October 20, 2014

Around The Division

Having just a little bit of time today for a post, I decided to highlight some news from around the division that may (or may not) have escaped your notice.

Anyone concerned about Sanu?

I was one of those who thought that Sanu would have an easy time making the roster, even to the point of speculating that he would bump Shipley as the slot receiver. While Shipley’s spot could very well be in jeopardy, it is Baby Hawk owning the angle on WR3 while Sanu seems to be channeling his inner Jerome Simpson as he becomes the incredible disappearing receiver. He was not even targeted against the Jets last week, and his doldrums carried over into the next few practices.

I am totally surprised, but I am not at all concerned.

No matter how it gets sliced up, a couple of good receivers are not going to make the 53-man squad. Green is obviously a lock, and Hawkins is about as close to a lock as he can get right now. With Tate and Binns still running neck-and-neck, both are likely to make it. With Jones’ nice showing against the Jets (and awesome speed), there is going to be a scrum between Whalen, Shipley and Sanu to get that last spot.

As of right now, unless Sanu makes a strong case for himself in the next three weeks (and he could), he is looking more like a practice squader than a candidate for the team.

Remember how you freaked out when the Steelers drafted DeCastro?

I know your heart sank when he was taken before the Bengals could use their second first-round pick, and then it turned sick when it was the Steelers who got him. (Mine did too.) Well, the Bengals’ war room earned a whole lot more credit than we initially gave them as we all wondered aloud, “Kevin who?” because David DeCastro has struggled in Steelers camp.

I guess the Stanford smart guy isn’t as stout as we all though he was after the combine. He may still come around, but I’m glad we have the guy who isn’t garnering headlines like that one.

Could 2012 open with another jaw-dropping game?

I remember how my jaw fell agape when I saw that the Ravens dropped a 35-0 beatdown on the Steelers to open the 2011 season. I laughed out loud. And now I am wondering if the Ravens might not be on the short side of a statement game to open this year’s installment of NFL goodness. Only this time the whole country will get to watch.

There are chinks in the armor of the lauded Ravens defense. With Suggs mending his Achilles tendon, Jarret Johnson playing in AZ, Ngata a bit gimpy, and Ray Lewis yet another year older, the Ravens are more dependent than they have been in a looooong time on young, unproven players. PFT even decided to run a story about all of the pressure being placed on Ravens’ DC Dick Pees to find a solution through schemes because the usual talent just isn’t there.

The better Andy Dalton and the offense looks by preseason game #3, the more quiet confidence will build in me that the Bengals will not only win in Baltimore, but win in an impressive way. We know what the Ravens’ offense is, and the Bengals’ defense can go toe-to-toe with them. If the Ravens’ defense slips from their typical Top 5 level to something closer to average, Andy Dalton could generate a lot of buzz for himself and the entire team on Sept 10.

Want one more reason to laugh at Cleveland fans?

A few months ago, I inadvertently threw red meat in the Dawg Pound by commenting that I thought the Browns had made a mistake in drafting Brandon Weeden. Not because I thought he was a crap player, but because I thought their problem last year was the guys catching the balls more than the guy throwing them. Cleveland fans lost their minds. From their comments, you’d have thought that drafting Weeden was the equivalent of drawing Brett Favre out of retirement yet again.

Well, apparently the 19.0 QB rating that Weeden earned in his first preseason start against the Eagles has Browns fans sounding the air raid sirens earlier in a season than ever. Deep down, they know I was right. And I love it!