Cincinnati Bengals: tony dye

Bengals factoid: Blocked punts

June, 13, 2014
6/13/14
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As we wrap up this week's Cincinnati Bengals factoids, we make a return to special teams.

The week began with a factoid on kicker Mike Nugent's field goals from beyond 40 yards. Friday, blocked punts are the topic of conversation, specifically the amount the Bengals have allowed since head coach Marvin Lewis and special-teams coordinator Darrin Simmons have been in Cincinnati.

So, without further ado, here's the Friday factoid: 4.

Since 2003, the year Lewis became the Bengals' head coach and Simmons the special-teams coach, the team has allowed four blocked punts.

That's not particularly good. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 18 other teams have allowed four or fewer blocked punts in that time. Houston is the only team in the league that hasn't given up a blocked punt in those 11 years. Buffalo and Cleveland have given up one each. On the other end of the spectrum are the Falcons who have had 11 punts blocked since 2003. The Panthers have had 10 blocked and the Chargers who have had eight. Seven of San Diego's opposing blocked punts have come since 2008.

While they've had four punts blocked in the last 11 seasons, the Bengals have also blocked three punts themselves. They had one in 2013 when Jayson DiManche knifed through Cleveland's punt coverage unit in the first half of a November game against the division rival. After DiManche's block, reserve Bengals safety Tony Dye scooped up the loose ball and sprinted in untouched for his first career touchdown.

The score contributed to a massive swing in momentum in that game. Through the first quarter, the Browns led 13-0. Then Cincinnati chipped away at a lead in the second quarter, with DiManche's block and Dye's touchdown. After taking the 21-13 lead, the Bengals continued rolling all the way to a 41-20 win.

As far as allowing punt blocks, the last time the Bengals gave one up, they lost a home game to Pittsburgh in Week 9 of the 2010 season. Current punter Kevin Huber was blocked in the first quarter of the game. Unlike DiManche's block, though, this one didn't do quite as much damage. The Steelers took over 15 yards behind the original line of scrimmage, starting a drive at Cincinnati's 30. The Bengals' defense remained firm, forcing Pittsburgh into attempting a 25-yard field goal that kicker Jeff Reed successfully hit.
As of the moment this particular posting has gone live, Mike Zimmer remains the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator.

Later in the day Wednesday, that could change. Or, it could not. At this stage in the Minnesota Vikings' hiring process, anything can and will happen.

According to ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling and other media reports out of Minnesota, at the end of a long day going through a second round of interviews Tuesday, Zimmer remains as uncertain about his coaching future as the rest of us. Late Tuesday night, he told a Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter that he had not yet been offered a job and was scheduled to head back to Cincinnati on Wednesday.

What does that mean? Are the Vikings preparing to hand him the job and allowing him to tie up affairs in Cincinnati (i.e. tell the Bengals and inform his players personally) before making an announcement? Or are the Vikings simply not ready to make an announcement yet and still want to bring in other candidates for a second interview like Zimmer? He was the first to sit down with members of Minnesota's front office for a second time in as many weeks.

The only thing we can do is sit and wait as this drama unfolds.

Presumably, we'll know something more definitive on Zimmer's job status late in the day Wednesday or at some point Thursday at the very latest. If he doesn't get offered this particular job, the only head coaching gig that would be left for Zimmer to take would be the Cleveland Browns' opening, which several candidates -- including Minnesota target Todd Bowles -- have reportedly turned down.

Zimmer was a strong candidate for the Browns job last year, but ultimately, Rob Chudzinski was hired to fill it. At the end of his only season coaching the Browns, Chudzinski was fired in December.

It might be safe to assume that if the Vikings' opportunity doesn't work out for Zimmer, he will be back on the Bengals' sideline next season.

We begin this Wednesday's Morning Stripes with a Goessling's update from after midnight on the latest regarding the drama that has been Zimmer's courting:
  • Here's what my colleague, ESPN.com Vikings reporter Ben Goessling, reported about the latest in Minnesota's coaching vacancy.
  • Back in August, former NFL head coach and defensive guru Bill Parcells told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he felt Zimmer had what it took to be a head coach. He liked Zimmer's demeanor, leadership qualities and approach to working. It probably didn't hurt Zimmer that he had two top-10 defenses in the previous five seasons and was gearing up for a third. (Cincinnati finished the 2013 regular season ranked No. 3 in total defense) Also in that link is a reference to a report that Tennessee had interviewed Zimmer a second time Monday before it ultimately hired Ken Whisenhunt.
  • Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson has this "by-the-numbers" look at a few items to watch for out of the Bengals next season. It points out what could be lost without Zimmer and what could be gained with Hue Jackson as the team's new offensive coordinator.
  • Sticking with team sites, Raiders.com has this blurb on now former Bengals defensive back Tony Dye. Oakland on Tuesday signed him to a futures/reserve contract that can't go into effect until the day after the Super Bowl. Dye, you'll recall, was the one who recovered the blocked punt against the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in November and took it back for a touchdown. The score helped spark momentum for the Bengals in the comeback that eventually turned into a rout.
  • Finally, we step off the field for a pair of "where are they now?" updates. Former Bengals Chinedum Ndukwe and Reggie Kelly have gone into unique ventures in the real estate and cooking worlds, respectively. Here's the Cincinnati Business Courier on Ndukwe's venture renovating a downtown landmark, and the Hilton Head Island Packet (S.C.) on Kelly's line of cooking sauces.

Bengals promote Lewis-Harris, waive Dye

December, 12, 2013
12/12/13
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CINCINNATI -- In an effort to make up for the loss of cornerback Terence Newman to injury, the Cincinnati Bengals made a pair of roster moves Thursday involving their secondary.

Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris was re-signed to the 53-man roster after spending the past three weeks on the practice squad. He took the place of safety Tony Dye, who was waived.

Lewis-Harris has spent the season bouncing between the 53-man and practice squad rosters. He has played in three games, spending much of his time on special teams. While he would primarily play special teams if active Sunday night when the Bengals visit Pittsburgh, his addition also is a sign Cincinnati is trying to shore up its defensive backfield depth.

Second-year corner Dre Kirkpatrick is expected to take over at the second cornerback position with Newman out one to three weeks with an MCL sprain. The other starting corner will be Adam Jones, who has played in place of Leon Hall since Hall's season-ending Achilles tear Week 7 at Detroit.

As for Dye, the former practice squad player had been on the 53-man roster since Cincinnati's Nov. 17 game against the Cleveland Browns. That day, while appearing on the Bengals' punt coverage unit, he scooped and scored off a blocked punt. The 24-yard return extended a Bengals lead, and was a key play in turning the momentum of a game that became a rout.
Usually when an offense turns the ball over in its own territory, it sets up a subsequent chain of bad events for that same team's defense.

Given a short field on which to stop the opposing offense on the sudden possession change, the aforementioned defense doesn't always stand firm. Touchdowns are often the product of the quick field flip and can push a team further and further out of contention in a game.

That hasn't really been the case, though, for the Cincinnati Bengals in recent weeks. For the most part when Cincinnati's offense turns the ball over at any point on the field -- but particularly in its own territory -- its defense has been able to answer with a hold. We'll get into it more with the first link of this Tuesday edition of the Morning Stripes, but the Dayton Daily News' Jay Morrison provided the figures that show whether its on a short field or long field, the Bengals' post-turnover defense has been really strong of late.

In the last three games, the Bengals' offense has turned the ball over 19 times. Three of those turnovers, like Joe Haden's interception that was returned for a score in Sunday's 41-20 win over the Browns, came when the opposing defense returned the turnover for a touchdown. So that leaves 16 other drives when the Bengals' defense has been asked to stand firm and not allow a touchdown.

According to Morrison's research, on 15 of those drives, it has done just that. Only once in the past three games has a Bengals offensive turnover led to a turnover given up by their defense. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one reason why Cincinnati's offense has its defense to thank for keeping it in arguably all but one game this season.

Let's get to the rest of the Morning Stripes:
  • Again, we'll start off with the link to Morrison's story for the Dayton Daily News. It's one glimpse into how the Bengals have been able to stay competitive. On Sunday, after giving up two first-quarter turnovers, including the one that was returned for a touchdown, the Bengals could have been down 18-0 or as much as 21-0 after the game's first 15 minutes. Instead, because of a stop in their own territory -- 12 of the 16 opposing offense drives that have started following a Bengals turnover in the last three weeks began on the Bengals side of the 50 -- they were able to force a field goal that followed up another. Instead of what should have been a three-score lead, the Browns only led 13-0 when James Harrison intercepted a Jason Campbell pass late in the first quarter. Minutes later, at the start of the second, the Bengals began a 31-0 rally that earned them the win.
  • Moving over to offense, the Associated Press' Joe Kay has this story on the Bengals' special teams in Sunday's win. The group, mostly paced by young punt return-team players like Jayson DiManche, Shawn Williams and Tony Dye, contributed greatly to the win. DiManche got his first career blocked punt, Williams tipped another and Dye scored his first touchdown. Dye's scoop and score came on DiManche's block. Williams' tip set up good Bengals field position and led to an offensive touchdown. There were other plays that had special-teams coordinator Darrin Simmons excited after the game, but those three events had him most encouraged.
  • Moving up to Cleveland, several Browns players said Monday they felt lucky to be alive following a "scary" landing just outside Cleveland on Sunday night. Because of high winds and rains brought on by the same story system that hit Cincinnati following the game, the Browns had at one point considered busing back. But the airport and United Airlines gave them the OK to fly home. Had it not been for their pilot, some players contend, the Browns may not have had a good landing. Here's Pat McManamon's report for ESPN.com, and Mary Kay Cabot's for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • The past few days have been difficult for many affiliated with the Bengals. Since Saturday, four people with past ties to the franchise have died. Former offensive lineman Mike McCormack, one of the original Bengals' coaching assistants, Jack Donaldson, and former linebackers Frank Chamberlain and Thomas Howard all passed away. Chamberlin, 35, lost his yearlong battle with brain cancer Sunday. Howard, 30, died in Northern California early Monday when a car he was reportedly driving at speeds upward of 100 mph, clipped a truck and veered into oncoming traffic. Howard's car hit another driver head-on, killing them both instantly. He was in Cincinnati earlier this season for a tryout, and recently was waived by the Falcons. Here's the Associated Press on Howard's death, and one from Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson, who spoke with current linebacker and Howard mentee Rey Maualuga.
Finally, the Cincinnati Bengals are saying, after 11 physical weeks, it's here: the bye week.

With now 13 days to rest, heal up and refocus their energies, the Bengals are thankful for the much-anticipated arrival of this year's late off week. On Sunday afternoon, in their final game before the bye, the Bengals got things steered back into a positive direction when they rallied past the Cleveland Browns for a 41-20 victory. Along with a Ravens loss and Steelers win, the victory pushed Cincinnati's lead over the rest of the AFC North to 2 1/2 games, providing a rather significant cushion ahead of the bye.

It's a better place to be than the alternative. A loss Sunday would have left Cincinnati with a 1 1/2-game lead, and at risk of watching it drop to a single game while idle this week. A loss also would have been the third straight for the Bengals, and could have had a truly devastating psychological effect on the team. After starting 6-2, it would have lost three straight to go to 6-5, and would be looking to stay above .500 at San Diego in two weeks.

Even though that's not the case, that alarming possibility prompted Bengals safety George Iloka to say the following: "From here on out, every game will be crucial."

For the rest of the season, the Bengals don't want to have to climb out of the type of early 13-0 hole that they were able to get out of Sunday. They want to shake the slow starts and start hitting teams with their best shots earlier.

As we begin this look-back edition of the Morning Stripes, we'll start off with a couple of links from our ESPN NFL Nation Bengals blog:
  • Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson said after Sunday's game that he felt confident in saying the Bengals have a true home-field advantage. Cincinnati obviously has been doing something right at Paul Brown Stadium. After all, it is 5-0 there and has scored more than 30 points in three of those games. Still, the franchise-tagged defender wasn't too happy to hear boos in the first quarter when the Bengals were down by two scores after their offense threw a pair of interceptions and turned in a trio of three-and-out drives. If you don't want to support the Bengals, "leave," Johnson said.
  • Defense was expected to be the star of Sunday's contest. While the final score didn't much indicate that, at times, it was. It most certainly was for the Bengals, who allowed just one offensive score. In fact, when the game's momentum finally shifted for good, it was Cincinnati's defense that provided it. Just like it has at other points this year, the defense paced the offense. With respect to Cleveland's defense, which wasn't bad overall (the Bengals only gained 224 yards of total offense), cornerback Joe Haden was the hero, locking down the league's leading receiver, A.J. Green. Haden only allowed Green to catch two passes for 7 yards and ended up with two interceptions.
  • Moving on to a few other newspapers and websites, let's first look at Geoff Hobson's take on Bengals.com at Cincinnati's Will and Sam linebackers, Vontaze Burfict and James Harrison. As injuries have forced Harrison into a more expanded role, he enjoyed arguably his best game as a Bengal on Sunday. In addition to his interception that turned the game, he had four tackles. Harrison's pick set a tone to the game, as did Burfict's fumble recovery for touchdown. As this pair goes, so goes this intimidating defense.
  • Over the years, Harrison has drawn a reputation for being a player who has a unique edge. He toes the line of insanity and plays as close to it without being considered a dirty player. Burfict, in the two years he has spent in Cincinnati, has begun developing a similar reputation. With the two playing together for the first time this season, it appears Harrison is rubbing off on Burfict. Fox Sports Ohio's Kevin Goheen writes that that's a good thing for Cincinnati.
  • Finally, we turn to the Cincinnati Enquirer, where a story on backup linebacker and punt team specialist Jayson DiManche explores how his homework and goal setting paid off in Sunday's big win. DiManche, of course, had the key punt block that led to Tony Dye's scoop-and-score and first career touchdown. The sequence was part of a record-setting 31-point second quarter.

The Bengals may be getting ready to take a few days off, but the work doesn't stop here on the Bengals blog. Make sure you stay with us every day this week where we'll have analysis and features.

Locker Room Buzz: Cincinnati Bengals

November, 17, 2013
11/17/13
5:30
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CINCINNATI -- Observed in the locker room after the Cincinnati Bengals' 41-20 victory against the Cleveland Browns.

DiManche
DiManche's note: Each week when they go into meetings, the youngest members of the Bengals' special-teams units bring a stack of notes with them. Special-teams coordinator Darrin Simmons reads them all. According to Simmons, Jayson DiManche's note this week read: "Block a punt to help win the game." In the second quarter, he did. When he beat his man and blocked the ball, DiManche set up a touchdown return that helped turn the momentum in Cincinnati's favor.

Dye's TD: Tony Dye, making his first NFL start, was all smiles at his locker. He was the one who scooped DiManche's blocked punt and sprinted for the 24-yard score. "It was a lot of instinct," Dye said. "It just just kind of happened. It happened fast. Hey, the speed of the game is different at this level."

James Jr.? Asked if he could be considered a younger version of Bengals linebacker James Harrison, Vontaze Burfict smiled. Much like Harrison, who had a key interception Sunday, Burfict plays with an edge that borders on reckless. "Sometimes he rubs off on me," Burfict said. "I take the same supplements that he does and sometimes I feel like, 'OK, I'm in his element.' I take the same energy that he does and sometimes that makes me feel crazy on the field."

Bengals make roster moves in secondary

November, 16, 2013
11/16/13
12:15
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CINCINNATI -- The day before they could be playing without a veteran cornerback, the Cincinnati Bengals made a pair of roster moves in their secondary.

The Bengals on Saturday signed safety Tony Dye to the 53-man roster, activating him off their practice squad. The second-year player has been an off-and-on Bengal throughout his career, most recently signed to the practice squad Sept. 24 after being cut from the team at the end of the preseason three weeks earlier. The UCLA product signed as an undrafted free agent last year, but spent the entire 2012 season on the injured reserve due to a a preseason ankle injury.

Dye will be taking the roster spot occupied by cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris, a first year defender from Tennessee-Chattanooga. Lewis-Harris was waived Saturday. He appeared in three games this season, registering three special teams tackles.

The roster moves come just before the Bengals' AFC North meeting against the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. Veteran cornerback Chris Crocker (hamstring) currently is listed as Doubtful for the game.
CINCINNATI -- In an effort to shore up the franchise's depth at safety after Jeromy Miles cleared waivers and was picked up by Baltimore on Monday, the Bengals signed safety Tony Dye to their practice squad Tuesday.

The former UCLA standout rejoins the organization after having been part of the expanded preseason roster. He was among the group of players who were cut Aug. 31 when preseason rosters shrank for the final time to reach their 53-man regular-season capacity. Dye also was part of the roster last season, but was placed on injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in a preseason game.

Dye originally signed with the Bengals as a college free agent.

The move came after Miles was claimed by the Ravens when he was waived by the Bengals on Saturday for the second time this season. The first time came hours before Cincinnati's Week 2 game against Pittsburgh. The Bengals brought Miles back that time by dropping the player he was swapped for, linebacker J.K. Schaffer, back to the practice squad. The moves involving Miles were the Bengals' way of trying to maneuver roster spots to account for special-teams bodies. Miles was going through an injury and wasn't able to play, as were other Bengals defensive backs.

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