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Cincinnati Bengals 2007 Offensive Preview By Position – Quarterbacks

Posted by Matt on September 5, 2007

cpalmer1.jpg

Now that the preseason is over and the roster cuts have been made and the roster is set for the upcoming season, I have updated the quarterbacks preview so that we can kick start the offensive previews by position so that we’re ready for the season opener for the Bengals on Monday Night Football!

To no surprise to us, fourth-stringer Jeff Smith was cut early on in the preseason. However, more recently cut was Doug Johnson which was a move that did come as a surprise to me a bit more than the cutting of Smith did. Now I knew D. Johnson was struggling (as I stated below a few weeks ago), and even suggested Jeff Rowe might overtake Johnson as the number two quarterback behind Carson, but the timing of it was what really shocked me. A new quarterback will have little time to learn the system and will get absolutely no preseason snaps after all of the playing time Doug received in the four exhibition outings.

Nonetheless, Ryan Fitzpatrick out of Harvard University is here via the Saint Louis Rams and Doug Johnson is not. I guess there is only room enough for so many Johnsons in one locker room……I’ll be here all day, folks.

I have moved Rowe up to second-stringer since the little experience in the Bengals’ system he does have as a rookie is that much more than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Overall, Fitzpatrick, however, is likely the better quarterback and both will jockey for position behind Palmer. Needless to say, let’s hope Carson takes 100% of the snaps this season and Rowe and Fitzpatrick only jockey over who gets to hold the clipboard.

The previews for the quarterbacks have been changed slightly since their first release a few weeks ago. I have also updated a few items and added new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Cincinnati Bengals 2007 Preview: Quarterbacks

#1 Carson Palmer

The golden boy from the University of Southern California enters his fifth year as a quarterback in the NFL, his fourth as a starter, and looks to build off his first 4,000+ yard passing season of his career from last year where he threw for a franchise record 4,035 yards. Palmer took all but three snaps for the Bengals last season which began in September, barely 8-months since Palmer had had season-threatening knee surgery at the end of the 2005 campaign. Palmer is now fully recovered and the knee injury should be a fading memory. Carson will miss the Red Zone threat of Chris Henry for the first eight games but not by much as it is reported that T.J. Houshmandzadeh has picked up his speed in the offseason which should improve his performance as the number two receiver. Protection will be a moderate issue with the losses of guard Eric Steinbach (Free Agency) and center Rich Braham (retirement) which means Palmer will have to be a little more mobile in the pocket this season – – as he should be with his knee fully healthy – – to cut down on the 36 sacks and 15 fumbles (seven lost) from a year go. Look for Carson to have his best statistical year with the Bengals this season.

#2 Jeff Rowe

Rowe was the Bengals Fifth Round draftee out of Nevada during the 2007 NFL Draft and, at the time, I questioned the use of that selection on a quarterback who will probably slide in to the third position on the depth chart for his first few seasons in the NFL, never actually making an impact on the field during the Regular Season. I felt as if one or more third-string quarterbacks could have been picked up in Free Agency and brought in for a tryout during Training Camp so that Coach Lewis could have used the Fifth Round selection on more pressing issues, such as defense. Despite my qualms, the Bengals selected and signed Jeff Rowe and his career college statistics at Nevada are as follows:

  • 681-1122 (60.6%) for 7862 yards, 55 touchdowns, and 34 interceptions in 45 games (39 started) with 561 yards rushing on 317 attempts with 13 touchdowns

Rowe’s best statistical season came in his Junior year (2005) in which he threw for 2925 yards on 241-of-389 (61.9%) passing with 21 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions with 244 yards rushing on 119 attempts with 6 touchdowns.

Rowe looks to be a more mobile quarterback and had a short, but solid, performance in the preseason game against the Detroit Lions going 5-for-7 for 47 yards. With his mobility, Rowe also has the size to be an NFL quarterback (6-5, 225) and has unset Doug Johnson as Cincinnati’s backup.

#3 Ryan Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick is a late addition to the Cincinnati Bengals and comes via a trade with the Saint Louis Rams for one of the Bengals 2008 draft picks. Fitzpatrick is formerly a 7th Round selection of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Harvard University.

Ryan is an intelligent passer with a solid frame, though not as tall as Palmer and Rowe, who both stand 6 foot, 5 inches tall, is Fitzpatrick at 6 foot, 2 inches tall, and is fairly mobile for is size. Ryan has easily unset Jeff as Cincinnati’s most mobile quarterback as both are above Carson Palmer in that category. Fitzpatrick has some minor NFL experience, playing four games for the Rams in 2005 and attempting 135 passes. Ryan only saw action in three victory kneels in a game in 2006. Here are the stats for Ryan’s last two active seasons:

  • Harvard, 2004 (10 games): 158-276 (57.2%) for 1986 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions with 448 yards rushing on 118 attempts with 5 touchdowns
  • Rams, 2005 (4 games): 76-135 (56.2%) for 777 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions with 64 yards rushing on 14 attempts with 2 touchdowns

Ryan’s career numbers at Harvard are as follows:

  • 384-641 (59.9%) for 5234 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions in 30 games (21 started) with 1487 rushing yards on 369 attempts with 16 touchdowns

Ryan will likely be the backup over the long term, but based on experience, the nod has to go to Jeff Rowe at this juncture. For what it is worth, Fitzpatrick is listed ABOVE Rowe on the current depth chart on Bengals.com.

Recently Cut:

These were my takes on the following quarterbacks after the first preaseason outing. There is no point in updating their status as Smith was cut halfway through the preseason and Johnson was cut at the end of the preseason. Decide for yourself if my analysis three weeks ago was any good…

#- Doug Johnson

Based on Doug’s preseason and Training Camp performance thus far, it is a good thing Carson Palmer stayed healthy last season and we had Anthony Wright ahead of Johnson on the depth chart; however, with Wright signing on with the New York football Giants, D.J. assumes the role as the backup for the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnson was a paltry 11-20 for 150 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in the first game of the preseason against the Detroit Lions on August 9, 2007. Johnson barely completed half of his passes and DID NOT look good in doing so with many of his attempts falling nowhere near the intended receiver. This could be attributed to inaccurate passing, poor route running, or a combination of both, but regardless, Johnson has struggled thus far and reports out of training camp aren’t much better. Johnson, with his NFL experience can be a formidable backup in the NFL, but a career backup is all he’ll be and I am not as comfortable having him behind Carson as I was Jon Kitna. We will see if he improves during the remainder of preseason but hopefully Carson can take nearly ever snap again this season as Johnson makes a better clipboard holder than a starting quarterback.

#- Jeff Smith

The least-known quarterback of the four, Jeff Smith is a local product out of Newport Central Catholic High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky and Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky (where the Bengals hold training camp) and was signed on for a tryout during preseason this year. The Bengals’ coaching staff first saw Smith at Georgetown’s summer football camp before the start of his Senior season last summer (Georgetown’s camp happened to coincide with the Bengals’) and brought him back for a tryout this summer after he graduated. Smith is a big athlete at 6 foot, 6 inches tall and 235 pounds and had a solid career of NAIA football at Georgetown College. Smith’s career college statistics at Georgetown are as follows:

  • 640-1138 (56.2%) for 8410 yards, 79 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions in36 games with 84 yards rushing on 151 attempts with 12 touchdowns

Smith’s best statistical season also came in his Junior year (2005) in which he threw for 2865 yards on 186-of-323 (57.5%) passing with 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with 47 yards rushing on 36 attempts with 2 touchdowns.

Smith did not see any playing time in the Bengals’ first preseason game and doesn’t look to be a permanent member of the Bengals quarterback corps, but merely a preseason experiment instead. Good luck to Smith, however, as he seems down-to-earth and genuinely just happy to be at a Training Camp in the interviews I have heard from him. I always hope for the local products to do well and make it to the NFL, but unfortunately it seems as if Smith will have to do it in a different uniform once the roster cuts arrive.
UP NEXT: Running Backs/Full Backs

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2 Responses to “Cincinnati Bengals 2007 Offensive Preview By Position – Quarterbacks”

  1. OMAR said

    Wow. The QB situation looks grim behind Palmer.
    Doug Johnson isn’t the answer, not even a temporary answer.
    He’s one of the most disliked players in the NFL, and for someone who never plays, that’s quite a feat. I hope that Rowe can develop.

  2. Matt said

    Haha, nobody likes Doug Johnson…that is hilarious.

    Yeah, the QB situation looks bleak but Carson is an iron-man and can take 40 sacks and still play the whole season; hopefully it isn’t of any concern.

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