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Bengals Banter: Did We Really Think Jerome Simpson Was Returning Anyway?

Today we will offer the question about Robert Geathers and a debate with SB Nation's Carolina Panthers blog (Cat Scratch Fever) on whom is more deserved of the Offensive Rookie of the Year award -- Andy Dalton or Cam Newton.

But first. On the surface it hasn't been a great week. Adam Jones pled guilty for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct following an incident at a local club last summer, celebrating his wife's birthday. Luckily Jones only received 50 hours of community service and a one-year probation. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who transformed Cincinnati's defense into something recognizable throughout the league, is now being courted by the Indianapolis Colts while waiting and waiting on Tampa Bay's interview process to pan out. Like most of you I believe he deserves it, but that doesn't mean I want him leaving either.

Finally on Thursday Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson was finally indicted by a grand jury and charged with one count of trafficking marijuana. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 30. Now the national media will do their song and dance about Cincinnati's character issues. Quite frankly we've long stopped caring what others think about the Bengals.

Yet when news surfaced about Simpson's charge on Thursday, I couldn't help but shrug my shoulders. Don't get me wrong. I'm not heartless, callous and I'm sure many of Simpson's friends and family are heartbroken. And some will point out, "dude, it's just weed." No matter what side of the argument you fall, shouting at the conservative villains or tree-hugging hippies that Eric Cartman wants to destroy, it doesn't matter when federal authorities are involved; Simpson was busted and charged by a grand jury -- when they charge you, they have a strong case.

Even if authorities didn't bust Jerome Simpson, I didn't believe he would return to Cincinnati anyway. Look at his resume in 2011. There were seven games that he posted two receptions or less -- including no receptions against the Pittsburgh Steelers (very critical games). He failed to post 50 yards receiving in 12 of 16 games and he had three highlights this year -- games against the Broncos and Ravens and his highlight flip against the Arizona Cardinals. Then there's three seasons in which he failed to break into the depth chart over guys like Laveranues Coles, or forcing the team to sign someone like Antonio Bryant or Terrell Owens because "he wasn't ready." Look at it this way: None of those three have played an NFL game since leaving Cincinnati.

Sure money won't be an issue, but that's not the argument here. It's whether or not the team can use him as the No. two receiver. His attribute of potential has gone on four years now. His attribute of production remains suspect.

And the problem is that Andy Dalton needs someone opposite of A.J. Green that's far more reliable.

+ ESPN's Peter Keating writes that Andy Dalton is the most likely to have a break out season during his sophomore year.

+ The Return of Mojokong offers up a convincing argument in support of Marvin Lewis and his program.

+ ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. publishes his first mock draft with Cincinnati selecting a cornerback and running back.

+ With the St. Louis Rams threatening to release Jason Smith, it reminded us of the offensive tackle debates before the 2009 NFL Draft.

+ Jason Garrison writes that the greatest improvement with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 was chemistry.

+ Offering up Cincinnati's free agents this year and their corresponding Pro Football Focus grades.

+ The Chris Henry estate filed suit against his former fiancee, looking to recoup "underinsured auto insurance coverage that could be collected."

+ A quick review from the season borders a predictable conclusion regarding Cincinnati's rushing offense | Jason follows that up with his running back grades.