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Browns Fan

Browns Game Plan For the Bengals posted by Browns Fan

With Thursday nights showdown between the Bengals and the Browns right around the corner, it’s time for the Browns to prove to everyone, as well as themselves, that they belong in the NFL elite teams.

The key component of the game plan this week is not letting the stage become too big for a young roster that has never been in this position. So, how do the Browns stack up against the Bengals? Let’s take a look:

Browns Offense vs. Bengals Defense

Run the ball, run, run, run. The Browns need to control the line of scrimmage from the start of the game and assert themselves which they can do with the Bengals missing several key starters on defense. If they can get the run established, then the play action pass opens up.

When passing the ball, take what the defense gives you. The Bengals give up yards through the air, just not big plays. The worst thing Brian Hoyer can do is force the ball into windows that aren’t there. Instead he needs to go to his 3rd or 4th reads or check it down for good 6 yard gains that keep the chains moving. 

Browns Defense vs. Bengals Offense

It’s pretty simple. Shut down A.J. Green. The Browns will put Joe Haden on A.J. Green in the hopes of disrupting his routes and getting him off timing so Andy Dalton can’t connect with the Pro Bowler.

If the Browns can do this, they have a shot of shutting down the Bengals on offense. Andy Dalton is electric, but only when he is able to throw to AJ Green, who in turn, opens up passing lanes to other receivers. When Dalton is unable to connect with Green, the Bengals struggle through the air.

Continue reading "Browns Game Plan For the Bengals"

Bengals Fan

What the Bengals injuries mean for the team’s future. posted by Bengals Fan

The Bengals have had a slew of injuries so far this year. Running back Giovani Bernard is out as he recovers from a clavicle and hip issues. Cornerback Leon Hall is still dealing with a concussion as well as linebacker Vontaze Burfict is still recovering from a knee injury.

Although listed as doubtful and/or questionable, odds are these players will be watching from the sidelines Thursday when the Bengals take on the Browns:

OT Andre Smith (ankle)

LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring)

DE Robert Geathers (shoulder)

With all of these starters out, the Bengals will be relying on a committee of rookies to step up. This is not new, players go down, rookies step in, learn and grow all the time in the NFL. However, with this many injuries, the Bengals are very quickly becoming a patchwork team full of inexperienced players. Which means there will be some severe growing pains and expect that first lump to be dealt by the Browns Thursday night.

Normally a rookie or inexperienced player can be masked by the veterans around him. Whether it’s having safety help over the top if they are a defender, or using double teams to help an O-lineman get used to the calls, blitzes, and overall speed of the game.

But the Bengals don’t have that luxury. There are just too many injuries on both sides of the ball, that it is going to be a trial by fire for probably the rest of the year.

What this means for the Bengals? For fans, get ready to have a very disappointing second half of the season. But for those who have patience, this can pay off dividends come next season, when these back ups now are battle tested AND add back in the returning starters who have had time to heal. Now you’re dealing a well stocked Bengals team full of tested depth.

Continue reading "What the Bengals injuries mean for ..."

Bengals Fan

Just How Good Are The Cincinnati Bengals In 2014? posted by Bengals Fan

The Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs last year with an 11-5 record. But the team will be in a lot of pressure to duplicate that success this season. Much of last year’s success was due to the brilliant play of free-agent-to-be Andy Dalton. The quarterback has led the Bengals to the playoffs in all of his three NFL seasons. He has also passed 80 touchdowns as compared to only 49 interceptions. And he has been the unquestioned leader of the team for years now.

The front office did give Dalton more help this time around. He’ll have one of the league’s best receivers, A.J. Green, as one of his targets. Green is coming off an 11-touchdown season. There’s also 24-year old Marvin Jones who is foreseen to step up across from Green.  Dalton will also have Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham as likely targets.

The Bengals have also replaced Kyle Cook, widely considered as their weakest link in the offensive line, with center Trevor Robinson.

The Bengals defense should remain respectable even as it has to buck the loss of Michael Johnson who has left for the Buccaneers. Johnson may have mustered only 3.5 sacks last year but he was effective in rushing past opposing passers, and getting to opposing quarterbacks frequently.  His absence means other players like rookie Will Clarke, sophomore Margus Hunt and Wallace Gilberry will have to step in.

Whoever replaces Johnson in the starting line-up will have good help particularly from Geno Atkins, one of the best defensive tackles in the entire league. He may still be recovering from a torn ACL but even at 75 percent, he’s still better than most players in that position.  

Continue reading "Just How Good Are The Cincinnati Bengals In 2014?"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

Wild Card weekend in the NFL is a wrap! Note that this late posting is a testament to the dangers of kitties. (When you’re allergic to them.) There were bad offenses, great defenses, and ugly injuries to be found in the four match-ups, so let’s get through all the stories in The Final Drive!

(13-4) Houston Texans 19

(10-7) Cincinnati Bengals 13

The first half was a show of ugly offense, with three field goals by the Texans and only a pick-six by the Bengals to account for all the points on the board. Houston suffered because of failed third down conversions and a drop from Andre Johnson at the goal line, forcing them to settle for kicks. Andy Dalton threw a costly interception, but it was essentially wiped away as Leon Hall picked a Schaub pass and ran it back 21 yards to take a momentary lead. But the Bengal offense didn’t score at all in the first half. They barely improved.

In a trending theme of Saturday passing statistics, Cincinnati had -6 net yards passing at halftime. That prompted a “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” from Mike Mayock at halftime. (You have no idea how much Microsoft Word just hated that sentence.) When the Texans came out in the third quarter and mounted a touchdown drive, it practically was an insurmountable lead. The Bengals had no chance.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, (while they were only down six), the Bengals were closing in on the redzone when they had to burn a timeout (play-calling disaster). On the ensuing play, they lost five yards due to a false start penalty. Then they went for it on fourth down (and failed), meaning the six point lead held.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

It’s that time of year. The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and with it come the unmitigated disasters that are my picks against the spread. (Which means I’m not picking winners or losers, but I’m predicting if a team will win by or keep it closer than the designated spread. Odds are grabbed from We’ve got some stellar match-ups as well, so without any further BS, it’s time to start the playoffs with this Wild Card edition of The Opening Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals at

(12-4) Houston Texans

4:30 PM ET, NBC

In typical playoff fashion, the Wild Card round starts with what is most likely to be the most lackluster match-up of the weekend. This solid Bengals team (that apparently no one outside of Cincinnati believes in) heads to Houston to face a Texan squad that was in near free-fall the last month of the season. It’s not exactly thrilling drama (even though it is a rematch of last year’s playoff game), but this I think game is going to very tight. The Bengals can’t explode offensively and the Texans haven’t been lighting up the scoreboards lately. They’d prefer to get Arian Foster going anyway, which means a slower paced game, full of that exciting clock management stuff. Cincy has a shot at getting passes completed on the outside if A.J. Green can handle the one-on-one match-up with corner Jonathan Joseph. I believe he can, so Andy Dalton has to be able to find him consistently in order to free up the running game and the underneath passes to tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 17, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Oh man. The drama from week 17 in the NFL was palpable! I don’t have time to lather you up with a witty intro, so let’s get right into The Final Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals 23

(10-6) Baltimore Ravens 17

Well the Ravens probably didn’t want to win this game. Consequently, they looked a tad disinterested. Not a lot to talk about here though. Moving on!

(6-10) Tennessee Titans 38

(2-14) Jacksonville Jaguars 20

This game had no playoff implications whatsoever, but I wanted to touch on the fact that the Titans scored FOUR touchdowns in a span of five minutes without touching the ball on offense. Darius Reynaud ran back two punts for scores while Zach Brown pick-sixed Chad Henne twice. That’s impressive as hell. But it might not be enough to save Mike Munchak’s job.

(11-5) Indianapolis Colts 28

(12-4) Houston Texans 16

Anyone else really interested in seeing how Houston performs in the playoffs? They went from almost the de facto number one seed with a bye all the way down to the three spot with what should be a tough game against the Bengals coming in round one. For the Colts, they might be emotionally peaking at the right time. It’s time for Luck to show his stuff in the postseason.

(9-7) New York Giants 42

(4-12) Philadelphia Eagles 7

It was a mighty effort against a crappy opponent, but the Giants’ losing their prior two games was too much to overcome. They’re 9-7 once again, but this season they have nothing to show for it. Maybe next year Eli. And I’ll likely be acknowledging Andy Reid’s final season/career in Philly tomorrow, when I’m writing about his dismissal. EEP!

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 17, 2012"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 17, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

This is it everyone. The final week of the 2012 NFL season. Only a few months ago we were trying to figure out if the Cardinals were for real and if Peyton Manning would ever fully recover. (No and Yes, are those answers, by the way.) Now, in the final slate of games, we will discover who will make it into the playoffs and the bottom feeders’ order in the April draft. Let’s get into the games with The Opening Drive!


(10-5) Baltimore Ravens at

(9-6) Cincinnati Bengals

Baltimore could maybe get to a three seed with a win here, but the Bengals can’t change their slot at all. Honestly, both teams aren’t going to care about winning this game. The Ravens want to play the Colts in round one of the playoffs, I’m sure. That means they need to stay in the four spot. In the three, they’ll just see the Bengals for a second straight week. Cincy just has to get ready for the Patriots. Ugh.

(12-3) Houston Texans at

(10-5) Indianapolis Colts

Let’s see how strong #ChuckStrong really is! Now he’s back on the sidelines and the Texans are in town and looking to grab home field throughout the AFC playoffs. I don’t think the Colts are good enough to hang with Houston unless the Texans get really dumb and don’t pound the rock with Arian Foster. Houston should seal up the one seed here. Something else to watch for? See if J.J. Watt can break the single-season sack record.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 17, 2012"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 16, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 16 is in the books! The playoffs are nearly set in stone, with only two possible slots and a few seedings left to be decided. But the drama isn’t over yet! Let’s run through the results of week 16 in The Final Drive!

(7-8) New Orleans Saints 34

(8-7) Dallas Cowboys 31

Stunningly enough, this loss did little to hurt the Cowboys’ playoff chances. They’re still operating under a “win and in” situation heading into the season finale against the Redskins in week 17. Here’s my issue with this team: Tony Romo had a career day (416 yards, 4 TD’s), but the Cowboy defense did nothing to help him out. Drew Brees threw all over the secondary, leading to more shots of Rob Ryan perturbed on the sidelines.

(11-4) Green Bay Packers 55

(5-10) Tennessee Titans 7

The Packers seem to be streaking at just the right time, thanks to ridiculous play from Aaron Rodgers. Uh… this game is barely worth talking about it was such a slap-around.

(10-5) Indianapolis Colts 20

(2-13) Kansas City Chiefs 13

Andrew Luck sets the single season rookie passing yardage record in the same game his Colts clinch a playoff slot. Well done Mr. Luck. And now they get their head coach back from cancer. It’s a great story. I’m kinda done with it already. For Kansas City… they’re one loss closer to the number one overall pick… in a terrible draft. Whoops.

(9-6) Washington Redskins 27

(4-11) Philadelphia Eagles 20

Eagles still suck. The ‘Skins are pretty good. Even with their win, the ‘Skins still have to play the Cowboys in a “win and in” contest. So… nothing’s really changed.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 16, 2012"

Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 16 in the NFL season has arrived! With two weeks left in the season, I don’t need to tell you how important these games are for those teams still in the hunt. It’s time to get into all the storylines in The Opening Drive!

(12-2) Atlanta Falcons at

(4-10) Detroit Lions

Saturday night football has arrived! And it’s… relatively meaningless. The Falcons are very close to locking down their one seed (only need one win) and the Lions could be another embarrassing loss away from blowing things up. This could be an entertaining (but non-competitive) contest to open the week.

(6-8) New Orleans Saints at

(8-6) Dallas Cowboys

I’ve already seen a LOT of coverage for this game, which only features one possible playoff participant. The Cowboys can win the division if they win their final two games, and that starts with an interesting match-up against the Saints. Drew Brees won’t take it light on a Dallas secondary that has been hit-or-miss this year. But I think the Saint defense won’t play as well as it appeared to last week versus the Bucs.

(5-9) San Diego Chargers at

(6-8) New York Jets

Wait. There has to be a reason I put this game on the list. THE GREG MCELROY ERA HAS BEGUN! But honestly, I don’t know if any of the Jets’ quarterbacks will be on the roster next season. And the Chargers? They’re a train wreck. AND I LOVE IT.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 15, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 15 in the NFL saw a few notable shut-outs, as well as a few hilarious playoff eliminations. We can’t waste any more time, so let’s get right into The Final Drive!

(8-6) Cincinnati Bengals 34

(4-10) Philadelphia Eagles 13

I’d say this was impressive, but the Bengals left a lot of points on the field. Still, they’re in the driver seat for the sixth wildcard slot if they can take down the Steelers in week 16. Are they still hard to judge? Surely. But they beat down the Eagles exactly how a good team would. That means something.

(12-2) Atlanta Falcons 34

(8-6) New York Giants 0

I really can’t explain this one. Maybe the Giants have a deal with the NFL to make the NFC East race more interesting down the stretch? Otherwise the Falcons might actually be as good at home as they think they are.

(8-6) Washington Redskins 38

(5-9) Cleveland Browns 21

No RG3? No problem. Kirk’s got ya covered. That guy will be a tradeable asset in a year or two. Bet on it.

(6-8) New Orleans Saints 41

(6-8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0

Where did the vaunted Buc offense go? They made the Saint defense look like the freaking ’85 Bears. That takes a LOT of sucking.

(11-3) Denver Broncos 34

(9-5) Baltimore Ravens 17

So these Ravens are really letting up as the season winds down. Joe Flacco is inconsistent at best, and he didn’t improve dramatically with Jim Caldwell calling the plays. But do you know what really did the Ravens in? Their defense. Again. The Chris Harris pick-six of Flacco definitely hurt, but the Baltimore defense still gave up 27 points. And by the way, Denver looks like a scary-ass two seed.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 15, 2012"

Cincinnati Bengals News

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Ex-NFL receiver Reche Caldwell in running for worst criminal ever (Shutdown Corner)

Reche Caldwell was a fair-to-middling NFL wide receiver. But as a criminal, he was truly awful. In a lengthy takeout feature , ESPN has detailed the strange crime spree that followed Caldwell's career in the league for seven years. Let's just say that he might not have been special on the field, but he certainly was better at that than he was trying to break the law. Although Caldwell's post college peak came when he became Tom Brady's most trusted receiver on the 2006 New England Patriots, it was one of the least-talented groups Brady ever threw to —and yet that team still almost made the Super Bowl that year. But it was Caldwell and his two key drops in the AFC championship game loss to the Indianapolis Colts, who went on to win the Super Bowl, that defined his career. A season later, after wallowing with the Washington Redskins, Caldwell was out of the NFL. From there, he went back to Tampa, where he grew up and was still revered to a degree, and opened a not-so-secret gambling ring. Caldwell got in deep, and soon the word got out that he and a large crew of his pals were betting on —among other things —NFL games. Perhaps the fact that it was stationed right near an elementary school wasn't the brightest of ideas in the first place, or the fact that Caldwell parked his bright red jeep out front almost daily. "I see now, yup, not the greatest location for that kind of thing," Caldwell said with a chuckle. "Too big, too fast. I laugh at my stuff too. What else can you do? I have to laugh. I really thought I was some kind of a criminal? All I know is, everyone kept telling me, 'The police don't care about this stuff, you'll never get caught,' and the next thing I know I'm headed to prison, saying goodbye to my kids, wondering: 'What happened to me?'" Caldwell and his buddies got sloppy and soon started taking bets from undercover cops. As Caldwell was watching his former team, the San Diego Chargers, beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2013 postseason, the betting parlor was being raided and Caldwell detained, a half-eaten sandwich ripped from his hand and the front door flattened by a tank. One day you're catching touchdowns from Brady. The next you're being interrogated by a bitter FBI agent with a Boston accent. "You're that guy who cost Tommy anudda Soupa Bowl," Caldwell said, doing his best impression before turning serious. "What else can I do? It's not like I was trying to drop those passes." After being released, Caldwell clearly was undaunted. He was busted again —this time for searching "MDMA-Molly-China" on the internet, ordering what he assumed were illegal drugs, having almost five pounds of the stuff shipped to his door, tracking the package online and then signing his real name for it when it arrived. Naturally, a SWAT team was lying in wait. Once more, Caldwell had been pinched. He thought: "Aw, man, not again." But yes, Caldwell was sent to prison for that, too. And he's serving a 27-month sentence, which his attorney said looked like it actually caused relief in his client when he was sentenced. After all, crime wasn't paying off too well. Caldwell's mother agreed. "Good lord that boy was a bad criminal," she said, "and thank Jesus for that." He's now telling his story and sounds like a man who realized his many missteps. Caldwell is eligible to be moved to a Tampa-based work-release facility, where he can be closer to his son and perhaps celebrate his little brother's Super Bowl victory as a member of the Denver Broncos back in February (Andre Caldwell is now with the Detroit Lions). "I'm not gonna blame football or concussions like everybody else for my mistakes," Reche said. "I don't blame my education or my hometown or my family. I have a great family. I had a great childhood. I grew up in a great place. This is about losing my way, being around bad people and making bad choices, and that's all on me." - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NFL prospect charged with tampering after bar shooting (Yahoo Sports)

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) -- A former Arizona State linebacker who was set to join the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent has been charged with tampering with evidence after a fatal shooting outside a suburban Cleveland bar. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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