After spending the entire season as the emergency quarterback stashed on the practice squad, Allen was tabbed to be the Cincinnati Bengals‘ starter with rookie Joe Burrow out for the year with a left knee injury.
Things went about as expected in a 19-17 loss to the Giants at Paul Brown Stadium. For the Bengals to have a chance at winning another game in 2020, Cincinnati will need more production from its quarterback.
Allen was 17-of-29 for 136 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one lost fumble in his fourth career start. The Bengals didn’t score a touchdown or get into the red zone until late in the fourth quarter, when Allen connected with Tee Higgins to cut the lead to two.
Allen made three starts last season with the Broncos, with the most recent coming in Week 12 against Buffalo when he threw for 82 yards in a loss. Allen had a decent start to the game but eventually tapered off as the Bengals failed to sustain drives and keep their defense off the field.
When the outcome was in question, Cincinnati’s best plays occurred when the offense wasn’t on the field. Safety Brandon Wilson scored the Bengals’ first touchdown on a 103-yard kickoff return, the longest in franchise history. Safety Vonn Bell also had an interception that set up a short field that eventually led to a field goal.
Sunday showed the Bengals can hang around with similar teams even without Burrow. But on a day when Cincinnati had a mere 155 total yards, it’s clear the offense needs more from the quarterback spot in order to get second-year coach Zac Taylor some much-needed wins.
Turning point in the game: A relatively boring game suddenly became interesting in the final minute. The Bengals picked up a stop and after a solid punt return from Alex Erickson, they had the ball on the 50 with 57 seconds left. But any hopes of a comeback quickly disappeared on the first play of the drive, when Allen was sacked and stripped of the ball, and the Giants recovered. It was that kind of day for Cincinnati.
Troubling trend: Cincinnati’s safeties allowed a couple of big plays through the air to Giants tight end Evan Engram. On New York’s first drive of the game, Engram beat Bell for a 53-yard completion. Then in the second quarter, Bell beat Wilson in a one-on-one matchup for a 44-yard gain. Cincinnati has surrendered a few big passing plays this season. That will be a major liability if it doesn’t get corrected.
Biggest hole in the gameplan: In the first half, New York was 6-of-11 on third downs and found a lot of success completing passes underneath the Bengals’ zone defense. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has had to scheme around injuries to cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Darius Phillips, which makes things more difficult. Still, the inability to get off the field was an issue Sunday.
Hamstring forces Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence out of team drills on first day of minicamp
The tightness that limited Lawrence last week in OTAs reemerged during the first day of mandatory minicamp on Monday, forcing the Jaguars to keep him out of team drills. Coach Urban Meyer said that’s likely to happen on Tuesday as well.
“Our trainers and Schotty [passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer] are being a little cautious because right now when you’re a month out, you yank a hamstring now you’re going to miss the early part of the training camp,” Meyer said. “That’s that one muscle that, you guys have all seen it like I have, you pull a hamstring at this point you’re going to miss all your summer conditioning so we’re being somewhat conservative on it.
“But he actually could play a game if he had to.”
Lawrence did some work off to the side while the rest of the team did their stretches and warm-ups, but he did participate in individual drills and 7-on-7 sessions. He did not participate in 11-on-11 drills.
Lawrence said he would rather be practicing fully, but understands the Jaguars’ approach.
“It’s been about a week and trying to work it back to full capacity and yeah, it’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good,” Lawrence said. “I’m just trying to not have any more setbacks, so taking it slow. Got some good reps today. So start getting more and more each day this week and kind of work back into it.”
The Jaguars have one more day of mandatory minicamp and then break until training camp starts in late July.
Madden NFL 22 teases cover athletes with goats
The Madden NFL 22 game cover will be released later this week. The day when we see which superstar nabs the cover is another big date on the NFL’s offseason calendar.
To promote this year’s cover release, EA Sports is teasing the identity of the athlete with literal goats. Former cover athlete Peyton Hillis interacts with the animals and reacts to the cover.
The video seems to promise two GOAT (greatest of all time) athletes. Given his Super Bowl win last season and his untouchable status as the NFL’s greatest QB, it’s safe to assume that Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady will be one of the athletes featured.
But who could join him? Could it be Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who lost to Brady in Super Bowl LV? Maybe it’s a former or current Brady collaborator. Whomever it is, the ungulate ad men in the video aren’t saying.
Who do you think will be joining Brady?
WR Jamison Crowder agrees to pay cut to remain with New York Jets, source says
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the team’s leading receiver the last two seasons, avoided the possibility of being released by agreeing to a pay cut, a source confirmed Monday.
Crowder was due to make a non-guaranteed $10 million in base pay for 2021, the final year of a three-year, $28.5 million contract. Details of the renegotiated contract weren’t immediately available, but the new deal is expected to significantly lower his $11.4 million cap charge.
The Jets are among the league leaders in cap space (about $27 million), but they approached Crowder recently about a reduction. Crowder, who turns 28 on Thursday, skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason as the two sides haggled over the contract. NFL Network first reported the agreement.
The Jets’ mandatory minicamp starts Tuesday, and Crowder is expected to attend.
Coach Robert Saleh was optimistic that a deal would get done, saying 10 days ago that “Jamison’s definitely got a role here and we’re excited to have him.”
After signing receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in free agency, and drafting Elijah Moore in the second round, the Jets had the leverage in talks with Crowder. He led the team with 59 catches and 699 yards in 2020, but his production was down because he missed four games due to leg injuries. The Jets also finished 32nd in total offense for the second straight year.
Even though Crowder is back, it will be interesting to see if his role diminishes in the regular season. Moore, selected 34th overall, has impressed the coaches in offseason practices. Like Crowder, he’s a slot receiver.
In another contract-relation development, safety Marcus Maye reported to the facility Monday ahead of the minicamp. Maye, who signed his franchise-tag tender ($10.6 million) earlier in the offseason, skipped the voluntary practices as the two sides attempt to negotiate a long-term deal. The deadline is July 15. If they can’t agree to a deal, Maye will play the 2021 season for the amount of the tender.
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