Answer Man

<b>JW: Hey, you're watching film. Good to see you putting in extra time on the Bengals this week. <br></b><br><b>Answer Man: </b> Look at this. Justin Smith, their defensive end, is playing middle linebacker. Watch. He blitzes here, Kevin Hardy blitzes from the strong side and Brian Simmons sneaks in the back door for the sack. Marvin Lewis has them doing some real interesting things.<br>

JW: How have they changed since the last time you played them?

AM: They're just gaining confidence and you've got another threat with Rudi Johnson. Peter Warrick's playing the way people thought he was going to play. Chad Johnson's stepping up and the quarterback hasn't made the dumb mistakes because it's not on his shoulders. He's not playing from behind and pressing. Defensively, I think their defensive line was better last year. They added (Duane) Clemons and (John) Thornton but they haven't been making the plays they made last year.

JW: You're not saying Marvin's made the defense worse, are you?

AM: I don't know if he made it worse. I'm just talking about the defensive line. I like Tony Williams. Justin Smith has the ability. He started to make plays these last two games. Clemons, I've never been a fan of. Thornton, I always liked at Tennessee but for some reason they're not making plays. Maybe they're just supposed to eat up blockers and let the linebackers make plays. Maybe that's the deal.

JW: Was Tory James that good of an addition?

AM: Yeah. Compared to what they had at cornerback it was an upgrade. He's always had good cover skills. He just could never make a play on the ball.

JW: Has Hardy come back pretty well from that knee injury?

AM: Yeah. He's alright. I think he's playing out of position. He's not a middle linebacker. He's more of a strong side linebacker but he's productive in that system. Oh, look at this. Man, they're coming from all angles. We'll nee to run a lot of reverses and screens at them. Even if they don't work they'll take some of their aggressiveness away.

JW: Why has Jerome Bettis always run so well against them?

AM: Look at the number of carries. A back like him he's got to pound and pound and pound, especially nowadays. He's got to get at least 20 to be effective. But, really, he's obviously not as effective as he used to be.

JW: What's he lacking?

AM: The quickness to get through the hole. In the pros, the hole closes quickly. If you don't have that acceleration to get through it, you're stuck. Everyone thinks it's the line not blocking. Yeah, we've had some trouble with the line but even the holes he's had, he'll get there and, well, where a faster back might get 10 or 15, he gets five, or he'll get one or two because the hole will close. If you watch film, there's a couple times where he should've gone outside. If he had some speed, he'd be out the gate. That just comes with age.

JW: While we're there, has Amos Zereoue regressed?

AM: Amos isn't the type of guy to see it and hit it. He's always trying to make that one extra cut. That's good when you're playing against nickel and sub packages with all those DBs spread out, but when everyone's scrunched in tight, sometimes you've got to make one cut and go. He did some of that last year, and this last game he did it, but it seems that once he gets in his comfort zone he reverts.

JW: One quick question on the line. How did Chukky Okobi play last week?

AM: He did alright, but I think Jeff (Hartings) is going to play this week. Bill (Cowher) jumped the gun last week on that injury. Trainers hate when that happens.

JW: OK, as for the Bengals' offense, why are we only hearing about Rudi Johnson now?

AM: He was just behind Corey Dillon. He was deactivated earlier probably because he's not that good on special teams. A lot of times it's not the best players that are active, it's the size and fit of your roster on game day. He's everything Dillon is except he doesn't have the speed Dillon has to take it to the house. He can catch. He's strong. Every now and then he'll run a little high. If Kendrell (Bell) can hit him, that'll be good for us. He's got vision, he finds the hole, he runs hard.

JW: How are their high picks on the O-line coming along?

AM: Levi Jones is progressing well. Those three in the middle are big strong guys. When they get your hands on you they're hard to move and they latch on and control. Willie Anderson is starting to slip a little bit, but he's a vet. He'll get by. But if Joey (Porter) goes out there and throws a couple of nice moves on him, especially late in the game, he'll get a little tired and lags on his technique.

JW: Before I go, one bit of housecleaning. What's the condition on the trade for Freddie Milons?

AM: You can speculate on it, and you didn't hear it from me. Things are still pretty tight around here.

JW: It's just a seventh-round pick. If you can't tell me, you can't tell me.

AM: If he plays one snap, we owe. They should've just made the trade contingent upon him staying on our roster the entire season, but they didn't. Like you say, it's only a seventh-rounder.

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