Tag:Bruce Gradkowski
Posted on: October 31, 2011 9:14 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Halloween edition

Todd Haley's beard is scaring small children (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Halloween is all about the scary and the freaky and the things that make you shiver in fear in the dead of the night*. The NFL will celebrate the holiday by giving us a Monday Night Football matchup of San Diego and Kansas City, certainly not as scary as last week’s Baltimore-Jacksonville game, and in return, we’re providing a special version of Top Ten with a Twist.

*It’s also about candy corn, but that’s neither here nor there.

In it, we celebrate those coaches, players and accessories that force us to scream in horror and hide underneath the covers. The NFL is filled with large, athletic men that could force you to quicken your pace if you met them in a dark alley. But even those players get frightened. Here are some of the men (and objects) that scare you as fans and scare them as players.

And with that, we wish you a Happy Halloween. Hope everyone survives the scariest night of the year.

10. Jason Babin’s tattoos: It’s more than the tattoos. It’s what the arms that hold the tattoos do to opposing quarterbacks. Namely, they sack them, nine so far this season. The tattoos don’t have a great backstory -- he sketched in a notebook during college, and he liked the tribal design so much that he got them inked on both arms, over his shoulders and across his back -- but they make look him look scary and badass. Reminds me of: Seth Gecko in From Dust Till Dawn.

9. Hank Williams Jr.: He obviously scared the crap out of ESPN executives who immediately excused him from his Monday Night Football services after he compared President Obama and the Speaker of the House playing golf to Hitler yukking it up with Benjamin Netanyahu on the links. Williams, a staunch conservative, even freaked out the Fox News’ morning show crew by his analogy. I’m sure his fans love him even more for his controversial take, but his actions forced ESPN to turn him away from its door without any candy. Reminds me of: The Wolfman.

8. Javon Ringer: This applies only to Chris Johnson, who seemingly has lost his No. 1 role as the Titans running back and is splitting carries with Ringer -- who’s actually out-classing the former 2,000-yard runner. If this keeps up, Ringer will take over Johnson’s starting spot, presenting a scary situation for Tennessee -- having to pay their backup running back $55 million (with $30 million guaranteed). Reminds me of: The Ringer.

7. Roughing the passer: Hardly anybody understands what should be called and what shouldn’t be. If a pass-rusher grazes the helmet of a quarterback, is that a blow to the head? What constitutes unnecessary roughness? I mean, you can still tackle the quarterback, right? And nobody is more skittish about the rules and their implications than the officials who have to make the calls and throw the flags. Since it seems like they don’t know what they should be calling, every time a quarterback is sacked, it’s a roll of the dice. I love the line from Bengals coach Marvin Lewis a few years ago when Justin Smith was called for a penalty against Tampa Bay’s Bruce Gradkowski, "I guess you have to cuddle them to the ground." Except the penalties are anything but cuddly. Reminds me of: Blair Witch Project (fear of the unknown).

Babin6. Ndamukong Suh: We don’t really need to explain why. Suh is a monster come to life whose primary mission (and what seems to sustain his soul) is to destroy quarterbacks. Like here with Andy Dalton. Or here with Jake Delhomme. Suh has spent much of his time lately telling people he’s not a dirty player. But he’s also meeting with Roger Goodell this week to figure out how he can get fined less. Hopefully, he doesn’t scare Goodell the way he scares opposing quarterbacks. Reminds me of: The Hulk.

5. Roger Goodell’s accounting books: Goodell decides the disciplinary fines and then collects tens of thousands of dollars a week for various infractions (from helmet-to-helmet hits to uniform malfunctions). The reason he’s so frightening: it’s all so random. Dunta Robinson should have been six figures for his hit on Jeremy Maclin, but instead, it was in the $40,000 range. Troy Polamalu shouldn’t have been fined for calling his wife from the bench to let her know he was OK after suffering a concussion, but instead, Goodell lifted $10,000 from him. Mess with a player’s money, and for the most part, you’ll have earned their fear. Reminds me of: Ebenezer Scrooge.

4. Peyton Manning’s shadow: This looms high over the city of Indianapolis, and it blots out the sun whenever the Colts are playing. It’s not that he’s trying to be such a scary dude -- he seems to be the consummate teammate even while he’s recovering from his neck surgery -- but his shadow has become a black hole for any chance of the team winning in his absence. It’s quite frightening to think that, all this time, the only thing saving the Colts from long-term irrelevance was Manning’s health. Reminds me of: The Blob.

3. HGH testing: Obviously, this is the biggest bogeyman of all, because the union is in no hurry to allow the NFL to draw blood and test for human growth hormone. The NFL says the tests are safe and reliable. The union says the tests are invasive and unproven. Who do we believe? Just like much of the lockout fodder that emerged from both sides, we have no idea. But it seems pretty clear that the NFLPA is worried about agreeing to the testing. As if there’s a man with a needle waiting inside the union’s closest, ready to spring out after lights out. Reminds me of: the scary dentist from Little Shop of Horrors.

2. Tim Tebow’s throwing motion: After his performance vs. the Lions on Sunday (not to mention the first 55 minutes of the Miami game), it must be clear to anybody who can recognize NFL talent that Tebow doesn’t have what it takes to be a starting quarterback. We make fun of the guy, and I feel bad, because he seems like an absolutely great dude. But his motion is terrible, and his mechanics are flawed. Simply put, it makes us want to cry and go hide in the closet until it goes away. Reminds me of: John Moxon from Varsity Blues (true, not a horror movie, but still a scary portrayal of a Texas prep football player).

1.Todd Haley’s homeless look: Haley is sporting a winning beard, meaning he won’t shave again until the Chiefs lose, and it’ll be on display for Halloween. He looks like a combination of Artie Lang’s younger, skinnier (and more sober) brother and the crazed son of Kevin McAllister’s body-burying neighbor in Home Alone. And it’s beginning to scare small children. If the Chargers beat the Chiefs tonight, I think they’d be doing us -- and our kids -- a huge favor by forcing Haley to razor that thing off his face. Reminds me of: this guy from Hellraiser.

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Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:49 am
 

Palmer working out with Housh, staying 'ready'

Posted by Will Brinson

Despite the Bengals wealth of success so far in 2011 -- Andy Dalton looks good, Bruce Gradkowski's heaving touchdown passes to A.J. Green on random trick plays, you know, the usual -- the whole "What is Carson Palmer doing?" question still lingers given how much the retired quarterback might fetch on the trade market.

Well, here's an answer: he's staying in shape by working out with T.J. Houshmandzadeh and, according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, "has not closed the door on playing football."

Oh, and hanging out on USC campus, drinking beer (note the special edition red Bud Light can he's rocking, plus camo koozie) and watching football, according to a fella named "USC Psycho" who took a picture of Palmer kicking it at a Trojans tailgate on Saturday and posted it on Twitter.

Palmer, as you probably know, threatened to retire if the Bengals didn't trade him. Per LaCanfora, there were teams interested -- the Seahawks, the 49ers and the Dolphins, specifically -- approached the Bengals about Palmer's availability.

But Brown wouldn't budget, refused to trade Palmer, and now Carson's retired. As LaCanfora writes, in the event that Brown has "a change of heart" before the trade deadline, "Palmer will be ready."

That's pretty unlikely, given how Brown's handled the situation thus far. On the bright side, Palmer's life can't be all that horrible right now either.

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Posted on: September 15, 2011 8:42 pm
 

Lewis says he expects Dalton to play Sunday

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The healing of Dalton
Andy Dalton, who missed the second half of his team’s win against the Browns last Sunday after injuring his right wrist/forearm, threw during Thursday’s practice and Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis intimated that Dalton would be ready to play this weekend vs. the Broncos.

“He’s making great progress,” offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said Thursday, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We kept him on routes that he could handle. He’ll get better tomorrow and see where he’s at.”

According to the newspaper, Dalton warmed up Thursday like he regularly would for the first 30 minutes of Bengals practice, throwing swing passes to running backs and medium-length tosses to receivers.

In his pro debut, Dalton went 10 for 15 for 81 yards and a touchdown before missing the second half and watching Bruce Gradkowski lead the Bengals to the win.



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Posted on: August 27, 2011 2:58 pm
 

It's official: there are no Palmers left in Cincy

J. Palmer, C. PalmerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In a move that shouldn’t have surprised anybody, the Bengals officially have made themselves 100 percent Palmer-free. That’s because the team announced today that it’s waived backup quarterback Jordan Palmer -- who you might know better as Carson’s brother.

Jordan Palmer, who had been the No. 3 quarterback in Cincinnati since signing with the team in 2008 until last season, became Carson’s backup last year, and in four regular-season appearances during his Bengals career, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 59 yards and three interceptions.

But with the drafting of Andy Dalton in the second round and with the signing of Bruce Gradkowski -- not to mention all the offseason drama between the Bengals and Carson -- it seemed pretty clear Jordan’s days in Cincinnati were coming to a close.

He barely played this preseason, and a couple weeks ago, I asked if the Bengals were screwing with Jordan.

Here was my conclusion:

“The question: would the management take out its frustration with Carson on Jordan? My opinion: I kind of doubt it. If the Bengals release Jordan Palmer -- who had designs on winning the starting job in June -- it would probably be because he simply hasn’t shown the team enough since 2008 to qualify for even a third-string QB position. I'd also like to think the Bengals have a little more class than meanly shoving out Jordan just to get back at Carson.”

Part of the reason I asked the question in the first place was because of the rumor that the Bengals wouldn’t give Jordan reps and then would cut him too late for him to sign with another team. Now that the Bengals have cut him to get down to 80 players on the roster with still a little bit of time left in the preseason, meaning it’s not too late for him to sign with somebody else theoretically, it seems the answer to my original question of the Bengals screwing Jordan is “probably not.”

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Are the Bengals screwing with Jordan Palmer?

C. Palmer and J. Palmer both might not be playing in Cincinnati this year (US Presswire)Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Carson Palmer is retired for now. The Bengals are looking to start second-round draft pick QB Andy Dalton, and they’ve signed veteran Bruce Gradkowski to help mentor him. But the Bengals, according to WCPO’s Denny Janson are still trying to mess with the Palmer family.

On his Twitter account, Jensen writes, “Carson Palmer tells friend, #Bengals are toying with brother Jordan. Few reps etc. Expects him to be cut but too late to sign elsewhere.”

If that’s true, that wouldn’t be real nice of the organization, especially since Carson Palmer has been such a big part of the team and helped lead the squad to two AFC North titles (suffering a variety of injuries for a team that gave him a ton of money coming out of college).

Actually, that would be a real jerky thing for the club to do, especially if it’s maliciously trying to mess with Jordan’s career. On the flip side, the Bengals did sign Jordan three years ago after he had been released from the Redskins and his career was in jeopardy, even though it’s pretty clear he’ll never be a starting QB in the league (even a free agent named Dhani Jones thinks so!).

The question: would the management take out its frustration with Carson on Jordan? My opinion: I kind of doubt it. If the Bengals release Jordan Palmer -- who had designs on winning the starting job in June -- it would probably be because he simply hasn’t shown the team enough since 2008 to qualify for even a third-string QB position. I'd also like to think the Bengals have a little more class than meanly shoving out Jordan just to get back at Carson.

In other Bengals news, fans didn’t seem all that interested in watching Cincinnati’s training camp this year as it attracted just 1,330 cars to Georgetown, Ky., to watch the Bengals practice. That, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer, is the lowest total since the team began training at Georgetown College, about an hour south of Cincinnati.

Last year, although the team trained in Georgetown for just two weeks, the college parked 7,362 cars.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 1:23 pm
 

Dalton tops Cincy depth chart, his 'job to lose'

Posted by Will Brinson

Carson Palmer's situation -- he and the Bengals are playing a game of chicken with his retirement that would impress the Bluth brothers -- has led the Bengals to likely start rookie Andy Dalton under center to begin the season.

Indeed, Cincy's first depth chart was released Monday and, as noted by our Bengals Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner, Jr., Dalton leads the way in terms of quarterbacks listed.

No, it's not that shocking to see Dalton up top, especially after his offensive coordinator recently told reporters that he was "assuming" that Dalton would be the Bengals starter from the get-go.

And considering that his competition is Jordan Palmer, Dan LeFevour and Bruce Gradkowski, but it's still impressive to see the faith Cincy has in him.

In fact, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com believes that the starting QB gig is "Dalton's to lose" and he is "playing quarterback with the poise of a No. 1 overall pick."

We've already chronicled just how impressed the coaching staff is with rookie wideout A.J. Green. And while some of the praise for these two youngsters seems a bit over-the-top for even the staunchest optimist, if the description of their play is accurate there's reason to be hopeful for Cincy football fans.

Which is not what you can usually expect this time of year, especially with the personnel departure that the Bengals dealt with this offseason.

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Posted on: August 1, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Lewis: A.J. Green 'an upgrade' over Ochocinco, TO

Posted by Will Brinson

A.J. Green is, without question, a very talented football player. But is he going to make an immediate impact? And is he an upgrade over Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens already?

According to Marvin Lewis, yes, yes he is.

"He showed his physical prowess out there today," Lewis said, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. "He's an upgrade … we're improved athletically."

That's a pretty bold statement because, for all of their shenanigans, Ocho and Owens are pretty talented receivers.

And it probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt since it's coming from one of the guys who helped make the decision not to retain the pair.

But it also warrants mentioning that Hobson, who covers the Bengals for thet team, was pretty impressed as well.

"[Lewis] is like everyone else down here at camp raving about No. 1 pick A.J. Green," Hobson writes. "He catches everything, no one's covered him, and when he is, he jumps up and takes it away."

And, just to had fuel to the fire is safety Chris Crocker, who was the victim on one of Green's catches, when, according to Hobson, Green "launched himself over [Crocker] to make one of those "wow" catches where you can hear him snap the ball like some amphibian at the top of his jump."

"He's in the upper echelon right now, I'd say," said Crocker.

So, yeah, lots of bold praise for the rookie early in camp. There's a good chance he lives up to said praise. And, without question, he has the talent to become a great wide receiver. The only issue is that -- for now -- he's going to be catching balls from either Andy Dalton or Bruce Gradkowski.

Even Ocho and Owens didn't have to overcome that last year.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Bengals to replace Palmer with Gradkowski

GradkowskiPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The past few months, we’ve paid quite a bit of attention to QB Carson Palmer and whether Bengals owner Mike Brown would trade him and get something of value for his estranged QB or if he’d let him retire.

Now that Brown has said he’d rather let Palmer rot in California than trade him (he said it a little nicer than that), the Bengals had to turn their attention to finding another veteran QB who can compete with rookie Andy Dalton for the starting spot.

As Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner writes, Cincinnati has agreed to terms on a two-year deal with former Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski.

The move makes sense on a couple different levels.

1) When Gradkowski played in Tampa Bay, he worked with Jay Gruden, who’s now in charge of the Bengals offense. Their familiarity with each other certainly will help Gradkowski, particularly since Dalton hasn’t gotten any practice time in Gruden’s offense.

2) Gradkowski is a legit starting quarterback, compiling a 6-14 record in 20 starts (a third of those wins came against the Bengals!). Yes, that record is not impressive, but he’s the kind of guy that can provide some veteran leadership to help a young quarterback (you saw that a little bit last year in Oakland with Jason Campbell).

Either way, Gradkowski was so excited, he tweeted the following: “Bengal fans let’s get ready to rock and roll! Can’t wait for this great opportunity!”

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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