles for losses.
Unlike Anderson's history of healthy problems, Henderson has struggled to even make the field. Releasing him doesn't hurt the team's depth (the difference in argument between Henderson and Anderson).
Releasing Ahmad Brooks, to me, isn't that big of a deal -- in terms of the team's production this season. Let's be honest with Brooks; he was all potential with beastly physical attributes. Instead, his release is the team's most recent draft pick failure; used as a third-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft (he was a 2006 supplemental draft pick). After suffering an injury early in 2007, Brooks' impression with the team and coaching staff dimmed, especially from this offseason through training camp. It would have been neat to see his potential fulfilled, but that's not the case. Instead his potential will likely attach to another team.
A funny musing. In the past week, Chad Johnson became Chad Ocho Cinco. Rudi Johnson was released and James Johnson was waived. That leaves Brandon Johnson and Jeremi Johnson as the remaining Johnsons on this team.
By now, you're made the connection. Two Auburn players were released Saturday. In truth, that makes three after the Bengals let Kenny Irons go. Pat Sims is the last Auburn player on the team, and Lewis says of Sims: "Pat’s not been able to work. We’re probably still a couple weeks away from seeing him, and making a determination on him."
Matt Bowen discusses the cover 4 scheme.
Andrew Brandt talks about one of the toughest days of the year for coaches, and players hoping to catch on with a team.
Bleacher Report says the Bengals are in an absolute mess (now that we dumped Anderson, we should be better now).
The Los Angeles Times predicts the Bengals will finish third in the AFC North -- not that we care what the LA Times predicts.
In Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis is on his third defensive coordinator. Can Mike Zimmer draw up the right schemes to start putting heat on opposing quarterbacks, who were sacked a league-low 22 times last season? A lot of that depends on the reliability of cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall. The Bengals expect a lot from the two first-round picks.
Pro Trade argues that no NFL team will claim Rudi Johnson. I seriously doubt that. Some teams are liberal enough to give a player a look, no matter how degraded they appear to be.
Maurice Purify is not a free agent, as this article presents. By rule, a player with less than four accrued seasons is put on the waiver -- more than that, they are simply released making them an unrestricted free agent. Purify was waived, allowing 31 other teams to claim him, and sign him to their club. If he's not claimed, then the Bengals can (and likely will), sign the former Nebraska receiver to the practice squad.