The Cincinnati Bengals are arguably the healthiest team in the National Football League as they approach the halfway point in the season, and the club received good news on Thursday morning when All-Pro left tackle Andrew Whitworth was cleared to participate in practice and play on Sunday.
The Bengals leave for London. The prediction. Cuban cigars, mummies and torture. What else could we want? If I place a wager on the game (legal over there, chaps) and I win, how do I collect? An hour after the game, I have to be on the bus to the airport. Has anyone been to Wembley? They have betting shops there?
This blog will be banged out in three different places, Concourse A at CVG, which is never the concourse you really want to take off from, from a bar at O'Hare Airport, which unlike some places in the Windy City isn't charging cover during Cubs World Series games, and finally from a plane bound for London.
Talk about two guys at the opposite end of the spectrum. Green blows ice cool like a March wind with an NFL-best 50 catches and a second-best 775 yards. Norman is the next great cornerback who burns like a raging wildfire. He’s the next great cornerback who talks like Chad Johnson, fights at the drop of a signing bonus, and has a Pro Bowl reach that has him tied for eighth in the NFL with five passes defensed.
After going limited in Thursday morning’s practice as he comes back from concussion protocol, Bengals Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth sounded like he was ready to play Sunday’s game (9:30 a.m.-Cincinnati’s Fox Channel 19) against Washington at Wembley Stadium.
Bengals Business Manager Bill Connelly has planned countless trips during his 41 seasons with the team. Connelly is responsible for all of the travel logistics for the Bengals, including arranging transportation, hotels, meeting spaces and meals. With at least 10 trips a year, including preseason and regular season games, Connelly has it down to a science.
With Brock Osweiler at the helm in Houston, DeAndre Hopkins’ value is dropping faster than a politician’s promise after an election is over. That is becoming a major problem not just for the Texans, but in fantasy circles as well. Hopkins was drafted as high as the 2nd overall pick this year, yet is averaging just 55.7 YPG and has scored just 3 touchdowns in 7 games.
There are plenty of parallels to draw between Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins ahead of their showdown Sunday in London. Both have succeeded in the NFL despite being selected after the first round of the draft, and both have blossomed under the tutelage of current Washington head coach Jay Gruden.
Every week, we sit down to talk Bengals with a lead analyst at Pro Football Focus, an advanced analytics website headquartered in Cincinnati off Main St. in Over-the-Rhine. PFF is a service used by 19 out of the 32 NFL teams and analyzes every player on every play of every game to aid in game research.
As the Lions faced a third-and-8 in the second quarter of last Sunday’s game, Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan used his right arm to simply push Detroit tackle Riley Reiff over and take down Matt Stafford. It’s the kind of strength that the sixth-year linebacker out of Purdue has shown in accumulating six sacks in the first seven games of the season this year and 53 1/2 in his career.
The BBP2 features Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski breaking into the logistics of the Bengals' weekend in London, NFL concussion rules and the issues presented by the Redskins. Plus, hear the Hot Seat with Paul Daugherty interviewing running back Giovani Bernard, talking A.J. Green and Josh Norman with Pro Football Focus and catching up with former Bengals backup quarterback JT O'Sullivan who spent multiple years in NFL Europe.
The most important step to assuring the location of Sunday's game against Washington doesn't affect the outcome for the Bengals starts the moment they hop on the plane Thursday afternoon. Sleep, by any means necessary.
Tyler Eifert shrugged and smiled when he was asked if his sore back could withstand a seven-hour flight to London this week when the Cincinnati Bengals travel overseas to play the Washington Redskins. "I don't know if my experience will earn me a lay-down bed, but hopefully my back will," the tight end said, laughing. "I'm kinda hoping for that."
AFC North Bytes
With Ben Roethlisberger hurt, much focus has been put on the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and how it will cope with the loss of its signal-caller. However, the Steelers may have a bigger issue on the other side of the ball. How has the Steelers defense played so far this year? Would a key player's return boost the unit's chances of improving after the bye week?
In what has become a recurring theme, the Cleveland Browns' defense was gashed for big yards during last Sunday's 31-17 division loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Join The Orange and Brown Report in the film room as we break down an especially poor showing by the backend of the defense at the free and strong safety positions.
Sunday night’s NFC grudge match between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks ended in a 6-6 tie because neither Chandler Catanzaro or former Raven Stephen Hauschka were able to convert chip shot field goals in the waning minutes of overtime. In other Week 7 action, the Patriots perennial Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski shanked an extra point for the second time in two weeks, but the miss did not help the Steelers since their kicker Chris Boswell missed two field goals of his own in the game.
Did you see what Andrew Hawkins did after he scored against the Patriots recently? It was one of the best post-touchdown moves I’ve seen in awhile. He caught a pass in the corner of the end zone to tie the game, and then promptly placed the ball on the ground, stood up straight like a soldier and marched away like a robot.
Airline travel is stressful. And a seven-hour flight is hard on even the most fit bodies, given the slightly reduced oxygen levels, inevitable dehydration and often disorienting time-zone change.
There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field. Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has two weeks to prepare for star LSU running back Leonard Fournette, and he knows how much of a challenge that is. Fournette rushed for a school-record 284 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries in last week's 38-21 win over Ole Miss in his first game back from an ankle injury.