Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Jun 2005

Bengals Offense Awesome on Paper

I think this Lonnie Wheeler piece from the Cincinnati Post has the right attitude about the off-season. Wow, our team is good -- on paper, with everyone healthy. There are a lot of teams where it seems like there won't be playing time for all the players, but we all know that some guys are going to get injured, and it will turn out that other guys' "off-seasons of hard work" will turn out to be "sitting around getting baked and playing Grand Theft Auto." Every time I read an article that says that Mike Williams is leaner and quicker or Derrick Johnson is impressive in Chiefs camp or rookie receiver Brandon Jones is having a great minicamp in Tennessee, I just ignore it. It's all just background noise.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Jun 2005

29 comments, Last at 26 Jun 2005, 11:38am by Led


by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:37am

I liked how last year in the off-season, all the talk around the Bears was about how they were in phenomenal shape because their off-season workout program was the toughest in football. Then when the Bears started dropping like flies, all the talk was about how they were getting injured and their bodies were broken down because their off-season workout program was the toughest in football.

by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 12:10pm

Agreed. Personally, I think it is nice to see the Queen City get reasonably excited about football again, just so long as I never have to go there. Hopefully they can make a run of it, preferably destroying the Steelers.

by sippican (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:33pm

In the newspaper business, this is known as a "Standing Head." The term refers to a headline you can use over and over again with a story that you can write from memory.

Let's change a few words and see if it works:

"Titanic's seaworthiness awesome on paper."

by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:37pm

Considering that the Bungals have to play the Vikings, Colts and Chiefs and face the Ravens and Steelers twice and haven't had a winning season since, what? the first Bush administration? and would have finished 7-9 had the Eagles bothered to play the varsity and they are grown men who wear orange socks on purpose, I don't know that all the optimism is warranted. Every team is unstoappable in June.

by Keith Cockrell (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 4:15pm

From 4. "Every team is unstoappable in June."
And that's why the league still exists. We all want to think our team can do it this time. Heck, somehow that makes me feel better about the human race, not just football.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 5:28pm

Culpepper said on the radio the other day that the Vikes would be 12-4 at MINIMUM this year.

God help me, but i feel myself believing it. Such is the madness that is the NFL.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 6:10pm

Does this make them Paper Tigers?

by DD Ohio (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 6:16pm

I just love seeing the Bengals tagged in a FO Extra Points "headlines in review" window.

Imagine being a Pats or Eagles fan, and being used to seeing that?

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 7:18pm

Of course, one can't reach too many conclusions in June, but I like the Bengals approach this offseason: they re-signed all their own guys (everybody on offense returns from last season, including the backup QB and 3rd and 4th WRs)

Continuity is important these days. The Pats get a lot of credit for having been able to insert lots of different guys into the lineup and keep winning, but I noticed last season when reading the lineup for a Pats game that they started 4 guys on D in that game who played in the 1996 Superbowl under Parcells! (Johnson, Bruschi, McGinest, Law) How many teams last year were able to start 4 guys in a game who had all been with the club at least 8 years?

by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 7:34pm

Chiefs: John Browning, Tony Richardson, Will Shields, and Jerome Woods all joined KC before the '96 SB. Whether Browning and Woods SHOULD have been starting is another matter. Gonzalez had also been with the Chiefs 8 seasons (97-04).

Other teams?

by Buddha (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 7:37pm

Didn't they just sign Craig Krenzel?

Unstoppable indeed...

by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 10:33am

Here's some more background noise for Aaron to ignore:
Rookie impressive in offseason workouts
Colquitt could kick Chiefs’ punting woes
Link to KC Star article below (may require bugmenot/registration). Basically Colquitt has a lot of hang time on his points but, more interestingly, his punts are hard to catch. The explanation offered is a combination of: 1) he's left-footed, so the ball rotates differently; 2) his high hanging punts catch more wind than most; 3) Colquitt holds the ball differently than most punters so it has different flight properties.

OK, maybe it's just BS. But the Chiefs were by far the worst punt team by DVOA (-13.4 vs. STL at -8.9) last year and spent a 3rd round pick on Colquitt to fix it. If Chiefs' opponents fumble a high number of punts this year, you heard it here. Otherwise, blah blah blah punter blah blah blah.

by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 10:34am

Sorry about the excess bold in the previous post.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 12:29pm

If the Bengals don't make the playoffs or at least have a winning record this year, is Marvin Lewis in trouble?

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:12pm

RE: 8
I remember wondering something similar to this in that I wanted to know what superbowl teams still have their players playing for them. It starts getting real thin in 1998 with Atl's Brooking still starting and Travis Hall hanging on, and then Rod Smith and Jason Elam are still going for the Broncos. 1997 is equally thin with Favre, Smith and Elam. And then 1996 sticks out like a sore thumb with all the Patriot defensive guys you mentioned plus Vinatieri and Brown, and of course GB has Favre. Then back to earth with Woodson and Allen for the Cowboys and nobody from Pit. Last one, Chargers have David Binn and SF has no one, although I'll give you a cookie if you tell me who SF's kicker was without looking it up.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:13pm

RE: 15
That should have been RE 9: you IDIOT!

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:22pm

Just to ensure that everyone is getting sick of my posts. The Colts in 1998 started Manning and Glenn, and had regulars Pollard and Venderjagt as well. I believe the Chiefs actually started Anders over Richardson for a few of those 8 years and I don't believe Browning started every year either. Also, the 1998 team had Warfield and Hicks.

by year of the dolphin (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:47pm

sounds like miami syndrome. for those of you that don't know this - pretty much every year of my life, as a dolphin fan (except for this past offseason, where everything bad that could happen, did happen) the miami area believes its team is going to the superbowl - myself included. due in large part to dan marino's greatness and then the talent on d and then ricky williams. and it's probably not too long until the "we've got baby beliceck, we're going to the superbowl" talk starts. but, i feel like its part of what makes the football season so great, that everyone has that kind of hope and true belief, and feels every win and loss so dearly.

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 3:10pm

How many teams last year were able to start 4 guys in a game who had all been with the club at least 8 years?

I was shocked to read that Tim Bowens ranks 6th all-time in games played as a Dolphin.

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 3:12pm

Otherwise, blah blah blah punter blah blah blah.


hehe....sorry Carl. I still just think it's funny how he randomly started talking about punters in a thread last week.

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 3:14pm

although I’ll give you a cookie if you tell me who SF’s kicker was without looking it up.

Mike Cofer?

by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 3:18pm

Nope, I was wrong about Cofer. He was their kicker the year before.

by Led (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 7:42pm

Hmmmm.....Doug Brien?

by Vic (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 10:42am


Don't think so, unless they do a terrible season.

Nevertheless, my opinion is that it's pretty obvoious that he'll face 2006/07 season with a lot more pressure if the Bengals have another 7-7 or 6-8 season.

Anyhow, I don't think he's going to be fired unless they win 2-3 games one season.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 11:20am

Of course, for the Bengals to go 7-7 or 6-8, they'd have to have traveled back in time to when the NFL played a 14 game season. And setting aside the fact that even today's worst NFL team should go at least 12-2 in that era, the good news for Lewis would be that he would have likely invented a time machine for something like this to happen (other possibilities include some kind of random temporal flux or other technobabble, I'm assuming they intended to go back and didn't just get swept back in time). I think that if he successfully invented a time machine, the fate of his coaching career shoots way down the priority list.

by Vic (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 12:32pm

Ups, thanks for that gentle appretation. I meant 8-8 or 7-9....

Following with what I said before, I think the Bengals can win more than 10 games this year...

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 11:14pm

I have to say I think the Bengals might be the best team in the division this year. The offense basically requires the passing game to fall into sync, a lot of which should be helped by Palmer's second full year as a starter and the return of pretty much the same receiving corps. I think the Steelers will take a big step back as Cowher and Roethlisberger look like two trains on the same track aiming right at each other, I'm not sure the Ravens are going to be much better than 8-8 and that Jamal Lewis is going to sync up as well as he has in the past, and the Browns are obviously in complete rebuilding mode. Actually, I think the Bengals might have the two best QBs in the division, to boot.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Fri, 06/24/2005 - 5:08pm

Doug Brien is correct. He of such ill repute in NY/NJ area now. Funny how he was good enough when SF won the SB, but the Jets think he's crap.

by Led (not verified) :: Sun, 06/26/2005 - 11:38am

Brien was a good kicker for most of the year but started playing poorly down the stretch even before the Steelers game. Kickers can be delicate creatures, and it would be difficult for him to play in NY again. The home crowds (and the press) would be brutal. Plus, he can't kickoff and the Jets were going to get rid of Gowin (who punted and did kickoffs). That doesn't necessarily mean you draft a kicker in the 2nd round, but I think Brien needed to go.