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  • Film Room: Is Michael Jordan better at guard or center?
    by Matt Minich on May 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Comparing Michael Jordan’s performance as a center in 2018 and a guard in 2017. Let’s talk about Michael Jordan. No, not the famous actor from Creed and Black Panther or even the famous actor from Space Jam. This Michael Jordan was one of the Bengals’ fourth-round picks in 2019. Jordan probably first caught the Bengals’ eye when the team scouted 2018 first-Round pick Billy Price. The two played right next two each other on the Ohio State offensive line in 2017, with Price at center and Jordan at left guard. When Price left, Jordan slid into his role as center for the 2018 season. Because Jordan is more likely to see the field as a guard in Cincinnati and many people believe that he played better as a guard than he did as a center, I evaluated film on Jordan from both 2017 and 2018. Let’s take a look. Pass Blocking In 2018 Jordan had frequent issues with his ability to anchor, or hold his ground in pass protection. This problem was particularly bad when he faced a head up nose tackle (0-technique) who utilized a power pass rush. In this clip, he is the center and gets bull-rushed straight into the backfield causing quarterback Dwayne Haskins to have to scramble which, regardless of what Stephen A. Smith says, is not how Haskins makes plays. This happened to Jordan too often in 2018, and although it did not lead to a ton of sacks, the quarterback often had to move in the pocket or was not able to step into a pass as a result. Jordan has a lot of issues with his lower body. He plays too high and needs to squat down to lower his center of gravity. He also has a tendency to stop his feet and let them get too wide. These are fixable issues, and ones that offensive line coach Jim Turner will need to help him work on. Bull rushed pic.twitter.com/kH3zd5qL7l— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 At left guard in 2017, Jordan showed some very good things in pass protection. At the guard position he never faced a head up defender and primarily blocked players who were lined up shaded into the A gap to his inside or the B gap to his outside. In the clip below, Jordan steps down into the A gap to block the pass rusher. When the defender crosses his face into the B gap, Jordan stays with him. His feet are excellent on this play as he slides to stay in front of the defender. He also does a great job of resetting his hands as the pass rusher moves. LG Michael Jordan pic.twitter.com/mrKM9WAW5j— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 This is another 2017 clip of Jordan in pass protection. Here, the defender crosses his face from the B-gap into the A-gap. Jordan engages, but as the defender spins back to the outside, Jordan is able to adjust well. He sits his butt back and slides to the outside, taking away the defender’s pass rush lane. This is an excellent display of balance and footwork by Jordan. Nice pic.twitter.com/yH8YMkZYrO— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 Once again at left guard in 2017, Jordan faces a similar challenge from a defensive tackle twist. This is a half man/half slide protection with the left side in man protection and the rest of the offensive line sliding to the right. Jordan is the left guard and is responsible for the 3-technique. As he stunts into the A-gap, Jordan steps down to protect the gap. He has his eyes up and is able to see that the 1-technique has looped around to the left. Jordan passes the 3-technique off to Price and slides back to the left to pick up the looping defensive tackle. This is an awesome job of not only seeing the defensive stunt, but understanding the adjustment that was required in the protection. Twist pic.twitter.com/wmpiLojsDn— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 Run Blocking Jordan shows excellent strength as a run blocker. Here at center in 2018, he is able to drive the nose tackle back two yards, before knocking him down to create a seam for the J.K. Dobbins touchdown run. Jordan engages with the defender and rolls his hips through for power. Once he gets his feet moving, he is able to drive the defender back. He has the strength to get movement in the run game and open up rushing lanes for Joe Mixon and company. Fight pic.twitter.com/o8EdFgX5Ws— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 Jordan has an excellent feel for coming off of double team blocks. Here, he is lined up at left guard in this clip from 2017. It is a midline play where quarterback J.T. Barrett is reading 4i lineman inside of the left tackle. Jordan is responsible for the middle linebacker, but first needs to help Price get the 0-technique out of the gap. He executes this perfectly and comes off to the line backer just in the nick of time, to open up the hole for Dobbins. Combo pic.twitter.com/0w2mm8yEkD— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 With Jordan at center in 2018, the Buckeyes ran a wide zone play to the left. He started on a path towards a combo block on the play side defensive tackle. When the backside linebacker blitzed the A gap, Jordan almost instinctively came off to pick him up. Interesting pic.twitter.com/NALjZlUdXu— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 Jordan can struggle in space at times. This 2018 clip of him at center shows him climbing to the second level, but failing to make the block. He often takes angles that lead him to be just slightly out of position. 2nd level pic.twitter.com/3GDfAjqcfJ— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 20, 2019 Popular opinion is that Jordan is a much better at guard than he is at center and at least in pass protection the film supports it. Jordan has a problem with his anchor, particularly against head up bull rushers, but when he lines up at guard, he does not see that. He has very good balance, footwork, and hands which helps him to adjust to twists, stunts, and speed pass rush moves. He also appears to have a strong understanding of pass protections and sees the adjustments that need to be made during the play. Jordan is a good run blocker from the guard or center position. He is adept at coming off of double teams at the right time, but can get beat by the speed of a flowing linebacker. Overall, his mental processing and athletic ability are his strongest attributes as a pass blocker. As a run blocker, he is very good at combo blocks, but struggles to get into position on linebackers when the ball is run wide. As a rookie, Jordan is unlikely to see the field at either position, but with more development, he could be an asset for years to come. […]

  • Bengals News (5/24): Marvin Lewis lists his mansion on the market
    by John Sheeran on May 24, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Are you in the market for a mansion in suburban Cincinnati? If you are, you’re in luck. Marvin moves out: Longtime Bengals coach puts Indian Hill mansion on the marketWho Dey say going to buy Marvin Lewis’ house? If you’ve got a cool couple million dollars lying around, it could be you. Play Action Passing is Key for the 2019 BengalsA clearer picture of what Zac Taylor's Bengals offense will look like is emerging. Andy Dalton's performance on play action downs will make or break the unit. With two years of experience and a clean bill of health, Carl Lawson can emerge as one of the NFL's finest young pass-rushers | NFL Analysis | Pro Football FocusWe're spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the league's most exciting young pass-rusher, but with now with two years under his belt, Carl Lawson has all the potential to take that crown. Examining the most improved offensive lines after the 2019 NFL Draft | NFL Analysis | Pro Football FocusLead Draft Analyst Mike Renner looks at three offensive lines that were significantly strengthened by the 2019 NFL Draft, including the Cincinnati Bengals. Hobson’s Choice Podcast: Brian CallahanIn the latest Hobson’s Choice Podcast, Bengals.com Senior Writer Geoff Hobson sits down with offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to discuss a variety of topics like the scheme, personnel moves and how the returning players will be utilized in the new system. Around the League Nick Bosa out with hamstring; Ward breaks collarbone - NFL.comNiners defensive end Nick Bosa is dealing with a Grade 1 hamstring strain and will be held out of practice for the next few weeks while receiving treatment. Meanwhile, Jimmie Ward could be out for longer. Ndamukong Suh's deal with Bucs worth up to $10M - NFL.comThe Bucs made it official on Thursday: Ndamukong Suh is coming to Tampa Bay. The team announced it has agreed to terms with the veteran defensive tackle. Suh can make up to $10M in 2019. Jerry not expecting NFL to discipline ElliottCowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn't expect RB Ezekiel Elliott to face any punishment from the NFL pertaining to an incident with security at an event in Las Vegas. Jets' Gase -- 'Ridiculous' to consider trading BellJets coach Adam Gase hinted he wasn't a fan of what the Jets paid for Le'Veon Bell in free agency, but he said he is "excited" to have the running back on his roster and isn't thinking about trading him. Alvin Kamara, Ted Ginn and many other NFL players to race in 40-yard dash tournament - CBSSports.com40 Yards of Gold is hosting a bracket to determine the fastest player in professional football. […]

  • A.J. Green has sky-high expectations for Bengals offense
    by NathanBeighle on May 24, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Green believes in the Zac Taylor-led offense. After a full recovery from a season-ending toe injury, the Bengals star receiver, A.J. Green, has high expectations for the Zac Taylor-led offense. Per Bengals.com, Green explained why his expectations for the offense are almost unreasonably high. “The sky’s the limit for this offense,” Green said. “I feel like this offense mirrors a lot when we had Jay. A lot of deep shots and a lot of stuff like that. It could be big. It could be a big year.” Hearing “a lot of deep shots” is music to the ears of Cincinnati fans who haven’t seen many big-time plays since the exodus of Carson Palmer. The Bengals were in the bottom-ten of the NFL in yards per play last season at just 5.3. That said, let’s hope the Taylor can revive Dalton’s career after he went down and missed the last few games of 2018, having one of the more inefficient seasons of his career. Both Dalton and Green appear to be at full strength now after missing numerous games last season. However, it’s a new coaching staff and with the new staff comes a rejuvenated spirit in the locker room. That energized spirit has apparently found its way to Green, and being one of the team’s main leaders on the field and in the locker room, his view towards the staff and teammates is of utmost importance. Coming off the most unproductive season of his career, Green will be looking to breakout in 2019. Green’s success will heavily depend on the success of the team’s rookie head coach. If Taylor brings anything that he learned from the dynamic LA Rams offense, the Bengals should be in for a phenomenal season on the offensive side of the ball. […]

  • Gerald McCoy is optimistic about the Bengals
    by John Sheeran on May 23, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    There’s a reason why McCoy has the Bengals on his short list of potential suitors. Yesterday, it was reported by ESPN’s Dianna Russini that the Bengals are interested in signing free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Now, we know there is some form of mutual interest from McCoy’s side. According to Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, McCoy will consider the Bengals as a potential landing spot due to his belief that they will improve this season: He also believes the Bengals will be a lot better this year, which has them still in the running. Before Cincinnati has a chance to reel in McCoy, Cleveland will have first dibs. McCoy is scheduled to visit with the Browns tomorrow. John Dorsey on Gerald McCoy: “He’s coming to visit Cleveland tomorrow.” #Browns pic.twitter.com/iKeavxNu72— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) May 23, 2019 Cabot also mentioned that the Ravens are on McCoy’s short list of teams he’s interested in signing with. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo also broke that the Panthers could be in the mix with the Bengals as well. Free agent DT Gerald McCoy has told interested teams he will visit the #Browns first, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Visit to happen in the next day. Among the other interested teams in the former #Buccaneers lineman are the #Panthers and #Bengals.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) May 23, 2019 There is no scheduled visit set between McCoy and the Bengals, but it’s good to hear that the they may actually have a shot at signing him if things don’t work out in Cleveland. The only connection McCoy has with the Bengals is Mark Duffner. Duffner was hired as a senior defensive assistant for new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, but spent the last three seasons with Buccaneers as their linebackers coach. Following a loss to the Falcons in Week 5 of last season, Duffner was promoted to defensive coordinator and became the last one McCoy played under in Tampa Bay. Perhaps it’s Duffner who is advocating to bring in McCoy. Nevertheless, the odds of McCoy signing with a team in Ohio have increased. […]

  • Tyler Boyd has no issue practicing despite looming contract negotiations
    by PatrickJudis on May 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Tyler Boyd doesn’t want to be one of those players who doesn’t show up to voluntary workouts because he doesn’t have a long-term contract in place. Tyler Boyd is coming off the best season of his young career. He was the Bengals’ second-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but after a promising rookie campaign, Boyd slid into virtual irrelevance for most of the 2017 season. Everything came together last year when he topped 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in only 14 games. Now, we are at that point where Boyd is entering the final year of rookie contract. Boyd and the Bengals have less than a year until the 24-year old becomes an unrestricted free agent in the 2020 offseason. That is something that Boyd doesn’t want. If it were up to him, he’d stay in Cincinnati. “I want to be here,” Boyd told Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. “I think they feel that and know that. In my feeling, I think it is going to be done before camp. But ain’t no telling. I’m just going to continue to keep being patient and trust the process.” Even when that is the case, it is pretty common to see players skip voluntary workouts or even training camp in order to secure a second contract. Not only does that motivate the team to get the deal done so the player returns to practice, it helps prevent putting the player into a more obvious risk of injury at such a crucial time of negotiations. History with the Bengals have show that they want to get contract extensions done before the start of the regular season, so this is a very crucial time period for Boyd, but he doesn’t want to follow that path of sitting out. He wants his intentions to be clear. “I’m just trying to do what’s right,” Boyd said. “I’m going to be a team player and go out there and work my tail off. I’m not going to try to skip out on reps or miss a day. That’s the best approach to it. Typically, a guy trying to come out to a season saying, ‘you have to pay me,’ it shows where the care is going. He is a ‘me’ guy. Or, you are still working and going to be a team guy. I am not trying to strategize and make it seem like I’m just trying to do what’s right (to get a deal done), that’s just the way I am.” It is great for the Bengals that Boyd feels this way. It also helps show what kind of player he is to the rest of the team. Just because a player takes into account his financial interests during contract negotiations doesn’t make him less of a team player. At the end of the day, it is all well and good that you want to put your best foot forward as a player, but if you were to get seriously injured it isn’t like any NFL team is going to take that good will into account. Boyd proved last season that he can be the player Cincinnati thought they were getting in on Day 2 of the draft three years ago. It will just be a matter of how much that’s worth. […]

 

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