So, as I was thinking some more about yesterday's embarassment for the Bengals at the hands of the Ravens, I realized something. I didnt recall, during all of yesterday's game, hearing the name Chris Henry. I didn't recall even seeing him on the field. So I looked up his stats from the game and found out the observation was correct. Henry was among nine offensive players (Henry, Andre Caldwell, Daniel Coats, Glenn Holt, Nate Lawrie, Jerome Simpson, Brad St. Louis, Ben Utecht, and Kenny Watson) who recorded no offensive statistics in the game.
Granted, four of the players named are tight ends, one, Brad St. Louis, most commonly known as a long snapper. But, one would not expect receivers like Caldwell, Holt and Simpson to not record any catches, and the Bengals have shown a propensity for whatever reason to misuse Kenny Watson. Among the tight ends named here, Ben Utecht, a man who came with name recognition when he was acquired in the offseason after playing with the Colts, has been a disappointment. Utecht has been dealing with a variety of injuries since early in the season and has not had the chance to get healthy and produce the way he should be able to.
For me, the biggest disappointment is Chris Henry. Against the Ravens, Henry had 0 catches, 0 yards, 0 TDs. I seriously do not remember seeing him on the field. Could be that I just missed him. So far, for Henry, this entire season has been a bust. Henry missed the first four games of the year while serving an NFL-imposed suspension for off-the-field behavior. Henry's troubles are well-known.
In the eight games in which he has played, Henry has compiled 10 catches for a meager 107 yards. His best game was October 19 against the Steelers when he netted three catches for 44 yards. He has no TDs for the year. During games in which I have seen him actually make a catch, he celebrates every time as if he has caught a decisive TD pass. I'm not sure how you celebrate when your stats are as bare as this, proving that your contribution to your team is negligible.
Henry came back to the Bengals after he was waived in April. At that time, Bengals owner Mike Brown said Henry's off-the-field behavior issues could no longer be tolerated and that the team had to let him go. Yet, Henry was signed to a two-year contract in August, when veteran receivers Chad Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh and rookie receiver Caldwell were injured and the physical integrity of the receiver corps was in question. Of course, Henry's signing came AFTER head coach Marvin Lewis said the team did not want Henry back.
So, the receiver who was supposed to be a "difference maker," a receiver whose very presence on the field was said to "change a game," has proven to have made no difference at all. Perhaps Henry has been misused in the offensive schemes, such as they are. Perhaps things would be different if Carson Palmer, or any other effective quarterback, was under center. But what sticks with me is that Henry's signing left Marvin Lewis out in the cold and set back his efforts to bring more discipline to the team. It was a slap in the face to a man who may not deserve much sympathy, but who deserves at least the respect of his players and his management.
FOOTNOTE -- I will grant Chris Henry this: at least he has managed to stay out of trouble since his last off-the-field escapade. Marvin Lewis has not had to help clean up another off-the-field Henry mess on top of all the other misery he and the team have endured so far this year. Hopefully, Henry's good behavior will continue.