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The Bengals Failed the offseason....so far!


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Going into Free Agency, I wrote the following items that the Bengals needed to do to have a successful period....the Bengals did none of them:

I wrote that it was imperative that the Bengals make a splash signing.  This is as much about giving the fans some hope as it was about winning football games.  There were many different avenues they could have taken.  Signing Joe Thuney or Trent Williams would have been the simplest options but Kenny Golladey and Shaq Barrett would have also been options, just someone that would make people sit up and say wow the Bengals are really going for it.  None of that happened....they were apparently close to Kenny Golladey but ultimately failed to seal the deal and close means nothing to these fans.

I wrote that we needed some consistency and bringing back two young playmakers would be a good start.  I think all of us expected that bringing back Jackson and Lawson were the minimum going into this free agency but they brought back neither, instead they took that money and spent it on replacing those players with  players that graded out worse in both respects and going back to the first point most Bengals fans know nothing about Trey Hendrickson or Mike Hilton or Chidobe Awuzie so those moves did not move the needle of public perception at all.  These might be fine football players and the Hendrickson gamble on greatness may pay off...their secondary is deeper without a doubt but....better?  this is debatable.

They needed a wholesale overhaul of the coaching!  Yes they let go some of the assistant coaches but the offensive and defensive coordinators remains (as does special teams).  I would bet the Bengals are the only team in NFL history to have 6 total wins in two seasons without AT LEAST changing a coordinator.  Again, this looks bad, this looks lazy, this looks like no one cares about winning.  Anarumo at a minimum should have been fired, he disenfranchised most of the existing player base, it has been widely reported that he is disorganized and does not have a set system, that players were often left unprepared and his defenses in two seasons were 29th in net yards allowed/game and 26th in net pts/game in 2019 and a barely improved 26th in net yards per game and 22 in net pts/game.

They had to address the offensive line with multiple veteran signings.  They signed one, Riley Reiff...an average starter historically.... to a one year contract...It is a mark of just how bad this offseason has been so far that a player who has not graded above a 75 in the last five seasons and is 32 on a one year contract is the highlight of the offseason...but he is.

Now the Bengals did not fail just because they did not do what I had hoped they would.  They failed because the fan base has let it be known on several online polls that they did not do what the fanbase as a whole had expected them to do.  We will once again be the butt of every pundit's joke, we will once again be viewed by players, owners and media as the armpit of the league, once again.  So far, the Bengals have failed in every element.  Can they turn it around and salvage the offseason, maybe?  but, history does not indicate that this is likely.  They are on track to once again be one of the least talented teams in the NFL.  They are on track on once again waste a super valuable year of Joe Burrows rookie contract and have nothing to give hope to a long suffering fanbase.  They should feel ashamed at what they have done with their incompetence, unpreparedness in a very important offseason, their disconnect from how business is done in the rest of the NFL, and their lackadaisical approach.  But they don't....instead they continue to sell us nepotism and doing business the same way that has failed the team, the city and it's fans for 30 years.  I should be done with this team, all they have done is let me down for most of my life but I will continue to root because of some mental deficiency on my part.  They had every advantage in this offseason and proceeded to muck it up royally but I guess this is just what we should expect from this moribund organization.

Hey, at least there is always the draft to look forward to....

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14 minutes ago, membengal said:

Disagree w/ failed off-season. If they hadn’t gotten Reif, would have agreed. But w/ Reif and the defensive signings - they’ve done enough to get a passing grade from me.

If the Bengals go into the season with this lineup more or less, they will have failed, time will tell if they can pull this offseason up before it completely hits the ground.  The addition of Riley Reiff does not fix this offensive line which should have been objective #1 going into free agency, they had four out of five offensive line positions manned by people who graded in 2020 as below average, they brought in one historically average guy....now the draft and the remainder of the offseason will tell the tale if they have done enough for the oline but starting the season with Jonah Williams at LT, Xavier Sua-Filo at LG, Trey Hopkins at C, Quentin Spain at RG, and Riley Reiff at RT will still mean they start the year with one of the worst olines in the league.  Exchanging our best pass rusher with another older guy who has had one good NFL season and has never graded (per PFF) as better than the guy we lost does nothing to fix the pass rush which should have been objective #2.  They have not signed one offensive skill position player to add weapons for Joe Burrow and instead have watched skill players depart for other teams, which should have been objective #3.

They have added depth to the defensive backfield which was important but in doing so they lost their most talented CB....I am not sure even that gets a passing grade from me.  How can you say free agency gets a passing grade at this point?

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If there's anything I don't care about when it comes to assessing the performance of the franchise, it's public/fan perception. Fans are, generally speaking, goofballs. I trust them even less to know anything about anything than ancient 2021 Mike Brown (and I don't think he even has a major hand in things anymore).

There are certainly things I don't care for. Anarumo is still here after last year's defensive overhaul in free agency (Waynes injury aside) despite the defense being utterly horrendous all year long. That's not a decision I am okay with. I see no purpose in screaming about it, and so I haven't, but I do think it was quite weak. They've downplayed the offensive line deficiencies again too. Reiff is a godsend when you're starting Bobby Hart without him, but the interior line is still extremely flawed. I don't think that's the right mindset for this team to have when their chances to win a Super Bowl hinge entirely on the shoulders (and knees) of Joe Burrow.

It hasn't been all bad though. I think this year's [second consecutive] defensive overhaul in free agency was a positive. Losing Lawson is a bummer, but I don't think we could have reasonably asked for a better replacement option than 13.5 sacks first team all-pro Hendrickson even with his lumps. William Jackson was an amazing rookie and then pretty whatever thereafter, and the secondary has been infused with a ton of quality players. So I don't care about that loss.

Pollack is back. Good.

The culture seems to be genuinely progressing the right way. When new free agents express their enthusiasm entirely on the basis of the guys who recruited them, I believe them and view it as a good sign. It may not mean anything in the win-loss columns, who knows. But it's definitely not a bad thing.

The draft will make or break things. If they don't address the offensive line in a meaningful, pronounced manner (for me, at least one in rounds 1-2 and another after that) then I will agree that the offseason has been subpar.

But you know what? Even if that happens, I don't think that means 2021 is a lost season. Joe Burrow exists.

Joe Burrow can make the Bengals competitive with anyone. I don't give one good shit who they're playing; if our quarterback is as good as he looks and [prayers] he can stay upright, then the Bengals can beat anyone. He can elevate a turds roster just like Aaron Rodgers has done for half of his career.

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I'm happy with the moves they have made, Lawson isn't worth what he got (cant stay on the field)  Jackson has the same issue and Chido looks to be a better overall CB, not a system guy like WJ is and didn't fit with the team system anyway.

Hendrickson along with Ogenjobi is an improvement from last year,  Chido and Hilton (Apple and Allen) are an improvement from last year.  Reif is a major upgrade to the Oline.  All this allows the team to have flexibility in the draft.

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They will add another starter to o-line in the draft, at either 5 or 38. That, along w/ Reif and re-signing Spain is good enough for me to give them a passing grade. I really like Reif - that is a massive upgrade at RT. 

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A few thoughts.

Yes, I agree, this team is terrible at managing fan expectations and maximizing their moves to build excitement (and revenue opportunities) with the fan base. I and others have talked about that in the BengalsVision thread. But that it what it is at this point.

Lawson and Jackson were NOT playmakers. Lawson averaged 5 sacks a year and WJ3 managed a whopping 3 interceptions in four seasons.  Lets face facts: for the entire time they've been here the defense has sucked donkey balls. They haven't fielded a top 10 D since 2013 and have finished in the top half of the league just once since then. I don't know if the new guys will be any better but I'm not finding a lot to cry over here.

Yup, they ought to have changed coaches, starting with the guy at the top, but they didn't. That's not free agency's fault, though.

Yup, I wish they'd done more than Reiff. But with the draft so loaded at OL I understand why they didn't. And as mentioned upthread Pollack should make these guys better.

I'd give them a C+/ B- in FA so far.


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Failed?  Nah.    Team is better on paper.   The FA period opened the draft board.

Lawson/Jackson were key hurdles and they passed that in A+ fashion, IMO.  

 Whether or not they can get in the mix of Wild Card spot this year remains to be seen. 

Again this is ALL on paper but they were 10+ players away and now it seems manageable until we see them on a field were they can prove it or not.   Realistically 2 upgrades can be done via the draft too.

Perception wise it's an F.  The Bengals continue to prove they have no idea in that area. For example they sign Kevin Z early in the FA period every move after that would have been applauded.  

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I agree with Wraith......FA has been an abject failure

I could care less about the defensive improvements - especially players who are here on a 1 year deal and gone thereafter - because this year is a rebuild year.  Or should be.  We're not a playoff team in 2021, so the target should have been getting good players on mid to long term contracts so we CAN maybe be a playoff team in 2022 or beyond

to that end:

You had one job, SoaG

Just one job

The Knee

Remember the Knee?

I do

I guess you didn't, because a 1 year contract for an aging OT is a bandaid, not a solution

Our path to the playoffs depends largely on that Knee


again, you had one job

You didnt do that job

You failed, miserably


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They did the minimum.  That’s really how I see it.  

They replaced the guys that were leaving, found a few defensive starters, and replaced Bobby Hart, but with a guy on the downhill side of his career on a one year deal.  

Ultimately their won-loss record will tell the tale.  I think they might win 6 games.  They seriously need to draft that tackle.  

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