Sunday, September 29, 2002

Who's Got The Edge?




        Quarterbacks
        Akili Smith has played four series in the past 23 games, and he's expected to rescue the drowning offense against the Bucs' battleship-strong defense.
        Brad Johnson has gone 179 passes without an interception, dating back to last season. Bengals QBs have thrown them in 14 consecutive games.
        Edge: Buccaneers

        Running backs
        Corey Dillon got the well-deserved praise of national TV commentators when the Bengals were burned in Atlanta. But the problems with the offense are even too much for Dillon to shoulder.
        Former Cardinals RB Michael Pittman has 140 rushing yards and another 117 on 17 receptions. He teams with durable touchdown machine Mike Alstott.
        Edge: Bengals

        Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
        The Bengals keep talking of how the pass offense is getting close to clicking, but it never does. Now they're back with Akili Smith at quarterback.
        During free agency, the Bengals didn't think TE Ken Dilger's knee could hold up. He has seven catches. Bucs also have Rickey Dudley and Todd Yoder at tight end.
        Edge: Buccaneers

        Offensive Line
        This group has drawn most of the ire from Bengals upper management. The line is on pace to allow almost 60 sacks.
        A pair of new starters will replace injured teammates, Todd Washington at left guard and Cornell Green at right tackle. The Bengals defense couldn't take advantage of a banged-up Browns line two weeks ago.
        Edge: Buccaneers

        Defensive Line
        This Bengals unit has yet to approach its performance of 2001 - but neither has any other part of the team.
        End Simeon Rice had a lot of big games with Arizona, but nobody noticed. (Sounds like Bengals linebacker Takeo Spikes.) Tampa Bay's line has 112 sacks in past three years.
        Edge: Buccaneers

        Linebackers
        No one realized how big a loss outside LB Steve Foley would be in pass coverage and run containment. Bengals desperately need a big play from Spikes or Brian Simmons.
        Akili Smith's day will be easier if Derrick Brooks can't play because of a hamstring injury.
        Edge: Even

        Defensive Backs
        Cornerbacks Jeff Burris and Artrell Hawkins are not off to good starts after signing big free-agent contracts. Look for physical corner Kevin Kaesviharn to play a lot against big receivers. And, good news for Bengals fans, rookie free safety Lamont Thompson is looking much better in practice.
        Secondary had 23 interceptions in 2001, including 10 from CB Ronde Barber. John Lynch is one of league's top strong safeties.
        Edge: Buccaneers

        Coaching
        Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski had better come up with a game plan to move the ball and prevent Smith from getting hurt. Only with the Bengals would many of these coaches have apparent job security with such poor performances by their position groups.
        Jon Gruden says he wasn't worth what the Bucs gave up to get him from the Raiders. But he's building offense to match outstanding defense left by Tony Dungy.
        Edge: Buccaneers

        Overall
        The Bengals simply can't afford to fall behind, but probably will anyway.
        Don't look for a Gruden team to come out flat against the 0-3 Bengals, even after an emotional Monday night win over the Rams. There's too much talent here.

        Mark Curnutte's Prediction
        Buccaneers 24, Bengals 7.

       



Bengals Stories
Bengals pass Bucs to Akili
Rehberg's challenge: Deny Sapp
Keys to the Game
- Who's Got The Edge?
Bengals-Bucs by the Numbers
Bengal fans petition for help
Searching store aisles for a QB
Johnson cousins engage in family spat
Levi Jones' Rookie Journal
Mark Curnutte's NFL picks

Huggins' coaching status unclear
Send get-wells to Huggins
DAUGHERTY: Huggins needs to take timeout
Huggins' friends, colleagues stunned
Coles knows Huggins' plight
UC 35, Temple 22
UC football team somber despite victory
Ballpark could build up Reds
Sizing up Reds prospects for 2003
Pena guaranteed roster spot
Bowden brags about future pitchers
Reds axe Lefebvre, keep other coaches
Boone finishes iron-man season
Cinergy Field remnants go on sale
Expos 6, Reds 0
Reds Box, Runs
Diamondbacks repeat NL West title
Giants wrap up wild-card
Baseball Postseason Schedule
Miami 48, Akron 31
Ohio State 45, Indiana 17
Florida 41, Kentucky 34
Kalamazoo 27, Mount St. Joseph 13
Wittenberg 31, Thomas More 6
College Football Scores
College Update: From senior stars to freshman hopefuls
Enquirer Power Rankings
Pacers may open Xavier camp to fans
Football scores & game reports
How Enquirer poll teams fared
Ohio Football Scores
Kentucky Football Scores
Indiana Football Scores
Beechwood 24, Simon Kenton 20
CCD 42, Summit Country Day 7
Conner 22, Holmes 18
Edgewood 47, Fenwick 13
Newport 21, Garrard County 18
Purcell Marian 21, Badin 7
Scott 38, Campbell County 13
Woodward 20, Dayton Meadowdale 16
Public league's progress slow but steady
Ryle trying to match Elder with nation's No. 1
Holmes shows no Mercy to Oak Hills
Prep Spotlight on John Dixon
Boys cross country results
Boys golf results
Boys soccer results
Girls cross country results
Girls soccer results
Girls tennis results
Girls volleyball results


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