Answer Man IV

<b>JW: </b>Great time to be alive, isn't it Answer Man? October's here, the club's 2-1, the Bengals, Browns and Cowboys are up next, then a bye before the Patriots come into town. This is setting up nicely, even with a rookie quarterback. <br><b>Answer Man: </b>But there isn't any controversy for you media guys, now is there? Things can't go too smoothly or else you'll have to find another line of work.

JW: There's enough controversy waiting down the line when Tommy Maddox comes back. You'll owe me big-time then.
AM: I suppose. And I suppose you want to know about the Bengals.
JW: Their run defense stinks, doesn't it?
AM: Yes it does. The two D-tackles aren't playing well. Tony Williams is alright but (John) Thornton? I used to like him when he was in Tennessee. He's not playing well. Justin Smith and Duane Clemons are more edge rush guys so they're running up field. When they had Nate Webster he was an avoid type instead of take on. (Brian) Simmons is alright; (Kevin) Hardy's in decline.
JW: What about the replacement for Webster, Caleb Miller the rookie?
AM: Coverage guy who's quick to the ball and can diagnose, but he's not very stout. He's got some skills, just needs more strength. He's 220. That bodes well for us when we run. And their two safeties were out the last two weeks.
JW: What about Madieu Williams? Is that how you pronounce that, Ma-DAY?
AM: Ma-DOO. I like him. He's got speed, he's aggressive and he can cover as a corner or a safety. So can Kevin Kaesviharn. Tory James is solid. Deltha O'Neal, I don't know what happened to him after his first year. He's horrible. Nah. Not horrible, but he's not real good. Defensively, they're not real good.
JW: Can they keep pace offensively?
AM: Not with the decisions Carson (Palmer) has been making. If you saw him in the opener against the Jets, you'd have thought we'd be in trouble. But in the last two games, he's been making some dumb decisions - throwing off his back foot, just throwing it up, lobbing the ball into three deep on a post. He's just not seeing the field. He's locking on.
JW: Would you be surprised to see Jon Kitna if they fall behind?
AM: The coach made that decision. I think he's got to stick with Carson. If he was going to do it, he would've done it last week when they still had a chance to win the game.
JW: But they're in danger of going 1-3 now, right?
AM: If I had made a decision like that before camp, he's my guy. You can't go back on it now. Now if you'd gone into camp, had an open battle and Carson won the battle, then you could do it without people questioning you.
JW: What's at his disposal?
AM: Chad Johnson's great. Peter Warrick's questionable. T.J. (Houshmandzadeh)'s pretty good. Kelley Washington's a speed guy. I'd take Chad Johnson now. Warrick is the same guy as (Antwaan) Randle El. They'd be interchangeable, with El being a little quicker.
JW: Could Randle El play split end?
AM: As a starter?
JW: Yes, and without thinking as a coach and what it would do to team chemistry?
AM: I don't think so, mainly because of his stature. A guy like Tory James would press him easily.
JW: OK. Well, I've been pushing the notion that Randle El should play ahead of Plax Burress because he had a better camp and showed up in the off-season.
AM: I wouldn't be surprised if he started and did well, but I definitely wouldn't be surprised if he didn't play well. I don't think he could, but a lot of people didn't think Hines Ward could be an All-Pro receiver either.
JW: Alright, back to Cincy. I'm sure you like Rudi Johnson as an inside runner. Anything else?
AM: Kenny Watson is a good third-down back. He can catch. He was a receiver and a running back at Penn State. They moved him back and forth. He just got a shot and got bigger.
JW: What about their line?
AM: Levi Jones and Rich Braham are hurt. Eric Steinbach was hurt but he's back and might move outside if Levi can't play.
JW: How good was Levi playing?
AM: Good, but he's inconsistent. He has the talent. He's probably a little more athletic than Marvel (Smith), but he's got the inconsistency of a Barrett Brooks.
JW: And the rest of the line?
AM: You can tell Willie Anderson has slipped a little bit but he's a vet who knows how to get it done. Steinbach's real good. Bobbie Williams is OK in a confined area. (Jerry) Fontenot is a vet who knows how to play the game. He's not going to move Casey (Hampton) or anything but he can stay on him and move his body into position to make the block.
JW: Hampton's playing pretty well, isn't he?
AM: Dave Wannstedt's raving about him, calling him the best defensive lineman in the league.
JW: What's your opinion of the best rookie quarterback in the league?
AM: I like (Ben Roethlisberger). He can create when things aren't there. I like his confidence. I know there'll be some times when that confidence will get him in trouble, but look at most of the great ones. That's how it happens. I like how he came back from that interception and I like more how the coaches handled the game plan. They can use that game plan against the next two teams.

Steel City Insider Top Stories