THUNDERING BLURB » Cincinnati Bengals ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Running Back Camp Battles to Watch Part 1 Sat, 13 Jun 2009 14:28:00 +0000 admin While OTA’s are winding/have wound down, the NFL does not sleep. While the players get what passes for a vacation, media does not, especially since Brett Favre can’t make up his damned mind.

In perfect universal symmetry, neither can the Vikings. Marriage made in heaven or hell? We’ll find out soon enough.

In order to get you prepped for tons of footbally goodness at the end of July, I’ve decided to break down some of the more interesting running back battles to watch in July and August.

This is what happens when you drive cross country folks. You fill time.

This is also not to say that there won’t be battles we don’t see as important now, emerging down the pike as intriguing. But for now, these are ones that stand out as important immediately.

Without further ado (or more ado than usual at least) here are the Training Camp Battles to Watch: Running Backs.

Carolina: There is a ton of assumption going on here after DeAngelo Williams went off in 2008. We know John Fox loves to hang with his long term vets and you have to figure Williams earned some consideration. Still, Jonathan Stewart was able to score 10 TDs even with Williams numbers, so Fox is willing to work him in. Where this gets interesting is behind Stewart with Mike Goodson.

Stewart has been hurt during Mini’s and OTA’s and Goodson is a guy the team wants involved. Why does this matter? Because if Goodson gets a shot to shine and does so, this could become a three headed monster which might be great for Panther fans, though hurt the overall numbers of all three guys. Carolina runs a ton (504 pass attempts versus 414 passing according to so there could be work for all, but that might be offset a tad by three running backs.

Baltimore: Will last year’s Thundering Blurb Mr. Glass Award Winner (TM) Willis McGahee, ever be healthy? My guess is no, sure as heck not coming off of two off-season surgeries. Both his knee (the one that has been hurt since…. um…. 1942?) and his ankle went under the knife. Stick a fork in him (or a scalpel), the man is DONE. The Ravens may not agree and we’ll get a sense of that in Training Camp. That could mean the start of the Ray Rice Ruckus (also (TM)).

Rice showed some skills last season when he was healthy and should get a ton of the carries. He won’t do it alone, however and whether the teams sticks with rookie Cedric Peerman, moves Le’Ron McClain back from fullback (where he went during OTA’s) or adds some work for Jalen Parmele. How the backs behind Rice shake out could impact his numbers very sigificantly.

Buffalo: With Marshawn Lynch suspended the first few games of the season, Fred Jackson will get his time to shine again. Jackson looked great in limited (sometimes not-so-limited) action last season. But the Bills acquired journeyman Dominic Rhodes this offseason to protect themselves and he’ll duke it out for lead bell cow while ‘Dis Muh Son’ Lynch is in Goodell’s pokey.

This battle, mostly between Jackson and Rhodes is critical because whomever wins the top spot might not relinquish it when Lynch comes back and could factor in with what the Bills do with the troubled back long term if he can’t get his head straight.

Cincinnati: I know the Bengals think they have some sort of hidden gem in Cedric Benson, and I’m happy for them but remain unconvinced. Benson did well behind a tragic offensive line, which will not be the case if rookie Andre Smith can get his act together. But I can’t help but recall all the problems Benson had in Chicago, so I am not annointing him anything and neither should Cinci. Brian Leonard and Bernard Scott are both good short yardage backs who can catch the ball and could make some noise.

Scott will have to overcome some maturity issues and they will both have to shine in camp to wrest carries away from Benson. That’s completely possible in my opinion so I will be interested to watch this camp closely.

Denver: There are three sure things in football right now – Brett Favre will be considering and waffling about a comeback in the spring and early summer, the Raiders will make decisions based on logic only they can comprehend and the Broncos running back situation will be a cloudy mess.

But have we lost one of those sure things? Surprising everyone in this April’s Draft, the Donks took Knowshon Moreno, the talented back from Georgia and the interwubs is all a-twitter (or all twittering) about Moreno carrying the whole load.

For sure, he can do it all – block, run, catch. But will Head Coach Josh McDaniels truly rely on one back? His former team, the Patriots, didn’t. Of course, you can argue they lacked a back like Moreno.

All I know is Moreno has the ability to do it. But with recent additions Correll Buckhalter, Lamont Jordan and Darius Walker, along with impressive 2008 rookie Peyton Hillis, this is a camp battle you have to watch. Considering they no longer have Jay Cutler slinging the ball, the run game is of paramount importance this year.

Indianapolis: It wasn’t that long ago that Joseph Addai was the answer in Colt-land at running back. A few injury-plagued seasons later, Donald Brown is drafted and Addai is poised to lose most of his carries.

Brown can do pretty much everything Addai can do, and might have the size to stay healthy as well. Most analysts feel it is only a matter of time before Brown takes over the higher percentage of carries in this obvious running-back-by-committee.

What I want to know is, what percentage does he start the season off with? A good camp by Brown could give him a large role in this prolific offense.

That’s it for today’s installment. I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at some more teams, including who might be backing up MJD in Jacksonville, what Philadelphia is looking at if Westbrook stays hurt and who will be the top dog in the mess that is the Seahawks’ run game.

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Really? Seriously? Coles signs with the Bengals Wed, 04 Mar 2009 21:54:00 +0000 admin I like Laveranues Coles, I really do. But you let Housh go and this guy is the replacement? I guess not really, that ends up in Chad Johnson/Chris Henry/Andre Caldwell’s hands.

Coles probably will have a better year with Palmer throwing to him but really, this is a huge step down for the Bengals. And locking him up for 4 years?

If your alleged concern was age, well Housh and Coles are the same age and frankly Housh is twice the receiver Coles is. Coles has great hands and is a tough as nails receiver but he’s no TJ. Yes, they saved $15 million in guarentees, a year and a couple million per year. But you have to wonder what they just gave up in ability. Maybe Housh doesn’t have that much left in the tank. And the guarenteed money Housh got was likely just too much.

But every day – since they announced that Ced Benson was their top priority – Cinci has felt like they are going backwards.

Coles will do better this year – NFL and Fantasy-wise. But I have to wonder where this franchise is going right now.

And frankly if that OLine doesn’t get fixed, it’s all moot.

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Championship! TJ Houshmandzedah signs with Seattle Mon, 02 Mar 2009 23:21:00 +0000 admin Minnesota and Cinci can now cry in their beer together. Somehow while we were focused on those two teams, the Seattle Seahawks slipped back in and reportedly offered $2million more than either one of them and stole their Housh.

My take: Well, Houshmandzedah will give them a healthy solid threat at flanker and makes Deon Branch expendable which was being discussed earlier this off-season. Branch could work the slot but realy how much value has he given them so far? I think they may continue to develope soem of the young WRs and may still think about drafting a rookie early – think about Crabtree or Maclin opposite Housh? Looks nice.

Now they all just need to stay healthy.

Cinci and Minny have to be bummed. He would have been a nice pairing with Berrian. Cinci needs him especially if Johnson continues to slip. And frankly targeting Benson first was a bad move on the part of Cincinnati. Of the two losers in this bidding war, Cinci has the worst end of it. At least Minny can still count on Berrian, Peterson and Taylor. Rice may still develope into a solid #2.

Cinci is a mess though and this makes it real hard to believe they can right the ship this year. It’s a huge loss and they will need to scramble to get back on track.

edited to add – So the Bengals are now bringing in ex-Jet Laveraneus Coles. Jeez, I like Coles, but a bit of a step down, no? Good for Coles though – he might make the money he was looking for now. If it happens, Palmer also has a reliable WR but Coles is no Housh.

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals – Bengals Breakdown Thu, 20 Nov 2008 18:38:00 +0000 admin Ryan Fitzpatrick – Against the top pass defense in the league I would rather avoid the Harvard QB. It’s too risky most weeks to roll him out much less this week. But what to do if you have a whole bunch of question marks? I would still try to avoid him. He might not turn the ball over a lot, and the Steelers only have 10 INTs (some might claim 11 after the blown call against the Chargers) but they are tied for the league in sacks with 36. And oh yeah – The Bengals have given up 38 sacks thus far and the left side of the oline is out. Yeah, I would bench him.

Cedric Benson – At times, Benson has played very well though never great. Against the number 1 rush defense, I cannot stress enough how bad an idea it is to start him. Less than 69yds per game? Check. Just 4 TDs the season? Check. Bench for Benson? Check.

TJ Houshmandzedah – In a PPR league Housh has been money almost every week. They will still try to get him the ball and he’s probably one of your better WRs right now. He is the one person I might start on this squad. I’m still nervous and you cannot expect a ton, but he should get some catches and in a PPR league he is probably going to be a good start there, while nonPPR is a really tough matchup and it may not be worth your time to start him, though again, you may not have a whole heckuva lot of choice.

Chad Johnson – Has just been announced as inactive – don’t know why, doesn’t matter. get him out.

Chris Henry – Will get the start in Johnson’s place. Still not worth a start unless you are very desperate.

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals – Steelers Breakdown Thu, 20 Nov 2008 17:52:00 +0000 admin

Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben has been able to put yards up lately, but he hasn’t been able to get the ball into the hands of his WRs for a TD – however, he HAS been able to get the ball into the hands of the opposing secondary, throwing 8 INTs in the last 5 games, and only 3 TDs. He faces a Bengals team that has steadily – though slowly – gotten better as the weeks have gone on. They have been able to limit passers to just over 200 yards a game but are not getting a ton of pressure on the QB (just 11 sacks) and aren’t forcing too many turnovers (just 8). They have also given 14 TDs up to date and while many of those were earlier in the season, they do give them up regularly and this could be the week that Roethlisberger’s TDs end up better than his yards. I think he’s a fine start, depending on your matchup.

Willie Parker – One reason Big Ben might have a subpar passing game yardage-wise could be a large game from Willie Parker. Parker came out firing on all cylinders in a sloppy game against the Chargers last week, and is looking a defense giving 131+ yards a game, and a dozen TDs right in the face. Parker is a good start this week, a nice RB2 or flex at least and maybe more depending upon your matchups.

Hines Ward – Ward has been pretty darn streaky this season, but is on a two game tear with over 100 yards per game. Roethlisberger is certainly looking at him a ton the last few games – and while Parker will probably control things on the ground, Ward is often Big Ben’s go to guy on short and tough crossing routes. A decent WR3 or flex depending on your roster and he should put up ok yards. He might get a TD in the redzone, but no guarantees.

Santonio Holmes – Holmes has had, for the most part, an awful year. Between his one game benching and the subpar receptions, he’s been a shaky start. Could he light up the Bengals? Yup. Do I want to risk it this early? Probably not. He is a borderline WR4 – until he can prove to me he can be even a little consistent I’m not partial to him going into your lineup.

Nate Washington – There was time during the earlier part of the season where they were using Washington to stretch the field. But that time seems to have past. Like Calvin Johnson, he’s surviving on one or two long bombs most weeks – unlike Johnson he does not have the pure physicality and ability to make more out of less. Washington is just not a safe play – he did have a TD last go-round against the Bengals but unless you have to go 4 Wr and/or are in a bind, he should be on your bench.

Mewelde Moore – Moore might have some very thin value in an emergency but with Parker running the way he did this weekend, it looks grim. Moore was part of the pass game to the tune of 5 catches for 33 yards so in a PPR league he has Kevin Faulk value, but it’s risky and unless you have a real problem at RB this weekend, sit him. He might get garbage yards but on a thursday I would rather not risk it.

Heath Miller – Fresh off an injury I would hate to have to start him but let’s face it – the TE position has been a real pain in the rear in FF this year. I would rather sit him but if you have a rotating group of donuts each week, he’s worth a flier. He practiced today and so he should play.

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Extra News and Notes Mon, 29 Sep 2008 16:17:00 +0000 admin Hey guys – a few notes I didn’t get to during the Thundering Blurb News Stampede but wanted to touch on here:

Bye Weeks: Cleveland Browns, NY Jets, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams

Cleveland Browns
Romeo Crennel has said he nearly yanked Derek Anderson during the third quarter against the Bengals. Anderson probably bought himself a little more time – at least until after the bye – but just know that if you have Anderson as your guy, the clock is not just ticking. Sounds like it’s about to strike midnight for DA.

New England Patriots
The Boston Globe is reporting that Kevin O’Connell could get some playing time in Week 5 – or beyond. It’s not like Cassell is playing all that well, so it’s not a shock. I doubt many people are using Cassell as anything more than an emergency QB, but something to keep an eye on especially as it affects the rest of the the fantasy players on the team. Cassell does seem to be clicking more with Moss and Welker. More of a change now could throw that off.

Cincinnati Bengals
There is some speculation coming from the Cincinnati Enquirer that Carson Palmer’s elbow injury could be worse than the fatigue or mild inflammation we have thought it is. There are completely uncomfirmed reports via ProFootballTalk that it’s potentially surgery-requiring but until I hear that from someone else, all I will say is that this is something to watch out for. Without Palmer there, the fantasy value of this team dips even lower.

That’s all for now – catch you later with more news and injury updates!

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