Cedric Benson often voiced displeasure about the offenses' identity, which noticeably drifted from the hardcore rushing philosophy that dominated time of possession to an offense that found its second-wind to pass the football, even when it was least effective. In September, Benson said that the power rushing offense in 2009 "got us where we ultimately wanted to be, which was in the playoffs. I don’t know what would be the reason the team would want to change their identity, unless in the past season it didn’t work. But that’s not the case here. And, I mean, I don’t know. I guess whoever’s making those shots, or calling those shots, you got to kind of roll with the punches.”
** Cough, cough, Bratkowski, cough, cough **
Benson would further elaborate that the coaches were not listening to players.
"I would love to voice my opinion on that but it will get me nowhere. I’m above and beyond negative energy. It’s on the film and everybody sees it. You have to play the cards you are dealt. I’m only employee number 32 and have to be there. However, I think we’ll keep hitting our heads up against a brick wall if we stay blind to the facts."
Terrell Owens echoed Benson's sentiments saying "It's one of those things that they listen, but they're not hearing me." Additionally, while hosting the T.Ocho Show, Terrell Owens said "We are a product of what the coaches are doing, are coaching us throughout the course of the week." Though we're not exactly sure how much credibility Owens would have with changing any culture in Cincinnati.
We believed that Benson's disappointment and, to some degree disgruntled attitude towards the coaching staff (cough, cough, Braktowski, cough, cough), would be the reason that he left Cincinnati for another team now that his contract is close to expiring. And one of those coaches is -- anyone? anyone? -- offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, loved by Bengals fans like a wart on the bottom of the foot during cross country training.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis spent some time with the local media before heading off to coach the Senior Bowl and, well, agreed with Benson in that the team lacked an identity.
"What upsets me is I can't tell who we are. My disappointment is I can't tell you what we are. The key to offense is to be offensive and stay offensive. What we are is a big statement. It has to be all encompassing."
One could immediately become giddy with the prospects that the team is finally moving out with Bratkowski, lessen your expectations. Nothing is announced, which is both positive and negative to the anti-Bratkowski army.
"They're clamoring for heads and I understand that. I'm not ready to give them heads and we'll see what happens. I understand the frustration. Minimal (staff changes) might make things better, more productive. How do you get up and going? You have to be prepared…A new system, a new nomenclature is harder."
While one could see Lewis' point (and it has been made on these pages previous), others will quickly point out that a change in coordinators is hardly a rare. Additionally, the looming CBA issues hasn't prevented five teams from acquiring new offensive coordinators to install a new system and nomenclature. Yet, it's terribly hard to take Lewis seriously on the point when he similarly pondered what that offensive philosophy actually was.