Cincinnati Bengals Rumors & News

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/22/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Patriots are promoting defensive end Geneo Grissom to the active roster, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Pats have been paying Grisson handsomely by taxi squad standards – $36,716 per week – and they think rather highly of the former third-round pick. Given the way the Pats’ pass rush was depleted over the offseason, they could use his production. The 25-year-old has appeared in 26 games for the Patriots over the last two years but has yet to really make a mark.
  • The Browns have promoted practice squad wide receiver Jordan Leslie in advance of Sunday’s game (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Given Corey Coleman’s injury, Leslie should be in for some playing time. To make room, Cleveland waived wide receiver Reggie Davis.
  • The Bengals have waived wide receiver Jake Kumerow from injured reserve.

Which 0-2 Team Is Likeliest To Rebound?

Nearly three-quarters of NFL teams are in the win column this year while nine teams still in search of their first W. However, starting out 0-2 is not a death sentence. In each of the last four seasons, at least one 0-2 team has made the playoffs. In 2015, two teams (the Texans and Seahawks) both made the postseason, despite an 0-2 start to the year.

In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, we want to know which team you think will turn over a new leaf starting in Week 3. Here’s the rundown:

Chicago Bears

The Bears took the defending NFC champion Falcons to the brink in Week 1, and though Week 2’s contest against the Buccaneers wasn’t as close, Chicago has shown signs of life. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen has emerged as a threat in the passing game following injuries to wideouts Cameron Meredith and Kevin White, and he could potentially former a thunder-and-lightning combination with Jordan Howard. Signal-caller Mike Glennon is 18th in quarterback rating and 22nd in adjusted net yards per attempt, so the calls for No. 2 overall selection Mitch Trubisky could come quickly.

Cincinnati Bengals

Moreso than any other team on this list, the Bengals have acted quickly to rectify their early-season woes, firing offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after they failed to score a touchdown in either of their first two games. Things won’t get any easier when Cincinnati travels to Green Bay in Week 3, but perhaps new offensive play-caller Bill Lazor will further implement rookies John Ross and Joe Mixon into the club’s gameplan. Additionally, Lazor will reportedly seek to install a quicker offense that will alleviate the Bengals’ offensive line concerns.

Cleveland Browns

2017 had always been viewed as another rebuilding season for the Browns, but Cleveland has been relatively competitive through two games (especially in Week 1, when it lost to Pittsburgh by only a field goal). A supposedly revamped offensive line still ranks near the bottom of the league in both run blocking and pass protection, and the Browns will need continued improvement from quarterback DeShone Kizer if they hope to compete this year. A broken hand for Corey Coleman — and a disappointing start by veteran pass-catcher Kenny Britt — aren’t helping matters, but a return from No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett could spark Cleveland’s defense.

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck won’t practice this week, and although the Colts had been eyeing an early October return for their star quarterback, it’s beginning to seem like it could be longer before we see Luck back on the field. If Indianapolis continues to struggle, will the Colts even bother with putting Luck back into the lineup? General manager Chris Ballard made a handful of low-cost defensive additions this offseason, and if No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis gets healthy, the unit could mesh. But nothing will matter unless Luck can supplant Jacoby Brissett within the next few weeks.

Los Angles Chargers

The Chargers got smashed this week for being unable to fill a soccer stadium for their season opener. We’ll admit that it wasn’t a good look, but things will improve if they start winning and there is reason to believe that can happen soon. The Chargers are winless, but they lost to the Broncos and Dolphins by a combined total of five points. If rookie kicker Younghoe Koo had connected on one of his two missed attempts against Miami or if his 44-yard try against the Broncos was not blocked, the Chargers wouldn’t be on this list.

New Orleans Saints

A top-ten offense and a bottom-two defense by DVOA? We must be talking about the Saints. New Orleans hasn’t started out the season with the easiest schedule in facing the Vikings and Patriots, but improvement on the health front could help their offense in the coming weeks. Left tackle Terron Armstead is reportedly ahead of schedule, and his return could allow rookie Ryan Ramczyk to move to the right side to cover for the injured Zach Strief. Receiver Willie Snead, too, will come back in Week 4 following a suspension. Solutions on defense are less obvious, but development from young players such as corner Marshon Lattimore and linebacker Alex Anzalone is a start.

New York Giants

The Giants have limped out of the gate and head coach Ben McAdoo may be thinking about giving up play calling duties. That’s not the only change that could be coming on offense. Second-year pro Paul Perkins has been averaging just 1.9 yards per carry and the Giants could shake things up by handing things over to Orleans Darkwa, who has 5.2 yards per attempt in a smaller sample size. In theory, that could spark Eli Manning and the passing game, but the offensive line will have to do a better job of protecting its quarterback in order to move the chains.

New York Jets

Wait, wait – hear us out. Yes, the Jets are behind the 8-ball after losing wide receiver Quincy Enunwa for the season and cutting valuable vets like Eric Decker and David Harris. However, they kept the score close in their Week 1 game against the rival Bills and things didn’t get too out of hand against the Raiders until a muffed punt late in the first half. Next up, the Jets have a home date with the Lawrence Timmons-less Dolphins followed by a pair of (dare we say) winnable games against the Browns and Jaguars. We know you won’t pick the Jets, but we hope we at least gave you something to think about.

San Francisco 49ers

Brian Hoyer has been dreadful in his first two games under center for SF and the Niners are hoping that he’ll do better on Thursday night against the Rams. If San Francisco is lucky, defensive tackle Aaron Donald will still be shaking the rust off on national television. However, even if they are able to avoid an 0-3 start, the odds are probably still against this rebuilding club in 2017.

So what do you think? Which of these nine clubs has the best chance to rebound from its poor start in order to earn a postseason berth? Vote in the poll below!

Bengals' Lazor To Run Quicker Offense?

  • Based on his history, it’s likely that Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will look to move the offense quicker with more of a dink-and-dunk approach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com opines (Twitter link). It remains to be seen what the running back rotation will be like. To date, Joe Mixon and Jeremy Hill have not had a lot of carries while Giovani Bernard has drawn the lion’s share of the work. That could change now that Ken Zampese is out and Lazor is calling the plays.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/18/17

Today’s workout update notes:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/18/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: WR Greg Ward
  • Released: T Victor Salako

San Francisco 49ers

Bengals' Tyler Eifert Dealing With Injury

  • Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is battling back and knee injuries and his status for Sunday’s game against Green Bay is uncertain, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). For now, it doesn’t seem like a long-term issue, but it’s a situation worth monitoring given Eifert’s previous health troubles.

Some Bengals Eyeing Kaepernick Signing

A “near mutiny” helped induce the Bengals to fire offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after two games. Although Andy Dalton‘s job is not believed to be in jeopardy as of now, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes the leash might not be especially long for the seventh-year starter. And some Cincinnati players might not all be on board with a simple A.J. McCarron succession strategy. While it would certainly be an off-the-board choice, Florio hears some Bengals players are expressing support for a Colin Kaepernick signing.

The UFA passer has been the NFL’s most discussed player this offseason despite not being affiliated with a team. McCarron’s been a Bengal since 2014 but has never threatened Dalton’s job security, only seeing relevant action after a Dalton injury in 2015. Kaepernick said recently he does want to return to the NFL, and has been training daily for a potential chance. Many players have publicly endorsed the 29-year-old quarterback receiving an opportunity. A Bengals route might be a stretch, though, considering McCarron’s status.

Dalton currently sits on a 55 percent completion percentage and a 0-to-4 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio. The Bengals have not scored a touchdown in two games and have posted just nine points.

"Near Mutiny" Reportedly Led To Ken Zampese's Firing

A “near mutiny” among Bengals players left head coach Marvin Lewis no choice but to fire offensive coordinator Ken Zampese on Friday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. The Bengals’ best offensive player, wide receiver A.J. Green, was part of the unhappy bunch, notes Florio, though Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer disputes the notion that there was anything resembling a “mutiny” (Twitter link). There was a disconnect between Zampese and the players, though, Owczarski adds. The Zampese-led Bengals scored a mere nine points in the team’s first two games, both losses, and the offense racked up just 516 yards in that span. Green posted respectable production along the way, picking up 10 receptions for 141 yards, but new O-coordinator Bill Lazor is going to have to involve him (and the Bengals’ other top skill players) in their attack more, Florio observes. Green agrees, having told reporters after Thursday night’s 13-9 loss to Houston: “We are playing like sh– right now. We got to find a way to get our playmakers the ball. That’s it. It’s a superstar-driven league. You are not going to win without them” (via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Enquirer).

More from the AFC:

  • It appears free agent tight end Gary Barnidge‘s stay on the unemployment line will continue. Barnidge worked out for the Texans on Friday, but they’re not going to sign him, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests (on Twitter). The team opted to add tight end MyCole Pruitt to its practice squad after his own Friday tryout. Barnidge carries a more impressive track record than Pruitt and many other tight ends, of course, having logged quality seasons in Cleveland over each of the previous two campaigns. However, the 31-year-old hasn’t been able to find work since the Browns released him after the draft.
  • The Patriots will go without linebacker Dont’a Hightower and wide receiver Danny Amendola in New Orleans on Sunday, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Hightower suffered a right knee injury in the third quarter of Week 1 against the Chiefs, perhaps helping to pave the way for a late-game collapse from New England’s defense. The Patriots yielded 21 fourth-quarter points en route to a 42-27 loss. Amendola, who was the Patriots’ leading receiver against the Chiefs (six catches, 100 yards), is dealing with a concussion and a knee injury. Down Amendola, Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell, the Pats look poised to take on the Saints with Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett as their only options in a suddenly thin receiving corps.
  • The Luckless Colts have settled on a quarterback for Week 2.

Bengals To Fire OC Ken Zampese

The Bengals will fire offensive coordinator Ken Zampese, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Bengals have not scored a touchdown in the first two games of the season and they are hoping a sideline shakeup will give them a jump start. For now, quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor will assume offensive coordinator responsibilities, the team announced.Ken Zampese (vertical)

Head coach Marvin Lewis didn’t exactly offer up support for Zampese after Thursday night’s loss to the Texans.

We have to get better but I’m never going to come in here and tell you anything we’re going to do with one another,” Lewis said when asked about potential staff changes (via Cincinnati.com). “What we do is private to us.”

Zampese was promoted to offensive coordinator last year after Hue Jackson left for the Browns’ head coaching job. Last year, the Bengals finished 13th in total offense under his guidance, but 24th in scoring. His offense left the red zone without a touchdown on nearly half of its red zone tries in 2016 and this year has been even worse. The Bengals are 0-for-6 for TDs in the red zone thus far and that’s a big reason for their 0-2 start.

On paper, the Bengals were poised to have one of the better offenses in the NFL with a competent QB in Andy Dalton, a megastar receiver in A.J. Green, a quality tight end in Tyler Eifert, and an intriguing mix of backfield weapons including Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, and rookie Joe Mixon. The Bengals hope that another OC will be able to get the most out of what they have.

If the former Dolphins OC can’t get the offense going, then Zampese might not be the only coach bounced in Cincinnati this season. After 15 years at the helm, this just might be Marvin Lewis‘ last stand.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/17

Today’s minor roster moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

  • Cut: CB LaDarius Gunter

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Signed: ILB Steven Johnson
  • Cut: LB L.J. Fort