Paul Daugherty
Enquirer columnist files news and observations

Paul Daugherty
Paul Daugherty has been an Enquirer sports columnist since 1994 and has been chronicling Cincinnati sports since 1988. He has covered almost every major sporting event in America, as well as five Summer Olympics. Along the way, he has been named one of the country's top-5 sports columnists four times, and Ohio columnist of the year on seven different occasions. Last year, he was voted 2nd-best sports columnist in the country, by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Line Play

Rush the passer, protect the passer. Build from the inside-out. Wide receivers are among the easiest to find and replace. You wanna win, rush and protect. I wrote that here and in the paper last week, in reference to 85's ongoing melodramatics. A few of you disagreed. It proved out in the Bowl.

A guy who had more tackles than catches this year makes the biggest catch of the game. Giants pass rush debilitates the Pats offense.

One more time: Robert Geathers producing 15 sacks next year would have a greater impact on Cincinnati winning games than Chad Johnson catching 1400 yards of passes. If they trade him (doubtful) or if he holds out (likely), plug in Glen Holt or Tab Perry or get a wideout off the waiver wire. Draft a speed rusher or go to a 3-4 and let Geathers loose from outside LB.

Chad's a very nice player. Just not as important as a guy like Osi Umenyiora.


at 8:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, do you think the headlines about "Upset" are a bit over the top? After all, didn't the Giants and Patriots meet at the end of the season with essentially the same teams and walk off the field after an extremely close game decided by 3 points?

A 3 point difference says to me that teams are fairly evenly matched, and that either could win on any given day.

Sure, the Patriot's hopes for an undefeated season were "upset" and the good Lord knows that Bellichek needs anti-depressants today. Wasn't that a really weird post-game interview?

at 8:59 AM Blogger Brian said...

Agree 100% on your comments regarding the importance of line play. Show's how little the front office "gets it" based on last off-season. Drafting secondary, backup RBs, letting Steinbach go, etc. All this AFTER losing Pollack and Thurman.

at 9:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree completely.

The Bengals have not understood this for a generation. Mike Brown always believed that a great quarterback was the key to the franchise. Although partially right, we saw how a bad/battered O line can make a great QB (Palmer) look mediocre.

Chad Johnson has done exactly what we all knew he would do. The Bengals draft low-character guys and this is the payback.

As a side note, the NFL is the greatest thing going in all of sports. That game last night was great!

at 9:10 AM Blogger Paul Daugherty said...

8:55... any time one team is 18-0 and the other is a wildcard, it's an upset... showed the impact a pass rush can have on a game... and Belichick is seriously strange... some were offended he crossed the field before the game was over... he looked like someone just dropped a bomb in his hoodie.

at 9:17 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anybody (Paul?) --

Who disagrees about last night's MVP? No way it was anyone on the offense. That trophy clearly belonged to the Giant Defense.

Is that even disputable?

I hope the Bengals were taking notes.

at 9:26 AM Anonymous Mike from Virginia said...

As my wife and I were watching the game from Virginia, we saw that last sack of Brady by Alford.

During the replay, the camera was from behind Brady and you could see how Alford bulled his way through to make the sack.

I turned to my wife and said, "See that? That's why the Bengals can't win. Against the Bengals' defense, opposing quarterbacks go back in the pocket, check their cell for messages, scan the luxury boxes for relatives, look down the field and see four guys open, and take their time deciding who they want to throw it to."

Until the Bengals get some people to rush the QB and put pressure on the pocket, they'll continue to be a one-dimensional team.

at 10:30 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hopefully M. Lewis made the game last night mandatory viewing for his team. just watching last night made me painfully aware of how seriously lacking the bengals are in every area - god, it must really suck being a Bengal (and a Bengal fan). how embarrassing.

at 11:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul what was your prediction again. lol you were so wrong.

at 12:39 PM Anonymous Tom said...

You're right. It's DEFENSE! That's what the Giants have usually emphasized in their history. It's what wins championships. The day the Bengals develop a Steeler type defense, they'll win. The greatest offense in the world is not going to make you a champion.

at 1:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second everyone's opinion on Line Play being much more important than receivers ... but I'd even extend that thought to quarterbacks.. College or Pro, a decent quarterback can look real good if he isn't alwways worried about a sack.

As good as Giants defense looked ... what if, that same defense was being coached by the current Bengals coaches???
I'm guessing they'd only be mediocre.

at 1:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belichick and Weis truly are two peas in a pod.

at 1:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about special teams, and the few penalties that either team had last night? It's great to have athletes, but you also have to have the right mindset within the organization to get the little things done too.

Interesting point that Brady made about BB. Brady doesn't feel like he has to dog his teammates, because BB sets that tone himself in the locker room. Granted I'm far removed from the Bengals locker room, but it sure doesn't seem like Marvin lays it down like that. But the Patriots have "team first" guys who would rather win than worry about looking good for the fans. Trade that bum Johnson and move on with life.

at 1:23 PM Anonymous Oldtimer said...


You did manage to correctly predict three numbers in Tom Petty's four-song set during the half-time show. Very nice. I won't mention you got the order all wrong except for the leadoff "American Girl."

As far as I know, you were the only pundit who even ventured a prediction in this area.

Congratulations. I guess the old saying is true...even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then.

at 1:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching REAL defensive players in the Super Bowl, I am more than ever convinced we will never witness a Super Bowl in Cincinnati. Bengals are 6 or 7 defensive players away from competing at this level of expertise. Mikey Boy, how can you possibly not see the forest from the trees ???? The Bengals aren't even playing the same game as the game I witnessed last night !!!!!!!

at 1:57 PM Blogger indycatsfan said...

Anon 1:02, you are wrong about the Giants defense being mediocre withthe Bengals coaches. They would still be a great defense. Unlike college, where the coaches and the scheme are the key, the NFL is a players league. Everybody is well-coached, and the difference in schemes is not all that different. It is the quality of the players that tells.

A case in point from our own experience. Dick LeBeau came here from Pittsburgh, where he built the number one defense in the league. Here, the defense was nowhere near as good. He is now back in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers were again the number one defense in the NFL in 2007. The players make the scheme in the NFL, not the other way around.

at 2:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beng born and raised in Cleveland, and now living in Cincinnati for the past 9 years and rooting for Cincinnati teams as much as Cleveland teams, I can't help but notice the downward spiral that the Bengals are taking...again!

Chad, if you were so darn good then why were we not in the playoffs this year? Why do you show-boat when we lose? Why do you run your mouth at the Super Bowl and try and one-up the guys that actually worked hard and made it there? Chad...please be quiet.

On a side note, I remember when Belichick went 2-14 in Cleveland one year. He spoke alot more then than he does now. I hate Belichick and am glad his Pats lost! CHEATER!!!!!!!!!

at 2:42 PM Anonymous Joe A. said...

Paul, I think you're confusing RB's for WR's when you talk about how disposable and interchangeable they are.

You're right that the Bengals need to focus on the trenches, but having covered teams with few viable receivers, it really limits your offensive potential.

Ask the Chiefs, Broncos, and Titans how easy it is pick up even semi-quality receivers off the waiver wire???

Watching a procession of WR's picked up off the street each year who can't make NFL separation is a painful process...

at 2:54 PM Blogger Chris S. said...

Last night's performance by the Heartbreakers proved once and for all that Mike Campbell is one of the most underappreciated guitarists in the history of rock and roll.

And it's good to see that everyone is beginning to realize that Paul and the reasonable portion of the Bengals fandom has been right all along about why this team has struggled to get back to the playoffs and be consistently successful in the Marvin Lewis Era. Don't be fooled. Games are still won and lost in the trenches.

at 3:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching Petty perform last night, I can't wait till he comes to riverbend in the Summer.

at 3:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

In baseball teams need 3 things to win: pitching, pitching and pitching. In football it's linemen, linemen and linemen. Regarding the Patriots, they "peaked" too early (in mid-season), the Giants "peaked" yesterday. That was the difference overall.

at 4:22 PM Anonymous PaulC said...

Mr. Daughtery, agree to some degree with your assessment, but Johnson, harnessed properly, can make plays that Holt, Perry etc. can't.
the key is the harnessing.
I shake my head if it's true that Lewis quit speaking to him halfway through the season. Would your boss do that to you? If he's a problem, be a man and confront him on it.
Don't hide your head and ignore him.
Knowing what Chad said on Mike and Mike a couple of weeks ago, it was obvious Lewis should have flown to where he is and had a meeting to head off another week of distractions, knowing what he'd do with all the platforms of radio row at his disposal in Phoenix.
The way Lewis has just let him float his horrible management be it from a football coach, a teacher or a boss.
You had a relationship with him via his book. I note that he hangs up on Curnette every time he's called now.
Have you tried to contact him?
If so, why not, and if you have, what's his reaction to you been/

at 5:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:57 indycatsfan (what's that?).
Your point is well taken >> players more important than schemes but that's not my point. I believe coaches are a Major Factor (and the Bengals fail in that category).
Coaches have to set tone, expectations, discipline. And they have to have authority, something MikeyB hasn't & won't do. Marvin can't just tell Chad to shut up or sit? Belichick has that authority.

at 11:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chad is a very capable receiver. However, history shows that the pounding will start to catch up with him and that means the onslaught of injuries. With a huge cap hit if they trade Chad he is not going anywhere. Bengal fans continue to live the dream: Chad's best days are behind him physically but in front of him verbally (and I am a fan of his).

So, the Bengals and their leadership get the reality they deserve: a malcontent, aging, superfluous, stale TD celebrating man who is a great guy with kids, can be very generous and always self absorbed in the national media. Bottom line: it's rarely about football in this town.

at 2:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

can we please, PLEASE, stop using the salary cap hit as a reason to hang onto a disgruntled chad johnson. the bengals never bump up against the cap, so they have plenty of room. current estimates have them in the neighborhood of 30 million under the anticipated cap for 2008. The cap is not the reason the bengals will hang onto chad. a cheap owner? yes. a stubborn owner, yes. But can we please stop with the "oh, jeeze, the salary cap hit is just too much" crap? This team never, ever, comes close to having cap trouble.

at 6:33 AM Blogger oldtimer said...

coupla comments

I thought Strahan was the MVP of the game. He blew around his guy naerly everytime and played a magnificent game.

We all know the Bengals need better D-line players, to get some decent pressure on the quarterback. Your point is well taken. But I also agree with the fellow who said mediocre receivers who can't get open are no good, too. Just think back over the dynasties of old.

SF and Rice, Clark, T.O.:
Pitt and Swan, Stallworth, et al:
Oakland and Bilitnakoff,Casper,:

Good receivers/pass catching tight ends don't grow on trees. There's a symbiotic relationship between good qbs and good catchers.

All those clamoring for a Chad trade,I pose the question again. Can anyone tell me the last time the Bengals made a trade of significance that helped the team? Any trade at all? Period? Coy Bacon, maybe, 1974? Point being, Bengals front office still can't handle dysfunctional problems and solve issues. Seventeen years and only one winning season speaks for itself.

First the season of pinstripes. Now the season of disontent and whining. It's a circus, only no one's laughing.

And Bellichek leaving before the game was over was arrogant and tacky. Fat Boy needs to show some reapect, but then why would he secretly film other teams if he had respect for them? I hope both he ane Moral Compass Goodell get in more hot water as this thing unfolds.

at 8:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope the bengals get rid of ocho cinco asap ..hit to salary cap or not. they have let him develop into the self absorbed loudmouth crybaby he has become so they can now pay the piper in the interest of improving team morale..and hopefully do something to bolster the d line/lb core in the process. It is worthy to note, however, that the johnson story sounds a lot like pickens, spikes,dillon and probably others i cant think of and most of them seem to go to other teams and become productive TEAM players.go figure. to ocho cinco i say...hasta la vista baby!

at 1:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bengals are always against the cap....

Chad Johnson is not important when you have Carson Palmer. Just nab quick guys who will run perfect routes..AKA Anthony Gonzo. We dont need flashy idiots.

I would trade Chad for AT straight up.

at 12:03 AM Anonymous seadog1019 said...





at 11:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Brown and the Bengals could end this issue with Chad Johnson quickly. They should offer Chad Johnson a new one year contract with incentives that could make him the highest paid player at his wide receiver position. Incentives should be based on the previous year statistics for the league and Chad Johnson individually. Rewards for exceeding the league statistical performance averages, exceeding players making more than Chad Johnson's statistical performance, attendance at home games, team winning season, getting into the playoffs and how far the Bengals go in the playoffs or Super Bowl ®. There should also be detailed specific monetary penalties and possible suspension without pay for violation and conviction of local, state, or federal laws; violation of league or team policy, a team loosing season, and trying to negotiate new contracts in public. This would set an example and provide a solution for the issue of other players want out of their contracts. As current contracts expire, replacing them with this one year structure would provide for players to be the best paid while still giving Mike Brown and the Bengals control. This structure would free Marvin Lewis of the responsibility of player character monitoring and control and allowing him to do what he was hired for, which is coaching football. The coaching staff should be under similar contracts. In the business world, those who take the most risk, i.e. commissioned sales people, have the opportunity to earn more than those who settle for mediocrity. The contracts should include rewards or compensation for taking financial education classes, learning about saving, bond/certificate of deposit investing and some matching funds for IRA type of investing. Encourage, maybe through rewards, community involvement during the off-season while limiting involvement during the football season.
Mike Brown is an educated successful businessman and lawyer. This strategy would resolve several issues. If the team chooses not to proceed in a monnor similar to this, they might be letting Chad Johnson's action provide them empathy, a sad but possible thought. This issue is a method of getting national attention for a terrible team, conspiracy theory...... not really.

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