Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals talks with head coach Marvin Lewis on the field during pregame before taking on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 10, 2012. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI - Marvin Lewis is right to call out Andy Dalton and Rey Maualuga, admonishing them to take charge of their respective units. Quarterbacks in particular are especially critical to the overall demeanor of a team and some of the best had an edge at least on the field.
There's no better authority on the topic than former Bengals All-Pro defensive tackle Mike Reid, who can attest to the Jekyll and Hyde personality demonstrated by Hall of Fame signal-caller and Cincinnati native Roger Staubach.
Though he only squared off against Staubach once, a 1973 matchup in Dallas that resulted in a 38-10 win by the Cowboys, Reid developed a great deal of respect for the Purcell High School graduate.
Reid once said Staubach was the most ferocious and fearsome opponent he'd ever played against.
"You knew he'd gone to Mass Sunday morning which only added to the disconnect. As reserved and calm as he was out of uniform, he was transformed once he suited up,” Reid said.
Reid believes the level of intensity Staubach displayed not only affected his on-field performance, but his teammates’ performances as well.
“He would come on the field willing to rip your lungs out if it would help his team win," Reid said. "He was just plain scary. Staubach was notorious for not just his preparation but his intensity and take no prisoners approach, which he imparted to his teammates."
Boomer Esiason was no shrinking violet either during his career. During a visit in May, I reminded him of an incident I overheard while walking the sidelines during a Bengals game. Boomer was berating former teammate Brian Blades for allowing a defender to sack him on a critical third down.
"Blades,” Esiason said, “if that guy hits me again, the next pass is gonna slip out of my hand and hit you in the (unmentionables)."
Esiason roared at the recollection, adding "I was clean (untouched) the rest of the game."
"Sure I yelled at my guys, but then I'd take them out for steaks on Thursday nights,” Esiason said. “I loved them, but I had to hold them accountable. I had no problem with getting in their faces."
Suffice it to say, I don't think it is too much of a leap to assume that Boomer would highly endorse Marvin Lewis’ decision to put the onus on his big time players, especially his quarterback, to wrest control of the team.
It will be interesting to see if he addresses the issue during CBS's pregame coverage of Sunday's visit from the Denver Broncos. I suspect we'll get something along the lines of "Well it’s about time" from old number 7.
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