#KRM: Roby to Bengals.
Sorry for the delay in posting this. I am to blame. In my zeal to mock and ridicule Andy Dalton in a more elegant format, I installed a plug-in to do a cleaner gif carousel. And it locked me out of the site. Regrets? No. Totally worth it.
Anyhoos, here is the pride of North Canton, OXR is up with a look-see at the Who-deys.
In Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown, the Bengals feature the second-longest-tenured head coach in the league and a GM/owner whose team has made it out of the AFC North four out of the last five seasons. In those playoffs they have promptly lost to the Jets, the Chargers, and the Texans (twice). Consequently, they now suffer from Playoff Team Disease, where your coordinators are poached by struggling franchises like, in this case, the Vikings and Redskins.1 Mike Zimmer2 has been replaced by former LB coach Paul Guenther, and Jay Gruden by former RB coach and Oakland madman Hue Jackson, two internal hires which, to judge by Hard Knocks, should amount to a wash in terms of hilarious yelling.3 The transition should be painless, if not seamless, as Jackson is a known and respected quantity at OC and the defensive-minded Lewis will presumably have oversight on the other side of the ball.
I read a lot of commentary this winter arguing that losing in the first round of the playoffs is unforgivable; that Lewis should be fired from his job and Andy Dalton fired into the sun. I’m going to proceed on the basis that Mike Brown does not agree with that. Conveniently enough, neither do I.
Important and final editorial footnote.4
To begin controversially, Dalton actually isn’t a disaster.5 Prior to the 2013 season Mike Tanier wrote this on the subject, and this year the Bengals offense was once again about league average in terms of DVOA. You can certainly argue that with Green, Bernard, Eifert et al they should be higher than that, but the Bengals know how much worse things can get than “average.” Brown is making grumbling noises about Dalton’s potential extension:
“More often than not you don’t win overpaying a guy,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “With quarterbacks there is another dilemma. With a fixed cap there is a certain amount of money and no more. You allocate that on a quarterback you have less to hand out to everybody else. It can cause attrition.”
Even our gracious host has indicated that he would cut bait on the redhead with this pick.6 I am going to disagree.
I think Brown’s statements are gamesmanship aimed at driving Dalton’s long-term price down. I think going Carr/Garoppolo in the first round would signal that Dalton was already history, which would be quite a dramatic move at this juncture, and not in keeping with Brown’s prior draft strategy. (Dalton himself was a second-round pick.) I also think it’d piss off Lewis, which Brown has seems disinclined to do. So unless Brown has fallen head over heels in love with one of the prospects available now — which is possible but has not been reported — I don’t see it. I think they grab a guy later on (maybe even one of these guys, if they slide far enough, or someone like Murray or Mettenberger) to compete with the perennially expendable Jason Campbell, and to develop in the event that Dalton plays hardball and/or falls off a cliff. vSo, for now, we move on.
Missouri pass rusher Kony Ealy is a tempting possibility here, with Michael Johnson gone to Tampa. But CB is where the need is: the Bengals’ experienced corners are a mixture of guys who are old, guys who are injured, and guys who are old but also injured.v Leon Hall is 30 and has two Achilles injuries in three years. Terence Newman is 35. Adam Jones is 30 and although he’s by no means fated to go off the rails again, any team would have to hedge against the possibility. 2012 first-rounder Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t done
a whole lot anything yet. Meanwhile, the Bengals have gone CB in the first round three times in the last decade (Johnathan Joseph, Hall, Kirkpatrick). They’re not afraid of reclamation projects or guys with perceived character issues, and I think that’ll persist even in the absence of the disciplinarian Zimmer, or at least until it blows up in their faces.
Now, Bradley Roby (OSU) and Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) are the highest-rated guys left on our board. Fuller had a much better 2013 season; Roby struggled on the field and was briefly suspended for a previous arrest, but is apparently considered to have great potential if coached well. Again, this sort of thing has not deterred Cincinnati in the past.
I think Lewis prides himself on providing a stable environment in which guys like Jones and Vontaze Burfict can succeed, and I think that’s part of how he’s kept his job for so long. Bradley Roby is the pick.
Up next are the San Diego Chargers and a debut post from TexinOttawa.
- HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Jay Gruden!!!!!! [back]
- Zimmer, OTOH, is legit. [back]
- Aw. I like Hue Jackson. And so end my editorializing on Bengals coaching. [back]
- Asserting editorial privilege here. Sorry OXR. But the San Diego meltdown was pretty spectacular.
- Ibid. And I didn’t even include this one in the gallery above. [back]
- GRR started it. [back]