Re-introduce yourself to the Bengals’ latest X-Factor because they’ve got a lot of them on offense.
Since 2013, here are Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s numbers when wide receiver Marvin Jones is paired opposite Pro Bowler A.J Green:
A 62.6 completion percentage at 7.6 yards per attempts for 41 TDs and 21 picks and a passer rating of 93.2. That’s compared to career numbers of 61.8 percent, 7.1 yards per attempts and an 86.7 rating.
And in games they combine for a TD since 2013, like they did in Sunday’s 28-24 victory in Baltimore, the Bengals are 8-1.
Jones is fast, tough, has great hands and defenses have to treat him almost as delicately as Green. On Sunday’s first drive he made a nice leaping catch on third-and-six when Dalton let him come back for it on the left sideline for a 32-yard play. And his one-handed catch on the last drive down the right sideline when he fried cornerback Kyle Arrington for 31 yards is now a part of Bengals lore.
Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson confirmed that Monday when he indicated Hill's benching in favor of Giovani Bernard in the third quarter of the 24-19 victory was only temporary.
"Yeah, I'll put him back in. It's a new game," Jackson said. "That one's over and done with. We're 2-0, so we're moving on. We're moving on to the next game."
"Jeremy will be fine," head coach Marvin Lewis said. "He will get back at it and earn our trust as it goes. But we can't have the ball on the ground."
Twice in last weekend's game, Hill lost his grip on the football during two separate drives. The first time, about halfway through the first quarter, Hill had the football ripped from him as he was being tackled after crossing midfield. With his leg being twisted by the pile that had formed around him, Hill was going down at an awkward angle when linebacker Donald Butler yanked the ball out of his hands. This is at least good news for owners of Hill. It may be worth it to swing a deal for Bernard if at all possible as he proved to be a capable handcuff should Hill's fumbling problems continue, or he gets hurt.
After the third, a quarterback sneak, Dalton left the game with what the team called a neck injury. He was examined on the sideline by trainers and then remained on the sideline but didn’t return to the game. At halftime, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Dalton is fine and taking him out of the game was a precautionary measure.
This is probably nothing to worry about, but it's something to monitor over the next week. Dalton may be poised for a bounceback season now that all of his major weapons are healthy.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 4:43pm
One day after their 25-11 loss at Tampa Bay, the Cincinnati Bengals cut a trio of reserves as they start whittling their way down to the regular season's 53-man roster limit.
Third-team quarterback Josh Johnson was the player with the most name recognition, released outright to free agency.
After receiving 57 snaps in the preseason-opening win over the New York Giants, Johnson didn't get on the field Monday. Part of that was the product of the Bengals struggling to get into an offensive rhythm with starting quarterback Andy Dalton at the helm. In order to get him to end his night on a positive a note, the Bengals left their first-team offense in the game until it finally moved the ball for a field goal just before halftime.
AJ McCarron, the No. 2 quarterback who spent nearly all of last season on injury lists with a shoulder ailment, played the entire second half. Johnson's release appears a clear sign the Bengals are planning to go with Dalton and McCarron as their two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 8:59am
During the Bengals' preseason opener last Friday, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and quarterback Andy Dalton reached a special point in their player/coach relationship. Jackson called a play and Dalton hated it. So, Dalton did what he thought was right and changed it.
"A lot of people say that's a negative," Jackson said Monday, via ESPN.com. "That's a positive to me. That's where you want your quarterback to be. That's the kind of relationship that you want to have with him where he can feel comfortable and say, 'Not that one.'"
This can be looked at two different ways, but in reality, Bengals fans should like the fact that Dalton is taking more of a command in their offense.
Confidence in a quarterback is essential and it's been a factor visibly missing in some of Dalton's more lackluster performances from the past two years, the story pointed out. And fantasy owners likely all know too well. The piece went on to say this is a massively important season for the future of the Bengals' franchise. Getting the incredibly-elusive playoff win under Marvin Lewis would go a long way toward changing the perception of a good-but-not-great team that has lingered around the AFC North for almost a decade now.
While Jones has been sidelined by a hamstring injury and "general body soreness" early in camp, Eifert has been a revelation.
Quarterback Andy Dalton has used Eifert as a security blanket whenever he needs a big play, per Geoff Hobson of the team's official website, because the former Notre Dame star has been uncoverable since camp opened.
"We got good looks for him and he got open," Dalton said. "It's nice having him out there. He's a smart player who has a great feel for the game. We've been able to hook up for some big plays.
Eifert showed glimpses of his potential with three catches for 37 yards 12 minutes into the Bengals' 2014 opener, only to go down with a season-ending dislocated elbow before the end of the first quarter. With veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham now in Arizona, Eifert's role will expand as one of Dalton's primary targets in the passing game this season. Eifert is 14th on our list and is another at the position who could at least be a streaming option.
With Jermaine Gresham out of the way, Eifert should be a nice late-round pick provided he can stay healthy. He has good size and speed, and showed pretty good hands as a rookie. He only played about 60 percent of the snaps in 2013, and averaged 0.14 FP (PPR) per snap. Extrapolate the same production to 90 percent of the snaps (which is typical for a starting tight end), and Eifert shouldn't have any problem posting top 15 numbers. With solid improvement, he could very well be this year's Jordan Cameron (2013) or Travis Kelce (2014).
If Bengals QB Andy Dalton has the kind of year that OC Hue Jackson envisions, it’s because he’ll be a point guard executing some pretty exotic stuff. After his first season was marred by injuries to both starting wide receivers and a starting tight end, Jackson is itching to unload some Xs and Os.
“We're going to open Pandora's box more,” Jackson said. “We tickled it a little bit last year. We're going to open it up a little bit more this year and be who I think we can be…But I tell you what, the defenses are so good, the defensive players are so good and they disguise all the time, why can't we? It's a chess match, and whoever is not afraid to pull the trigger, pull the trigger. And I'm not afraid, so let's go.”
“I tell people all the time -- close, personal friends of mine -- that was probably my best coaching job. To not have A.J. Green. To not have Tyler Eifert. To not have a healthy Jermaine Gresham to start the season. You lose Kevin Zeitler for a couple games,” Jackson said. “We mixed and matched pretty well last year. Not to the best of what we could have been, but we did a decent job. Obviously a healthy Cincinnati Bengal offensive football team has a chance to be very dynamic….If we can stay healthy, some of those hardened times can turn into some good times.”
Jackson went run-heavy in 2014, which is typical of his style, but we shouldn't ignore the possibility that a healthy A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert could lead to the Bengals taking a more balanced approach in 2015. They were the 5th-most run-heavy team last season after finishing middle-of-the-pack in that category under then-OC Jay Gruden the year before. If Jackson does in fact call more pass plays, it can only help Dalton's fantasy prospects.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 11:02am
Harvey: First, I must say, the "if" is a big qualifier. Obviously, every team comes into each new season believing "if" it can stay healthy it has a chance to truly be great. In Cincinnati's case, I really do believe that some measure of greatness can be achieved assuming at least near-complete health this season.
Injuries derailed many of the Bengals' hopes in 2014, with receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, tight ends Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, offensive linemen Andre Smith and Kevin Zeitler, and running back Giovani Bernard missing significant chunks of the season. Had the Bengals been able to get a couple games back where those players weren't injured, they might have won an extra regular-season game, and perhaps they would have had a better shot in the playoff game at Indianapolis. Because of the qualifier "if," it's hard to guess about the unknown. But here's the thing: On paper, the Bengals are poised to be every bit as good as the 2013 team. That year's offense ranked 10th. Last year's was 15th. The Bengals certainly will be more improved this season.
It's also year two under offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, which should help. Jeremy Hill has emerged as a bell cow rusher and the team expects to have healthy weapons in the passing game. The story added the team better understands how to rotate Hill and Bernard at RB. Where the 2013 and 2015 offenses will differ is in the way that they play. Two years ago, Cincinnati had a pass-heavy system that put a lot of pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton's shoulders. This season, the Bengals will use Hill and Bernard to pace the offense.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Bengals coaches are as confident in Marvin Jones' health and style of play as you've undoubtedly read in recent days. Receivers coach James Urban is among the most impressed. He told me a couple days ago that this spring was "baptism by fire" as it pertained to Jones. It was all about getting the rust off the wide out by putting him through every scenario he should face this season. Urban was pleased with what he saw, as was Jones. He was quick and crisp in his routes and started sharpening his timing with quarterback Andy Dalton by the end of the minicamp that concluded Thursday.
Health-wise, Jones told me Thursday he has no lingering effects of the foot and ankle injuries that held him out all of last season. He feels perfectly fine and made it through the practices without any issues. I think it's safe to say Jones is back.
Jones was one of our favorite sleepers last summer, but his season was derailed by an ankle injury. His 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns resulted in the 3rd-highest FP/T in 2013. He’s poised to surprise if he can prove he’s fully healthy and win the starting job opposite A.J. Green. Mohamed Sanu played pretty well last season but he struggled with drops, and Jones was ahead of Sanu when disaster struck. Both players are free agents after the season, so this is one of the more interesting camp battles to monitor this summer. One thing to note: Sanu only saw an average of 5.2 targets in the 12 games in which Green played, so Cincinnati’s WR2 it wasn’t a high-volume role in OC Hue Jackson’s run-oriented offense. That could change if Jones wins the job, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Saturday, April 4, 2015, 1:44pm
For the fourth time since free agency opened last month, the Bengals have re-signed a player who had left and gone away. On Thursday it was Josh Johnson, quarterback Andy Dalton’s backup from 2013, after he signed a one-year deal that figures to be for near the minimum.
The Bengals were thought to be interested in re-signing 2014 backup Jason Campbell, but there was talk he has been considering retirement and the Bengals moved back to Johnson, a seven-year veteran turning 29 next month.
All signs have been pointing to A.J. McCarron still getting dibs on the backup spot that has been manned by three different players under Dalton.
“I’ve got the green light to do anything and everything I need to do to get back to where I need to be,” Bengals WR Marvin Jones texted Thursday after another workout. “I’ve been surprised at the progress I’ve made in only going on my second week training and at the rate I’m going I’m sure I will be in game shape very soon.”
Jones was one of our favorite sleepers heading into the season, but ankle and foot injuries made it a "lost year" for the talented wideout. Mohamed Sanu stepped in and shined as the team's WR2 opposite A.J. Green. If Jones and TE Tyler Eifert make a full recovery, Andy Dalton will have a nice group of receivers to target in 2015.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Bengals QB Andy Dalton (illness) was removed from the injury report Friday after taking full practice reps Thursday. Dalton will be fine for a big game against Pittsburgh.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 12:05pm
It certainly would follow Ravens QB Joe Flacco's trend of exploiting bad secondaries this season. In four games against pass defenses ranked in the bottom 10, Flacco has completed 65.9 percent of his throws and has averaged 281.5 yards passing. He has thrown 10 touchdowns and three interceptions for a 112.0 passer rating. The Saints are the NFL's ninth-worst pass defense, and they looked even worse in allowing Andy Dalton to regain his confidence.
The biggest concern with Flacco's inconsistency is he typically has his "down" games on the road. Since the start of the 2013 season, Flacco's passer rating on the road is 73.1, the fifth worst in the NFL over that span.
Green will see a doctor again on Friday according to the Tweet, so we likely won't know more about Green until then. However, it sounds like owners need to prepare to be without him in Week 7. Mohamed Sanu had a monster game with a 10-120-1 line in Week 6. Andy Dalton spread the ball around as Dane Sanzenbacher and Brandon Tate were involved with four catches each and Jermaine Gresham even had six catches and 68 yards. Cincy does have an early afternoon game at Indy Week 7 and it's possible Marvin Jones returns.
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