NFL.com is running a series of "Exit Interviews" with each team, talking about the team's general success and what to look forward to in 2011. In a series of five questions, Steve Wyche nails Cincinnati's uncertainty with an appropriate introductory paragraph:
Marvin Lewis is back as coach. Carson Palmer wants to be traded. Chad Ochocinco wants to become Chad Johnson again. Does it ever end with the Bengals? A season after so many things seemed pointed in the right direction, Cincinnati is back to being what it's been for so long: A question with few answers.
If the crystal ball is as obnoxiously persuasive (or pervasive) as some are in the art of predicting the future, it's really not hard to formulate where the Bengals go from here. Wyche asked if Palmer will really be traded (no), how much "sway" Lewis could have now (hardly any), if the T.Ocho era is ending (yes), if the Bengals can run (depends) and can the defense regain dominance (have you seen the players heading towards free agency?).
As Adam Schefter pointed out on Wednesday, when Mike Brown says no, he means it. Even if it would actually mean improving the franchise in the long-run. That man's foresight is still stuck in 1972. Palmer isn't going anyway, Lewis' reported demand for changes have yet to be seen and the head coach has acted towards Chad Ochocinco/Johnson like an upset child is towards a friend that upset him.
Regardless, these are going to be the issues facing the Bengals and the debates Bengals fans will participate in this offseason.