Just think, if Chris Perry had been healthy by the middle of August Kenny Watson would be playing special teams for the Arizona Cardinals (or whatever). Rudi Johnson + Chris Perry + Ken Irons = cut-cut-snip-snip for Watson. Which proves a few things:
1. Running backs are a dime-a-dozen. But we already knew that.
2. With the help of a better RB, the Bengals would have beaten the Jets more convincingly.
Listen, I was pleased with the performance of Watson, I really was. But the whole time I was watching Watson um, shred (or perhaps knife through) the Jets' defense, I couldn't stop thinking how Ken Irons would have blown the game open in that situation. Let's not forget that Eric Mangini--with his six and seven man fronts--was basically saying, "We gave you one deep pass from Carson Palmer to Chad Johnson and we won't make the same mistake twice." Hence the big lanes for Kenny Watson to dart through.
And again, he did the best he could, but when you rush for a 130 yards--and your longest run is only 12 yards--you had better be Jerome Goddamn Bettis, and not a guy who's allegedly a shifty speed back. This sounds like an odd thing to complain about, I know, but 12 yards? Really? The only reason the Jets stayed in the game was because Watson never truly made them pay. He never once made it to the second level and shook a safety out of his underpants--something Ken Irons almost certainly would have done a few times. Speed kills, people.
And even after the giant dump I just took on Watson's limited ability, I'd still rather see him in there over Rudi Johnson (when he gets back), or at least see him sharing carries in a RB-by-committee situation. Watson might not be the fastest brother in the world, but he can at least make someone miss. Plus, he's a threat out of the backfield. And I wouldn't list either among Rudi's strong suits. I could be wrong, but I think Rudi's about to shift to the goal-line-back faze of his career. RB's usually don't have a long shelf-life. There are a lot more Rodney Hamptons than there are Curtis Martins.
(Side note: I think Curtis Martin's 2004 season was the most underrated season in the history of the league. Just had to get it out there.)
Crap, I neglected to mention Chris Perry in the RB conversation.
If Perry comes back, and if he's at or near full strength--which feels like a longshot--there's no question that he's the best option for the Bengals this season. I could go into details but then my head would explode, and that might hurt. Plus, I just painted the walls. Anyway...
Look, the point of this post was to temper the enthusiasm of all the chaps who just bought Kenny Watson jerseys. I really didn't think I'd crap on Rudi and long for a healthy Chris Perry in the process, but things happen. Anyway, Watson...it was just one game, against a lousy team that was begging the Bengals to run, and while he was effective, he's hardly the answer.
Unfortunately, I believe the rest of you will find this out when the Bengals face a real team.
(Note: My take on Paul Daugherty's column on Chad Johnson will be posted soon. Now go listen to the podcasts, dammit.)