Editor’s Note: We’re very lucky here at Black&Teal to be part of Fansided, a wide-reaching network of blogs for every NFL team (as well as a huge selection of NBA, NHL, MLB, and other blogs as well). We’d be dumb not to take advantage of these resources, so welcome to our new feature: Enemy Intel. Each week, we’ll be checking in with the staff from the Fansided blog representing the Jaguars’ opponent for that the week.
This week, we’ll be talking with Cody Byers, editor and lead blogger for Stripe Hype, Fansided’s Cincinnati Bengals Blog. A huge thanks to Marc for taking the time to update us on what’s going on in the Big Apple as we head into a very tough week 2 contest for the Jags.
Andrew Hofheimer: How is Andy Dalton looking so far? Does he look like he’s capable of being a “stud” NFL quarterback or will he always be more of a game manager, relying on the running game and orchestrating the shorter offenses that he ran in college?
Cody Byers: Dalton shows a lot or promise. He definitely seems capable of being a “stud”. The offense is relying on run game right now because of the fact he’s a rookie rather then being only a “game manager” (Ex: Joe Flacco). He has already shown the clutch gene last week vs the Bills where he drove down the field successfully with less then 2 minutes on the clock. His ability in the short-mid passing game is what makes him such a great fit for what the Bengals are trying to establish in the WCO.
AH: This has always been on my mind, so I’d love to get a definitive answers for me and my readers, here… why does Mike Brown love recruiting the criminals and dregs of society to play for his team? Is he all about the redemption angle? Does he believe they make better football players? What is the reasoning here behind constantly signing guys who are in trouble with the law and already on their second strike with Dictator Goodell?
CB: Now first off there’s two things that need to be noted. 1st that the Cincinnati area police are notorious for profiling and targeting players. This has been noted by players, coaches and commentators since the 90′s. With players being profiled (not just the Pacmans’ & Bensons, but the Jonathan Josephs too) like this, it’s not a struggle to find a player with one beer over the limit. The 2nd thing to note is that yes Ownership does tend to like taking risky players. Paul Brown did it a few times had success, had failure. Of course Mike tries to mimic his fathers tactics, but as with all things Mike Brown, he fails in comparison to his father.
AH: The Bengals currently have the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. What’s been the key to their success? What’s their strongest unit? Most crucial player(s)? Where will the Jaguars have to attack to have the best chance of moving the ball?
CB: The defense is all about Mike Zimmer’s effective scheming week after week. The team only has 3 true DT’s on the roster, the rest are Tweener DE’s that rotate around the DL. Seemingly one of the weaker areas of the depth chart has proved to be the strongest. With tackles like Domata Peko & Geno Atkins applying pressure on passing downs and clogging the run lanes, they’ve allowed LB Rey Maualuga to make plays and limit opposing offenses. To beat the defense you need to do 2 things, do the best to win in the run game and create a successful passing game with your TE. This happened during week 3 when the 49ers were successful with Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.
AH: What is your assessment of the past few Bengals first-round picks: Leon Hall, Keith Rivers, Andre Smith, Jermaine Gresham, and AJ Green?
CB: Concerning our draft picks, he’res a quick breakdown. Hall, the guy has never missed a start (says a lot considering how fragile some DB’s are) and is very effective. He’s no Revis but he’s a B+ fringe A- level player. Rivers is a guy a lot of fans feel may have been over-drafted and may borderline be a bust. It’s hard to have fan approval when your top 10 pick is only “solid”. Andre Smith, after a very rough start is seemingly putting it all together. When healthy and fully concentrated on football, he’s a man among boys playing RT. Hopefully he keeps his mind on football long term and continues to have a home in Cincinnati. Jermaine Gresham is looking to be one of the top TE’s of the future. Of course he will receive little credit because he’s a Bengal, a fair comparison to where he is right now is: Jermichael Finley. A.J. Green is exactly what you would expect when you draft the #1 offensive talent and #1 WR in a draft, great. He’s taken over a void at the #1 wr spot that hasn’t been the same since Chad Johnson.
AH: What’s your prediction for the final score of Sunday’s game? What type of contest do you think it will be? How do you see the rest of the Bengals 2011 season going?