As I sit here watching Phineas and Ferb (hey, I've got two very young children, and it's a good show!), I've been thinking about everything that has been going on in Bengaldom, and everything that has not.
There is, of course, far more that is NOT going on than any kind of positive or negative development. All who are surprised by this astonishing development please raise your hands. That's what I thought. Oh, by the way, here's a sweet little nugget for you...the Disney Channel just aired their congratulations commercial to the Steelers for winning the Superbowl. Isn't that just peachy.
Wendy's chili is good. I also thought you should know that.
Now that I've rambled, I feel mentally prepared to discuss the team we are cursed to follow a bit. Do any of you remember last year in my initial post when I said I was typically "pragmatic with a natural ball flight toward optimism?" Opening the season 0-8 went a long way toward correcting my natural slice and as a rule for the past six months I have found myself increasingly pessimistic in regards to our boys in stripes.
I'm not going to rehash anything we suffered through last year, that would merely belabor points made ad nauseum by colleagues of mine in the blogosphere and on the message board communities, so let's just look forward from today as best we can. Bob Bratkowski, after failing as epically as one can (32nd in total offense) this past season, remains with us today. If any of you know of a job where being the [i]worst at what you do[/i] qualifies you to keep your job, please forward me the address to which I can send my resume. For me, working in the automotive industry in today's world, job security like that is something of which I can only dream.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh will not be returning to the Bengals next year. We might as well accept it now, because from what I've been hearing and reading he's as good as a vapor trail.
On the other hand, Chad Ocho Cinco will surely be back. Hooray!
We are once again left wondering whether or not Carson Palmer will return to form after a season-ending injury. That is never not fun.
Contract talks have opened up once again with Stacy Andrews. Good news, because as a fellow poster on ohiosportsfans.com suggests, this will allow Mike Brown to rationalize away signing a better OT in free agency. We're signing our OWN free agents again.
Because that has worked so well for us the past two decades, right?
We still have three frakking scouts. Three. Tres. Trois. San. T-H-R-E-E. If any of you don't understand where the word "frakking" comes from, you must immediately find a way to watch Battlestar Galactica when you finish reading this blog. Kirkendall, I know you're on a TV show kick...you can't miss this one, brother.
Wow, what did I miss? Did I miss anything to be upset about? Oh well, if I did I'll come back to it.
Now that that is out of the way, I feel I can speak on happier subjects. Mike Zimmer should be given a Nobel Prize for the job he did with the Bengals' defense this year. 12th in defensive yardage with the M*A*S*H unit that took the field for half the season? Gorram outstanding (That's from Firefly). Promising young players like Keith Rivers and Pat Sims returning as core players in the second year of Zimmer's system with already solid players like Peko, Hall, Ndukwe, Jones and the like should be a huge boon to this team's chances next year.
Especially if the team selects Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji in the first round in April to rotate with Sims and Peko. What, push from our interior D-line? Get out of here! More draft talk later, though. On to more optimistic-esque blabbering!
Carson Palmer is coming back, supposedly at full strength.
Andre Caldwell impressed my socks off this year. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table as he becomes further integrated into the offense. It's also nice to see a real kick returner, something we haven't had since Tab Perry.
Solid free-agent pickups like Chris Crocker, Mike Doss and a few others helped keep the team together down the stretch. I can't tell you how many times I've rewatched Crocker's hit on Santonio Holmes on YouTube. No matter how down I'm feeling, that picks me up every time. Chris Crocker absolutely MUST be resigned.
Back to draft talk for a bit, April will bring us one of the deepest drafts for offensive lineman in recent memory. Sometimes I think that not even the Bengals can mess this one up.
Then I think about it again and laugh, of course.
So there we have it, folks. Some negative, some positive. Some optimism, some pessimism.
That is pragmatism at its best, friends.
So, until next time I remain,
A Pragmatic Bengals Fan