Bengaldom rides two in a row glow

10-29-03, 7:45 a.m.

No torchlight parades or Fountain Square greetings yet, but Bengaldom is just another name for Nirvana right now.

Yes, the countryside is keeping a wary eye on the Dillon Debate, but two straight victories over division leaders have caught the fancy of an electorate looking for its first three-game winning streak since Jeff Blake was throwing it to Carl Pickens and Bill Clinton was throwing it to Al Gore in late December back in '99.

A smattering of Hobson's Choice at 3-4:

**First let me be the first to congradulate the team on its back to back wins.

Second I would like to apologize to Mr Kitna for doubting his ability.. His new found consistency and production have settled this team down and led a dismall team on a climb out of the gutter.

Now to my qustions, what kind of racous did rudi johnson cause by rushing for 101 yards?? Will Dillon take this as motivation or as fuel to request a trade?? Myself as well as many fans Im sure dont want to see him go but his statements last week sure raised some questions.. Like does he really wanna be here or is he looking for a way out?? Sure Lewis said everything is ok but has Dillon came out and said everything was ok??

He is really an important part of this team and I hope he knows this, not just to the team but also to the fans.. He was the lone bright light through some very dark times and the loyal fans know this. our only prayer is hopefully he knows this. GO BENGALS**

GO: Thanks for the kind words on your P.S. As for C.D., Johnson going for 101 is a double-edged sword. Who knows? Maybe Dillon is Johnson's biggest fan at this point because the more convinced the Bengals are that they can replace Dillon, it would follow the more likely it is they would be willing to trade him after the season. Of course, it would be easier for the Bengals to trade a 29-year-old Pro Bowl back if he's coming off a healthy stretch of games in which he has piled up some numbers. Not to mention making a run at the playoffs.

Our take is still that Dillon wants to be here only if the team is going to win. The timing of last week's vent would suggest he wants nothing to do with the place no matter what given that they look to be on the verge of putting together their best run since his rookie year. But frustration with his groin injury and talk of the club discarding him set him off after the Baltimore win. Don't like the Cincinnati weather or the C.D. situation? Wait 15 minutes.

But last week sure sounded like the start of a farewell tour, didn't it? Especially when he thanked the fans who have appreciated him through the years. Of which we think is close to 100 percent in Bengaldom.

Hey Geoff....Check this out...Kitna is 10th in the NFL in total passing yards. Some may say that is just decent. Well of the other 9 quarterback's above him 5 of those QB's have not had their bye-week yet....WOW! Here are the 5 that have not had their bye-week and how many more yards they have than Kitna: McNair=300 yards,Green=157 yards,Bledsoe=70 yards,Brady=43 yards and Brooks=17 yards. So if you add the average yards per game to each of the 5 QB's that have only played 7 games then Kitna would be tied for 6th in the NFL with 1882 yards...Not bad when there are 32 QB's in the league! Who Dey!! Roger, Newark,OHIO.

ROGER: Way to work. You have unearthed some interesting stats. Our favorite quarterback stats stem from Norman Julius Esiason's assertion back in the Who-Dey hay day that, "Third down is the quarterback's down," and that the best quarterbacks don't lose games in the fourth quarter. Kitna is fifth in the NFL with a 103.5 passer rating on third down, and leads the NFL with five fourth-quarter touchdown passes. **

I had a few comments following the fantastic win over the Seahawks. To begin with, I am thrilled to see the Bengals in the playoff hunt at the end of October. I was at the game yesterday, the first for me in two years. If I could afford the tickets, I'd be there so much more often. Even from my peanut-gallery seats(which were alf-empty)you could feel the elecricity all around. I never once doubted the Bengal's ability to win that game. It was nice to see a win, and have the fans get into it. I think the Jungle's coming back!

Two concerns though. First, Jon Kitna is playing some amazing football right now. But, I'm sure the mistakes will come back at some point, like they do to every single QB. Will all of the fair-weather fans still be cheering as loudly? I've been a Bengal fan all of my 18 years, and have always been true to them. It's hard to take a loss, but I really wish/hope fans will be true fans the entire season, regardless of what the season brings. There will be many ups, but downs as well. Let's all stay upbeat, and cheer loudly every Sunday.

I am also wondering how disciplined this team will be next week. Arizona should/can be easy, but if the Bengals go in with a cake-walk attitude, they could lose. When they have such a great opportunity to go 5-4 going into the KC game, that would be a shame. So, what's Lewis' discipline going to be this week as they prepare? Will they prepare(like I'd assume) the way they have for every team, or will the players(not coaches)lapse a bit? I don't think the coaching staff would allow slouching, but it happens.

I am proud to be a Bengal fan right now, and hope the Bengals pull through and are the team they can be. With solid QB play right now, Corey and Rudi in the backfield, and Johnson, Warrick, and Washington playing it deep, and our TE's sneaking in and out of the mix as well, we have threats from all angles. Not to mention our defense, that holds solid when it counts(though barely at times yesterday, they still did) Who-Dey! Thanks, Chris, Cincinnati.**

CHRIS: Since the most popluar guy in any NFL town is the backup quarterback (ask Tim Couch), the boobirds will be all over him when Kitna throws a few picks and he will throw a few picks because everyone does. The problem here is heightened because the backup is the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, so the rants and chants are even louder than in, say, Pittsburgh.

The major reason this team is better is because of Lewis' off-field preparation, and this is a situation he really needs to call on it. A road game in a different time zone with different weather conditions in which his own team is favored. **

Dear Geoff, you have the best site in the leauge hands down. I would like to know what your thoughts are on about maybe a trade with dillon at the end of the year for a 1st round draft pick, which we could spend on Maurice clarett, that is if he gets to enter the draft, do think its possible this could happen and we could keep clarett in ohio for his pro career?
Thank You, Tony In Berwick PA.**

TONY: Thank you. The Bengals don't want to trade him. And, if they have to make a major acquisition, they may decide they can't trade him and won't take the $4.2 million hit on the salary cap. Others may tell you it's going to be tough to get a first-rounder for Dillon, because he's 29 and is coming off his first season plagued with injuries. But if he goes off with some big games down the playoff stretch and shows like he can keep playing at a high level for three, four, five years, you might be able to get one.

Given the amount of off-the-field headlines the Ohio State guy has generated in his college career, it would be hard to see the Bengals going in that direction if they do indeed decide to get rid of Dillon for the same reasons. **

At nearly the midway mark how would you evaluate the Bengals class of 2003? Carson Palmer, Eric Steinbach, Kelley Washington, Dennis Weathersby, Jeremi Johnson Elton Patterson. Thanks and keep going Bengals! Tom.**

TOM: Overall, a solid B, but call it an interim grade because of so many incompletes.

Palmer must be improving because Lewis promoted him to No. 2 two weeks ago. But is that because he has more mastery of the offense when it comes to getting people in the right pass protections, which seems to be the biggest challenge in this system? Or is it simply because the salary cap demands gradual promotion until they have to go to him Opening Day, 2004. Lewis can say all he wants, but the Bengals made a $50 million decision when they drafted Palmer, and that means they have to play him soon.

Left guard Eric Steinbach is as advertised. Very solid, athletic, and he's making some hay as a pulling guard, and they think he'll put some beef on naturally through maturity.

Washington is playing pretty well for a guy who entered the NFL with about a dozen games of playing wide receiver in his life. There has been some angst about not signing a veteran receiver to replace the injured T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but it may have worked out for the best because it forced Washington to play and he is developing while also coming up with some huge third-down catches (in Cleveland) and a go-ahead touchdown last week against Seattle.

Cornerback Dennis Weathersby and defensive end Elton Patterson have yet to be active on game day. Guard-tackle Scott Kooistra, a seventh-rounder, was active in the first five games and looks to have potential as a swing guy. Weathersby, who is behind only Dillon, Palmer, and Kitna, when it comes to interest in Bengaldom, has found himself behind some good special teams players in Reggie Myles and Terrell Roberts. The sense is he's overcome the physical problems caused by his Easter shooting, but it's now a matter of showing the coaches he can contribute on teams.

Fullback Jeremi Johnson has been serviceable. He's learning with some drops and missed blocks, but he's a willing blocker, gets some movement, and we've seen no candlelight vigils for Lorenzo Neal. **

How's it goin Hobson, its AG here again....Man, what a season so far don't u think? We have had all the excitements u can have from your favorite team(bengals). This year is the first time I ever seen the bengals WINNING. I was too young when they were in the super bowl in 89, I started watchin sports a couple years later and my hometown team the bengals were my favorite and always will be. The bengals are what u called my die-hard team in all sports, and for years I've seen them lose n lose. They just made the worst plays I ever seen, all there draft picks were terrible. Coaches came and left real quick.

All the analysts on ESPN or whatever were callin us the bungles because we were hurtin ourselves. The only player in these past years who competed with the rest of the league that we had was #28 Corey Dillon. He always did his job not like alot of the other bengals we had. I have no idea whats goin on with him this year, but I appreciate everything he has done for my bengals and hope that he will continue to show his hall of fame game with us for the rest of his career. We need Dillon, we got everything else. Hobson, u need to tell him to stay, u know he can't be replaced. We are 3-4 right now, we are actually competing, and not just for a winning record for the playoffs. When was the last time u seen that? Lewis should win coach of the year, and the bengals should win it all just cuz of what the franchise has went through and for all the die-hard fans who constantly got made fun of just for being a bengals fan. I see too much losing and going nowhere.

I'm just like any other fan in this league, I just want my team to win....Forget the past bengals we got new ones now, ones who actually care about our team and coaches who want to WIN. Hobson, you probably been around for awhile now, I know u seen all the losing and the disappointments we had, Whats it like now in bengaldom? Its feeling real good from the top fan's view, I would just hate for it to go back to the way it was, even though I would still be cheerin on the bengals. Do you think we can make the playoffs this year and how bout the Super Bowl? Is Who-Dey really back? Do you really think they'll trade Dillon after this year? Well, thanks for readin my lil bengals bible here, I just love my team and I'm real excited on whats goin on this year, and I had a strong feeling in the beginning of this year that this year would be the year for a BREAKOUT!!!!....WHO-DEY FOR LIFE BABY!!! LETS GO BENGALS, LETS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
AG in dayton...**

AG: As you probably can guess, you can't tell Dillon anything. He's independent, and, from what we can gather, incensed about six losing seasons We thought the Bengals planned to keep him through the end of his contract in '05, but his "You Won't Have Corey Dillon To Kick Around Any More," press tour of last week probably has the Bengals wondering what they can get for him after this season.

Ironically, Dillon blew up in what looks like to be their best shot to win their division since he was drafted in 1997. They have the division's best quarterback and the most friendly road schedule of the other AFC North teams and head into the last three division games at 2-1 in the North. If they win the remaining three North games (at Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, home against Cleveland) and eke out, say two or three other wins, they could rule the division at 8-8 or 9-7. **

Hey Geoff, I guess we don't have to worry about a Boone Homer anymore. Go Marlins. With that said, on to Dillon. Any new word on how bad the groin injury really is ? Will he be ready to play against Arizona ? It was a relief to find out that the car accident was not serious, and that Cory and his family are okay. The defense is really stepping it up, which is a credit to the fine job Lewis and the coaching staff have done. I would love the defense to be able to put opponents away early. I worry when I see the score so close in these games late in the fourth quarter. I am just glad to see the team doing so well, and better than many expected. Rudi and the defense deserve the game ball this week. Johnson really stepped up in place of Dillon.
Bengals fan in NY.**

NY: Joe Torre to the Sox like Joe McCarthy all those years ago. We think the groin is still sore, that he's still hurting, and wouldn't be surprised if he sat out another week or two. Now watch him go for two bills this week, but we think the Baltimore game hurt him physically and, who knows, maybe that sparked the vent. We're more worried about the running game in the fourth quarter than the defense, but Rudi responded to keep the defense off the field just enough. **

Hi Geoff, I have been a Bengals fans since the early 1990's. Ever since I was old enough to understand the game of football. I have been more than thrilled to see this Bengal team finally turn it around, however. I am concerned that in the three victories the Bengals have this season they have been out-gained in total net yards.

It just seems like the defense allows to many big plays a game. I realize that the defense has been making big plays in key moments, like in last weeks game against the Seahawks. But those turnovers aren't always going to be there at the end of games. I believe they need to play better and stop allowing these huge plays on almost every other possession. I just want to know if Marvin Lewis has said or if he is doing anything to address this problem? Go Bengals! Juan, Dominican Republic**

JUAN: Point well taken, although I think they have pretty much stayed away from the big, game-altering or scoring plays better than they did last year as evidenced by foes' passer rating compared to last year. Teams have mounted long drives on them, yet they've responded with bend-but-don't-break stats. Still Lewis knows they can't keep giving up nearly four bills a game, and they may decide to simplify things after working with a bulky defensive game plan against Seattle. **

Traveled up from Memphis for the game on Sunday and was blown away by the crowd noise and the effort of the team. Simply amazing. I was most impressed with the focus of the team on the task at hand, particularly in light of the guys just finding out a little before kickoff that Dillon wouldn't be available. I, like many others I would suspect, attribute that resiliency directly to Coach Lewis and his assistants and the team-first attitude they have installed. Can you speak a little bit about the growth process you have observed in the team since their first mini-camps with Coach Lewis to now in terms of their preparation and preparedness to play on Sundays? The difference between this team and past teams in this regard seemed evident to me even before the wins have started coming. Aaron from Memphis.**

AARON: Thanks for the kind words elsewhere in your e-mail. We think that preparation is Lewis' No. 1 strength as a head coach. Except for the Denver game, his club hasn't come out flat or disinterested. He really works the mental aspect and the way he weaves a simple theme through the week is impressive. He populates the locker room and hallway bulletin boards with motivational sayings, as well as with schedules that are timed to the minute. Since he's so single-minded, we can see that it's not hard for his team to practice and prepare that way.

I just got a quick questions for you. I have noticed for the first few games, cincinnati is hardly ever on the espn news. You don't see many highlights, no matter what team they happened to be playing. On the NFL. com main web page, none of the headlines say anything about cincinnati upsetting the seahawks yesterday. Don't you imagine now that cincinnati has proven that they belong with the best of the best, they would be entilted to some well derserved airtime? Cincinnati is proving themselves as a threat and i still feel that the media still thinks of them as the same-ole bungals of old. They better wake up because a trains comin' through and there's a new sheriff in town. Terry, oxford, OH

TERRY: It's a little early to say they belong with the best of the best, but you have just hit a nerve that drove away Takeo Spikes and has put Corey Dillon in the foyer headed to the porch. The Bengals have virtually been ignored throughout the nation since the popular late '80s teams because they haven't won since, and the market is small. We don't buy the fact they lacked compelling figures. If they won, the media would have found their way to Corey Dillon, Willie Anderson, Justin Smith, and Spikes when he was here.

But the blackout looks to be lifted soon. Lewis has many friends in the national media because a lot of them championed his bid to become a head coach as they chronicled his playoff and Super Bowl defenses in Baltimore. And the team is doing the most important thing to become known.

Winning. **

WHO DEY! I was shocked when the field Goal was blocked late in the Fourth by Thorton. How long has it been? Let's face we haven't seen any punts or field goals blocked in years. When was the last time a punt was blocked? With the way they played Sunday we may see a punt or two blocked this year as well! What a game. Go Bengals! Shocked & Awed in Columbus, Jeff.**

SHOCKED: Tell your buddy Awed that it wasn't all that long ago JoJuan Armour blocked a field goal against Houston, 51 weeks after Thornton did it. But you've got to go back through a few Ben-Gal calendars and a now defunct team and building to find their last blocked punt: Free safety Darryl Williams did it Nov. 12, 1995 in the Astrodome in a 32-25 victory over the Houston Oilers. **

hey Geoff i think im gonna have to agree with your partiality to the PB Plunge name, i think it sounds good. Also, do you think that although Chad got penalized that the league office will realize that his gesture wasnt a throat slash and not fine him for the same percieved action as the penalty? Heath, Chesapeake OH.**

HEATH: We'll check with Chad and the guys to see if they like that name for when they leap into the stands to celebrate a touchdown. You know how the NFL is. Perception is reality. Here's betting $7,500 he takes a full hit. **


Are the Bengals ever going to wear the pants they wore on opening day of this year again, I thought they looked great???

Lone Bengal fan in Fla.**

LONE: Lewis has planned to put them back on for the Dec. 28 season finale at home against Cleveland.

**Hell Jeff I just want to say how hurtful the comments Dillion made were to us fans. When Corey says he wants out of cincy and does not want to be apart of what we are doing its almost like losing a family member. As Bengals fans dillion has been the pro bowl back we have followed for a long time. As a bengals fan I see players and fans as one big family. Dillion may or may not be playing the best he can right now but I think this will pay off if he sticks around.

By the way I have 2 questions Hobson What do you think about takeo being with the bills and where they are headed and where we are headed ? We are obvioulsy heading to a playoff and the bills are not. Do you think Takeo has any regret leaving? My other question is do you see as much as I do that we are dominating everyone in the North? Nobody is playing as well of ball as we are. I see us going to a playoff what about you ? Thanks Brian **

BRIAN: Spikes said he has no regrets back when the Bills beat the Bengals in OT, 22-16 Oct. 5. He didn't want to wait around for Lewis to rebuild with Carson Palmer. We see the Bills and Bengals being perennial contenders with two guys who were a part of the Steelers' success in the mid-90s in Bills GM Tom Donahoe and the Bengals' Lewis. Although the Bills don't look nearly as stable in the coaching department and when they are finding a replacement for quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Palmer should be coming into his prime. **

First of all, I just want to say Thank you to Marvin Lewis and our team for allowing me to come to work for two straight Mondays and not having to hang my head to all the Brown and Steeler fans I work with!! There's not many Bengal fans left around here but I've managed to hold my own for the past 13 years and it's nice to finally have some support coming from my team!

I was wondering, If Jon Kitna continues to put up the numbers he has the last few games and takes the Bengals to the playoffs (boy it's nice to use Bengals and Playoffs in the same sentence!) is it possible that we won't be seeing Carson Palmer as our starter next year? I'm very excited that we have Palmer, and I'm anxious to see how he leads our team but if something's not broke, why fix it?


1 Bengal Fan in Athens!**

TINA: With the way their salary cap is structured, it seems to us they have no choice but to play him starting in 2004. That's why nobody wants the No. 1 pick anymore. It holds you hostage to finances.


Hi, Geoff, I know what they say about those who ass-u-me, but assuming Jon Kitna keeps playing the way he's playing now, do they just sit him down at the end of the year and go to Carson Palmer? How does that work? And what's the latest on TJ? Is he back anytime soon? For one time in a hundred, it paid to be a Pacific northwest Bengals fan today, as the game was on Fox TV here. It was WONDERFUL to be able to see every single play! I'm thankful for radio via computer, for sure, since that's usually as good as it gets for me here in Oregon; but there's nothing like watching our team!!!!! Next on my "to do" list, a trip to PBS! Thanks, Diana **

DIANA: Glad you and the Kitna clan enjoyed it so much. Good question. If they make the playoffs, how do they ease in Palmer next year when he probably has taken no snaps? If they don't make it, you could see him becoming the starter when they're eliminated. The guess here with Houshmandzadeh is he won't be ready until week after next and the home game against Houston Nov. 9.

**I've read from several scouting reports and game summaries that our DTs Williams and Thorton are undersized. Because my eyes aren't always glued to the D-line, are we utilizing the speed that comes from being smaller in the form of big stunts, and zone blitzes. It seems even a DT could hold off an average tight end for long enough to a blitz to force a pressure or sack. Also it was suggested, they tighten their splits to help each other, Shouldn't Kevin Hardy be ready for more solo tackles from what would be bigger lanes? This ought to cause more tackles at the line from both our DTs and LBs.

Rudi's 101 yard game was special, noting that he had 3.7 ypc on 27, and that 5 of those were on the goal line that ended in about a total gain of one yard. So that not including those carries gives him 100 yards on 22 carries for 4.54 ypc!

My question is, shouldn't we draft OT Robert Gallery? My case in point is the Chiefs. They have a talented back, Priest Homes. Rudi is showing he is, not with flashy moves, but with will. Priest has something that Rudi does not. He has an all-pro line. Two possibly three pro-bowlers this year. Gallery could play RG allowing Goff to go back to the plan where he plays C in place of exceptional, yet aging Braham. If the admirable Anderson decides to get old in a hurry, he could slide over to his natural position, this would give us a crushing interior of all-Iowa lineman. It would give us flexibility in what shall be the Dillon saga through the offseason with the decisions that need to be made there.

Also, underachieving Matt O'Dwyer can take his 1.25 cap number to free agency giving us even more flexibilty with Dillon's need to succeed whether here or abroad. With what would be an improve line in a safe OT 1st round pick, I don't think anyone would be crying to see a capable resigned Rudi (Rudi!) as the feature back behind a line keeping the defense off Palmer and on their backs? Thanks for your analysis of these thoughts.

Is Kenny Watson being groomed as backup RB for this year? Or just a special teams standout?

As a side note, this pick is somewhat contigent on if we can sign one of the crop of elite free agent CBs next years, specifically Charles Woodson, Chris McAlister, and Champ Bailey.

We were ranked 26th on return average, when I checked the stats. Why, when we are working so hard, spending so much time on special teams, and have changed both kickers, have we not changed personnel at KR? We let rookie Brad Pyatt, one of the league leaders slip through our fingers in the auxillary draft. Has Watson been succesful so far as a KR, can we also turn to on of our PRs? Namely Warrick. Will TJ earn a spot? If it is so important that we change kickers to gain a few yards, shouldn't we be changing returners to gain a few more yards. After Chad Johnson's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the ball was returned to the fifty, Did the seconds taken off the clock outweigh the dangers of a possible return for TD or the ten extra yards we gave them or more by kicking when we could have kicked it out of bound and put them on the forty? While his FG kicking is untouchable he seems to be developing a penchant for the out of bounds kick. Since he still has the excuse of a young developing kicker, could we spend a roster spot on a proven veteran kickoff specialist?

Is Ladairius Jackson, our newest pickup, a DE, LB, or converted DE? Every report I've read shows him as a DE. Is he a DE and the Bengals intend to convert him to a ILB? Is it an error on the reports I've read? Or is it just a Bengals roster error? **

SEVERAL TOPICS: Talking to at least one of the Bengals offensive lineman, they don't agree with the scouting reports. Each team is different (Buffalo has the 370-pounders in the middle, Seattle is anchored by the undersized quick Jon Randle), but they think Thornton and Williams are about average. They do a decent amount of games, but not much, and the line is still getting more pass pressure than last year. Hardy was one of the leaders in tackles Sunday and is where he should be numbers wise if the line is playing well.

They've got more pressing needs in the first round than taking a tackle when they've got two in Jones and Anderson who are locked up financially and have big salary cap numbers into the future.

They are tight enough under the cap for '04 that it looks to us that they've got to find the answer with interior people in either the second or third rounds, a low-level unrestricted free agent, or make a move with someone they already have (rookie guard-tackle Scott Kooistra who they like possibly?) Since O'Dwyer and Goff are free agents after the season, they don't have '04 cap numbers and may not have been plugged into the team's projections.

Because of the money they poured into the salary cap this past free agency season, signing an elite cornerback seems to be almost impossible.

Watson is being groomed to do both, but his main job now seems to return kicks. They are last in drive start following a kickoff, and they hope Houshmandzadeh can improve that when he returns. They don't want to pound Warrick, their best third-down receiver and punt returner, also on kickoffs. They are limited there with Rudi Johnson now getting so many carries.

Lewis has told us he wants Jackson listed as an outside backer on the strong side. **


I check numerous times per day. Now that I have moved to the Atlanta area I really appreciate that I can get Cincinnati radio on the internet. Some games are on WCKY (Homer) or WLW web page and some are not. Has the league outlawed the audio web playing of games so that they can sell the NFL Field Pass? Last year had a link to get the rebroadcast of the games but this year that doesn't seem to be available. What is the status of the rebroadcast?

Victor Levya was active on Sunday and Matt O'Dwyer wasn't. Is that a change in the depth chart or has O'Dwyer been relegated to the basement of the doghouse?



STEVE: O'Dwyer is struggling with a foot problem which was probably one of the factors in Sunday's inactive list. But he's been in the doghouse since he got called for holding in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland victory.

The league's Field Pass for live broadcasts has eliminated the archived broadcasts.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.