"Get taped up, get strapped up, get ready to go, we're about to have a lot of fun," Lewis said. "It's going to be an exciting season. It's going to have a new look to the Cincinnati Bengals and I think one the fans are really going to enjoy. I'm pleased with our progress thus far."
- Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis (5.11.2011)
We appreciate Lewis' enthusiasm. We do. We're fans of a team that witnessed a 4-12 2010 season, the franchise quarterback hijacking the offseason with a threat to retire if his demand for a trade isn't met, all boiling towards an explosive steel cage match between Chad Ochocinco and head coach Marvin Lewis. This is our team. This is our little circus, with tailgates. And that's just on the surface. This time last month, the team's roster appeared bleak. Running back Cedric Benson and cornerback Johnathan Joseph were posed to enter free agency. Actually, nothing has changed on that front. The safety position is a wreck with two decent starters, but nothing to strike concern within our opponents in the AFC North. One running back signed through 2011, a concern that they could start anyone at right tackle but Anthony Collins. The list goes on.
Besides hiring a new offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach that knows the west coast, the Bengals acquired a little momentum for the first time this offseason during the NFL Draft. They drafted the best wide receiver prospect in the first round and the quarterback that they wanted in the second. They also drafted a starting guard, a linebacker that could play regularly as soon as 2012 and filled gaps at cornerback and safety while addressing special teams at the same time; probably the biggest non-sexy need on the team.
We understand where Lewis' excitement is coming from and that feeling of a rebirth, a reimaging, tends to grip even the most pessimistic hearts at times. Provided expectations remain level-headed, knowing that 2011 will be more like 2003 just like 2010 was like 2002. And when the Bengals hired a new head coach in 2003 and drafted a franchise-level quarterback, there was a feeling of rebirth.
While there's still a long way to go, we can see where Lewis' excitement is coming from.
Unless of course he's faking it to sound upbeat to the Bengals season ticket holders. Then we hope Chad Ochocinco rides Lewis hard.