Monday, November 29, 2010

Quarterbacking the 2011 Cincinnati Bengals

For obvious reasons, the 2011 Cincinnati Bengals will scantly resemble the 2010 or 2009 Queen City Tigers. For starters, in all likelihood the team will be coached by a man who's name isn't Marvin Lewis for the first time since 2002.

At this point not retaining Lewis is really more of a business decision for owner Mike Brown, suddenly struggling to sell tickets for the first time since the Dick LeBeau era. They have a head-coach-in-waiting in defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer however, and there remains a slim chance Marvin will actually be retained. Outside of these two options only meager speculations exist, which perhaps I'll write a future post about.

What's more fun is the guessing game that is Bengals quarterbacks of the future. Let's review some candidates:

1. Carson Palmer - Carson is due something like $12 million next year, so on the surface it would be a good time for Mike Brown to rid himself of that albatross of a contract. However, even if the Bengals take a rookie QB in the draft, it will still be most sensible to keep Palmer around as the starter for at least a little while. And who knows, having an up and coming fresh QB behind Palmer (i.e. not his younger brother) might even make him better.

2. Trades/Free Agents - Slightly troubled Titans QB Vince Young and either Eagles QBs Kevin Kolb or Mike Vick might very well be available in free agency or trade next season. Redskins QB Donovan McNabb could also be on the outs after only one season in Washington. It's not really Mike Brown's style to actually go after one of these guys, but the possibility is certainly there. The Bengals were the only club besides Philadelphia to offer Vick a contract upon his release from federal prison.

3. The Draft: There are several good, or at least intriguing, college quarterbacks likely entering the draft this year. With the Bengals choosing high in each round, they are likely to be able to land a decent one even in the second round. Stanford's Andrew Luck is widely regarded as the top of the heap. Auburn's Cameron Newton, Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas's Ryan Mallett are other strong contenders.

The biggest key to any of these candidates succeeding is probably solid offensive coaching and a good offensive line. Cincinnati has neither in Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski, or their mediocre line. Bratkowski should have been replaced years ago, but remains safe for unknown reasons. Right Tackle Andre Smith was supposed to shore up the latter problem, but he can't stay healthy. The Bengals would probably be better off getting a top flight offensive lineman as opposed to a QB, but this franchise is not known for sound decision making.

Hell, who knows. Maybe Jordan Palmer will be their starting QB next year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dwight Howard Out-rebounds the Super Friends!

Just look at the box score; the trio got only one more rebound than Dwight got by himself.

You can't win without rebounding and the Heat seem to be sorely lacking in that category.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Mustache is finally living up to his promise of covering Atlanta teams. After attending a Falcons, Hawks, and three Braves games, I am a fully integerated Atlanta sports denizen.

Anyway, I went with a small group of people to Phillips arena last night to catch the latest come-from-behind Jazz victory (although the margin was much smaller last night than in Florida). The arena is sort of connected to the CNN center, and in an indoor courtyard between the two is the world's best food court.

What makes it world class? They had enormous beers (I'm pretty sure they were 36 ounces) for like $8. Needless to say, we were a little late for the game.

Oh, did you want actually game commentary? Josh Smith didn't shoot threes very well, Joe Johnson is pretty good and Kirilenko of the Jazz gets a lot of rebounds.

Also, according to some kids in the elevator, the Falcons are going to the Superbowl.

After I got home I watched some of the Thunder-'Blazers game. Russell Westbrook for MVP.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Future of the Cincinnati Bengals

It's time to face the music. Unless the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals go on a massive winning streak, they won't be playing post-season football this year. At worst they can lose two more games and still play January football.

Also worth noting is the staggering number of impact players for the team who's futures are in jeopardy. Some players are simply entering their prime while closing out their rookie deals, like starting cornerbacks Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph. Other players are mid-career pickups who owner/General Manager Mike Brown likes to low-ball into short performance-incentive-based contracts like CB "Pacman" Jones, WR Terrell Owens and most notably RB Cedric Benson.

In a third category are aging superstars with long term contracts nearing their ends. Bengals fans are probably familiar with WR Chad Ochocinco and QB Carson Palmer, who is owed something like $12 million next season.

Anyone familiar with how Mike Brown runs this team knows we aren't getting all of these players back. Either CB Hall or Joseph will likely be retained along with the far less expensive Pacman, but probably not both. Unless no one else is willing to pay him, on the strength of a good season T.O. is likely headed out of town. Chad is headed into a Club-option year in his contract and will either whine for a new contract, a trade or simply for the Bengals to not use the option and give him up to free agency. Regardless of how all these lower priority Bengals contracts pan out, the team will look much different next year than it does right now.

But the biggest difference will be at either quarterback or running back. With Benson not under contract at all beyond this season and Palmer owed more money than he is likely worth at this stage in his career, it seems extremely unlikely Mike Brown will pony up the cash to keep them both. But assuming he keeps one (he really could lose both), the other position will have to be addressed in the 2011 draft.

Enter Mike Brown first round draft pick speculation:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Time to Thunder Up

I caught the OKC Thunder for the first time this season last night on TNT at the Portland Trailblazers. Reggie Miller was calling the game, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable, despite the Thunder blowing an early lead to go down big in the third quarter.

If I've learned anything about NBA basketball though, the good teams are the ones that are resilient. And getting two offensive boards in the expiring seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime is certainly a sign of resilience, as is Russell Westbrook's three quarters of inspiring play (discounting the disappointing third period). In fact, Westbrook's highlight reel post-International play is nothing short of a top three point guard in the NBA (fuck you, Rondo).

One unfortunate trend that was appropriately noted by Miller and company is Kevin Durant's tendency to turn the ball over coupled with his lack of assists. Surely the two are connected, and you have to believe Durant will re-adjust to NBA play before too long. His teammate are getting it done, and sooner or later Durant will play a game in which he has as many assists as points. Go ahead and quote me one that.

One of his teammates getting it done of the bench is Dank Game favorite Serge "the Congolese Squeeze" Ibaka (it's gonna stick, just give it time to sink in). As the sixth man, Ibaka came off the bench in both halfs and provided lights out defensive play, keeping the Thunder in a game in which they gave up an atrocious number of offensive rebounds and let the 'Blazers shoot an absurdly high percentage in the second half.

More could be said about the Thunder's effort, including Jeff Green's 20+ points and Cole Aldrich's scrappy, albeit limited play (he didn't really do much, but Slim McFavorite feels like I'm supposed to be some big fan of his). But sitting at 3-2 and slowly cleaning up the mistakes, OKC next heads to Boston for their biggest game of the young NBA season (have I said fuck Rondo yet?)

*note - I'm pretty sure that picture isn't from last night's game, but I'm also pretty sure it's awesome.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The MJ controversy

With Michael Jordan's recent comments that he could put up 100 points in todays NBA, I just had to chime in. This isn't the first time that an old guard player has gone off about the quality of play in the modern NBA; I've heard Oscar Robertson rip the league too. I think it is ridiculous for MJ to say he could score 100 points. I kind of hope Kobe does it just to shut him up. The talent pool for the NBA is WAY bigger now then in Jordan's time. Basketball is truly a world sport now, ironically enough thanks in part to the dream team. Look at the Lakers, their second best player is Pau Gasol. The second best team in the world now is probably the Spanish National team. When MJ played, the depth of international talent was much lower. MJ was on a whole different level than everyone else when it came to conditioning. Now I think it is a different story with many more athletes getting in better condition. Just look at Lebron, man. Don't let MJ fool you, there is still plenty of physical defense in the NBA (ahem, Ron Artest). I mean, did you watch the Finals last year? It was a slugfest!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Saved By the Bell - The College Years

Hello Dank-Gamers

If there are any of you left, you've probably noticed a severe absence of new posts. Well, I think the steam ran out of each of our writers all at once. Even though football season has begun and basketball has reached preseason, no one seems to give a shit anymore.

So I welcome you to Dank Game - the College years. It's kind of like Saved By the Bell: The College Years - less funny, less interesting, and quite possibly an utter waste of anyone's time.

Basically, I decided I'm going to keep writing posts - sometimes. But I probably won't spend much time on them, and they'll be more venting/kvetching than an attempt at original content/humor. I probably won't bother doing too many photoshoppings either (how easy would it have been to put eddie's head into the Saved By the Bell photo).

Anyway, feel free to keep reading (and writing). Or don't. It's entirely up to you.


(yeah, I stole that last part from David Cross)