By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
When you are 0-10 and on a fast track to a winless season, something needs to change…a whole lota something. The Cincinnati Bengals have six more chances to avoid being grouped with the ’76 Bucaneers, ’07 Lions, and ’16 Browns as teams that went “ofer” on the season.
This past weekend’s loss to the Raiders at Oakland was close. Since it was not grenades or horseshoes the 17- 10 loss means nothing in the win/loss column. While little can be done about the 2019 season, plenty can be done about 2020 and years beyond.
There are three things that need to take place in order for Cincinnati to be respectable again in the NFL community. The first is can’t miss drafts. The Andy Dalton era is over. Andy was good ... not great. Dalton never fully got the respect he was due. No Bengal QB ever took the Bengals to five straight playoff appearances. As the years went on, Dalton became Bengalized. He stopped doing the little things right. Unfortunately, for the Texas Christian University product, his likely final days as a Bengal will end on the bench, due to poor performance.
Fortunately, for the Bengals a good crop of franchise quarterbacks is coming out. Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama and Joe Burrow from LSU are two can’t–miss quarterbacks. A quarterback is among the needs. It is by far not the only need. Offensive linemen, linebackers and wide receivers are also among the many needs.
If you want instant success in the NFL, it will not come by way of the draft. Instant success has to come via free agency. Let’s face it. Would you rather play in sunny Phoenix or Los Angeles, where there’s a reputation of winning, or Cincinnati? Since the obvious answer is not Cincinnati, there’s only one way the Queen City will be able to win the wooing contest. Money. Cincinnati will likely have to overpay for some free agents. It will all come down to how bad the Bengal ownership wants to win. The track record of Bengal ownership going after top-flight free agents is not good.
Getting the right players in the right system is key.
The right coach is just as important. Zac Taylor was named new Bengals coach earlier this year. For better of for worse, he’s going to be around for several years. The chances of Taylor getting fired with four years remaining on his contract are nil.
Getting a new offensive and defensive coordinator in place with a proven track record of positive results and experience is essential. Neither Bengal defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo or Brian Callahan had ever been coordinators before coming to Cincinnati. It has shown in 2019.
Putting the right players in the right situation with correct calls is essential. Not one time has it worked in 2019. The 0-10 results show it.