I know we have been pretty hit-or-miss with these crossover posts this season, but people get busy and sometimes it’s hard to get coordinated with people from across the country. This week, however, I did manage to get ahold of Bengals writer Brennen Warner from Strype Hype. Here’s what Brennen had to say about my questions regarding the upcoming game. Don’t forget to check out the conclusion of the conversation on the next page as well.
1. Talk about the development of rookies Andy Dalton and AJ Green.
Andy Dalton has quietly been putting up one of the best rookie seasons in a long time. He’s about to join Cam Newton on the list of the only 5 rookie QBs to ever throw for more than 3000 yards in a season. And he’s still improving. He’s making all the throws you want him to make, and he hasn’t thrown a pick in the past 3 games.
Of course, he and AJ Green only make each other better. Andy and AJ have a lot of trust in each other to make the play. You’ll probably see Andy hurl a few balls downfield (perhaps slightly underthrown) that AJ will ‘climb the ladder’ and bring down. It wouldn’t work with many other receivers. AJ has been this way since the start of the season, but he’s definitely gotten better with his releases and being more physical. He struggled in those two areas early on.
2. Do you put the recent struggles on the schedule alone, or is there another culprit?
Well, the team is 1-4 in their last 5. They haven’t been able to beat the supposed elite teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and the entire organization feels like they let one get away last week against Houston. Everyone was mad. I feel like schedule has certainly been a part of it, but another major thing has been injuries to key players. We lost our Chris Long in Carlos Dunlap for the past 4 games. And losing Leon Hall for the season was big too. Those two guys were our best defensive players, and I think most fans don’t quite realize how big a loss they have been.
3. Give us an injury report… Any big names going to be out Sunday?
DE Carlos Dunlap will finally make his return after missing the last 4 weeks. I already mentioned how much he means, but his pass-rushing skills are incredible.
And there may be a few missing cogs in the offensive machine. Third-down runningback Brian Leonard is doubtful. And our starting fullback Chris Pressley is questionable. Bernard Scott is the obvious replacement to Leonard, but the team doesn’t really have a backup to Pressley. I’m quite interested what the team chooses to do at fullback, especially after Pressley didn’t practice all week.
Finally, we lost our starting RG last week when long-time starter Bobbie Williams went down for the season. And at right tackle, 2009 6th overall pick Andre Smith is questionable after hurting his ankle last week. He was seen in a boot on Friday, leading me to believe that the Bengals may have an entirely new right side of the o-line. So you might see a lot of running to the left tomorrow.