Every week, I will be contacting the editor of the FanSided team blog the Steelers are playing that Sunday. This week I wrote five questions to Brennen Warner, editor of the Bengals blog Stripe Hype. Check out what he has to say after the jump, and be sure to visit his site and let him know what you think about what he has to say.
1. The Bengals have had a surprising turnaround this season in more ways than one. What’s the reason for this?
There’s a few major parts to the turnaround. The biggest three reasons: Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and Mike Zimmer. Dalton’s been playing far above expectations, largely due to Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden. AJ has given Cincinnati the deep threat that we haven’t truly had in years. He’s seeing more and more double coverage, which really opens things up for the rest of the offense. And Zimmer has his defensive unit playing lights out. They play really solid team defense. No one really stands out as a true MVP on the defensive side, but the defensive line has truly caused havoc at times.
2. Is the new motto ‘In Dalton We Trust’ or is it still too soon for this rookie to be counted on like other franchise QB’s in the league?
It might still be a little early to call him the franchise QB just yet. He’s only played 8 games, anything could happen from here. But don’t get me wrong, fans are all-in behind Dalton as the QB as the future. His poise, accuracy, and decisions have been great so far, and will only get better.
3. Are fans very interested in getting Pacman Jones back on the field?
Yes, but he’s not a true fan favorite really. He’s been out of action for a full year, and didn’t have a whole lot of time to make a big impression before then. Personally, I want him back ASAP; he’s a better 3rd corner than Kelly Jennings and is a great punt returner as well. He came back for only one play two weeks ago, and brought back a punt return 63 yards during it. He would have gone all the way if his hamstring hadn’t grabbed halfway into the run.
4. What are the key match ups the Steelers should be preparing for this week?
Ike Taylor v. AJ Green will be very interesting. Believe it or not, I think the Steelers defense will actually over-prepare for AJ Green, leaving the other receivers in single coverage and less men in the box against the run game. It’s time for lesser players like Jerome Simpson and Cedric Benson to be heroes this week.
5. Games between the Bengals and Steelers have at time been heated even though the Steelers have dominated the head to head for quite some time. What do you think is the most significant part about this ‘rivalry’? Where did it start for you?
I won’t disagree that the Steelers have dominated the head to head for a while. What truly baffles me is that the Bengals are only 1-7 against the Steelers at home. And 4-4 somehow at Heinz Field. Of course, most significant part of this rivalry is the 2005 playoff game where Carson’s knee went out on the first play from scrimmage. I disliked the Steelers before then, but it got far worse after that.
The home team in a close one 24-20. Somehow, someway, the Steelers are going to shoot themselves in the foot. In the past, it’s been the other way around. But, this truly is a different season and anything can happen.