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2017 Bengals: Return to Irrelevance

Discussion in 'Blinded by the Lombardis: Patriots Forum' started by Rudy's Curve, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    I guess the return to irrelevance already happened last year, but at least then they actually went into the season with a chance at contending. Those days are over.

    You could make an argument in 2015 they were the best team in the league. They finished in a three-way tie for the best record in the AFC (and it took a blown 14 point lead with a backup QB in Denver to get to that point) and led the AFC in SRS and DVOA. If Dalton hadn't gotten hurt, they may have been able to make a run assuming he could get over his playoff woes. Of course, he hadn't played a playoff game with Green, Marvin Jones and a healthy Eifert which was how their offense was so good that year. Unfortunately, ownership decided not to continue to try to be a contender and here we are 14 months later.

    The core of making five straight playoffs was built through the draft. From 2009-13, they drafted Andre Smith, Michael Johnson, Dunlap, Atkins, Green, Dalton, Clint Boling, Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler, Mohamed Sanu, Jones, George Iloka, Eifert, Bernard and Burkhead while also signing Burfict as a CFA - that's a damn good run. Unfortunately, their 2014-15 classes look pretty awful and the only thing they've found so far from 2016 is Tyler Boyd as a slot receiver who they used a second-rounder on. When you don't re-sign the good players you drafted, treat FAs from other teams like anthrax and can't hit anymore in the draft, your roster will erode fast.

    Even during parts of The Lost Decade, the Bengals have almost perennially fielded a strong offensive line. The foundation started to crack last year and unless a miracle occurs, it's only going to be worse. Longtime stalwart LT Andrew Whitworth took a deal with the Rams. When the longest-tenured member of the team and captain moves his family across the country to play for a non-contender, either the Bengals offer was noncompetitive or he simply didn't want to be there anymore. It's a huge loss as now they hand the job over to 2015 first rounder Cedric Ogbuehi. Normally I wouldn't be so pessimistic about giving someone like that a shot, but he was absolutely horrible in his shot at RT last year (and when he moved over to LT his last game) and wasn't particularly good in college. He was drafted as an athlete with good feet, but his strength and technique are simply not NFL caliber. They go from the best pass protector to possibly the worst which is a big problem for a QB that struggles more than most with pressure and is a product of his surrounding talent. In addition, Zeitler took his talents a few hours north and the Bengals were never a legitimate suitor. He got the most money ever for a guard, but what's the point of drafting a guy in the first round if you're not going to even attempt to sign him to a second contract when he delivers a first round return and is still squarely in his prime? They brought back old friend Smith to play RG and I think he'll actually be pretty good there, but he's certainly not Zeitler and has missed 21 games the last three years. Also, it's a continued indictment of Christian Westerman, a fifth-rounder last year who a lot of people thought had day two talent but couldn't even be active once in a season where the OL was a mess and now a job he could have competed for has already been filled. Boling is a very solid LG, but Russell Bodine is a disaster at C (yet he's been on scholarship from the moment he arrived) and 2015 second-rounder Jake Fisher, while flashing some down the stretch, is still largely unproven at RT.

    After losing Jones in FA last year, they replaced him with Brandon LaFell. Their numbers (Jones 2015 vs. LaFell 2016) may look similar, but LaFell's lack of speed on the outside killed them since Green and Eifert essentially played only two games together and defenses were able to key on them without fear. Most organizations would thank him for his service and move on. However, the Bengals brought him back on a two-year deal because of all his supposed intangibles. This ensures the offense will continue to bog down if Green or inevitably Eifert get hurt, except it'll be even worse this time as incompletions will become sacks. It also likely means they won't draft Corey Davis (who might be the best player at 9 and fills a huge need) unless they plan on cutting LaFell which is highly unlikely.

    After running roughshod over the league down the stretch his rookie year in 2014, Jeremy Hill has simply been awful the last two years. He's averaged 3.2 YPC in that span against teams not named the Browns and doesn't have a 100-yard game against anybody else. I understood giving him a lot of rope in 2015 but when he only averaged 3.6 YPC in an explosive offense that Bernard had 4.7 in, that seems like a pretty big red flag. Unfortunately, they continued to feed him the ball this past year while Burkhead rotted on the bench. When Bernard was lost for the year in November, it was a perfect opportunity to give the reigns to Burkhead but they chose not to. They've stated they're going to draft a RB at some point. I can only hope the coaching staff actually plays him.

    On the plus side, the defense should be pretty good. After putting up an excellent year in 2015, they were horrible the first half last year before turning it on in the second. They badly need to upgrade the pass rush though as they've gotten nothing at RE since Johnson left after the 2013 season, which includes his return two years ago. It might be time to look for someone that isn't 6'6 and can actually bend around the edge, as their last two DE picks (Margus Hunt and Will Clarke) have been tall and stiff and haven't done anything. If they take Taco Charlton at 9, I might cry. Thankfully, longtime overrated NT Domata Peko signed with the Broncos and last year's fourth-rounder Andrew Billings will get the first crack at the job after missing his rookie year.

    I was in favor of signing Karlos Dansby to fill a LB void last year, but his play fell of a cliff and he was a huge liability. He's now gone back to Arizona again and the Bengals signed former Cardinal Kevin Minter to a one-year deal who should be an upgrade, especially in coverage. Last year's third-rounder Nick Vigil will open camp as the other starter which will thankfully relegate Vincent Rey into a reserve role. The Minter signing should spell the end for Rey Maualuga, who can't play in nickel and hasn't played a full season in four years.

    They used the money they didn't spend on Whitworth and Zeitler on Kirkpatrick, who got paid handsomely. After years of inconsistency, he finally delivered a first-round return last year minus the inexplicable illegal contact penalty on third and forever against Hogan which turned the game around. I certainly hope he lives up to the deal, but I'm not that optimistic as he turns 28 in November. Still, he should at least be good for a productive season this year. With the re-signing of Kirkpatrick, they have to cut Adam Jones. Not only is he in legal hot water again, but he's going to be 34 in September and his play declined significantly last year. In addition, last year's first-rounder William Jackson needs to start. Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw will man the slot while Iloka is an excellent safety. They need to get better play opposite him from Shawn Williams, who was very slow to react in his first season as a starter after getting a nice extension for his work in nickel. If not, Derron Smith, who is probably a better player anyways, should step in.

    The defense got younger and more athletic and should definitely take a step forward if they can find a pass rusher in the draft and let Jackson play. Unfortunately, I don't see how they can score enough points unless Ogbuehi defies the odds to become an acceptable LT and they find another weapon to pair with Green and Eifert. The schedule isn't daunting (AFCS, NFCN, BUF/at DEN) but it's tough to see them being a legitimate contender this year. They need to start hitting drafts again and picking in the top 10 with 11 picks is definitely the time to do so.
     
  2. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Geoff Hobson‏ @GeoffHobsonCin 45m45 minutes ago
    He doesn't condone Adam Jones' actions but is giving him a second chance: This is someone's life.'

    Well, it sure doesn't look like they'll be cutting Adam Jones. He should have been cut even if this incident never happened, as his play has dropped off and he'll be 34 in September. They also gave Dre Kirkpatrick $52 million and have two first-round corners waiting to get on the field. Even if Darqueze Dennard is just a slot guy, William Jackson needs every rep possible especially after missing his rookie year. He should be the starter from day one of OTAs but that's not going to happen now. This drafting corners in the first round every other year and then having them sit on the bench is a real stroke of genius.
     
  3. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    The results will have to come on the field, but this is the best I've felt about a draft class since 2012 when they drafted Kirkpatrick and Zeitler in the first and then got Marvin Jones and Iloka in the fifth and Burfict in FA. They've been drafting athletically-deficient players for too long, which was a big reason why the roster has fallen off so sharply in the last 14 months.

    John Ross is obviously really fast, but he's more than a one-trick pony (I'd hope so in someone drafted ninth overall). He's an excellent red zone weapon and someone who can make defenses pay for doubling Green, something they couldn't do last year. His medical history is certainly an issue though and they'll have to manage his snaps. I was happily wrong that they wouldn't take a WR in the first round after resigning LaFell.

    Joe Mixon obviously comes with a ton of baggage. From a football standpoint though, he's an elite back and should take over the reigns immediately. Hill has been awful for two years and there's not much to suggest he'll turn it around. He should make it through camp assuming Bernard starts on PUP, but there's no point in having two backup RBs that don't play special teams.

    Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson should upgrade a badly lacking pass rush that's been Dunlap, Atkins and nothing else for quite some time now. Both were productive and athletic and it's good to see them straying from their DE mold (6'6+), especially for Lawson. Although incumbent Michael Johnson should open camp as the starter at RE, ideally he'll be displaced sooner rather than later.

    Josh Malone is a nice luxury as a speedy WR, but that's the one pick I felt they should've gone elsewhere and taken a tackle to develop given the uncertainty on the OL. They already got much faster with Ross and Malone is a little redundant with last year's sixth-rounder Cody Core as a fast receiver who doesn't do much else. The fifth round might have been a little early for kicker Jake Elliott, but they certainly needed one and the odds are he'll have a bigger impact than the average player in that spot. JJ Dielman ideally will start at center next year after Russell Bodine's contract mercifully expires. Jordan Evans is an athletic LB that can contribute on special teams right away and hopefully develop into a starter down the road. Brandon Wilson should make an impact on special teams, although I struggle to see where he's going to make it given all the bodies they have in the secondary (hint: cut Adam Jones). Hopefully seventh-round TE Mason Schreck will make it over CJ Uzomah, an OTA HoFer who can't catch a cold or block when the pads come on.

    It's a real shame they let Whitworth and Zeitler walk, because they'd be a legitimate contender with them. An offense with Green, Ross, Eifert and Mixon with Tyler Boyd in the slot is going to be very tough to defend provided the protection holds up which is the big elephant in the room. They're certainly sinking or swimming with Cedric Ogbuehi as they didn't draft a tackle and don't have a developmental one on the roster. Provided the rookies make an impact like I expect they do, there's certainly enough in the skill positions and defense to return to the playoffs. It all hinges on the offensive line.
     
  4. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    The jury is still out on a lot of guys, but this team's drafting since 2014 has been pretty bad. Jake Elliott became the first kicker since 2001 to be drafted in the first five rounds and not make it out of camp. Their evaluation of him was awful as not only could he not win the job over journeyman Randy Bullock despite Marvin Lewis admitting he would if it was at all close, but then he went unclaimed on waivers. Zane Gonzalez was the consensus top kicker in the draft, went in the seventh to the Browns and won the job. Harrison Butker went in the seventh and made the Panthers. They also cut fifth-rounder JJ Dielman who was claimed by the Rams and sixth Brandon Wilson. Cutting two fifths and a sixth as rookies is...not good. In addition, 2014 third-rounder Will Clarke (taken over Donte Moncrief and John Brown) and 2015 fourth-rounder Marcus Hardison (zero career snaps, taken over Stefon Diggs) were shown the door. That makes 11 picks since 2014 that aren't on the 53 and they've only drafted five starters in that time. Three of them are Jeremy Hill, Russell Bodine and Cedric Ogbuehi who aren't good and Jake Fisher and Nick Vigil are unproven. Their bungling (no pun intended) of the WR situation by not taking anyone before the sixth with two loaded classes in 2014-15 left them empty-handed when Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu left, forcing them to spend a second on a pure slot guy in Tyler Boyd and a top-10 pick on John Ross, whose lengthy injury history is already rearing its ugly head as he seems unlikely to make an impact as a rookie. I still have high hopes for William Jackson, but at the moment they haven't had a first rounder make a real positive impact since Eifert. He was drafted in 2013.

    All that being said, there's still plenty of talent to win if the offensive line can hold up. The Burfict suspension really hurts but with four winnable games (vs. BAL, vs. HOU, at CLE and vs. BUF) sandwiched around a trip to Green Bay, it's possible they can be 4-1 headed into the bye.
     
  5. dcmissle

    dcmissle Deflatigator Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    [​IMG] Adam Schefter

    @AdamSchefter


    Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict is signing a 3-yr $38.68m extension, per source.
     
  6. Old Fart Tree

    Old Fart Tree the maven of meat Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  7. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    He's really good at football and it appears to be a pretty team-friendly deal. I suppose the hot take will suffice, though.
     
  8. DanoooME

    DanoooME Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yeah, that's a really good deal for Cincy and forces Burfict to be a little more thoughtful about doing things to stay on the field. My initial reaction was OFT's, but figured there had to be a catch. After this year, they can get out of the last two years for a whopping $2.2M in dead money. When you only guarantee the signing bonus, and that's less than 10% of the total deal, that's a great deal for the team. And if he stays on the field, he makes a ton of money. Win-win.
     
  9. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    How involved is Mixon going to be? Feel like Hill is such a plodder and Mixon would really open up this offense.
     
  10. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    I would imagine it'll be limited at the start. They're generally slow to break in rookies (although you'd hope a second-round RB with top-10 talent is ready) and Hill is the veteran starter unfortunately despite being pretty worthless against anyone not named the Browns the last two years. With liabilities at LT and C though and a QB that's a product of his surrounding talent, they're going to need a RB that can create his own yards. Bernard is also still in the mix as a third-down back. Yards are going to be very tough to come by regardless on Sunday against Baltimore, so I really hope they don't force-feed Hill as this is not his type of game. He's also pretty incompatible with Dalton since he can't really run out of shotgun where Dalton is a much better thrower. Their best offense is with 11 personnel and Mixon in the backfield, especially this week against a stout front seven. Hopefully in a few weeks they'll just take the reins off Mixon as they have nothing invested in Hill beyond this season.
     
  11. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    I think you're probably right. I think Mixon is the real deal and dealing with a dual-threat at RB, Green, and Eifert is going to be quite taxing to defenses as long as Good Dalton shows up this year.
     
  12. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    That's the plan. Ideally, Ross gets up to speed when he comes back (potentially Thursday night but more likely Week 3) and starts taking more and more snaps from LaFell on the outside. A Green/Ross/Eifert/Mixon quartet with Boyd in the slot is an excellent group of skill players that Dalton can certainly take advantage of (see 2013/5 with Marvin Jones). Unfortunately, a liability at LT can ruin a lot of things and I'm still scared to death about Ogbuehi. We'll certainly find out the first four weeks against Suggs, Clowney, Matthews and Garrett.
     
  13. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Kareem Hunt fumbled on his first career play. He proceeded to have probably the best game a back will have all year. John Ross also fumbled on his first career play. He never saw the field again while the Bengals put up another TD-less performance and gave 13 targets plus a carry to Brandon LaFell and Alex Erickson. Marvin Lewis being stuck in 1982 reared its ugly head again, and it's even worse since the coach of Hunt's team has actually been around longer than he has.

    Ken Zampese was promoted to OC at age 48 last year after 13 years as the QB coach. Somehow, that didn't raise any red flags for the Bengals that he was a position coach for 13 years during his theoretical prime coaching age and couldn't get a coordinator job. The results have been 18 games of futile offense despite a HoF WR and a first-round TE who scored a touchdown a game the previous season. Yes, he has a mediocre QB and Green/Eifert were hurt for a lot of last year, but look at what Hue Jackson did in 2014 when Eifert and Marvin Jones played a combined one quarter and Green missed a bunch of time. Although It wasn't pretty, it eventually got him another head coaching job and Mohamed Sanu a $32 million contract. The Texans force-fed DeAndre Hopkins on the final drive as they realize he's their best player. Green went untargeted for long periods of time despite the Texans being banged up in the secondary and the Bengals' running game being completely ineffective as usual. Joe Mixon looked good and ran for four yards a carry, but why give him the ball when you can hand it off to Jeremy Hill six times at 2.8 a pop?

    This doesn't even get into the absolute abomination on Sunday. Despite being a great team just two years ago, this organization is broken again. Thankfully Lewis' contract expires after this season, since there's no way he'd actually get fired.
     
  14. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    Enough of the RB-by-committee stuff. Hill is such a plodder. If you want him to vulture some TDs at the goal line, go right ahead, Marvin. He's still a very good goal line back but Mixon is clearly the guy who's needed to move the chains. I have a feeling they'll hand him the job soon but I would go with Mixon as the bell cow with Bernard spelling him and handling 3rd down duties. You have to be incredibly inept to go 2 games without a TD with a healthy Dalton, Green, Mixon, Eifert, LaFell, etc. The defense remains quite good.
     
  15. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Hill shouldn't even be on the team. He's clearly their third-best RB, can't catch the ball and doesn't play special teams, so I fail to see his purpose.

    The defense hasn't been bad, but they've faced two terrible offenses (Flacco couldn't throw the ball more than 10 yards) and still allowed Baltimore to run the ball and eat a ton of clock. Last night, first-rounder Darqueze Dennard dropped a pick-six and then missed a tackle on Watson's TD. And then in the most inexplicable call of them all, they sold out on 2nd and 20 on Houston's final drive which resulted in a pass interference that otherwise would've gone for six.
     
  16. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    So . . . .

    Will the Bengals win more games than the Browns? Feel like the CIN will win fewer games than last year because Dalton is so bad when he's under pressure.
     
  17. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    I hope not at this point. Ogbuehi, Bodine and Dalton sure is a recipe for disaster. I think the Bengals' defense and skill players are too talented to finish behind the Browns, but it would really be best for them to have a 2010-style implosion and a complete reboot. Given they made the playoffs the season after that with considerably less talent than they have now, it's still possible to be good again next year. They just need a new coaching staff and to get rid of the dead weight.
     
    #17 Rudy's Curve, Sep 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  18. soxfan121

    soxfan121 JAG Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Heard Pacman Jones's comments on the lack of offense last night. What a team leader.

    He's not wrong, nor is he the only Bengal grumbling about last night but since Pacman was returning from yet another suspension last night, I chose to highlight him.
     
  19. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Aaaaaaand.... Zampese has been canned

    http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/...e-offensive-coordinator-ken-zampese-0-2-start
     
  20. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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  21. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Feature Green, Mixon and Eifert. Play Ross. This isn't rocket science.
     
  22. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    Dolphins fans - any thoughts on Lazor?
     
  23. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    Found this to be an interesting break down of the Ravens-Bengals game. At the end, there's a bunch of commentary on Andy Dalton that probably fits in with people's intuition on his play.

     
  24. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    The Bengals have slightly righted the ship the last three weeks ahead of a must-win game Sunday in Pittsburgh. Things would look a lot better at 3-2 had they won the Houston or Green Bay games, but they're still in contention at the moment in a mediocre division. The offense has predictably been much better since the switch to Bill Lazor, although they still can't run-block as Mixon is only averaging 2.8 YPC. They've been rotating tackles with Andre Smith seeing his first professional action at LT along with relieving Jake Fisher at RT - it's obviously not a long-term solution though, so somebody needs to step up and claim a job. It's obviously no secret Tyler Eifert is injury-prone, but having him for only two games really sucks as he's headed for another back surgery. Obviously the tag (my preferred option coming into the year) is off the table at this point, so maybe they can work out something cheaper although he certainly can't be counted on.

    Defensively, they haven't exactly faced a murderer's row but they've done an excellent job. Michael Johnson is finally showing a pulse rushing from the interior and Carl Lawson appears to be the edge rusher they've been looking for ever since David Pollack's career was cut short more than a decade ago. Nick Vigil has been the coverage linebacker they've been trying to get for a while and William Jackson has done a solid job (including a pick-six of Rodgers) albeit with too many penalties. They'll need him Sunday as Adam Jones is doubtful. Rodgers is the one upper-tier QB they faced and he got the last laugh, but they held him to 6.15 ANY/A (career 7.43 and certainly higher than that at Lambeau). They'll certainly have their hands full Sunday, although they've generally done a good job against Ben and they'll need Dunlap to be a force against backup RT Chris Hubbard.

    They look pretty awful right now for releasing Jake Elliott and having the Eagles pluck him off their practice squad, as he's proceeded to hit everything in sight. I have no doubt Randy Bullock outperformed Elliott throughout the offseason and in camp, but what's the point of drafting a kicker in the fifth if you're going to cut him for a journeyman before he ever plays a game?

    A loss on Sunday would pretty much be a death knell as they'd be 2.5 games behind the Steelers with losses to them and the Ravens while those teams get to play the Packers without Rodgers. They'd only be a half game back with a win (and even in the loss column) and the Ravens are one of the worst 3-3 teams I've seen, so they'd probably only have to worry about the Steelers. Hopefully they at least get out of there without any vicious cheap shots from Mitchell or Shazier.
     
    #24 Rudy's Curve, Oct 20, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  25. Rudy's Curve

    Rudy's Curve Member SoSH Member

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    To state the obvious, this team isn't good. Their 2014 and 2015 draft classes were awful and their rare forays into free agency generally fail. That being said, as the czar of all things Bengals Joe Goodberry tweeted, no team gets less out of the talent they have. I was hesitant to fire Marvin through all the playoff failures (especially the last one - you don't fire 12-4 coaches with +140 point differentials) but it's become pretty clear at this point that he's mailed it in. The decision to deactivate John Ross (and not play him when he's active only because someone else is hurt) for Cody Core is malpractice. Core looks the part as a big and fast receiver from the SEC, but big and fast receivers from the SEC who go in the sixth round generally can't play. He was active for his special teams (as if no one else can gun punts) and lo and behold he missed a tackle on a punt return touchdown. After getting embarrassed in the second half by the Steelers and squeaking by the Colts due to a late pick-six, they were predictably demolished by the Jaguars at the line of scrimmage as they ran only 35 non-kneel plays which is impossibly bad.

    For nearly 20 years, between Willie Anderson, Levi Jones, Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith, the Bengals had very good to elite tackle play. Anderson, Jones and Smith were all top-11 picks and Whitworth was a second rounder so it was hardly surprising that they were good, but OL coach Paul Alexander was a constant through all of that and deserves a ton of credit for getting the most out of them. Unfortunately, just as players decline coaches do too. He's gotten practically nothing out of tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher whom they used their top two picks in 2015 and continues to have Russell Bodine on scholarship. The best lineman they've drafted in the last five years has been TJ Johnson, a reserve whom they've cut and brought back a bunch. That's a pretty easy recipe for failure.

    AJ Green is a first-ballot HOFer but between the losing and his quarterback not being able to get him the ball, his career is starting to go to waste here. I wondered after the Pittsburgh game when he'd eventually go all Corey Dillon and snap from the frustration (despite being a very mild-mannered guy) and yesterday was the answer, although not in the way I expected. Brandon LaFell continues to be utterly worthless as he can't separate and has mailed in a bunch of plays while stealing snaps from Josh Malone and Ross.

    This has all the makings of a 2010 redux where they lost 10 in a row while Lewis was on the last year of his contract. I can't imagine them possibly bringing him back given that they don't owe him anything, but these are the Bengals after all. Hopefully a new coaching staff, another year of top-10 picks (the Browns' incompetence is all fun and games until it fucks you over) and potential change at QB brings them back to being a playoff team because there still is a decent amount of talent, but it looks pretty dark right now.
     
    #25 Rudy's Curve, Nov 6, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017

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