Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hard Knocks

Have you been watching it this season? How truly excellent it has been!

Amazing how compelling an examination of the sorry-ass Bengals can be. On the one hand, you get a greater sense of why that organization is a perennial loser, from Mike Brown's mumble-mouthed address to the team to open camp, to the entrance gate that is STILL broken, so Marvin Lewis can't get into the parking garage thru the front entrance at 5am or whatever ridiculous hour he comes in, so he has to go around back and drive over a curb or something in his SUV.

And yet at the same time, what a wealth of guys who capture your rooting interest. That safety of theirs Tom Nelson; and the FB who went to the practice squad, Chris Bennett; and their backup RBs DeDe Dorsey and Brian Leonard; and on and on around the roster. Who knew Carson Palmer was funny? That TE coach who would ride, ride, ride Chase Coffman. That little guy JB who leads the Bengals onto the field; who's been doing that for decades, since Paul Brown plucked him from wherever; and who is the happiest guy on the planet when he gets to lead the team out of the tunnel.

And of course "child please" and "kiss the baby". My wife now loves Chad eight-five Johnson.

And Marvin himself. I've always liked & respected Marvin (unlike some Ravens fans...); if possible, even more so now. He displays grace and humor and vigor. Boy didn't he look tired at the end of camp? He's going to get tireder still.

The final episode did a great job of conveying the enormous, hellish tension of the end of camp and cutdown day. Ugh. You feel for those guys.

The Bengals were a sexy pick this offseason, in some quarters, to nab a wildcard spot this season. I don't really think there's the slightest chance they can compete with the Steelers and Ravens this season. Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson give them a punchers chance every game, which is great; and the rest of the starting roster might be much improved. But I don't think their personnel people make enough good decisions to give them the kind of depth they'll need: I think their roster will prove brittle.

But I have an entirely different view of them now, than I did before. Have you ever considered how many hard-working, dedicated, committed, passionate people there are in this league? It's crazy.

Great series.


  1. Your wife needs to work on her Spanish. ;-)

    And I never said I didn't like or respect Lewis. He's a great person, I both like and respect that.

    I just don't think he's a very good coach.

  2. Wups, corrected that. Thanks.

    I don't get what it is that you respect about Lewis, if you don't think he's a very good coach. It's not like you were neighbors or anything, had a personal relationship.

  3. I respect him for doing his job despite being trapped in his own personal hell with the Bengals. He is being undermined at every turn and he goes out and continues without complaining. I dunno how he does it, I'd probably be bald from pulling my hair out.

    Plus he's just a good guy. He's like Kyle Boller. He's everything you want your guy to be, except good at his job.

  4. Right, he only fielded the D that set the all-time record for fewest points allowed. What does he know about defense?


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