Call it us trying to bring some good “juju” to the 2020 Cincinnati Bengals.
For the third time since the beginning of March, we’ve had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a prominent member of the Bengals’ 1988 AFC Championship team. The most recent was the architect of “The Ickey Shuffle” and a fan favorite of Who Dey Nation in running back, Ickey Woods.
As expected, speaking with Woods was incredibly entertaining. Whether it was hearing about Paul Brown’s reaction to Woods’ new end zone celebration back as a rookie, or harkening back to his days on special teams at UNLV, it was a great segment for the program.
One thing on our mind in which we wanted to ask Woods was in the current landscape of the running back position—both inside and outside of the Paul Brown Stadium walls. In Woods’ days, a “thunder and lightning” approach in the backfield and players routinely cracking 300-plus touches were part-and-parcel of NFL offenses.
Some of the recent chatter around the Bengals is in the possibility of a Joe Mixon holdout this spring. Christian McCaffrey just signed a mega-extension with the Panthers, so it’s possible that Mixon, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, is looking for a big payday before he suits up in 2020.
“Yeah, I think he’ll recognize his self-worth because Mixon has done a lot despite having no offensive line, you know?,” Woods said when asked about a possible impasse with Cincinnati’s bell cow back. “He’s a hard-working kid, who deserves for them to pay him. He comes to work everyday, even in the bad times, he has been a bright light for the team.”
If you’re wondering about Woods being a guy who thinks a talented back can do it all by himself, you’re mistaken. Aside from noting how Mixon has been pretty successful behind a patchwork line, Woods noted the immense talent of the line he played behind in Sam Wyche’s offense, as well as Andy Dalton’s recent struggles coinciding with the deterioration of talent in front of him.
After noting the acquisition of Xavier Su’a-Filo, Woods conceded the need for an additional “bonafide” interior lineman. Ickey also noted the importance of protecting a new quarterback and not rattle his confidence with poor protection early in his career.
“I think we (the Bengals) need to get another guard that kind of shores us up and we need to keep the young kid (a presumed No. 1 overall pick) upright and hopefully we can do that.”
A really entertaining part of the interview came when Woods was asked about his favorite play call when he was a running back.
“Oh, probably ‘16 Colt’—right behind Anthony Munoz. Or, ‘17 Colt’ to the left behind Anthony because, I tell you what, Anthony Munoz opened up some holes, man,” Woods recalled. “It was unbelievable how big them holes were when we went to his side. And, Joe Walter wasn’t that bad on the right side, either. We had a real, real, real, real good offensive line.”
For those who have been around Bengaldom for a while, Woods rattled off names to conjure up memories of the best of times. Woods gushed about the other big boys up front, including: Max Montoya, Bruce Reimers and Bruce Kozerski. He also was effusive of the praise for a trio of tight ends in Rodney Holman, Eric Kattus and Jim Riggs.
Also on this week’s episode:
- ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. provided the needed material for our “Soundbite of the Week”. Would it shock you to know that he ardently supported the team and its drafting ability?
- John and Anthony give one more prospect apiece, as they close out their 2020 Prospect Watch List.
- There were also a number of announcements made, including the fact that Bengals Hall of Fame tackle will be joining us next week to help us kick off 2020 NFL Draft coverage!
Our thanks to Mr. Woods for joining us! As he mentioned in the interview, the foundation he has set up in his son’s name needs assistance. It’s a great nonprofit organization focused on research and education surrounding issues caused by asthma.
The Jovante Woods Foundation is unable to engage in its usual fundraising practices because of the COVID-19 crisis. Please consider donating to this foundation, if you are able. There is a “donate” option in the middle of the home page, in which they take credit/debit cards or PayPal accounts.
Mr. Woods’ podcast appearance was brought to you by New Era. Get their new set of Bengals’ NFL Draft hats to ring in the team’s big picks next week! They are comfortable, stylish and come in different styles to suit your specific hat taste!
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