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Chronicle: Reaction to Greg Little signing and defensive perspective

Taking a look at a handful of items for this weekend, starting with the acquisition of Greg Little, something that occurred to me on Friday that actually happened.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Holy shit, they signed Greg Little.

With A.J. Green hurt (despite Marvin Lewis' insistence that anything is possible this Sunday... fine, anything is possible) and Marvin Jones having his five-practice season prematurely end, Cincinnati signed former Browns and Raiders receiver Greg Little to their active roster and Cobi Hamilton to their practice squad.

Little is appreciative of the opportunity, despite the fact that the fourth-year receiver was out of work with a bleak football future. "I knew I would get another chance, but to have it be here was great," Little said via the Associated Press. "They have every piece that they need and hopefully I can add the whipped cream on top, to be something extra that they can call on."

Whipped cream... not a good football analogy, but we get it. We do. We get it.

Yet, it takes a moment of recollection to remember that these sudden changes, which occurred during a rainy mid-autumn weekday, actually happened. Little, who averaged 52 receptions, 607 yards receiving and eight total touchdowns in three seasons with the Browns, has regressed, each season, since an impressive rookie campaign as a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

In the meantime, back in May, Cleveland was facing the prospect that Josh Gordon would serve a lengthy suspension while Nate Burleson was rehabilitating a broken arm. Even with THAT in mind, the Browns waived Little. Oh, we won't have Gordon and Burleson for a while and, really, there's absolutely no way that you can help us even with those circumstances. Carolina had thought about putting in a claim for Little, but the Oakland Raiders acquired him and his $753,750 salary. They waived him four months later after posting five catches during the preseason for 64 yards receiving.

Lewis preaches the utmost confidence in his newest receiver.

"He had his moments in Cleveland where he dropped some balls, and they went in a different direction," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He's leaned himself out, lost some weight, and he's looking for an opportunity. So he'll come in here and see what he can learn, and we'll see if he can help us at some point."

Oh, good.

I should play indifference at this stage.

Much like last week, we expect that the team will apply Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Tate, Dane Sanzenbacher, and James Wright as their active receivers against the Indianapolis Colts. Not yet for Little? We're talking about a player learning a playbook, which can be somewhat intricate, on an offense that relies so much on timing, to be mastered in four days. Keep in mind, we're not completely shutting that door. We've seen someone learn a playbook quickly and play within days of being acquired.

"It's tough to go in and change systems every year, but that's also helped me coming in to be able to know the system and get it the first day that I'm here," Little said. "You live and you learn and you try to take it in stride."

Little also hasn't avoided the spotlight for his more negative outcomes. Per The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

He was suspended for all of 2010 at North Carolina for accepting improper agent benefits, and was known more in Cleveland for his drops than for his 155 receptions.

Last season, he lost his starting job for a few weeks to Davone Bess, who was struggling himself. Little was also cited for a series of traffic violations last year, including one after he totaled his Audi while drag racing on Ohio 176 near Spring Road, telling police he was traveling 127 mph in a 55 zone.

And NOTE to Bleacher Report... when you title a story "latest contract details" and say absolutely NOTHING about the contract, that's just dickish.

Why the hell is no one stepping up on defense?

Green isn't likely to play this weekend and Jones is out for the rest of the year. Linebackers Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and Emmanuel Lamur (shoulder) are out and doubtful respectively... more like both are out, but we're not going to presume. OK, we're going to presume. They're both out, as is Green. And since we're playing this game, we figure Brandon Thompson won't play, giving us four (not including Jones, who is on IR). It's difficult to believe that Greg Little will be ready, but we've seen it before. Will Clarke? Probably not...

And speaking of Clarke, what's the story on him? Perhaps we should keep reminding ourselves that Carlos Dunlap was inactive in four of the first five games during his rookie season -- yet, Dunlap still generated 9.5 sacks that year. Perhaps it's a numbers game, being that Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry, Robert Geathers and Margus Hunt are always active. But then, what the hell has Margus Hunt done? He's rushed the quarterback 59 times and generated three quarterback hurries... and that's it.

Want to know why Cincinnati's defense isn't playing so well? Injuries, sure. It's always the excuse that no one ever accepts that remains a reality. Recoveries, like Geno Atkins? Absolutely. It takes time.

But no one is stepping up.

Cincinnati's defense has always had a bloomer over the years. Which young player on Cincinnati's defensive roster is this year's stud? Dunlap, Atkins and Burfict all thrived as inexperienced players sliding into prominent positions on the defense to become all-pro studs (Dunlap is a matter of time). Lamur? He's been around as long as Burfict, and was actually thought of more prominently by the coaching staff when they were both rookies. Vincent Rey hasn't matched his 2013 production, and he's played the second-most snaps (248) among all linebackers on the team (Lamur 369, Rey 248, Maualuga 158 and Burfict 134).

George Iloka? Eh. He was playing well last season and we're not necessarily surprised by his production. Though, if you're not pleased by it, you're ignoring one of the few positives on this team's defense.

Maybe Hunt... perhaps Clarke. We also wouldn't be opposed to removing Adam Jones from defense in favor of being a full-time returner. Then you could say... Darqueze Dennard and/or Dre Kirkpatrick, step up please.

Someone... step up, please.

Crumbs and crumbles

Adam Jones and Wallace Gilberry currently lead the team with the most missed tackles (five each). Carlos Dunlap leads the team with 13 defensive stops (which constitutes as an offensive failure). Mohamed Sanu has dropped five passes this year, which is the second-most in the NFL; only the Giants' Victor Cruz has dropped more (6). Jermaine Gresham has dropped one pass this year, the touchdown against New England. His drop rate is 6.67. There are 31 tight ends in the NFL that are dropping more passes per catchable passes than Gresham...