Bengals vs. Panthers Preseason Game #3: Blogger Q&A

Cam sez "No back foot throw this time!"

Josh Kirkendall over at Cincy Jungle was kind enough to lend us his insight for this edition of Blogger Q&A. I sent Josh five questions and he's provided answers. Josh is preparing some questions for me as well so be sure to check over at Cincy Jungle for that post.  So here we go:

Question 1: How has QB Andy Dalton looked behind center? Does he still look like a good pick i.e. your franchise QB? Is Carson Palmer completely out of the picture now?

Josh: He looks like a rookie quarterback that hasn’t had the benefit of offseason instruction due to the lockout. Timing seems off with his receivers, which has made him look very inaccurate, though somewhat expected. This team not only has a rookie starting quarterback, they also have a rookie wide receiver starting on one side and a fourth-year receiver with only 21 career receptions on the other. And they’re both running plays called by a rookie offensive coordinator who hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2008. As to whether he’s a franchise quarterback, I can’t really say right now; he’ll need to develop into that role and we’ll have to see how he does.

As for Palmer, who hasn’t filed retirement papers, he’s always a possibility to return, planting his massive salary on the team’s salary cap forcing his way out of Cincinnati. The Bengals are keeping room under the cap to prepare for it. It’s really a needless distraction. While we understand Mike Brown’s determination and principle not to capitulate to every player’s demand, he’s also hurting the team by not taking advantage of Palmer’s value (which is maxed out right now) to get something in return.

Yeah, I would be pretty ‘perplexed’ with Brown right now if I was a Bengals fan. When a player is ready the leave a team, said team should facilitate the exit. Distractions are bad for team cohesion. The Panthers had something similar with Peppers f-tag and you could even say keeping Fox around for a lame duck season another example of ownership hanging on too long.

Concerning Dalton, both teams have rookie QBs that are hoping to avoid the same mistakes and show improvement. Hard to say how this one will turn out Thursday night. Of course my money is on Newton having the better night.

Four more after the jump...


Question 2: What's the early impression of WR AJ Green? Is he happy? He sure didn't look too happy after being selected.

Josh: The first thing we learned about Green’s demeanor is that he’s the complete opposite of Chad Ochocinco. Through several weeks of training camp, he’s kept his head down, worked hard and made tremendous plays during practice. He’s been a highlight during training camp, very down to earth and very modest. We nicknamed him the anti-Chad early on.

Yeah, agree Green is certainly the more reserved type and that probably explains the perception he was unhappy on draft day. The kid has great hands and is going to be a star…provide the QB can get the ball near him.  

Question 3: You just acquired S Taylor Mays from SF for an undisclosed draft pick. What does Cincy see in this guy the 49ers apparently didn't?  

Josh: The Bengals liked Mays last year before the draft, reportedly thinking of using their 21st overall selection during the 2010 NFL Draft. The Bengals found a greater need in tight end Jermaine Gresham, leaving Mays on the board. However Mays is mostly known as a straight-line runner that contributes to the rushing defense; an area that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer wants to have a greater impact with, especially facing teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens four times each year. And quite honestly this team has a desperate shortage of safeties on the roster.

Will Mays be covering Olsen or will they leave a LB on him?

Question 4: What do you expect from the running game in 2011...i.e. Will RB Cedric Benson be a #1 RB, #2 or worse fantasy-wise?

Josh: Benson posted the league’s second-best yard-rushing average per game in 2009 (96.2 yards/game) beaten only by Chris Johnson who posted over 2,000 yards rushing that year. Yet Benson posted only six touchdowns rushing. Last year the Bengals employed a greater emphasis passing the ball, largely disrupting the team’s rhythm to run the ball, compounded by the fact that they were often playing from behind; largely explaining the noticeable depreciation in the running back. Benson has 13 rushing touchdowns in two seasons so as a starter in fantasy football, he might not be. However the team’s rookie offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, implementing the west coast offense (that was born in Cincinnati we might add) wants to keep pressure off Dalton so we expect a heavy dose of Benson this year.

 Benson sounds like a good mid-round, #3 RB for a team that’s a good play from week to week depending on the match-up. This should also be another test for our young defensive line.

 Question 5: Which defensive player are you looking for a stellar performance from against the Panthers? 

Josh: We’re hoping to see more from the team’s middle linebacker, Rey Maualuga. So far he’s had a really good preseason, but the Bengals defense hasn’t been tested on the ground so much as they’ve been through the air. If this preseason game turns into your classic dress rehearsal, we hope that the Panthers will run the ball more to give us a better impression on just how Maualuga is adapting as the team’s middle linebacker. That being said this defense is clearly struggling against the pass. So the more work that this defense can get through the air, the better. 

Josh should get his wish as the Panthers are expected to deploy more of their playbook this week. With Newton starting and playing 3rd quarters the Panthers should call a more balanced game between run and pass versus the 1-3 run to pass we saw last week.

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