Imagine, if you will, that the NFL is a giant high school. The Bengals, just another student at NFL High, is anxious about getting his midterm (bye week) progress report from school. He knows that his grades aren’t as good as they should be. He feels like he may have been underachieving in his classes – quarterback, running back, tight ends, wide receivers, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary, special teams and coaching (what a great list of classes) – which are all tought by Joe Reedy. As Reedy hands out the progress reports, which are to mailed home to parents, the Bengals look down in shame. He knows that daddy Bengals is going to give him a lecture in which he main point is, as it always is, “you’re better than this” and “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed”. Professor Reedy’s grades are as follows:
Running Backs: C+
Tight Ends: C
Wide Receivers: C
Offensive Line: C
Defensive Line: C-
Special Teams: B-
If that doesn’t translate to a 2-3 record at the bye week then I don’t know what does. It’s easy to tell that the Bengals are definitely underachieving considering how over loaded with talent the team is on both sides of the ball. The most surprising “C” so far this season has been the lackluster play of quarterback Carson Palmer. While he doesn’t deserve to be booed by his home fans or be taken out of the game, it is a little concerning to watch him miss fairly open receivers with passes that hit the ground, are thrown behind or floated above the target. Hopefully, whatever has been bothering Palmer has been solved by the bye week and some extra practice.
A “C” that I don’t necessarily agree with is the grade for the running backs. To me, any problem that Benson has had during the season has come from the fact that the offensive line hasn’t done their job as good as it should have been done and the fact that defenses figured out that the biggest threat to score was still Benson and not one of the receivers. If the only thing an offense can do is run the ball effectively then defenses are going to start stacking the box to stop them from doing it. It’s pretty simple stuff.
Another “C” that I don’t agree with was given to the tight ends. The reason Reedy gave the mediocre grade to Gresham and Kelly is because of the fact that Gresham has struggled to block at times. Show me one rookie tight end that can block as well as Reggie Kelly or even a veteran. Give up? There isn’t one. Gresham’s going to struggle at blocking for a while. That’s the way a rookie learns.
The only other thing I disagree with is the coaching “C”. That “C” should probably be a “D”, especially for offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski. The guy’s got to go.
What grades would you give?