A recurring theme that I am hearing around town and reading on various websites is how well the Bengals off-season is going. I must say there is a lot of room for optimism given the talent that has come on board in recent months. With big marquee names such as Laveranues Coles, Roy Williams, Tank Johnson, Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga, third rounder DE Michael Johnson, and the retention of the virtual Swiss Army Knife lineman Scott Kooistra, there is no doubt that the talent on this squad has been upgraded... I really hope that the addition of these players can create some synergies on both sides of the ball that will give us something to get excited about on Sundays. And it could happen, as it did when we caught lightning in a bottle in 2005. However, I cannot find myself getting TOO excited just yet.
Take the first three players taken in the draft for example. Andre Smith is a great talent, however he blew up in weight (although he is back down around 330), suspiciously fired his agent, and went AWOL at the NFL draft without telling anyone. We don't know what will happen in his current predicament, but we do have an indication that he might not be the most disciplined person on earth. Consider 2nd round pick Rey Maualuga, the fierce tackler from USC. He's got a great motor, but many football analysts say that he is commonly found out of position. Don't forget that players being out of position, or "not getting in their fits", are two of Marvin's greatest excuses for losing football games.I am looking forward to the Odell-like energy he will bring to the defense, but let's hope he doesn't make too many mistakes. Lastly take Michael Johnson, the highly talented, freak specimen of a football player from GT. His measurable are off the charts, but his unmeasurables leave a lot to be desired. The scoop on him is that he rarely gave 100% effort, and took many plays off. Not a good sign. And that was in the ACC... Imagine how it will be for him in the NFL...
Now lets take a look at the veteran acquisitions... Roy Williams... He's a hard hitter, but is not very good at pass coverage... Sounds like he would fall into the "out of position" category of Marvin's favorite excuse for losing. What about Tank Johnson? Talk about the epitome of bad character. THis guy was busted in 2005 for carrying a gun in a Chicago nightclub, and then while still on probation was busted for verbally threatening an officer outside of another sweet Chicago nightclub. Later on in 2006, police searched his home in one of the most notorious NFL busts of recent history, finding an arsenal of assault weapons that would make Bin Laden blush... I think an organization like the Patriots could make a guy like Tank fit into their philosophy. But the Bengals, not even having a philosophy, might have a hard time bringing him down to earth.
Again, you can call me negative, but I want the Bengals to dominate as much as any other Bengals fan. I just don't have the confidence in current Bengals leadership to get these guys into the right "fits" as Marvin would say.
Remember Comrades... My harping is not aimed at these players themselves. It is aimed at the coaches and the owners ability to put their talent to proper use... And they have proven over the last 18 years that they cannot do it.