Bengals position themselves to win

Adam Schefter often answers reader questions in his blog. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

Q: Do you think the Cincinnati Bengals' receivers can put together a good season collectively this year? They're definitely better off than they were last year, but their two main guys, Ochocinco and now T.O., aren't exactly in their primes anymore. And don't you run the risk of issues with those two huge personalities/egos lining up next to each other?

-- Joe (Cincinnati)

A: Joe, I actually think those two receivers will help keep each other in line. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think they'll be on better behavior around each other. Maybe I'm delusional and too glass half full, but that's the way I feel. People also forget that the Bengals also signed Antonio Bryant and Matt Jones and drafted Jordan Shipley. To me, a team that lacked depth at the wide receiver position now has it, at least for a little while. Yes, some of the receivers are older, but this is a year-to-year league, and the Bengals have positioned themselves to win this season.

Q: Why has no one mentioned a 17-game, two bye, two preseason-game schedule as a perfect compromise for the NFL and NFLPA? Sure, home dates are important financially, but the real money in the NFL comes from TV. With 17 games and two byes, the NFL gets the same 19-week TV contract it wants, but the players get the lighter gameload they want. And everyone wins with an extra bye -- players get more midseason time to recuperate, while owners allow their money-making assets to stay healthier for the stretch run. The only way I can see this not appealing to both sides is if the owners are already assuming two byes in their proposed 18-week schedule. But I've yet to see that stated anywhere. Why don't you float that to the powers that be on both sides and see if we can avoid missing any football next year?

-- Brian (Chicago)

A: Consider it floated, Brian. And I'm sure players find your idea more tasteful than owners, just as owners find more games more tasteful than players. Your idea makes a whole lot of sense. But to date, you're right; the only thing I've heard is that the NFL is determined to go to 18 games in 2011. It's always possible it comes off that stance during negotiations for a new CBA. But 18 games is the definite goal. The more games, the more money for owners. The more money, the more support from owners -- and the more opposition from players.

Q: What are the chances the NFL could ever go to an NBA style of doing contracts? Putting each position on a scale and making max deals at each position. You never see holdouts in the NBA, and I feel like this is the reason.

-- Tommy (Flagstaff, Ariz.)

A: Tommy, I'm not familiar enough with how NBA contracts work to draw a parallel. But the NFL and the NFLPA know that the current structure needs to change. Proven veterans need to get more and unproven rookies need to get less. If that means the NFL adopting the NBA style of contracts, then great. As for the max value contracts, I'm sure NFL owners would like that, but players not so much.

Q: Hey Adam, huge fan! I wanted to get your input on what point in the season, if applicable, that Colt McCoy will see real playing time for the Cleveland Browns?

-- Astate17 (Jonesboro, Ark.)

A: Thanks for the kind words, Astate17. For the time being, the Browns' plan is to leave McCoy on the bench and have him learn at the heels of veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme. Now should the Browns stumble and fall out of playoff contention, then the door opens on McCoy. But as long as the Browns remain competitive -- if they can remain competitive -- Delhomme will continue to start. If you're a Browns fan, you don't want to see McCoy this season. It would be a sign that the Browns are gearing up for 2011 and beyond.

Q: How do you see the Albert Haynesworth drama playing out now that he's failing these conditioning tests? Does this just prove he's completely quit on the Washington Redskins?

-- Kurt Yarman (Roswell, Ga.)

A: I don't know that he has quit, Kurt. But if this continues, who knows, he eventually might. Look, this isn't going -- and hasn't been going -- in a positive direction. Not sure how it will work out, but the signs aren't encouraging. The bottom line is the two sides need each other. The better Haynesworth plays, the better it is for him and the Redskins. The worse he plays, the worse it is for him and the Redskins.