Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Oct 2005

Smart, Fast, Physical

It used to be the case that making fun of the Bengals went hand-in-hand with the start of the NFL season. Not any more. And part of the reason is that Marvin Lewis and his coaching staff have done a solid job of turning recent draft picks into starters. In the past two years, only the Titans (11) and Colts (11) have used more draft picks on defensive players than the Bengals (10), but neither team starts as many of those players as Cincinnati (4). So far this season, the Bengals are still struggling to stop the run, but if they're able to improve in that area, they'll be a safe bet to make the playoffs.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 13 Oct 2005

3 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2005, 3:58pm by Walt


by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 2:24pm

Can anyone explain the Deltha O'Neil situation to me? Denver was so down on the guy they tried to switch him to offense. But he's a starter (and presumably doing pretty well) in Cincy. Was Shanahan that wrong about his skills, or is the coaching O'Neil's getting in Cincy just that much better?

by Daniel (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 3:04pm

I think the reason that Denver's coaches got down on O'neil was his gambling. He got a lot of picks, and is a superb athlete, but he was getting beat a lot. He gave up a ton of big plays in Denver. I don't know how his coverage has been in Cincy.

by Walt (not verified) :: Thu, 10/13/2005 - 3:58pm

Condensing Marvin Lewis’ comments over the past 18 months – The Bengals saw Deltha as an athlete who was using physical abilities to cover his lack of technical skills playing CB. Since they knew he was on the way out in Denver they targeted him and concentrated on teaching him how to play the position instead of just relying on his physical skills.

An overly simple summary but I can’t find the article where Lewis specifically answered this question. Lewis never said Deltha was mis-coached in Denver but instead that he was allowed to get by relying on speed instead of technique. One of the better recent player moves the Bengals made – essentially getting Deltha for free (moved back 2 spots in the 1st round I believe).