Just by the title, you know who I’m talking about, don’t you?
Jerome Simpson has had three big-time games this season. He caught 6 balls for 101 yds against Indy, 4 balls for 136 yds against Denver (including that huge 84 yd catch-and-run), and with A.J. Green out he pulled down 8 balls for 152 yds against Baltimore. 389 yds in 3 games makes you take notice.
But look at his yards in the other 8 games this year: 44, 6, 26, 40, 14, 43, 0 and 15. That’s 188 yds total, including the big goose egg against Pittsburgh. When Jerome is on, he can tear up an opponent. But when he is not on, he simply vanishes.
Compare him to A.J. Green. A.J. also only has three 100+ yd games. But in his other games, he caught for 41, 29, 90, 51, 63 and 83, plus 36 against Pittsburgh before his knee injury. That’s 363 yds, nearly double (despite missing 1.5 games) of Jerome’s output in sub-100 yd days. Except for the game he left early, A.J. has been held under 50 yds only twice, and not all at since playing San Francisco.
I’m not a technique guy, so I can’t tell you the exactly why Jerome disappears in games. I know it is not for a lack of opportunities, because Jerome has two more targets than A.J. does (although 8 fewer catches). But it would seem that CBs can either erase him or get him to erase himself in most games.
Being in a contract year, Jerome needs to be more steady. The Bengals need more from their #2 man. The ability and athleticism are there, but something still needs to click with him. We will see in February if the Bengals choose to be patient with this project and offer him a new deal.