Deep Posts: Why are Bengals fans staying away in droves?

-- For the fourth time this season, the Cincinnati Bengals are trying to talk fans into showing up at Paul Brown Stadium in numbers larger than 42,000. The season finale is a game against the Baltimore Ravens, and a "win-and-they're-in" scenario for Marvin Lewis' team. However, fan apathy runneth over after decades of horrible decisions by team owner Mike Brown. While I understand fan apathy (I'm a Seattle Mariners fan, for God's sake), now would be a good time for the Bengals bandwagoners to get on board — your team has a good rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton, a RIDICULOUS rookie receiver in A.J. Green, an outstanding and underrated defense, and extra high draft picks upcoming in the Carson Palmer trade. When Mike Brown is in charge, you have to take the good times while you can. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

-- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew was one of over 40 current players interviewed for an Associated Press piece on the modern attitude to concussions. Do current players work to hide concussions when they have them? Jones-Drew, and more than half of the players interviewed, admitted that the tendency moves that way. "The bottom line is: You have to be able to put food on the table. No one's going to sign or want a guy who can't stay healthy. I know there will be a day when I'm going to have trouble walking. I realize that," Jones-Drew said. "But this is what I signed up for. Injuries are part of the game. If you don't want to get hit, then you shouldn't be playing." [AP]

-- New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Zach Streif has adopted a local cause as his own — a restaurant in The Big Easy called Café Reconcile that helps at-risk kids get their lives together. []

-- Our buddy Greg Cosell from NFL Films and ESPN's NFL Matchup breaks down Mark Sanchez's ... well, breakdowns. [NFL Films Blog]

[Related: At long last, Lions set to return to playoffs]

-- Is Cam Newton having the greatest rookie season of all time, regardless of position? Peter King is among the growing number of analysts who believe that he is. I would tend to agree — you can talk about other rookie seasons (and we will soon), but the numbers Newton has put up are almost secondary — the real impact of his entry into the NFL has been his amazing ability to seemingly get the hang of huge chunks of a pro-style gameplan on a weekly basis. []

-- Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman got his first start of the season on Sunday night. That was the good for him. The bad news? The start was against Aaron Rodgers, who targeted Bowman for three of his five touchdown passes. Perhaps the most ridiculous play against Bowman was a non-touchdown — a 25-yard catch by Jordy Nelson in the third quarter in which Bowman was flagged for pass interference and Nelson still made the catch. Simply an undefendable throw. [Chicago Sun-Times]

-- On the other side of the ball, the Bears' ability to run all over Green Bay's defensive fronts has to be a point of concern when the playoffs hit. [JSOnline]

-- The Washington Redskins are guaranteed to suffer their third-straight season of 10 or more losses. That's an embarrassment for their despot owner and alarmingly orange-colored head coach, but it's players like Lorenzo Alexander who really feel the pain. "It's been the same old story around here for the years I've been here," Alexander told Mike Jones of the Washington Post. "Playing up and down depending on who you're playing, and the good teams don't do that. They dominate whoever's in front of them. For us to turn that corner, we've got to do that. For us to do that, we've got to put three, four, five wins together over a period of 16 games, and we just for whatever reason, we're not doing that right now. At some point we've got to change that and start getting wins." [Washington Post]

-- Draft expert Rob Rang points out that the four Boise State players invited to the 2012 Senior Bowl could be in line for more fanfare than some people expect — that team wasn't just about Kellen Moore. []

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