There’s usually not much to see in the final preseason game. It’s dominated by players at the back end of the roster fighting for the professional lives. Starters only play for a few possessions.
Bengals wideout Jerome Simpson fell into the latter category. But in his limited snaps, he continued a trend that should be extremely exciting for Bengals fans. He blocked consistently, persistently, and successfully from his receiver positon.
He caught one pass – a screen – for zero yards. So freakin’ what?
On several occasions, I saw Simpson in the corner of the television screen, pushing defenders away from the ballcarrier. A.J. Green got a few extra yards on one play. Brian Leonard picked up a few more on another.
If Simpson continues to block with the same energy and execution, his efforts will result in a whole heap of extra yardage this year. In previous seasons, the Bengals receivers (most notably Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmanzadeh) were lackluster blockers at best. Marvin Lewis criticized them at times.
This year, something different is going on. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth has praised Simpson’s blocking. Analysts have applauded his efforts. And numerous backs and receivers have been sprung for extra yardage with Simpson serving as a selfless catalyst.
For an offense that will be based on a power running game, someone like Simpson is an extremely valuable asset. He’s a more than capable receiver too, but it’s exciting to see someone at the NFL’s diva position working so hard at a less than glamorous task.
Keep blocking your arse off.