NFL: Chanticleer No. 2: Simpson sitting
Rookie Jerome Simpson led the Bengals in catches and yards in the preseason, looking better each time out. When the season started, everything changed.
The second-round draft pick from Coastal Carolina hasn’t played much and hasn’t caught a pass during Cincinnati’s 0-2 start. It underscores how things change when the games count.
“He’s still a young guy, still young-minded from the standpoint of seeing a whole different type of football, a whole different game,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “Slowly, though, I think we’ll try to work him into certain situations.”
The Bengals figured they’d have to go slow with Simpson in his transition from Championship Subdivision team to the NFL. So far, it’s gone as expected. He had 11 catches for 157 yards in the preseason, when he could rely on his talent alone.
“Jerome’s got a ways to go as far as understanding what to do, and for us to have some confidence in him being in the spots where he needs to be,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “Then he can maybe earn some more playing time. He’s played in each of the games, but he’s got to be right all the time in practice.”
The Bengals need a No. 3 receiver to complement Chad Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Simpson sounds a little frustrated and puzzled by his lack of time on the field.
“I work hard every day, so there ain’t too much I can say,” Simpson said. “I’ve got great veterans in front of me. I mean, I don’t know, man, to tell you the truth.”