One of the best things about touring training camps is that you come across all kinds of information. Unfortunately, some if it never gets published because it doesn't fit the story that's being written, or there isn't enough space for it.
Out of the rubble of a 4-12 season in 2010, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis headed south to Mobile, Ala., to coach a group of NFL prospects in the Senior Bowl.
The book is closed on the 2012 NFL draft after 253 players were selected in seven rounds over the past three days. As is the case every year, there were a lot of head-scratching moments. Highly-rated prospects slipped through the cracks while several players were chosen much earlier than their talents warranted. Here's a look at the steals and reaches from the past three days ...
Grading out the performances from Houston's dominant 31-10 win over Cincinnati Saturday night in AFC wild-card action.
HOUSTON -- J.J. Watt, the 11th overall pick in last April's draft, had 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks during the regular season and was a central reason the Texans were able to sustain the Week 5 loss of star pass-rusher Mario Williams. For most of the first half of the Texans' first-ever playoff game, though, Watt was quiet, and as Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton dropped back to pass with a minute left in the second quarter and the game tied 10-10, it seemed as if he would remain that way. Mike McGlynn, Cincinnati's right guard, was yielding to him no ground. Dalton zipped a pass toward fellow rookie star A.J. Green, and that pass happened to be directed in the airspace above the 6'5", 288-pound Watt's head.
1. The Texans are in the playoffs for the first time, but with a dark cloud hanging over the season.
Summing up the drama with 17 games left in the NFL season:
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) at Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight on a second consecutive NFL Sunday ruled by the road teams....
We use the qualifier "and yet'' a lot in Cincinnati these days, because history suggests the Bengals will stumble at some point and because their road to this Sunday against Pittsburgh has been country-easy. Skepticism has its place when the subject is Bengals football.
Even in an NFL season chock full of turnaround stories, the rise of the Cincinnati Bengals stands alone in its singular element of surprise. They quite rightly have been called the team no one saw coming, and their 6-2, first-place record at the season's midpoint is this year's most dramatic reminder of the NFL's enduring unpredictability.
With Week 9 finished and 130 of the NFL's 256-game regular season now in the books, we're almost exactly halfway through the story in 2011. The second half of the season shapes up as an intriguing and wide-open affair, with 20 of the league's 32 teams still playing .500-or-better ball, and 18 clubs either in first place or within two games of the lead in their division.
It's easy to paint Mike Brown as a fuddy-duddy. That's if you paint the Cincinnati Bengals president as anything at all, which, given that he's in Cincinnati and runs the Bengals, would require an impressive leap of imagination.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh may not be best buddies these days, but they do share one thing in common -- they and their 5-1 teams are far exceeding expectations so far this season.
It's been a weird season for the Bengals.
In July, someone close to Cincinnati owner Mike Brown explained to me clearly the near- and long-term future of Carson Palmer, the quarterback who said he'd rather retire than return to play for the Bengals, though he had a contract with Cincinnati through 2014.
A month ago, there wasn't a wise guy in the world who liked the Cincinnati Bengals. The perfect storm had hit the beleaguered franchise again. What other team could enter a lockout with its franchise quarterback newly and shockingly retired and its two best receivers decidedly elsewhere?
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on training camps across the country. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
From the comfort of my uneasy chair Friday, I watched the past rewind. I never thought I'd see a return of the sort of stricken football I witnessed throughout the Lost Decade of the 1990s, as a sad hack covering the Bengals. Not even in Cincinnati, home office for stricken football. But, dear God, there it was:
Politely banished from playing professional soccer, rudely bumped from the back of a bull and fully in need of his next attention fix, Chad Ochocinco will be wrestling an alligator now. You could say this is brilliant self-hype, yet again, from Planet Ocho. Or you could say an alligator has lots of teeth.
Bobbie Williams, an NFL offensive lineman for 12 years, walked off a college football field last week after an impromptu practice to offer some of the smartest words uttered since the Super Bowl ended, and this longest of offseasons began:
A Federal appeals court is expected to rule Monday on a permanent stay of the injunction to lift the NFL lockout. If the court rules against the owners, it could be business as usual on Monday and free agency would begin. If not, free agency will most likely have to wait for the lockout to end, and might look radically different from usual -- especially if the labor issues aren't solved by the time the regular season is slated to begin. No one knows exactly what will happen to standard practices like restricted free agency and franchise tags, or if they'll simply revert to 2010 rules.
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we wrap up day three of the NFL draft and the entire seven-round pick-fest at Radio City Music Hall ...
The best sports fans are Bandwagon Fans. I am a Bandwagon Fan. I hop on and off the wagon like a 12-step veteran. Let the good times roll, because when they don't, I roll outta here.
Quick-hitting insight on today's 1 p.m. games ...
When Chiefs coach Todd Haley on Sunday chose to angrily wag a finger in the direction of Denver's Josh McDaniels, rather than extend a hand, it renewed the debate over a question that has been posed many times before, but never definitively answered:
Hope springs infernal in Cincinnati where, God help us, we believed the Bengals would be good this fall, for the second consecutive season. It's a peculiar, Charlie Brown faith that sustains Bengals fans, and it was furthered last offseason. A good defensive team took bold, very un-Bengals-like leaps to strengthen the offense. They signed Antonio Bryant and Terrell Owens. They took a pass-catching tight end, Jermaine Gresham, in the first round of the draft. They found a useful wideout, Jordan Shipley, in Round 3.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a field-goal filled Week 5 of NFL action ...
This week, SI.com is rolling out previews for all eight NFL divisions. Today, we tackle the AFC North and NFC North, following up earlier breakdowns of the AFC East, NFC East, AFC South and NFC South. The AFC and NFC West conclude things Friday.
With the relevant portion of the NFL preseason behind us, it's time for some stream-of-consciousness takes on what fantasy owners may have learned this month.
I have a healthy respect/appreciation for Fanball magazine, especially its Cheat Sheets edition, which solely focuses on mock drafts -- standard-scoring, PPR, TD-only, TD-heavy, QB-heavy, distance scoring, IDP and defense and keeper leagues, etc. But that doesn't mean I'm in lock-step agreement with their rankings, or specific picks from a standard 12-team mock draft.
Week 1 on the training camp trail ... From a very deep team in San Antonio (Dallas) to the Big Top in Kentucky (Cincinnati) to the NFL's men of mystery (Carolina) to the youngest veteran team in the league (Atlanta) to the team (Miami) determined not to let the AFC East become a two-horse race -- and, by the way, I like its chances. Along the way, three stories intercede: Albert Haynesworth, the business of football threatening to tear the San Diego Chargers asunder and the retirement of Sean Morey.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Peter King had to say about the Bengals camp in Georgetown, Ky. For an archive of all camp postcards, click here.
CINCINNATI -- What did Cincinnati do to deserve this?
Terrell Owens reportedly has reached a contract agreement to join the Cincinnati Bengals. As the enigmatic, 36-year-old wide receiver gets ready to play for his fifth NFL team, here are four things we've learned about the recent developments:
Usually I'd say in the case of the Bengals chasing a player with serious baggage, that it's owner Mike Brown forcing a guy into Marvin Lewis' locker room, causing Lewis to roll his eyes and say, "How exactly am I supposed to handle all these divas?''
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we creep within two months of the Bengals and Cowboys kicking off the NFL's 2010 preseason in the Aug. 8 Hall of Fame Game in Canton...
In January 2004, the Patriots hosted the Titans in an AFC divisional playoff game in which the temperature at kickoff was 4 degrees with a wind chill of minus-10. Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow was part of a radio broadcast crew doing the game, and as we rode on the elevator to the press box beforehand, he shook his head about the players being forced to take the field in such harsh conditions.
LAYING OVER AT JFK -- OK. Before I inflame a few more passions, the answer to the golf over-under I posed in Monday Morning Quarterback: one. I put one tee shot in the drink from the 17th tee at the TPC Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at the annual Tom Coughlin/Jay Fund benefit golf outing. I stink at golf anyway, but this was the big time, and I really wanted to hit one good shot on a waterlogged day. I used one of those hybrid clubs, swung soft, hit it pin-high -- but 10 feet to the right of the island. Plunk. Good thing our fivesome didn't have to use my tee shot in the team format on that one.
This weekend marks the second round of opening minicamps for hundreds of rookies across the league. Let's hope they fare better than the newly minted players did last weekend. At least that's what the coaches in Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, New Orleans, San Diego, and Washington are thinking as they put their young players through their first on-field action.
The Cincinnati Bengals are on the verge of signing Pacman Jones even though they don't need a backup cornerback and they already have enough players who can return kicks. Last year went too well for the Bengals, who won the AFC North and avoided clogging the judicial system. They needed to change things up, to get back to who they were five years ago when half their roster was auditioning for Cops.
Breaking down the best and worst of each team's selections from the 2010 NFL draft. ...
So you probably know that I was a draftnik before that word was cool. Oh, wait, that word is still not cool. OK, so, to rephrase -- I was a draftnik when it was ESPECIALLY uncool to be one. My buddy Robert and I used to skip school to watch the draft, an astonishingly sad thing to do, looking back.
The Cincinnati Bengals are solid.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we digest the NFL's just-released 256-game regular-season schedule....
Grading the performances from the Jets' 24-14 victory over the Bengals in Cincinnati, the first of four wild-card weekend games.
CINCINNATI -- Jets head coach Rex Ryan passed out an itinerary to his players this week detailing all the activities he has scheduled for the next month -- wild-card game, divisional playoff game, AFC championship game and Super Bowl. "It even had the Super Bowl parade," said cornerback Darrelle Revis.
When's the last time you recall all four wild-card games being so competitive you wouldn't be surprised to see the road team win any one? Two roadies won last year, and three won in 2005. This year, I don't care what Vegas says. It's even-steven across the board entering the weekend.
Breaking down the AFC wild-card matchup, Jets at Bengals, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Carson Palmer sees the numbers. The passing yards fly by as if on magic carpets. The standard notions of how to win in the NFL -- run, stop the run -- are leather helmets now. Ten quarterbacks threw for more than 4,000 yards. Thirty-two QBs combined for 104 300-yard passing games. Who went for 300 in a game this year? Who didn't?
Musings, observations and the occasional insight from a Week 17 that had a little bit of everything, except for any real high drama when it comes to how the Ravens, Jets and Cowboys won their showdown games Sunday and finalized the 12-team playoff field.....
The numbers break down like this: Two playoff spots are up for grabs in the AFC, with seven teams fighting for them; in the NFC, the six playoff spots are locked up, but seeds 2-6 won't be determined until Week 17 concludes. In all, nine of the 16 games in Week 17 have playoff implications.
After the Pro Bowl rosters were announced Tuesday evening, I asked three of those who were honored which players were snubbed in the voting. Shockingly, each of them said, "No one."
In an effort to make the most anticlimactic game of the season the slightest bit more relevant, the NFL this year took the unprecedented steps of delaying the unveiling of the Pro Bowl rosters until tonight (7 p.m. ET, NFL Network) -- a full week later than usual -- bumping the all-star game up two weeks to Jan. 31, and moving the contest from Honolulu to Miami, where it will be played in the same stadium as Super Bowl XLIV.
The irony, of course, is that on the field it has been a rare season of victory in Cincinnati, with renewed hopes, playoff dreams and so much good news all around for coach Marvin Lewis's young, first-place team.
It seems cold to write about football and the Cincinnati Bengals, what with just one day passing since the death of wide receiver Chris Henry. Three children will grow up without a father. A life on the way to being better-lived was ended.
CINCINNATI -- Chris Henry could run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds. Problem was, trouble ran a 4.2. Henry was the face of the Bad Boy Bengals, even when that gaze no longer belonged to the team, or to him. In 2009, Henry was a reformed man, living his second chance to the fullest.
Cincinnati Bengals football player Chris Henry died after he fell from the bed of a moving pickup truck during a fight with his fiancée, police said Thursday.
Cincinnati Bengals player Chris Henry dies after a fall from a truck.
The NFL proudly tells us there are 24 teams in playoff contention with three weeks remaining. In fact, they're tweeting about it. So don't give up, fans of the 5-8 Panthers. Even with games left against the 11-2 Vikings, the 7-6 Giants and the 13-0 Saints, the NFL says your dreams of meaningful football in January can still come true.
Breaking down Sunday's Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings game (1 p.m., CBS)...
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Vikings' Super Bowl Express has hit a speedbump. It might be a very big one. They've survived without a terrific corner, Antoine Winfield, for the past six weeks as he deals with a foot injury; the oppressive front seven has made up for it. But now, leading tackler and defensive captain E.J. Henderson, in the midst of a very good season, is gone after suffering the kind of broken leg you usually associate with awful car wrecks.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a virtual lock to win the AFC North with a commanding three-game lead and the tiebreaker advantage over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens with only four games to play. The reasons for the Bengals' success have been covered -- the resurgence of castaway Cedric Benson; the continued improvement of the defense under coordinator Mike Zimmer; the best cornerback tandem in the NFL in Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph; and Carson Palmer's clutch performances late in games.
Musings, observations and the occasional insight in a rather lackluster Week 12 that clearly will save its best for last: Patriots at Saints, where I'll be Monday night in a jacked-to-the-gills Superdome in New Orleans ...
Larry Johnson came to the right place. He fell out of favor in Kansas City and into the feather bed in Cincinnati. The Bengals are Lazarus' Team. Or maybe, Emma Lazarus':
INDIANAPOLIS -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we draw near to putting the finishing touches on Week 10 ...
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern). Sunday 4:15 p.m. Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
Three things have changed about the Bengals, who enter Heinz Field on Sunday tied for the AFC North lead with the Super Bowl champion Steelers:
After seven seasons in Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis finally has a team he can wrap his identity around. Lewis is from southwestern Pennsylvania, more precisely a steel and coal place called McDonald, same as Marty Schottenheimer and very close to Bill Cowher's Carlynton and Mike Ditka's Aliquippa.
The NFL's 256-game regular season is half gone (actually 50.4 percent, but who's counting?) You know the drill. It's midseason review time...
PHILADELPHIA -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we await the Cowboys-Eagles NFC East first-place grudge match to come tonight at Lincoln Financial Field ...
The Cincinnati Bengals are the halfway house of the NFL, the Grand Central Waystation for second chancers, last dancers and chronic screwups. The owner, Mike Brown, believes in extending lifelines, partly because they don't cost much, but also because he has a bit of savior in him. Brown once referred to himself as a "redeemer.''
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
Breaking down Sunday's Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals game (4:15 p.m., Fox)...
For downtrodden organizations out of playoff conversations for years, achieving any type of success can be difficult. Teams like St. Louis, Kansas City and Detroit are trying to get any wins they can, hoping to string a couple together and build momentum. But that's just part of contender-building and not even the most difficult. The next step is sustaining success and then handling the prosperity that comes with winning.
Breaking down Sunday's Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings game (1 p.m., CBS) ...
CINCINNATI -- A happy and indefinable alchemy has pushed the Cincinnati Bengals to four wins in five games. That's how they see it, anyway. "Talent is overrated'' the players tell their coach. Maybe so.
Football Insiders: Check out Stewart Mandel's College Football Overtime column.
Musings, observations and the occasional Week 5 insight as we adjust our TV's vertical hold to handle those hideous brown and mustard-colored vertically-striped socks the Broncos hopefully will put back into the time capsule after their showdown with the Patriots late Sunday afternoon ...
My weekly look at key matchups and storylines to watch in one game at each time slot. (All times Eastern).
Breaking down Sunday's Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens game (1 p.m., CBS)...
We're just three weeks into the NFL's new season, and it's already starting to distinguish itself mightily from its predecessor, as seems to be the case each and every year in Roger Goodell's 32-team fiefdom.
Warning: I am about to agree with the Cincinnati Bengals. Well, kind of.
SI.com has dispatched writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. Here's what Ben Reiter had to say about the Bengals' camp in Georgetown, Ky. For an archive of all the camp postcards, click here.
It's morning at Georgetown College in Kentucky. An irresistible force of men in white jerseys smashes into an immovable object of men in black ones.
1. Two NFL playoff games on the same day
Is it really that hard to compromise? You know, we made some mistakes, you made some mistakes, let's meet in the middle and move on. It really shouldn't be but evidently it is as both the NFL and Minnesota's Pat and Kevin Williams seem to be firmly entrenched in their positions as it relates to the still unfolding StarCaps case.
If Roger Goodell gets his wish, the draft will make its prime-time debut next year. The big question is, will there be limits on rookie pay? Here's an absurdly early look at how the 2010 first round could shape up (*denotes underclassmen):
The Cleveland Browns' decision to shop Braylon Edwards is a head scratcher.
The 2009 NFL season officially begins Friday at 12:01 a.m. when free agency opens. What follows is a rundown of the game plans for every AFC team heading into free agency and the draft. For NFC teams, click here.
The Arizona Cardinals are one home victory away from the Super Bowl, and you better believe I'm excited about it. Everyone needs a hobby, and one of mine has been collecting Cardinals moments. I've always been drawn to hopeless causes.
Heading into the NFL's Week 7, we hold these truths to be self-evident:
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer will limit his throwing during practice this week to rest his sore elbow, hoping to be ready for the New York Jets on Sunday.
I see that look and I know what you're thinking. It's ridiculously early to tackle the topic of NFL coaches on the hot seat. We're only staring down Week 3 for crying out loud. Could we at least manage to put September behind us before we start speculating how many casualties there will be this season among the ranks of the headset crowd?
With no football to play for the first time in 18 years, former pro Ross Tucker is passing the time reading about his favorite sport. What follows are a few links to NFL-related articles he found and his take on them.
Several weeks after coach Marvin Lewis emphatically closed the door on the Bengals re-signing Chris Henry, it now appears Cincinnati is open to the possibility of a reunion with the troubled wide receiver.
SI.com has dispatched 10 writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. For the complete schedule of postcards, click here.
The NFL, much like the calendar year, is made up of distinct seasons. There's the preseason, the regular season, the postseason and, of course, the offseason.
It sounds like the Bengals didn't draft three wide receivers last week just because of the Chad Johnson holdout and the Chris Henry firing. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis tells me there's a T.J. Houshmandzadeh element to it, too.