No, I'm not referencing an Oscar-winning movie with Daniel Day-Lewis; nor am I talking about an upcoming Bengals-Steelers grudge match. No, nothing as cool as that. I'm talking about the Bengals' upcoming season, one that--in my opinion--will likely be marked by inefficiency, poor decision-making, and all of the general bumbling that tend to make us Bengals' fans bleed from the ears. Here are my top 5 reasons the Bengals will NOT make the playoffs--not even close.
1. We did nothing to improve the pass rush.
OK, so we went out and got Antwan Odom. He's
really been a beast
yet to play in a preseason game, so it's admittedly impossible to say
how he will affect our ability to get to the QB. As a reminder, an
oft-reported stat here on WDR: the Bengals finished DEAD LAST in QB
sacks last year (26), while the Giants (53) and Patriots (47) finished
first and second, respectively. But hey, they only went to the Super
One thing is certain: we will not get the pass rush from our interior lineman. Peko and Thorton are simply not dynamic pass-rushing DTs, and Sims (currently injured) and Jason Shirley are nowhere near ready for prime time. As we've seen on several plays in the preseason, we're giving QBs way too much time, and they will pick our man-o-man D apart if we do that. J-Jo and Leon Hall just aren't that good.
2. Our O-line is not that good.
OK, they actually have pretty good depth and decent talent. But they sure don't seem to be playing up to that potential. Whether it's a lack of motivation or simply a lack of talent, I can't say. But it all starts upfront, and our running game has been down the last three years (total yards per game and yards per carry), so something's up. Maybe Chris Perry will make an impact this year, but not even a revitalized Wolverine can get far when he has three dudes hitting him at the LOS.
3. We still can't tackle.
Mike Zimmer was supposed to be the savior of this D, at least from a technique-standpoint. Anyone watch the preseason games? 'Nuff said.
4. Carson and this offense are way out of sync.
I am still unwilling to admit that Carson is not great. After all, Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Hassleback--basically everyone but Peyton Manning and Brady--have all had some slumps. But Carson and the passing game in general have looked downright sloppy. Sure, TJ will make things better, but these guys still need to get on the field together to get in sync. If they blow the first couple games trying to iron out the kinks, say bye-bye to the season.
5. Mike Brown is still our owner.
You are only as good as your resume: 17 years, 0 playoff wins. You can be sure he's not done screwing things up. Bring back Chris Henry? I'm convinced he will do it (and for those fans who WANT him to do this, seriously, stay off the highway when I'm out there. You have to be the dumbest people alive).
My prediction: 5-11. With an easy schedule we might be able to get on a roll, but the AFC North and NFC East offer few easy games. I'm preparing for a long season.