Sirius Business: More T.O. and the Pats’ Passing Game

Of course, mere hours after I posted the last Sirius Business, WR Terrell Owens officially signed with Cincinnati, rendering most of what I wrote completely out of style. So naturally, we invited our good friend Joe Reedy back to Sirius XM Fantasy Football discuss what impact T.O. has had in his first week as a Bengal. Also, we found some time to talk about the Pats’ passing game.

Joe Reedy covers the Bengals for the Cincinnati Enquirer (@joereedy on Twitter):

Reedy reiterated that QB Carson Palmer was definitely behind the move to add Owens, and his support was absolutely

No doubt about it: Carson is pumped for T.O.'s arrival

reinforced as soon as Owens first practiced with the team. Since Owens has arrived, the atmosphere at training camp has been as expected: a ton of excitement, with exceptionally loud cheers for Owens and his fellow star, Chad Ochocinco. Reedy noted that the media hasn’t even mentioned the Bengals’ defense has been completely ignored recently, and that’s what carried the team last year. It’s amazing what a guy with Owens’ gravitas can accomplish. Reedy commented that Owens was already working out with the team after being in town for fewer than three hours. He consistently was blowing by CBs down the field, including starter Johnathan Joseph, one of the more underrated CBs in the sport.

Of course, the official addition of Owens puts Antonio Bryant, the team’s “big off-season addition,” in an interesting position. Currently, Bryant has missed practices with a knee problem, and it’s clear the team lacks confidence in what he’ll be able to do moving forward. As Reedy points out, Bryant is essentially one-legged right now. But even if he is healthy, where does he fit in? In the slot? There’s no way Owens would sign in Cincy if he’d be the third wheel of the passing game, and we certainly don’t expect him to be such. What’s troubling is that Bryant is ineligible for the PUP list, considering he took part in practice early in training camp. So it’s either have Bryant play through pain and try to work through things, or place him on IR. Of course, there are negatives to both; if he’s paced on IR, one year of his big contract is in the books with zero production. But if Bryant isn’t 100% and is on the roster, he’s going to push one of the Broncos’ young receivers out the door. It’s a concern coach Marvin Lewis has mentioned.

Just a quick not on the running game: as Reedy and most other predicted, RB Cedric Benson will not be suspended, and it seems as if a weight as been lifted off the Bengals’ offense given the final resolution. Benson is in fantastic spirits, and claims he feels better than he did at this point last season. With young Bernard Scott also looking good, the Bengals will be able to run the ball perhaps even better than they did last year.

Paul Perillo covers the Patriots for Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots.com:

As we know, WR Wes Welker just about miraculously returned from the PUP list just days into training camp, and barring any setbacks, he should be well on his way to being ready for the Patriots’ Week One opener against the Bengals. As of now, Welker has done everything – cut, run, and catch – except taking a hit. He’s done all his rehab in front of the media at camp, which is

Did someone pour water from The Holy Grail on Welker's knee?

very much unlike Bill Belichick’s usual policies. Considering the Patriots say they’re actually taking things slowly with Welker and making sure they aren’t rushing him, that’s fantastic news. In fact, Perillo said he wouldn’t be surprised if Welker got action during the preseason, maybe in the third game when most of the starters would play.

Of course, Welker’s Last Crusade recovery casts a big shadow over Julian Edelman, who effectively filled the slow role last season when Welker battled dings, and then after he tore his ACL in Week Seventeen. Edelman looked the Welker part “since Day One,” according to Perillo, but the Patriots are concerned about the fact that he hasn’t shown the consistent ability to take hits like Welker has. What people are overlooking, Perillo said, is the fact that Edelman missed time last season as well. Perillo doesn’t think Edelman will have much of a role if Welker is healthy, so he’s probably a fantasy handcuff, at best.

The Patriots are also looking to expand things on the opposite side of WR Randy Moss, where they didn’t have the field-stretching threat last season that they had when Donte’ Stallworth was in town. There are a couple of young players (Brandon Tate and Taylor Price) who project as a Moss-type vertical receiver. Perillo mentioned that Tate, in particular, has looked fantastic. He still isn’t always in the right spot when he’s on the field, but it’s evidence that he has the hands, size, and overall athletic ability to become a productive receiver. For now, all Tate or Price will have to do is show defenses that they can be threats. Stallworth didn’t catch a whole lot of passes in New England, but defenses had to respect the fact that he could burn them if he ignored them. We’ve been high on Tate since he was drafted, so it’s nice to see he’s turning some heads.

Finally, there’s the issue with QB Tom Brady, who is due to be a free agent after the 2010 season. Of course, we have never felt Brady actually hitting the market was an option, and Perillo believes the situation will be resolved at some point during the season. There are some reasons to be concerned, most notably something Brady said recently. He said that his “personal feelings” are his own and he chose not to disclose them to the media. Perillo speculates since Brady wasn’t commenting, that his thoughts must not be exactly peachy in regards to his negotiations with the Patriots thus far. Fortunately, on the field, Brady has looked more like the Brady who finished the 2009 season, and not the tentative player who started it. Still, it was his 2nd-best season statistically, and Perillo won’t be hesitating to pick up Brady for fantasy, especially if Welker is healthy.

Category: Joe Dolan

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