Tag Archives: Cincinnati Bengals



Week 1: Aug. 12 – at Green Bay Packers – 8 p.m./WEWS

Week 2: Aug. 18 – Atlanta Falcons – 8 p.m./WEWS

Week 3: Aug. 26 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8 p.m./CBS

Week 4: Sept. 1 – Chicago Bears – 8 p.m./WEWS



Week 1: Sept. 11 – at Philadelphia Eagles – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 2: Sept. 18 – Baltimore Ravens – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 3: Sept. 25 – at Miami Dolphins – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 4: Oct. 2 – at Washington Redskins – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 5: Oct. 9 – New England Patriots – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 6: Oct. 16 – at Tennessee Titans – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 7: Oct. 23 – at Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 8: Oct. 30 – New York Jets – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 9: Nov. 6 – Dallas Cowboys – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 10: Nov. 10 – at Baltimore Ravens (Thursday) – 8:25 p.m./NFL Network

Week 11: Nov. 20 – Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 12: Nov. 27 – New York Giants – 1 p.m./FOX

Week 13: BYE

Week 14: Dec. 11 – Cincinnati Bengals – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 15: Dec. 18 – at Buffalo Bills – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 16: Dec. 24 – San Diego Chargers (Saturday) – 1 p.m./CBS

Week 17: Jan. 1 – at Pittsburgh Steelers – 1 p.m./CBS


*Home games in bold print*


In my opinion, Hue Jackson is the right choice from the the candidates interviewed by Jimmy Haslam and the Browns to be their next head coach and here’s why I believe that:

He has previous NFL head coaching experience with the Oakland Raiders in 2011.

He has experience as an NFL and college Offense Coordinator most recently with the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the OC with the Raiders, Falcons and Redskins. In college he called plays for USC and Cal.

He has experience in many different NFL coaching roles with 5 different NFL teams (Redskins, Falcons, Ravens, Raiders and Bengals) during his 15 years in the National Football League.

He comes from the Cincinnati Bengals, a team in your division, so he already knows all three teams in the AFC North that you play twice a year and must beat to win the division.

He has experience in working with quarterbacks from being an OC and QB coach in the NFL, while also playing the quarterback position in college at Pacific.

He has experience working for a dysfunctional NFL franchise from when he was the head coach in 2011 with the Oakland Raiders. He guided them to an 8-8 record, still their best record in the last 5 years.

He has playoff coaching experience as an assistant from throughout his NFL career.

You strengthen the Cleveland Browns with an experienced head coach and also at the same time, you weaken one of your rivals in the Cincinnati Bengals who won the division in 2015.

With his 15 years in the National Football League with 5 different teams and with different coaches, he should be able to put together a solid coaching staff.

Addition by subtraction! He’s not Mike Pettine, Rob Chudzinski or Pat Shurmur. The Browns actually got a head coach they wanted instead of having to settle for their third fourth or fifth choice.


Here’s what Johnny Manziel had to say today as he talked with the media following the Browns 30-0 loss to the Bengals in his first NFL regular season start:

Johnny Manziel Sad 2

On today’s game:

“Tough. It was tough. We never really established much early in the game to put ourselves in good position to put some points on the board. When we did, I feel like I made a few mistakes throughout the game. When you sit back and look at it, just in the brief time that we’ve had, you tip your hat to the other team. When you get beat, you get beat and you take it like a man and you move on and you try to progress and get better. That’s what we have to do, but when you get beat you get beat. Hats off to them. They obviously had a good scheme and they were ready for what we were trying to do and it disrupted some of our stuff. At the same time, looking at my position and how I felt I played, I need to be better. I felt like it was a fail on my part for the position and it’s tough. It’s going to take time. It’s a progress for sure. The thing that you come out of here with, that gives you a little bit of joy is the way those guys in the locker room after the game, obviously everybody is extremely disappointed – we wanted to win the game – nobody wants to win in there more than I do. It’s tough to come out there and lay an egg like that and I put a lot of that on me. I’m not using the rookie excuse – it’s not me. Yeah, I’m a rookie but that’s out the window. I needed to play better. I felt coming in to today that I was absolutely prepared for today. Being out there, I never felt overwhelmed or that it was too much for me, but when it comes down to it, football is football. You need to make more plays than the other team and you need to play better than the other team, and today we didn’t do that.”


On Cincinnati’s defense:

“We weren’t very good on third downs. We have to stay on the field and we weren’t able to stay on the field. We put our defense back on the field quick a couple times and we needed to come out. They started strong and fast and we didn’t. That wasn’t a good start. Carrying over from that, we never got enough momentum to push ourselves into a position to really get a grip on the game I guess.”


On the picks:

“You know. You can’t throw the second one whether you’re playing in a Pop Warner league or if you’re six years old playing in the driveway, you can’t throw that ball. That’s a 100 percent on me. The first one, I saw what I wanted to see and didn’t have enough confidence in myself to let it fly. I saw what I wanted and I ripped that all week through practice and when it came down to it, just a split second hesitation and in the NFL, I learned hard today, they can undercut that and they can get to that ball. I felt like Hawk (WR Andrew Hawkins) ran a great route. The play was there, (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) called a great play obviously seeing the scheme. For me I have to be decisive and trust what I see and throw it. I felt like I did that all week throughout practice. For whatever reason, a couple drives there I was a little hesitant on some throws.  There was another throw right before that to (WR) Josh (Gordon) over the middle that was a little behind him. I felt like I made that throw all week. I saw the field fine today but when I came down to it, I just needed to throw the ball and let it rip, and I didn’t do a very good job of that.”


On if today was a surprise:

“Absolutely. We wanted to win. I wanted to come out here and put points on the board and win. That didn’t happen.”


On Cincinnati’s taunting:

“I didn’t even notice it.”


On the energy today being carried over from the practice week:

“I feel like we didn’t start quick enough to get the energy we needed. We were very pumped up before the game, and obviously, Cincinnati was, as well. They said after this last game that they felt like they could beat us and they came out and proved that today. Like I said from the very beginning, you have to come out and first things first give them credit for what they came out and did. They established running the ball they got off the field on defense and didn’t allow us to continue any drives and when that happened it was going to be a long day for us. We never could quite get over the hump. You get a good drive going, get something sustained and then you get a turnover in the red zone which is absolutely unacceptable. It’s tough sitting here right now. A lot of emotions. It’s never as bad as you think it is sitting up here right now so we’ll go back and look throughout this week, but I need to be better. I felt like I was prepared, when it comes down to the play you have to play better.”


On missing some throws and other opportunities that were available:

“I think they were there. I think there were times where we went through our progressions and didn’t do near enough as much as I’m accustomed to in the past. Like I said, I’ve gotten better throughout the season and felt like we got a little, but at the same time, still got around and moved around a little bit. I just didn’t hit the throws when they were there. Early on in our second drive, there’s another one that was just a little high to (TE) Jim Dray. Those are plays we needed to continue those drives when we needed a big play. We didn’t get a third down conversion until the third quarter to (WR) Josh (Gordon) down the sideline. You’re not going to win when you do that. We have to stay on the field and do better.  It’s an all-around team thing.  As much as I sit here right now and put this on me, I need to be better, and I felt like I would come out and play better and that didn’t happen. I’m disappointed and these guys are too. For me, it’s a fresh start and we can move on from here to try and build something to carry us into next year.  The last two games coming up, we need to improve as an offense and build something for us to grow on into the offseason and into next season.”


On not succeeding in his first start and building for the future:

“I think this was the tip of the iceberg.  Obviously, these guys, from management to everyone in this organization, drafted me and I think going into it that one bad start – I’m not going to be written off forever.  As me and (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) were sitting there in the late minutes of the game, it was teaching me and helping me learn and understand everything that is going on.  It’s going to take time and reps.  The best quarterbacks to ever play this game have struggled early.  It’s tough for a young guy to come in and get accustomed to this league.  Even the guys who play their best every week come out and struggle at times.  It’s an ongoing cycle and for us we need to continue to progress and continue to get better.  From the reps we get in practice to the reps we get in games, we need to work on those and hone in on those.”


On starting his first game and if the speed of the game overwhelmed him:

“Like I said earlier, I never felt overwhelmed out there. Things happened fast and you see certain things that all flash around really fast, but when it came down to it, we just didn’t make enough plays. I don’t know that it was ever too difficult; it was never too difficult. We just didn’t make plays when they gave them to us to stay on the field and move the ball and score points. That’s the name of this game: put more points on the board than the other team.”


On implementing the game plan this week as a process:

“I think that as well as my own growing process. We put in some new things this week, some things we haven’t done since training camp. Obviously, we put them in at training camp and when you put them in there you feel like anywhere throughout the season you should be able to put those back in and plug those back in and be able to run them efficiently, but it was just a little bit of a struggle for us today. The best thing is we have two games left in the season to go out and try and get better and end on a good note. That’s really what we have to do.”


On the Browns bouncing back from the losses to finish the final two games of the season on a positive note:

“What’s done is done. This game is over. This day is over. Come in tomorrow, watch this, go over this, analyze what we saw from this game and then wipe it. Then it’s over. Then it’s onto Carolina and it’s on to the next week. That’s what we need to be focused on. We can’t be sitting there saying, ‘Man, last week this happened.’ What’s done is done. That’s in the past. Now, it’s move forward and go out and win this game next week. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that we can go out and win next week. We just need to put a solid effort together, go out, play as a unit, play as a team and go out and get a win. The playoffs and all that might be whatever the situation may be, but for us, we need to have pride about ourselves and pride about the games that we have left on our schedule and go out and try to be effective and try to be efficient.”



My quick recap of the Bengals dismantling of the Browns and baptism of Johnny Manziel into the NFL.

Listen Here –

Johnny Manziel Sad 1


Browns Stadium vs SteelersWithout any hesitation I can say that the Cleveland Browns were the far better football team yesterday in all aspects – offense, defense, special teams and coaching. I picked the Browns to win the game because after watching the Steelers over the last 2 weeks I was able to see that they are an old team that lacks talent and should replace both of its coordinators.  The Browns are a young team that has some proven talent and some potential young talent, with a head coach who actually seems to know what he’s doing and really loves his job. Kudos to Mike Pettine and his staff for making this team respectable this early in the season. Now let’s see how they handle prosperity.

The Browns should be favored in their next three games; at Jacksonville, then home against Oakland and Tampa Bay. I expect them to go no worse than (2-1) in those games and be at least (5-3) if not (6-2) after 8 games. Then the schedule gets tough with games at Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore. Plus home games with Houston, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. So you better win the games you’re supposed to win and see if you can play .500 ball the second half of the season. If the Browns can do that, they could be looking at 8, 9 or even 10 wins. If you get to 9 or 10 wins, then you could be talking playoffs.

Having said all that, the Browns were (3-2) after 5 games last year and ended up (4-12). The difference this year I believe is an easier schedule over the next 3 weeks, Brian Hoyer is your QB and not Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell, and a coach who the players actually believe in. Those 3 things should make a huge difference.

alex-mackHowever the Browns are going to have to do it without one of their best and most respected players – Alex Mack. The Pro Bowl center reportedly broke his leg in yesterday’s 31-10 win over the Steelers and is expected to be lost for the rest of the season. John Greco filled in nicely on Sunday against Pittsburgh, but how he performs moving forward will affect the Browns offense in a big way, not to mention Paul McQuistan moving over to take Greco’s spot at left guard. The offensive line has been this team’s MVP’s so far this season. Their depth is going to be tested the rest of the way.

Nobody was harder on the Browns front office for ignoring the wide receiver position in the draft and in free agency than yours truly. Early on it looks like Ray Farmer and the Browns were right and I was wrong. We’ll see if Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin can both continue to make plays and if Miles Austin can stay healthy, but this group with some help from the O-line and Brian Hoyer have performed better than I thought they would. Plus they’ll get All Pro wide out Josh Gordon back for the 11th game of the season at Atlanta, which will have a huge, positive impact on the entire group.

Hats off to Chris Tabor and the special teams.  A few weeks ago they were a laughing stock. The last 2 weeks, they have been solid and made big plays to change the momentum of the game. They were a big reason the Browns won in Tennessee and also against Pittsburgh yesterday. Good decisions, fundlemental play and no mental mistakes go a long way in helping your team win.  Some of those things might not be sexy, but they help you win.

Brian Hoyer Sidelines vs SteelersAnd last but not least, happy 29th birthday to local “Mr. Hero” Brian Hoyer. I used it as a trivia question yesterday at my Browns appearance at Jo Jo’s Sports Bar in Medina and someone knew right away that October 13th was the Browns starting quarterback’s birthday. A year ago I don’t think anyone would have known or cared, but after you lead the biggest road comeback in the history of the NFL and your kicking the Steelers butts all over the field, people start to notice and pay attention. It’s still a small sample size (8 starts), but it’s getting bigger and the results are the same. Hoyer is now (6-2) as the Browns starter and can be a free agent at the end of the season. Your call Jimmy Haslam and Ray Farmer. Do you believe enough in him to sign him now and maybe save some money, or do you wait until the end of the season and roll the dice? Yes you have Johnny “Jam Boogie” waiting in the wings, but he is nowhere near being ready to be a starting QB in this league. The Hoyer contract situation will be another story line to follow as this season progresses.


Here’s my team-by-team grade and breakdown of the picks made by all the AFC North GM’s.

AFC North Helmets Photo



AFC North Helmets Photo


CLEVELAND BROWNS   –   GM – Ray Farmer   –   Overall Grade   ( B-)

Manziel & Gilbert Questions Photo 2

1st – 8th –  Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

1st – 22nd – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

2nd – 35th –  Joel Bitonio, OG, Nevada

3rd – 71st –  Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa

3rd – 94th – Terrance West, RB, Towson

4th – 127th – Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

*(Picked up Buffalo’s 1st Round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft)


PITTSBURGH STEELERS   –   GM  –  Kevin Colbert   –   Overall Grade   (B+)

Ryan Shazier OSU Photo

1st – 15th –  Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

2nd – 46th –  Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame

3rd – 97th –  Dri Archer, WR, Kent State

4th – 118th – Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

5th – 157th –  Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona

5th – 173rd –  Wesley Johnson, C, Vanderbilt

6th – 192nd – Jordan Zumwalt, OLB, UCLA

6th – 215th – Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee

7th – 230th –  Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts


BALTIMORE RAVENS   –   GM  –  Ozzie Newsome   –   Overall Grade   (B+)

1ST – 17TH – C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

2nd – 48th –  Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

3rd – 79th – Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State

3rd – 99th –  Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State

4th – 134th –  Brent Urban, DE, Virginia

4th – 138th –  Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Coastal Carolina

5th – 175th –  John Urschel, OG, Penn State

6th – 194th – Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State

7th – 218th –  Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest


CINCINNATI BENGALS   –   GM   –   Mike Brown   –   Overall Grade   (B)

1st – 24th – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

2nd – 55th –  Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

3rd – 88th –  Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia

4th – 111th –  Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina

5th – 164th – AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

6th – 212th –  Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona

7th – 239th –  James Wright, WR, LSU

7th – 252nd –  Lavelle Westbrooks, CB, Georgia Southern




First Round

Pick #8     –   Browns   –          Justin Gilbert                –       Cornerback   –      Oklahoma St.

Pick #15  –    Steelers  –          Ryan Shazier                 –       Linebacker    –      Ohio St.

Pick #17  –    Ravens    –          C.J. Mosley                   –         Linebacker     –     Alabama

Pick #22  –    Browns    –         Johnny Manziel           –       Quarterback  –      Texas A&M

Pick #24  –    Bengals   –         Darqueze Dennard      –       Cornerback    –     Michigan St.


Browns (A)

First year General Manager Ray Farmer was wheeling and dealing his way through the first round and filled two huge needs for this year’s team at cornerback and quarterback, while also picking up a first round pick and a fourth round pick from the Bills in 2015. Gilbert was the best cornerback in this draft, while Manziel may not be the best QB in this draft, but he’s one of the best, and is by far the most polarizing figure in the entire draft. Owner Jimmy Haslam knows “Johnny Cleveland” will sell tickets and merchandise even if he sits the entire year and will bring young fans back to the Browns, which is extremely important to a franchise that was losing some of its fan base. Can he play and can his body withstand the punishment it will take at the NFL level? Only time will tell. But for a night, and on paper, the moves and picks the Browns made look very good.

Johnny Manziel Money Sign On Stage at NFL Draft

Steelers (B)

Kevin Colbert needed help at cornerback and wide receiver and instead went for a linebacker in the first round for the second year in a row (Jarvis Jones last year).  Shazier racked up a lot of tackles at Ohio State, but did so for a below average defense in a weak conference. Cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Jason Varrett were staring the Steelers in the face and Colbert passed on both for the 4th best linebacker in the draft. Shazier does fit the mold of linebackers who can get after the quarterback in the Burgh, but needs work against the run. Pittsburgh fans better hope Shazier impacts the team more than previously drafted Buckeyes Cameron Heyward and Mike Adams.

Ravens (B+)

It’s tough to question the birds G.M. Ozzie Newsome, so I’m not going to. The Ravens get a solid linebacker against the run, who plays from sideline to sideline and did so in the toughest conference in America, the SEC. Mosley is not a get after the quarterback linebacker like Shazier in Pittsburgh, but he’s a more complete, fundamentally sound linebacker who can quarterback the defense.

Bengals (A-)

Talk about a solid player falling into your lap, that’s exactly what happened to the Bengals with Dennard. Cincy was looking for help for their aging secondary and they got it with a tough, physical defensive back from Michigan St. At pick 24 it really couldn’t have worked out any better for Cincinnati, as they got in most people’s eyes, the second best cornerback in the draft late in the first round.

So overall the AFC North did very well in day one of the NFL Draft. Now it’s back to work for all of the G.M.’s to try and continue their roll in the 2nd round. The Browns will be up first with the 3rd pick in the second round and look for Cleveland to target a wide receiver and an offensive lineman. WR’s Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson are there as well as a pair of OL guys in Xavier Su’aFilo and Cyrus Kouandjio. They could also look at Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde. So plenty of options to pick from and impact the team even more. It must be fun to be Ray Farmer right now!




4   CLEVELAND BROWNS       Sammy Watkins         WR    Clemson

15  PITTSBURGH STEELERS         Darqueze Dennard          CB     Michigan State

17  BALTIMORE RAVENS              Zack Martin                     OT     Notre Dame

24  CINCINNATI BENGALS           Kyle Fuller                       CB     Virginia Tech

26 CLEVELAND BROWNS       Derek Carr                QB     Fresno St.     


2ND ROUND  –  *Bonus Pick

35  CLEVELAND BROWNS      Cyrus Kouandjio       OT   Alabama




Best Move – Free agent signing of running back Ben Tate. At the price G.M. Ray Farmer signed him for (2 years – $7 million), if he can stay healthy, he is a feature back who fills an enormous hole on offense for the Browns.

Worst Move – Giving 5’7 wide receiver Andrew Hawkins a 4 year $12.2 million dollar contract with over $5 million guaranteed. In 35 NFL games he has only 86 catches and just 4 touchdowns.  They over paid for an under productive talent in my opinion.

Draft Need – Quarterback – Whether it’s with the 4th, 26th or 35th pick they need to draft a young QB for the future, preferably a franchise quarterback. They could have their choice of Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr at #4. I’ll be shocked if one of those four is not a Cleveland Brown after the draft. Also I’ve been saying it for weeks, I expect the Browns to sign Rex Grossman as a veteran back-up to help teach Kyle Shanahan’s offense to whoever they draft. It also wouldn’t shock me if the Browns, with 10 picks this year, drafted another QB in the later rounds.



Best Move – Replacing aging safety Ryan Clark with the younger ball hawking safety in Mike Mitchell in free agency. A little pricey for him, but it was a major need for the Steelers in talent and to get younger on defense.

Worst Move – Losing wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency to Denver. He was starting to come into his own as the #2 receiver in the Steelers offense. Big Ben can’t be happy that in the last 3 years he’s lost Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and now Sanders.

Draft Need – Cornerback or Wide Receiver – Depending on who’s still available at pick #15 for Pittsburgh they need to get an impact player at one of those two positions. Guys they could be picking from include corners Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard or wide outs Mike Evans, Marquise Lee or Kelvin Benjamin.



Best Move – It’s tough to pick just one because once again Ozzie Newsome had a very good off season by keeping Daryl Smith at LB and Jacoby Jones as a dual threat WR/KR and adding wide out Steve Smith to the offense. However resigning tight end Dennis Pitta stands out to me. He is Joe Flacco’s favorite target and everyone saw how the offense suffered when he was hurt last season. With Pitta back healthy and under contract look for he and Flacco to have a big year.

Worst Move –    Losing safety James Ihedigbo to the Lions in free agency. Losing Ed Reed last season and now Ihedigbo this season, the Ravens need some serious help deep in the secondary for second year safety Matt Elam.

Draft Need – Safety – The Ravens are picking 17th and Ozzie has to be hoping that he’ll get to pick from free safeties Ha Ha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor to help fill that need at the back end of their secondary.



Best Move – I really don’t see a move that really stands out in a positive way that will have a major impact for the Bengals. Keeping some of their own guys like Michael Johnson and  Mike Pollack are decent moves, but nothing to get real excited about.

Worst Move – Bringing in Jason Campbell as Andy Dalton’s back-up. While Dalton has stayed healthy in his three years in the league and has made the playoffs each year, there are still questions about whether he is the guy to lead this football team and if he’s not, you’re going to turn to Jason Campbell?

Draft Need –  Cornerback – Cincy is in desperate need of help in the secondary at the corner position. They’re praying that on May 8th when it’s their turn to pick at #24 corners Kyle Fuller or Jasson Verrett are there to choose from.