Here are some of the main storylines from this week heading into Sunday’s home opener with the Ravens:
-In a blow to the depth of the Bengals defense, defensive end Jonathan Fanene has a torn hamstring and will be out 3 to 5 weeks. Fanene started 10 games last year in place of Antwan Odom, and finished with six sacks. Fanene’s toughness and never-ending motor have been integral elements to Mike Zimmer’s miracle job with the “D.” It appears that rookie Carlos Dunlap will now get some game action for the time being, and prove his worth as a second-round draft pick.
-As is their custom during the regular season, the Bengals held tryouts for street free-agents that could help them. This past Tuesday they looked at centers and wide receivers. The team worked out former Steeler Justin Hartwig and, inexplicably, former Bengal turnstile Eric Ghiaciuc. As of this writing, neither has agreed to a contract. The move with centers seems odd considering the work of starter Kyle Cook, the high expectations for rookie Reggie Stephens, and the fact that both Bobbie Williams and Evan Mathis can play center in a pinch. But what’s more perplexing is the constant interest in wide-outs. Look, I love offense and points as much as the next guy, but why do we need to see guys like Dexter Jackson, Eron Riley, London Crawford and Kole Heckendorf?? What are we going to do with these guys? The Bengals keep acting like they want to play ball-control, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense, which isn’t conducive to a huge stable of bottom-feeder receivers. Besides, if we wanted a capable wide-out, we could’ve gotten a great one on the cheap who already knew the offense—you know, the guy that’ll be lining up against us Sunday?
-Chad Ochocinco was on RAW, his show is airing soon, and he’s appearing on the FX show The League. Marvin Lewis had to address Chad’s social media antics again. Is this cool with you or is it a distraction to the team yet? I’m on the fence at this point. He had 159 yards and a score last week, but maybe I’d have more of a sense of humor had we won (or were at least a bit more competitive)
–Brian Leonard is finally back to practicing. He was missed—it was no coincidence that the Bengals struggled mightily on 3rd down last week.
–Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer took the blame for last week’s defensive debacle against Tom Brady and Wes Welker. “I tried to make these guys the ’85 Bears and we’re not at the point yet; my fault,” Zimmer was quoted as saying. “There’s an old adage: You try to stop everything and you end up stopping nothing and we didn’t stop anything instead of remembering what we are and what we do and it’s all my fault.”
“We suck” as Chris Crocker more succinctly put it. Apparently they over-thought how to attack New England and outsmarted themselves. Thank God they only have six days to think about the Ravens.
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