Mark Curnutte offers the latest on the Cincinnati Bengals

Mark Curnutte started covering the Bengals and the NFL for The Enquirer in 2000. He previously wrote about urban affairs and other social issues for the Enquirer. He won the prestigious 1994 Unity Award from Lincoln University (Missouri) for "A Polite Silence," a seven-day series about race relations in Greater Cincinnati. He also has worked as an assistant features editor and features writer at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. Curnutte is second vice president and a three-year board member of the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA). He is a 1984 Miami University graduate.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Alexander's possible role

From what I'm hearing, the Bengals' interest in Shaun Alexander is for Alexander to be a backup to Rudi Johnson and an insurance policy if Chris Perry can't play. This did not come from the team.

Perry, who missed all of 2007 rehabbing from ankle and shin injuries sustained in a late-season game in 2006, is expected to be on the field May 13 for OTA (organized team activity) practices, coach Marvin Lewis said Sunday.

Johnson and Lewis say Johnson has recovered from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss five games in 2007.

My hunch is Alexander will receive the prospects of a larger role and a corresponding contract offer from another team.


at 5/06/2008 9:21 AM Blogger Ratlifj said...

You mean Rudi would be a backup to Shaun, right?

at 5/06/2008 10:01 AM Blogger firefly118 said...

Mark, is that from team officials or people in the orginization? I just could not see the point in putting up more money, for ANOTHER aging RB who can only carry 12 times a game, and is a big risk to get injured. With other younger backs out there, and our own backs (Watson, Dorsey, Irons) why do we need to sign an older guy if we are not going to release the one we have. No disrespect to Rudi, but isn't our focus to get younger, quicker, and more reliable? If so, what is the interest, if not but to REPLACE Rudi?

at 5/06/2008 10:21 AM Blogger Another losing season said...

Rudi Johnson does not run the same as he once did. Why doesn't someone tell him? He dances in the backfield. He is moving exactly the same as Jamal Lewis did after Lewis was injured. Someone must have pointed it out to Lewis becasue he stopped doing it last year in Cleveland.

Alexander must really be hurting if he is willing to come in as a backup to Rudi Johnson and an insurance policy to Chris Perry.

at 5/06/2008 11:51 AM Blogger Steve said...

Lightning might strike twice but a banged-up 31-year old running back doesn't make me giddy. However, I'm inclined to go with Shaun over Rudi who has definitely lost a step. The Browns took a flyer on Lewis and he did well so go ahead and sign him. Perry will probably get hurt again anyway.

at 5/06/2008 12:14 PM Blogger brian said...

No Way. That is a sell job. If Sean comes in Rudi is 100% cut. There is no way we are keeping his $3.2M salary with an ex-mvp backup, with a 1st rounder healthy (perry), with a 2nd rounder on PUP and available 6 weeks in. I agree with Mark anyway that Alexander will get a more $ and more Playing time elsewhere. (UNLESS, they think Rudi is done-then they will pay Sean and play him)

at 5/06/2008 1:24 PM Blogger russ said...

What happened to the excellent job that Watson did last year? He had some great games as the feature back last season. He's probably too old to be the long term solution, but I feel more comfortable with him and Dorsey than I do any combo of Shaun, Rudi and Perry. It seems like the Bengals annoint certain people and not others and there is no way to change their mind. This is the same way they treated Landon Johnson. All he did was make plays and do his job, but they kept trying to replace him with the perpetually underwhelming Caleb Miller. PS - Miller did have that one awesome game against NO when he had 12 tackles because he let Henderson catch 10 passes right in front of him.

at 5/06/2008 1:31 PM Blogger Kondo Kicktree said...

Why is everyone so negative about Rudi? The guy has one bad year and due to injuries everyone is ready to cut him? What is the deal? Sure, he had 497 yards last year but that was in 11 games and our OLine was awful because of injuries to Willie and Levi. Rudi rushed for 1309 yards, 1458 and 1454 yards in 2006, '05 and '04, respectively. So, one bad year due to injuries and a bad OLine is enough to cut a guy who has been nothing but the kind of player the Bengals need in the clubhouse and on the field? Well, Carson should go. Get rid of Willie. Rudi should be the starter going into camp and I don't think we need Shaun unless he agrees to sign coming in to back-up Rudi. Rudi isn't as old as Shaun and has less mileage on his wheels.

at 5/06/2008 3:07 PM Blogger brian said...

Sorry Kondo-- Rudi's probably done. The best situation would be for Perry to actually be healthy and be our feature back. Pro-history says he would never hold up but at Michigan he was durable (go figure)... Maybe he is OK and can make it thru the year? Rudi was one touch and down last year and Alexander was boo'ed out of Seattle. Rudi's longest was pathetic and the year before he broke nothing either. Hope for Perry and kenny irons late in the year. rudi could be a final cut if Perry is healthy. Need to sign some more D.

at 5/06/2008 3:08 PM Blogger Hudepohl Dey said...

Let's hope Rudi gets back to straight ahead running...bash it up the middle.... let Watson and Dorsey turn the corners...

Kenny Irons 2009

at 5/06/2008 3:15 PM Blogger Andrew said...

When are the Bengals going to learn that it doesn't matter who's behind the line if the line is good. As long as the RB can see a hole and hit it, you're talking a minimum 4-5 yds per carry. That's all we need out of a RB, enough ground game to get the Defense's attention. The passing game then can do it's job, and it's also reliant on the OL.

Signing Shaun would be more of a PR move than a football move.

at 5/06/2008 3:21 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Bring back Corey Dillion & Carl Pickens.These two would do wonders with the team chemistry,add a favorable Ocho Cinco & you have a super bowl team full of cry babies.

Only In Cincy do you get these types.

at 5/06/2008 5:05 PM Blogger steveallenky said...

Didn't take a genius to come up with that analysis. I don't see how anyone could see it any other way.

The Bengals should have moved out Rudi before last season but I wouldn't expect them to replace him with Alexander. After all its their blind loyalty that has kept Rudi here this long.

Having said that I disagree that Alexander will receive a bigger role or bigger money anywhere else. It may be the same role and he will have to decide if he wants to play 1 more season and go to the playoffs with some other team. But nobody is going to invest playing time or money in a very big way in a 31yr old RB. None of these potential moves are surprising. You have to consider this team's idea of big changes involved 2 defensive coaches instead of any or all of the offensive coaches.

at 5/06/2008 5:43 PM Blogger russ said...

Kondo, to answer your question, it's the dwindling YPC that lead most to the conclusion that Rudi's best days are behind him. 4.3, 3.8, 2.9... To your point however, the holes have not been the same between the tackles since Rich Braham retired and Eric Steinbach left.

at 5/06/2008 8:36 PM Blogger Buggaluggs said...

This is all academic.

Cedric Benson is about to be released by the Bears. He's a shoe-in for the Bengals. Injured AND a troubled past.

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