Throughout the week leading up to the exciting Wild Card game between the Bengals and Steelers on Saturday night, sports talk radio shows have graciously reached out to Cincy Jungle for our contributors to give their take on Cincinnati's side of things. Be it in the Pittsburgh or nearby markets around The Queen City, we are grateful to be a part of so many great shows.
Unfortunately, the interviews took place before the the official announcement of quarterback Andy Dalton's status, which was an obvious focal point of the interviews. However, we dissected AJ McCarron's performances and what the Bengals need to do to be successful against Pittsburgh.
Anthony Cosenza joined ESPN Lexington, talking about a number of subjects, some of which would be recurring themes, with others a bit different than in other programs. The first topic talked about fan mood and outlook going into Saturday's face-off against the Steelers.
"I'd say it's a mixed bag. I think initially it was the 'Oh, no--we're facing the Steelers' mentality. Which, obviously, is a team the Bengals haven't done well against historically--especially in recent years. They especially haven't done well against the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. I think they saw some winnable games that could have been their draw in the first round, the Jets, the Chiefs, teams like that. So, I think initially there was a little bit of fear, but I think that has turned into a little bit of optimism. And, maybe now, 'what is there to lose?'. They are using a backup quarterback, the Steelers are now favored and they are kind of embracing that underdog mentality a little bit".
Cosenza also joined The Steve Jones Show of ESPN College Station, and much of the conversation revolved around McCarron. One interesting question Jones asked of us was if McCarron was getting ample help in his starts and if we should expect that to continue against the Steelers.
"Definitely from the defense, yeah. The defense has played very well since he (McCarron) has taken over. Maybe not so much against Pittsburgh, as that's when they were hitting their stride offensively and I think everyone on the Bengals team was a little shellshocked from the Dalton injury. But, really they have helped him out the last handful of games here, They grabbed a couple of interceptions against the Ravens in Week 17 and they had their hands on two more, actually, they have been pressuring the quarterback. They pressured the quarterback often there and had a couple of sacks..The defense, for the most part, has done their job, but has struggled to get off the field on third down..."
"The rest of the offense--his wide receivers have been helping him out with some outstanding catches, especially on the sideline...So, they're helping him out there, but they have been inconsistent".
Cosenza joined the Keystone Sports Beat once again in 2015 to talk about the big game Saturday night. Immediately, I was asked about the impact of a Bengals playoff win for the first time in 25 years--especially at the hands of the hated Steelers.
"Both of those statements are a little bit of an understatement there, in terms of struggles in primetime and the playoffs, but you're absolutely right, they have struggled against the Steelers and at home against the Steelers. But, they've struggled there, they have struggled in the playoffs, that's why I think it would mean so much to the Bengals fan base, because it has been so long...If they can also do that against a team that has been such a thorn in their side and such a big rival, especially over the last decade, I think that would mean more than just a playoff win against any other team in the NFL".
Many thanks to the various outlets who asked for our opinion and promoted Cincy Jungle. Check out these great programs and their radio station carriers when you're able!