Every year I swear to myself that I won’t get too emotionally invested in the Cincinnati Bengals. Every year I fail. Last year I had pretty much made peace with the fact that they weren’t going anywhere after the abysmal 0-3 start and I could focus on just enjoying the games and not getting too worked up over the outcome. In my dumb brain, ending the season on a miserable note would mean a slew of changes throughout the franchise. Well, whatta ya know, the Bengals won their last two games of the season against the Lions and Ravens and somehow saved Marvin’s job.
Sure, there have been some changes. Center Billy Price appears to be a steal in the draft and it sounds like John Ross is going to be released from Marvin’s Playing Time Purgatory. Add in the arrival of Sam Hubbard, a yoked Carl Lawson, the acquisition of LT Cordy Glenn and Preston Brown, things have to be looking better than last season. Right? Let’s check in with what some of the “experts” over at ESPN and NFL.com are saying.
Well shit. That’s not very uplifting. Granted, I think power rankings are stupid and they’re doubly stupid when teams haven’t even played a snap of preseason football yet. But damn. The Bengals were a middle of the pack team last year with their 7-9 finish. It’s not like they took steps to get worse. If anything you could say they’ve improved their glaring weaknesses (outside of the head coaching position) just as well if not better than the rest of the league. Not to mention it seems like some of the players view the departure of Pacman Jones as an addition-by-subtraction situation.
He doesn’t flat out say Pacman was an asshole that blamed everyone but himself for defensive breakdowns, but that’s sure what it sounds like doesn’t it? I don’t want to put words into Vontaze’s mouth and get him in trouble when Mike Brown reads this. Lord knows he’s good at getting himself into trouble without the help of some lowly blogger, but I’m going to assume this quote had a little bit to do with your favorite airport brawler.
Now to the side of the ball people care about.
AJ Green has a healthy list of breakout wide receivers around him to help alleviate opposing defenses keying on him all day. John Ross, Tyler Boyd and possibly training camp surprise Auden Tate will be huge parts of this offense even if they don’t put up huge numbers. Not only will they help AJ have a career year, it should be a nice breath of fresh air for the Red Rifle to have reliable options outside of #18. Add in Joe Mixon as the featured back with Gio Bernard providing a chance of pace out of the backfield and you could have quite the juggernaut led by Bill Lazor in his first full season as the offensive coordinator. Man, I can’t wait to sell Lazor Show t-shirts.
Regardless of what the pricks over at NFL.com and ESPN think, I’m cautiously excited for the beginning of the Bengals’ Super Bowl campaign tonight. Not to mention I’ll be handsomely rich when Andy Dalton raises the Lombardi Trophy thanks to the State of Delaware legalizing sports betting. Who do you think will be the Super Bowl MVP? Will it be Dalton as default because everyone equally contributed? Or will it be a defensive player after their incredible scoop and score to seal the victory after a Geno Atkins sack? Perhaps they’ll just give it to the City of Cincinnati as a lifetime achievement award for all of the bullshit we’ve had to put up with over the years. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
God dammit, I’m doing it again. I’m scared by how excited I am for the 2018 Bengals. I can’t wait for them to crush my soul again by Week 7. If not then, it’ll be in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Regardless, #SeizeTheDEYFollow @BennyMacBlog