Tag:Antonio Bryant
Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:20 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2010 6:54 pm
 

5 Q's (or more) w/ Cincy WR coach Mike Sheppard

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Bengals were supposed to have one of the best receiving corps in the league. With the addition of Terrell Owens – no matter what you think of him off the field, he can still produce – joining Chad Ochocinco, rookie WR Jordan Shipley and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati successfully fulfilled its offseason mission in providing weapons for QB Carson Palmer.

Why, then, are the Bengals struggling on offense?

This week, we talked to Cincinnati receivers coach Mike Sheppard, who’s been in the organization for the past four years and who previously was the head coach at New Mexico and Long Beach State. We asked him about the addition of Owens, why Ochocinco has scored only once this year and what it’s like to be a Hall of Famer.

1. CBSSports : Coming off a loss and a bye week, you’re one of those teams that – and there are probably 10 teams out there like this – you’re not sure what you’re going to get out of them every week. You just don’t have any idea. Where are you guys right now?

Mike Sheppard : From my standpoint there’s still an adjustment with a lot of the players together. It looks like we have some better players, but in the passing game, in reality, Palmer is throwing to only one guy he’s seen before. Terrell, for all that he’s achieved, he’s still new here. We have a rookie tight end and a rookie slot receiver. For anybody, there’s always that adjustment period. We’re still going through it.

CBS : Obviously, you can’t put a number on how long that lasts, but you’d like to think – we’re in the middle of October – that at some point soon, that adjustment will get to where you want it to be.

Sheppard : Yeah, I think so. It has to happen soon. Everybody is aware of it. Everybody is working hard to continue to play together and learn each other better. Sometimes you can’t construct the experience in practice that they’ll see in a game. It’s a matter of playing together. I think we get a little better each time. It’s a matter of being able to put it all together.

2. CBS : There was a lot of talk in the offseason about Owens and whether anybody wanted him. For a long time, nobody did want him. I know he worked out here(in the offseason, and he was just OK. But now that he’s been here, he seems to be playing well.

Sheppard : He’s been great for me.

CBS : Tell me about that whole thing. I know there was some trepidation in the organization about signing him. It was between him and Antonio Bryant, and you guys signed Bryant originally.

Sheppard : The decision there was more about youth. They’re both good players. At that point, that was that decision. In the beginning, we all felt (Owens) would make us better. That’s been true. For me personally, he’s hungry. He listens. He wants to do it your way. He’s like Chad in both of those guys have had some success doing things that are instinctive. He’s been a hard worker. He’s been a player for us. So far, it’s just a matter of getting that experience with Carson.

3. CBS : How disappointing was the Bryant thing? The team sunk a lot of money into him, and he never got healthy.

Sheppard : All of us were. Not disappointed in him, but disappointed he never kicked that (injury). Now, he’s a football player. He has the right approach. He went hard. He talked, and he backed it up. He would have been an excellent addition if he was physically the player he was in the past.

4. CBS : Chad Ochocinco is struggling a little bit. He’s not getting the ball thrown to him as much as T.O. What’s going on with him?

Sheppard : If I’m not mistaken, he got 12 balls thrown to him in the first game. You look at that, and maybe it’s not so true. He’s had some chances. But things tend to come in bunches. In his case, he hasn’t had the same opportunities that he had that first game. Those are things where it’s a lot more about the opportunities. Everything has to be right to get the ball, not just have the play designed to go to you. It has to be right with the style of coverage they play. Sometimes we call the right play and get the wrong coverage.

CBS : Chad has been one touchdown away from breaking the club record for touchdowns for, like, six weeks. It’s bizarre he’s not scoring touchdowns. It just seems a little odd, because it’s been so prevalent the past six or seven years.

Sheppard : If you look at it, you’re going to be hard-pressed to remember any throws in the end zone to him. He’s the straw that stirs the drink here. He’s the guy that everybody knows we’re going to attempt to get him the football. They start with him (defensively). A lot of it is because they’re aware of Chad and what he’s doing.

CBS : The only one I remember is when Chad was going across the back of the end zone, and it was tipped or he missed it or something like that.

Sheppard : That was a hard deal, because the throw was supposed to go the other way. It can come back to Chad late, but the way it worked out was it was more of a quick scramble by Carson, and as Chad started to come open, Carson had to throw it before he knew where (Ochocinco) was going to be. So, he just took a guess, and it was a little bit overshot.

5. CBS : You went back to your high school last week because you were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Now, when somebody asks you if you’re a Hall of Famer, you can say that you are. Sheppard: It’s such a great honor, especially when you know how many people that were around you that were better than you. You know? Sometimes I think to myself if it isn’t more a recognition of professional achievement as a coach in the NFL.

CBS : You said all three of your kids were there …

Sheppard : Actually, all four were there.

CBS : But that’s got to be a pretty cool to be recognized for something like that.

Sheppard : It’s a great honor. It’s almost embarrassing from the standpoint that really, deep down, you ask how many others are more deserving than you. But yeah, no one will ever appreciate that honor more than I.
Posted on: October 9, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: October 9, 2010 10:06 am
 

Marvin Lewis' future is unknown

Marvin Lewis is in the final year of his five-year contract, and his future is unknown at this point (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It seems likely that most of the Bengals would want to keep playing for coach Marvin Lewis. So, when QB Carson Palmer tells Yahoo! Sports, “He’s done so much to change the atmosphere around here, and we really value him as a coach. I’m not really thinking about Marvin’s contract situation – I’m pretty much just focused on football – but it would be great if they got something done,” that’s what you’d expect him or any of his teammates to say.

Say what you will about Lewis, but his players, for the most part, like him very much.

Lewis is in the final year of his five-year contract with the team. He’s been with the Bengals since 2003, and entering Sunday’s game, he’s led them to a 58-57 record and two AFC North division titles.

But, according to Michael Silver of Y! Sports, Lewis and owner Mike Brown have not engaged in any serious contract extension talks.

You might wonder why, but if you think about it, this scenario is not that outlandish for a couple different reasons.

1) Lewis might not want to stay. The Bengals organization, while sometimes it makes horrendous personnel decisions (for example, giving tons of money to non-factors like Antonio Bryant), is not an especially generous organization.

Brown refuses to build a practice bubble (Cincinnati is the northern-most team without such a building), and during November and December, where it gets cold outside in Cincinnati, the team often has to bus 30-45 minutes into the suburbs to practice at an indoor soccer complex. Considering the Bengals have a sweetheart deal from Hamilton County on Paul Brown Stadium, one could consider this football owner malpractice.

2) Brown might have too much power. He’s the owner, so technically this is allowed. But Brown also refuses to hire a general manager – he actually pays himself a GM bonus – and he makes many of the personnel decisions. While his father, Paul Brown, was a legendary coach and owner, the Bengals have made only two playoff appearances since Paul Brown died in 1991. What does that tell you?

Plus, Brown has very publically overruled his coach. Again, he’s the owner, so he can do what he wants. But when Brown brought back the late Chris Henry in 2008, Lewis already had objected to the move. Brown did it anyway, emasculating Lewis to the locker room.

3) Lewis is popular with the players, but overall, his tenure has been only moderately successful (if you compare him with the Bengals coaches that came before him, though, Lewis has been like Vince Lombardi). While Brown is unfailingly loyal to his coaches – he’s let the worst of the worst coach out their contracts – he might feel he can do better than Lewis if he has to pay somebody $4-5 million a year. If Lewis walks – and he very well could – the Bengals have one of the most-respected up-and-coming assistant coaches in the league in defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Chances of Lewis staying at this point (in my mind): 50-50, maybe 60-40 that he stays.

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Posted on: September 8, 2010 8:40 pm
 

Bryant's agent files grievance against Bengals

Posted by Andy Benoit

Lately, Antonio Bryant has served as the poster child for the ruthless business practices of the NFL. Just about everyone defending holdout stars Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson, Logan Mankins and Marcus McNeil has brought up Bryant’s situation in Cincy. A. Bryant

By now, you know the story: Bryant signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Bengals in spring. Upon his joining the team, it was discovered that the bulky knee that prompted Tampa Bay to release Bryant was still an issue. (Presumably a bigger issue than the Bengals realized.) The Bengals went out and signed Terrell Owens. A few weeks later, they released Bryant.

Now, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Bryant’s agent, Lamont Smith, has filed a $3.1 million grievance against the Bengals. Smith says the club is still obligated to pay $1.55 million in base salary and $1.55 million in roster bonus, despite the fact that Bryant was let go before the season.

It should be noted that Bryant is not a poor victim here (literally – he’s not poor). He has already pocketed $7.85 million from the club in guarantees. It may seem greedy for him to go after another $3.1 million, but hey, he of all people can tell you, the NFL is a business.
Schefter writes, “The Bengals have seven days to respond to the grievance and decide whether they want to settle. If they don't, the case would go to the NFL Players Association and NFL management council for a ruling.”

Bryant hopes to join an NFL team this season, though according to his agent, he is at least four weeks away from being ready to play.

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Posted on: September 5, 2010 11:12 am
 

A dead money debate

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Mark Kizla of the Denver Post analyzes the moves (mistakes) Broncos coach Josh McDaniels has made in the past year.

First, he traded up to draft Alphonso Smith in the first round, meaning the Broncos gave him a $2.15 million signing bonus. Then, Denver gave Jarvis Green $3.25 million guaranteed. Then, the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow after trading for QB Brady Quinn to back up Kyle Orton.

So, where do the Broncos stand after Saturday?

Smith was traded to the Lions. Green was cut. Quinn has looked horrendous this preseason.

And Kizla is not impressed:

We salute McDaniels for not letting his ego get in the way of ushering Smith and Green to the exit.

But McDaniels had better be right on first-round draft picks Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers, Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow. If the Broncos fail to develop anything less than two Pro Bowl players from that quartet in the coming years, then the 34-year-old McDaniels will be long gone from Denver before his hair turns gray.

All of this raised the ire of the Mile High Report, a Broncos blog, on Twitter.

With Smith, Green and the $600,000 in bonuses paid to Brandon Stokley – placed on the IR list until he’s healthy enough to be cut – that’s about $6 million of dead money for the Broncos this season. But as the blog points out, that’s less than what Seattle will pay for T.J. Houshmandzadeh (cut Saturday and owed $7 million guaranteed) and Cincinnati has paid Antonio Bryant (released and paid $8 million).

The MHR makes a good point, but Kizla’s point is well taken also. McDaniels has made some high-profile moves in his short tenure, and some of those moves have not turned out well. If his decisions continue to haunt him and his squad, he won’t be around for the long-term.

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 2:02 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 2:19 pm
 

Derrick Ward released by Bucs

Posted by Will Brinson

'Tis the season of releasing over-priced, recent free agent purchases -- shortly after the Bengals dumped Antonio Bryant, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped Derrick Ward on Tuesday, the team announced.

Ward was signed to a four-year, $17 million deal after blowing up in New York running behind Brandon Jacobs.

Of course, the Bucs at least got a season out of Ward, but rumblings that he might be cut had been simmering for a while now -- he had a disappointing season last year and the team wasn't thrilled with the shape he was in heading into 2010.

The Bucs had said all along there would be competition at the running back position, and it would appear that Ward wasn't good enough to warrant a spot on the roster.

Now, they've cut him, leaving Kareem Huggins as the backup for Cadillac Williams.

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 9:59 am
 

Hot Routes 8.31.10: No retractions here

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Lawyers for Chargers WR Vincent Jackson are demanding a retraction from the San Diego Union-Tribune after publishing a story in which it claimed Jackson was receiving financial support from his agents while he’s not in training camp. Pro Football Talk has the story. I’ll refrain from saying anything more, because I certainly don’t want to receive any kind of correspondence from Jackson’s lawyers.

- Buccaneers starting QB Josh Freeman had the cast from his thumb removed , and Tampa Bay says he’s right on schedule to return for the season opener. When your backups are Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter, that’s a pretty good piece of news.

- Browns rookie RB Montario Hardesty finally will make his preseason debut Thursday, and to say his teammates are interested in seeing how he produces is a bit of an understatement. Though Jerome Harrison downplays it in this story, I’m sure he’s more interested than just about anybody.

- Former Bengals LB Rashad Jeanty, who was released by Cincinnati on Monday after failing a physical, is known as a good dude in the locker room and a great teammate. But man, his agents are pissed with the team’s training staff. This does not make Cincinnati’s trainers look very good, especially coming on the heels of the Antonio Bryant disaster.

- Before I read this story, I didn’t give credence to the thought that Vikings backup QB Tarvaris Jackson’s No. 2 job might be in jeopardy to Sage Rosenfels. Apparently, coach Brad Childress agrees. He says nothing most likely will change on his depth chart at the QB spot.

- Raiders QB Jason Campbell participated in Oakland’s walk-through on Monday and he performed the same drills as all other quarterbacks. Campbell suffered a “stinger” and a wrist injury during last Saturday’s game against San Francisco.

- Former Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is officially a member of the next season of “Dancing with the Stars.” I don’t think he’ll be the odds-on favorite to win the competition, though. After all, Jennifer Grey from “Dirty Dancing” also is competing.

-Packets OLB Brad Jones likely only will play in one preseason game because the shoulder he injured Aug. 19 still is giving him problems. But despite the fact he’s been fitted with a shoulder harness, he says he feels great about where he stands. In fact, he said his new piece of equipment makes him look a little like Robocop. And as we all know, Robocop was pretty badass.

- It’s a big day for former Ohio State star RB Maurice Clarett, as he’s signed with the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks . The NFL dream lives on. Not bad for a guy who spent more than three years in prison.

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Posted on: August 29, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2010 2:04 pm
 

Antonio Bryant released by Bengals, Coles by Jets

Posted by Will Brinson

The Bengals somehow found themselves overstocked at the previously thin wideout position, and many wondered if they regretted signing Antonio Bryant as a free agent in the offseason. The answer appears to be "yes," because the team announced today that they have released Bryant, a move that has been anticipated for a few days .

That's according to the official Bengals' Twitter feed, where they announced that "Antonio Bryant released along with Mike Windt."

The Maxwell adage about being "big enough to admit mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them" has never been so true -- the Bengals overpaid for Bryant (when they could have just signed eventual Bengal Terrell Owens in the first place) and once they got Owens and rookie Jordan Shipley on board, realized they didn't need him.

With his health issues clearly too much for him to overcome in order to get on the football field, they apparently decided the best move was simply to cut him and move on.

Bryant will go down as one of the worst Bengals' personnel decisions in a few years (which is almost epically impressive), because, even provided that they reach some sort of settlement with him, he never saw the field for Cincy. And while Andre Smith -- to name another recent blunder -- is a jiggling pile of draft day embarrassment, at least he wasn't the equivalent of flushing several million dollars down the toilet, like Bryant.Upd

Update (1:45) : I somehow forgot to mention that Laveranues Coles was cut by the Jets. Which means it's gotta be a fun day to say "I make front office decisions for Cincinnati."

Update (2:00) : Joe Reedy reports that LaMont Smith, Bryant's agent, intends to pursue Bryant's base salary of $1.55 million for this year, saying, "Our opposition is you can’t cut a guy if he’s hurt. We know what the rules are. We expect to be paid his salary for the year."

So that should be a very cordial discussion and an easy million and a half to get from the Bengals.

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Posted on: August 26, 2010 2:16 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 9:35 am
 

Bengals set to release WR Antonio Bryant

Posted by Andy Benoit
A. Bryant
Bob Glauber of Newsday reports that the Bengals are about to release wide receiver Antonio Bryant. This comes just months after the Bengals signed Bryant to a four-year, $28 million contract. Bryant’s bad knee turned out to be worse than originally expected (the bad knee was a large reason why the Bucs released Bryant early in the offseason).

Details are not yet known, but we imagine there has to be some sort of injury settlement involved. We’ll keep you posted.

Less than 24 hours ago, Bryant said he was “really close” to being healthy again. The Bengals, obviously, think otherwise. (It’s easy to think otherwise when you have a star No. 2 receiver like Terrell Owens, an improving young possession receiver like Andre Caldwell and an intriguing third-round rookie like Jordan Shipley.)

For Bryant, this could be the end of an up-and-down career. He was one of the most acclaimed wide receivers in the country at Pitt, but attitude concerns dropped him to the third round of the 2002 draft, where he was selected by the Cowboys. He showed flashes of brilliance in Dallas but butted heads with Bill Parcells (the wrong man to butt heads with).

After being released during the 2004 season, Bryant spent time with the Browns and 49ers, flashing more brilliance but also an alarming temper and lack of maturity. He fell out of football completely in 2007. Having ostensibly learned a few lessons, Bryant returned in 2008 and posted over 1,200 yards for the Buccaneers. But last season, Bryant’s knee betrayed him.

Now 29, Bryant finds himself with millions in the bank but a steep uphill climb if he wants to continue his career.

UPDATE: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks three options remain on the table with Bryant: his release, going on I.R. or simply staying with the team.  


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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com