Heading into their Week 4 matchup with the 0-3 Cleveland Browns, it would be assumed that the Cincinnati Bengals are licking their collective chops. Even more so, the Bengals are a team that boast several play-making weapons on offense and said weapons are obviously well aware of what Baltimore did to cornerback Eric Wright one week prior.
But regardless of Wright’s struggles and his team’s weapons, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is not about to rest on his laurels as he makes the trip up state route 71.
“Eric’s a good football player,” said Lewis via conference call. “Like most people that play that position, they have some good days and some not-so-good days. He’s got to take a deep breath and take a step back – what you did last week has zero bearing on this week, positive or negative.”
Unfortunately for Wright, the negatives far outweighed the positives as he was the victim of three Joe Flacco-to-Anquan Boldin touchdowns as the Ravens topped the Browns, 24-17. Wright was quick to own up to his shortcomings, admitting that he had a terrible game – one that some fans compared to LeBron James in Game 5 of the playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
The big difference will be that James “took his talents” elsewhere and Wright will have a shot at redemption. He will undoubtedly have his hands full this week as the Bengals will come to town with not only Chad Ochocinco, but his new partner in crime Terrell Owens. It is speculated that Sheldon Brown will draw Owens in coverage due to his size and physical play, which means that Wright will have to deal with Ochocinco for most of the contest.
On the season, Ochocinco has 20 receptions (eighthmost in the NFL) for 239 yards and a touchdown. The man who has gotten him the ball all 20 times is Carson Palmer, he of the multiple Pro Bowl nods. And to no surprise, Palmer has seen the tape that Eric Wright wishes did not exist.
“I’m not sure if it’s the worst game of his career, he was in a couple tough positions,” said Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer. “One play was on a cover zero where there wasn’t any pressure on the quarterback and he was kind of hung out to dry.”
Thankfully for Wright, Palmer has nothing but glowing remarks about the cornerback’s skill set.
“He’s been a very good football player since he was in college and I’ve played against him a handful of times,” Palmer continued. “He’s quick, he’s fast, has a good eye for the ball and can cover guys one on one. He’s everything you want in a corner.”
As Craig pointed out earlier this week, rookie cornerback Joe Haden is just waiting in the wings to take over a starting spot. Ideally, however, Wright is the guy that starts opposite of Haden in future seasons as veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown in north of 30-years old.
But will Palmer be looking to pick on Wright this week to see if there is any hangover from the Baltimore game?
“I think he’s one of the better corners, especially in this division that we face on a two-times per year deal,” said Palmer. “At no point is he a guy that we look at as a weak link.”
(Photo Credit: Joe Rubino)