As Loverboy said, “Everybody is working for the weekend.” But before that comes, there’s a five-day work week. And someone has to pay the bills. So to help you make it through, we’re launching a new weekly feature here at Who Dey Fans, the Who Dey Work Week. Every Monday we’ll give you five thoughts about the Bengals, some from the week behind, some from the week ahead. Here goes nothing…
1. A win is a win is a win is a win. There will be plenty of Browns fans and plenty of critics trying to put an asterisk on this win Monday morning. It doesn’t matter. Cincinnati is 1-0 and tied for first in the AFC North. Yes, Joe Haden was not covering A.J. Green on his touchdown catch, but he also got away with an obvious – blatantly obvious – hold on Green a few drives before that. Payback, and karma, are a bee-otch.
2. Carlos Dunlap is a beast – and I’m not sure he’s even 100-percent yet. Maybe I’m wrong, but earlier in the game I thought that Dunlap was a bit slower than he was last year. Perhaps that is to be expected considering he missed so much practice time. But if Dunlap can play as well as he did with some significant rust, he might earn a spot in the Pro Bowl if he continues to improve.
3. Andy Dalton played well. In his first start – a road game – Dalton led the Bengals to a 13-0 lead. He made some risky passes, but none that got picked off. He managed the game efficiently and gave the Bengals a chance to win before he left with an injury. He’ll have to do more than that to win games in the coming weeks – including throwing the ball deeper downfield – but for a debut, it was just fine. Hopefully, his upcoming MRI shows no problems and his receovery is swift. And not to bring him up, but I couldn’t help but wonder what Carson Palmer might be thinking if Dalton does miss an extended amount of time. Would Palmer consider a comeback then? Hmmmmm…
4. Brandon Tate has to learn when to down the football. Considering he was relatively new to punt returns, I was satisfied that he held onto the ball and showed some potential for explosive plays. However, it’s also clear that Tate has an itchy trigger finger on kickoff returns. With the new rules in place and kickoffs often sailing near the end line, downing the ball is often the best option. Use it.
5. Denver is up next. I expect the Broncos to beat the Raiders Monday Night, setting up a battle of the unbeatens on Sunday. New coach John Fox has quietly upgraded his team and figures to feature a run-heavy offense with an improved defense. The Bengals will most certainly be underdogs again no matter who their quarterback is. But if they can somehow steal a win, they’d be 2-0 heading into two straight home games (against the 49ers and Bills) and an away game in Jacksonville, a fairly favorable part of the schedule. Think of the possibilities.
A boy can dream can’t he?