Know Your Enemy: Cincinnati Bengals

Yes ma, there are die-hard fans for every NFL franchise. The Bengals are 5-2, and I had to clean my glasses twice when I looked at the standings. I have a feeling that the Bengal followers had to do the same when they saw the Titans’ record. Odds were 100-1 at least for both franchises to have a winning record going into November. I like talking to the real fans, so I chatted with Mickey Mentzer of

Just added: My answers to’s questions are posted here.

Questions are bolded, and answers are not.

The running back situation is intriguing. Did Bernard Scott impress enough to get a bigger load come Sunday, or is Cedric The Entertainer going to get 20 carries?

Great question, we have been debating this on our blog and since you have me to answer your questions, you get my opinion.  I don’t think Scott can do as much on the field as Cedric Benson at this point.  Scott is an exciting player, but usually needs a decent hole to get started.  Benson on the other hand continues to get hard yards after first contact and is good at moving the chains when needed.

While a lot of the media attention is on the Dalton/Green combo, it’s the defense/special teams that’s been stellar so far. What caused the defense to move from middle of the pack to top-five in the league?

The defense has been close in recent years but because the offense struggled to get first downs, they were on the field way too often. This season, the Bengals have a full rotation of defensive linemen that they continue to rotate all game. This keeps the run stopping and pressure up front and forces the ball out sooner, leaving the corners less time to cover. Also, health and moving Maualuga to the middle (his natural spot) helped to get guys in the positions they were most comfortable with.

With Andy Dalton’s development, do you feel like the franchise finally has the QB to live up to the lineage of Boomer and Ken Anderson?

For Bengals fans, those are some big shoes to fill. Dalton has a ways to go to become the kind of player that Bengals fans would like to see leading this team but so far he is doing everything right.  He does make the typical mistakes a rookie would make, but when it has mattered most he seems to come through with key plays.

Marvin Lewis, for better or worse, is the all-time franchise leader in wins. What’s the feeling about him by the fan base?

When the Bengals lose, Marvin is blamed. When they win, he does not get the credit. It is tough to know what decisions Marvin makes and what is dictated by the owner. It does seem though recently that Marvin has been allowed more control to get the people he wants to build the team and the Bengals seem to be on the right track to improvement.

I have no idea what this Who Dey thing is. Educate me.

Just a battle cry. WhoDey think gonna beat them Bengals? [Zach note: The answer is usually “everyone”, but not this year.] Nobody!

Corny? Yes. Do Bengals fans still love it? Absolutely.

Andy Dalton, aka the Red Rifle

Tell me the truth: Love or hate the uniforms, including the Halloween all orange ones.

Love em. I still get excited by the stripes. I know most people outside of Bengals fans think they are terrible. I think though, after growing up being a fan and loving them as a kid, it sticks and I still think they are the best in the league.  Hey, maybe it is the same as everybody thinking their kid is the cutest right?

Does the 5-2 start lead to a division title, playoff berth, or middle of the road finish for 2011?

Yes. It could lead to any of those things. The one thing it certainly does not lead to is early season struggles that have Bengals fans wishing for an early spring. You see, the Bengals hold the record for the most 0 and 6 starts in the NFL. Those seasons were long and horrible. This one has Bengals fans hopeful through Thanksgiving at least. I predict a wildcard though personally.

After watching the last few Titan games, especially the Steelers and Texans games, is there one player that really scares you?

May be surprising but I am scared to face Chris Johnson. I do not want the Bengals to be the team that gets him back on track. The Chris Johnson of the past few years is not the guy we have been seeing on Sunday and I hope he waits at least one more week to show up.

Want to know what’s going on with the Bengals? Go to Follow dey (see what I did there?) on Twitter.

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