I tuned into the game Thursday night mostly to watch Tampa Bay, since I'd started both Mike Williams and Doug Martin on my fantasy team this week (that worked out pretty well). However, I also found myself accosted by the familiar giant cranium of former Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson. I had nearly forgotten that he had ended up in Minnesota.
Thursday night, Simpson was, well, Simpson: huge talent and athleticism, itty-bitty production. Two catches, 33 yards and a fumble. On the year, Rome has seven grabs for 95 yards. Of course, his year has been shortened by suspension and injury, but clearly Simpson is off his career-high 2011 pace, when he put up 725 yards.
Looking at Simpson's numbers got me wondering how other Bengals who left this past offseason were doing. Jerome's former partner, wideout Andre Caldwell, is having an even worse experience with his new team, the Denver Broncos. Bubba has appeared in just three games, has no catches and just a single 14-yard rush. His invisibility has perplexed some Broncos fans but seems to be a combination of a lingering preseason injury and the team's focus on getting new QB Peyton Manning in sync with Denver's top three receivers.
The Packers put Cedric Benson on the injured reserve - designated to return list after he suffered a foot sprain in week 5. Benson was averaging an unimpressive 3.5 yards a carry before he got hurt, though he was on pace for more than 300 receiving yards, which would have easily been a career best.
Offensive lineman Nate Livings has started all seven games for the Cowboys this year. The Dallas o-line has been a disaster, but Nate says he's not worried because he's been on worse o-lines. Hmmm. Well, you know why those lines were bad, Nate? Look in a mirror.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene is home on his couch after being cut by New England due to a knee injury. His ex-fellow mayhem maker Frostee Rucker appears to be doing well in Cleveland, where he's racked up 20 tackles and 2 sacks over the course of eight games. At that rate, he should about equal his 2011 numbers, 44 tackles and 4 sacks. Notably, Rucker has appeared in every Browns games to date; he managed to stay healthy for a full season just once, 2011, in Cincinnati.
Former first-round pick Keith Rivers, traded to the Giants for a bag of peanuts and a Monster energy drink, has been fighting injury all season after missing last year due to wrist surgery. He has played in just five games (starting three) and collected 22 tackles for the Jints. Rivers was injured yet again (calf) in yesterday's nail-biting New York victory over Dallas.
All told, this offseason's ex-pats mostly have yet to make an impact with their new teams. The Browns have been the most successful with their acquisition of Rucker, while the Patriots bombed the worst after Fanene didn't even make the final cut. Unfortunately, while the most recent former Bengals aren't tearing it up with their new squads, their replacements in Cincy generally haven't been much, either. But that's another column...