Marvin Lewis Says AFC North Kickers At Disadvantage After PAT Change

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns

The NFL voted to move the point after touchdown back from a 20-yard kick to a 33-yard kick last month. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, a member of the competition committee in the middle of months of discussion regarding the change, wishes no alteration had occurred, Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

“I’ve not been for it,” Lewis said. “Nothing was wrong with what we had. In this division it makes a big difference, a huge difference. It’s a disadvantage for our division because we are playing in it all the time.”

Lewis cites poor weather typical of the AFC North – in particular games at Pittsburgh and Cleveland kicking on grass. Regardless of location, he fully expects many more two-point conversions next season as teams deal with inaccurate kickers, wind or any number of factors dropping the percentage of extra points made.

Last year, 41 field goals were attempted from 33 yards with only two misses (95.1 percent). Over the past five seasons, 33-yard field goals have been converted at a rate of 92.8 percent.

Two-point conversions were cashed in at a rate of 47.5 percent last season. Over the last four seasons, the Bengals have gone 1-for-3, converting their lone attempt last season.

As a comparison, 99.6 percent of extra points were converted last year. If those current numbers hold, the decision of whether going for two points or kicking for one makes the most sense will prove more difficult.

These changes force staffs across the NFL to re-evaluate their equation based on their specific variables. Lewis still doesn’t fall on the side of those interested in going for two points far more often.

“If you are going to score less than 50 percent of the time why would you go for two and have a negative play after a positive play? It makes no sense,” Lewis said. “If you are going to score 40 percent of the time, to have a negative play after a positive play makes no sense to deflate your football team like that.”

Why Bengals can now sign decent NFL free agents

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals

For many years it seems like free agents were somewhat afraid to take and come to the Queen City to play for the Bengals, a team that has still never been able to win a Super Bowl. Check to NFL Odds to Win the AFC North Division at Mybookie.ag.

This offseason saw the Bengals bring back one of their former players that they hope will make a big impact with the team in 2015 – that being defensive end Michael Johnson.

The Bengals lost Johnson last offseason via free agency to the Tampa Bay Bucs, who inked him to a crazy five-year deal worth close to $45 million.

He lasted just one season there before coming home to Cincinnati. “We’re about to be a part of something special,” Johnson said. “When you’ve got something special, you want to try to keep it going. We’ve got it up here. I’m excited to get back and get it going again and take it to a whole new level.”

Johnson isn’t the biggest free agent to come to the cats this offseason, as on March 10th the team was able to secure the signature of one of the biggest free agents out there – former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk.

Hawk comes home to the team that he grew up watching, and gets a two-year deal worth $3.25 million. “I figured once the (Packers) were done with me, it would be kind of a dream to come back here,” Hawk said after officially signing his two-year contract. “Now it’s a reality. It was 100 percent my first choice.”

The 31-year-old has played in 142 regular season games, which is why the Bengals would only give him two years on a deal instead of longer.

Even Hawk has no idea just how much longer he will be able to go at it 100 percent and play at a high level.

“I get asked that a lot. I honestly couldn’t tell you,” Hawk said. “I want to play as long as I feel like I’m still able to contribute and mentally there. My head feels great. I’ve been very lucky when it comes to that, with injuries and everything. I’ve done my best to take care of myself. It’s hard to put a number on that. I love playing. I have a passion for it. So as long as that’s good, I’m going to try to do give it a shot.”

While Hawk and Johnson should be able to help the defense, they also brought back kicker Mike Nugent. The former teammate at Ohio State for Hawk inked a two-year contract the day before Hawk signed.

What it comes down to is that the Bengals now seem to be a destination for players to come to. They have been competitive in the ultra-tough AFC North, winning the division in 2013 and being a wild card team again in 2014.

Look for more players in the future to look to come to Cincy, and for this team to be on the rise as 2015 gets closer.

Michael Johnson returns on a four-year deal

MJ-signs

Something tells me today is gonna be a good day.

 

One year and three days after leaving the team that drafted him in Round 3 of the 2009 NFL Draft, Michael Johnson has returned to Cincinnati.

Multiple sources report that the Bengals and the defensive end have agreed to terms with Bengals.com calling it a four-year deal. Cincinnati beat out former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings in the pursuit of Johnson’s signature.

According to his comments on Bengals.com, it seemed the desire to come home was just too much to pass up.

“Next to Selma, Alabama, this is my home,” Johnson said. “Everything from my brothers on the field, to the community, to the stadium tours I did with the kids. Everything about it. Im’ blessed. How many people get to do this?”

In Johnson’s absence, the Bengals dipped from third to 22nd in yards allowed and their sack total dipped from 43 to 20. While other factors were at play, the departures of Johnson and Zimmer were arguably the two key losses.

Johnson’s return could play a large role in the defense’s potential 2015 revival. Also aiding the unit will be Geno Atkins and A.J. Hawk. The former entering his second year after major knee surgery and potentially moving closer to 100 percent. The latter an added veteran presence in the linebacking corps after coming over from Green Bay this offseason.

While Nick Fairley would have certainly helped, Michael Johnson was rightfully the No. 1 target after his release. With Johnson back in the fold with Atkins and Dunlap, we’ll get to see the “Fisher Price” package wreak havoc in opposing backfields for years to come.

Michael Johnson visiting Bengals today

Dear Michael Johnson, please come home. Sincerely, me.

Dear Michael Johnson, please come home. Sincerely, me.

The decision won’t be an easy one for Michael Johnson. The six year NFL veteran must choose between the team that drafted him and groomed him for his first five NFL seasons and the coach whose system made him into the type of performer who could earn a five-year, $43.75 million contract just 12 months ago.

After being released from that contract and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnson’s options became obvious: Return to the Cincinnati Bengals, or follow former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to Minnesota, where Zimmer enters year two as the team’s head coach.

Cincinnati was the obvious choice from the outset, but the decision became tougher after Johnson spent Friday night in Minnesota.

“Before it all started, I though ‘OK, I’m probably going back to Cincinnati,'” Johnson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Saturday morning. “(Now) there’s going to be some tears shed at the end of the day about my decision. It’s going to be hard.

“I’m a loyal and respectful guy. When I tell you I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. So I’m going to honor my word by going to Cincinnati and we’ll just see how everything goes.”

It sounds like Johnson thought he was visiting his old coach as a courtesy, but Zimmer made a great sell and now he’s leaning toward joining the Vikings. The good news is that he left Minnesota without signing the team’s “lucrative” contract offer. He will be spending tonight in the Queen City, where the Cincinnati staff will likely have the last chance to sell Johnson on signing before he makes his decision.

In five seasons with the Bengals, Johnson racked up 26.5 sacks including a career-high 11.5 in 2012. His sack number dropped to 3.5 in 2013 but he defended 10 passes before departing in free agency. Last season, he had just 20 tackles (his low since his 2009 rookie season) and four sacks for a Buccaneers team that finished with the league’s worst record.

Bengals Reach Five-Year Deal with OL Clint Boling

Cincinnati Bengals v New Orleans Saints

The Bengals and offensive lineman Clint Boling have reached agreement on a five-year, $26 million deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. This per source.

Bengals at Colts Friday Injury Report

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Status Report
OUT WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion), WR James Wright (knee)
DOUBTFUL WR A.J. Green (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE TE Jermaine Gresham (back), RB Cedric Peerman (concussion, shoulder)
Practice Report
OUT (DEFINITELY WILL NOT PLAY)
Wednesday WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion)
Thursday WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion)
Friday WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday WR A.J. Green (concussion), TE Jermaine Gresham (back), CB Leon Hall (not injury related), RB Cedric Peerman (concussion), WR James Wright (knee)
Thursday TE Jermaine Gresham (back), T Andrew Whitworth (not injury related), WR James Wright (knee)
Friday WR A.J. Green (concussion), WR James Wright (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Thursday WR A.J. Green (concussion), RB Cedric Peerman (concussion)
Friday TE Jermaine Gresham (back), RB Cedric Peerman (concussion, shoulder)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Status Report
OUT G Hugh Thornton (shoulder)
DOUBTFUL C A.Q. Shipley (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE RB Trent Richardson (illness)
PROBABLE TE Dwayne Allen (knee), WR Joshua Cribbs (not injury related), LB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), G Joe Reitz (ankle), LB Erik Walden (knee), WR Reggie Wayne (groin), LB Bjoern Werner (shoulder)
Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday WR Joshua Cribbs (not injury related), C A.Q. Shipley (ankle), G Hugh Thornton (shoulder)
Thursday C A.Q. Shipley (ankle), G Hugh Thornton (shoulder)
Friday RB Trent Richardson (illness), C A.Q. Shipley (ankle), G Hugh Thornton (shoulder), WR Reggie Wayne (groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday T Gosder Cherilus (groin), LB Erik Walden (knee), WR Reggie Wayne (groin), LB Bjoern Werner (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday TE Dwayne Allen (knee), LB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), G Joe Reitz (ankle)
Thursday TE Dwayne Allen (knee), WR Joshua Cribbs (not injury related), LB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), G Joe Reitz (ankle), LB Erik Walden (knee), WR Reggie Wayne (groin), LB Bjoern Werner (shoulder)
Friday TE Dwayne Allen (knee), WR Joshua Cribbs (not injury related), LB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), G Joe Reitz (ankle), LB Erik Walden (knee), LB Bjoern Werner (shoulder)

Bengals at Colts Wednesday Wild Card Injury Report

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Practice Report
OUT (DEFINITELY WILL NOT PLAY)
Wednesday WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday WR A.J. Green (concussion), TE Jermaine Gresham (back), CB Leon Hall (not injury related), RB Cedric Peerman (concussion), WR James Wright (knee)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday WR Joshua Cribbs (not injury related), C A.Q. Shipley (ankle), G Hugh Thornton (shoulder)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday T Gosder Cherilus (groin), LB Erik Walden (knee), WR Reggie Wayne (groin), LB Bjoern Werner (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday TE Dwayne Allen (knee), LB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), G Joe Reitz (ankle)

Ravens Wrap Up Playoff Spot; Will Take On Bengals if Cincinnati Wins Tonight

Are you ready for round three?

That’s the matchup that would take place as the Bengals and Ravens would do battle one more time in a wild card game next weekend if the Benagls beat the Steelers in the AFC North showdown tonight.

The Bengals beat Baltimore at Paul Brown Stadium back in week 8 on October 26th 27-24. Back in week one in Baltimore, the Bengals stunned the Ravens with a 23-16 win.

Of course everything changes if the Bengals can’t get the job done tonight.