|Bill Belichick on the evolution of the West Coast offense, Paul Brown and his own offensive style||11.06.15 at 5:50 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s only appropriate that on the day the NFL Network debuts its documentary on the legendary Paul Brown, Bill Belichick would offer up some perspective on how the game continues to reflect a lot of his influence, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Brown was the grandaddy of the West Coast offense, developed by Bill Walsh in his days in Cincinnati and perfected in San Francisco. The offense was the basis for much of Joe Montana‘s success with the 49ers.
The West Coast offense carries on today, but in very different forms, including the one employed by Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. Starting with Mike Holmgren and continuing with Andy Reid and Jay’s brother Jon, the West Coast offense is more about fitting one aspect of it to your strength, and in this particular case, it’s tight end Jordan Reed.
The run game part of the offense has diminished over the years, as Belichick detailed on Friday.
“I’d say that’s all kind of changed. When you go back to Paul Brown, that is the offense. What the running game was in the 70’s when he was in Cincinnati, late 60’s and 70’s when he was there, what it was throughout the league is a lot different than what it is now,” Belichick said. “Even in San Francisco when Walsh was there, it was a lot of two backs.
“Now, most every team has one primary runner in the game. Very seldom do you see two runners and so that has obviously been a big change. So it just depends on where you want to draw that line. We’re going back call it 30 years of West Coast, Ohio River offense, whatever you want to call it, and that running game has changed.”
FOXBORO — While Bill Belichick insisted Wednesday that the Redskins will absolutely, positively run the ball because “that’s what they do,” on Friday he strongly hinted the one player he may be scheming against more than any other is a tight end.
Everyone who watched 8-0 Cincinnati beat Cleveland Thursday night is well aware of tight end Tyler Eifert. Well, in Jordan Reed, Belichick thinks former Bengals offensive coordinator and current Washington head coach Jay Gruden might have a very comparable player.
In Gruden’s West Coast-themed offense, Reed has 35 catches for 350 yards and three touchdowns. While the touchdown total is only a third of Eifert’s total through eight games, it’s still significant because of what Reed can do for quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“A lot of times they don’t force players, or extended players, so that’s really compatible with the skills of an athletic tight end,” Belichick said Friday. “It’s similar to Eifert when Jay was at Cincinnati. I think Reed is kind of Eifert in the Cincinnati offense if you will.”
Belichick broke down what he’s seen from Reed on film.
“In Reed’s case, I think he’s obviously one of their best players,” Belichick said. “They have a lot of confidence in him. They go to him in a lot of critical situations, he comes through.”
Reed has been the top passing target on third down, helping Washington convert 43 percent of third-down chances this season, putting them in the top 10 in the league. And like Cincinnati’s Eifert, who ran an up-and-out move to lose the cornerback on his third touchdown reception of the game Thursday, Reed has the ability to get open in space with his route running.
“They move him around, he’s all over, he at times plays receiver positons where he’s split out and detached from the formation. That’s fairly common. He’s in close more than he’s split out, but he’s split out more than a lot of tight ends are. When you face guys like that, you’ve got to figure out the matchup that you want to be in that you feel comfortable with. And he’s made plays down the field. He’s a very crafty route runner, knows how to get open in tight coverage.
“He’s a big target, catches the ball well, has got a big catch radius, so you can kind of put the ball away from the defender where he can get it and the defender can’t, and he can come up with it. He’s good in the red area, good on third down,” Belichick said. “He has quickness to separate from man coverage. Yeah, it’s just trying to find the best matchup, but again, a lot of times it’s hard to jam him or disrupt his route because he’s extended as opposed to being in-line. But yeah, he does a lot of things well. I’d say in their running game, they use their tight ends but a little differently than say the Dallas offense as an example in the way they block.”
|Andy Dalton on Tom Brady and Deflategate: ‘I don’t know what to expect’||07.12.15 at 8:58 pm ET|
Speaking to WEEI.com Sunday after smashing two home runs in the celebrity All-Star softball game, the Bengals quarterback said it’s hard to guess what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will do when he hands down his decision on Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.
“I don’t know what to expect,” Dalton said. “I don’t know what all went on in those meetings so I’m going to let the league and his side handle all that.”
While other quarterbacks are relaxing and using the summer to recharge their batteries, Dalton said he sympathizes with Brady because it’s an unusual distraction he has to deal with in the offseason.
“For him, it’s another thing he has to think about right now,” Dalton said. “Hopefully at the end of this, he won’t have to worry about this anymore.”
Dalton has led the Bengals to the playoffs in each of his four seasons in the NFL but has lost in the first round each time. This past season, Dalton and the Bengals were 3-0 and the 2-2 Patriots were coming off a 41-14 loss in Kansas City. The 43-17 thumping on Oct. 5 at Gillette Stadium by a fired-up Brady left an impression on Dalton, as the Patriots used the meeting as a springboard to fourth Super Bowl title.
Dalton said Sunday it would be great to get another chance to face Brady. If that were to happen, it would be in the AFC playoffs since the Bengals are not on the Patriots’ schedule this season.
“It’d be great,” Dalton said. “He’s obviously a good player and they’re a good team. But you have to play those types of teams if you want to get where you want to go.”
As for his two softball home runs Sunday?
“It’s a lot of fun,” Dalton said. “It’s fun to be out here with everybody. You get to play a softball game. It’s pretty cool.”
|Colts overwhelm shorthanded Bengals, advance to play Broncos||01.04.15 at 4:10 pm ET|
The story remains the same.
For the fourth straight season, the Cincinnati Bengals reach the playoffs and for a fourth straight season, they are one-and-done.
Andrew Luck threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief and Adam Vinatieri kicked four field goals as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Bengals, 26-10, in an AFC wildcard game Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts advance to play Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the AFC divisional round next Sunday at Sports Authority Field in Denver. It will be the first time Manning has faced his former team in the playoffs.
Luck finished 31-of-44 for 376 yards for the Colts, who outgained the Bengals, 482-254.
The Colts took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 2-yard run by Boom Herron but the Bengals answered with their only touchdown of the day, a one-yard run from Jeremy Hill. Vinatieri hit two field goals to put the Colts up, 13-7, as the Bengals defense held Luck without a TD in the red zone.
The Bengals defense then gave their overwhelmed quarterback a fighting chance at halftime. Darqueze Dennard forced a turnover from Herron and converted it into a 57-yard field goal from Mike Nugent with 10 seconds left in the first half, closing the Indianapolis lead to 13-10 at the break.
But Dalton, who finished 18-of-35 for 155 yards, went three-and-out on his first three possessions of the second half, including the opening possession of the half when the Bengals had a chance at momentum. Luck found Moncrief on 36-yard connection in the third quarter and Vinatieri added two more field goals.
The remarkable losing culture continues with the Bengals. Their head coach Marvin Lewis falls to 0-6 in the playoffs. Dalton is now 0-4. And they haven’t won a playoff game since Jan. 1991, a string of seven straight losses in the postseason.
The Bengals have also never won a road playoff game, falling to 0-7 all time.
|Bengals pick off Peyton Manning 4 times, beat Broncos and hand Patriots No. 1 seed in AFC||12.22.14 at 11:50 pm ET|
The Patriots can thank Dre Kirkpatrick and the Bengals for clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Cincinnati defensive backs intercepted Peyton Manning four times, including a game-sealing pick-six by Kirkpatrick with under three minutes left, to lead the Bengals to a 37-28 win over the Broncos Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium. Manning, who had been 8-0 in his career against Cincinnati, was intercepted four times in a game for the sixth time in his career.
“I have to play better,” Manning said to reporters after being picked off four times for the first time since 2010.
The win means the Patriots will have home field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl, while the Bengals clinched a playoff berth for a fourth straight season. Cincinnati improved to 10-4-1 and will play Pittsburgh next Sunday night in Pittsburgh for the AFC North title. Denver had a chance to clinch a first-round bye with a win. Now, the Bengals could finish No. 2 and earn a bye if they beat the Steelers and the Broncos lose to the Raiders.
Another result of the Cincinnati win is that the Patriots will play the Bills at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gillette since that game has no playoff implications.
Andy Dalton spotted the Broncos an early 7-0 lead when he overthrew A.J. Green on a pass over the middle. The ball went off his outstretched hands and into the arms of former Patriot Aqib Talib. The cornerback fell to the ground to make the catch, got up and returned it 21 yards for a pick-6 and a Broncos lead. Green suffered an upper right arm injury on a hit from T.J. Ward, and was extremely limited and ineffective the rest of the game.
But from there, the Bengals defense dominated the rest of the first half. The Bengals held Manning off the scoreboard while scoring 20 straight points.
Rookie Jeremy Hill broke off an 85-yard run on the first play after Talib’s interception return and the Bengals added a Mike Nugent field goal and a short 2-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals held a 20-7 halftime lead when Connor Barth missed a 49-yard field goal at the end of the half.
|Report: MRI reveals pectoral muscle tear, ending the season for Ryan Mallett||11.24.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
Ryan Mallett‘s first chance as an NFL starting quarterback lasted just two weeks.
An MRI performed Monday on the Houston Texans quarterback revealed a torn right pectoral muscle that he played through in Sunday’s 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The news was first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
The former back-up to Tom Brady, who is a free agent after this season, suffered the injury in his first career start Nov. 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He practiced fully all week but was on the injury report with a chest injury throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
In his first start Nov. 16 in Cleveland, Mallett completed 20 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He had the 10th-best rating of any Texans starting quarterback since 2001. On Sunday against the Bengals, Mallett completed only 21 of 45 passes and looked off target all afternoon.
Mallett won the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick just before their bye week in early November as head coach Bill O’Brien turned to the quarterback he coached in New England in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots traded Mallett to the Texans on Aug. 31 after spending the first three years of his career in New England. Mallett threw only four passes in those three years.
The Texans acquired him for a conditional draft pick. The pick is a sixth-rounder if Mallett plays 40 percent of the team’s snaps this season and a seventh-rounder if he plays less.
‘ Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 24, 2014
What a terrible blow for Mallett. Started first game and played well against Browns then played hurt and lost for season.
‘ John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 24, 2014
Torn pec for Mallett ends his season, but good chance of return. It’s not a “chest” injury as much as a “shoulder” injury, anatomically.
‘ Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) November 24, 2014
|Tom Brady ‘can’t put a price tag’ on satisfaction after Patriots’ blowout win||10.06.14 at 2:30 am ET|
FOXBORO — This time when Tom Brady came out of the game for Jimmy Garoppolo, he was feeling nothing but pure satisfaction as the back-up took a knee to end New England’s 43-17 thrashing of the not-ready-for-primetime Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
How things can change in just six days.
Brady was 23-of-35 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and a season-best QB rating of 110.7. From the moment he came onto the field to his “PSA” anthem from Jay-Z, Brady was yelling and fired up. And it translated into the most dominating performance at a time when the Patriots needed it the most.
The Patriots were fired up during and after the game, celebrating a sense of relief in the locker room after the most significant regular season win in recent memory.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our team,” Brady said. “We try not to get caught up in that stuff and I think you just focus on the things you can control. To ride the ups and downs of, ‘You’re great. You suck. You’re great. You suck,’ it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting enough when you’re winning to have to deal with those things and when you lose, it sucks for everybody. We don’t play this game to go out there and not play well. Guys take it to heart. I think guys worked really hard this week to get prepared for tonight. Like I said, it was a great opportunity for us to come out and show what we’re made of.
“You know, we get paid to play football. We get paid to play it well, actually. So, we should go out there and play really well. We work really hard all year round for these moments and what we experience in the locker room after that win, you can’t put a price tag on that.”
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