Opinions are like Kiss albums...

...everyone has one or two and they all pretty much suck. That being said, since everyone else is chiming in on their post-season hopes and predictions, I will do the same.

What are our offseason priorities?

1. Keep the defense together. The biggest favor we can do Andy Dalton is keep our defense in the top-5 range. This means shelling out some cash to keep Nelson, Sims, Rucker, and Jones. We may not get all of them, but we should sure take a strong run. We should also look at extending Thomas Howard.

2. Improve the running game by:

  • Remaking the RB corps. I don't think anyone thinks Benson will be back. We also need to complete our transition to a "west coast" style RB corps, with pass catching threats out of the backfield and "big play" potential. I'd love to see the Bengals get Micheal Bush, but somehow I feel he may be out of our price range, I don't think Tolbert will be available, which leaves us to take a run at Peyton Hillis. I feel he would fit well if the price is right. Another possibility would be Jason Snelling--decent size, good hands could probably be had for a decent price if he chooses to explore his options. Regardless, I think the Bengals will spend a pick, possibly a first rounder on a RB (Richardson, Miller or James later in the draft.) My vision is to recreate the "thunder and lightening" backfield of Clark/Griffin, Johnson/Alexander, Woods/Brooks. If we don't sign another RB, I would be okay with Leonard, Scott, draft pick, and Pressley.
  • Shoring up the offensive line. Although our priority should be to spend money on defense, if we are to spend money on offense, the line would be the place to do it. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of the top offensive linemen will either be too expensive or get re-signed by their current teams, so the pickings may be slim. That being said, we should re-sign Collins and McGlynn for depth. Hopefully, Boling and Hudson will be in a position to compete for a starting job, and we should draft an interior o-lineman in the first two rounds. Decastro might be there, but probably not. Cordy or Osemele might be good pickups if they are there in the second round.
  • 3. Upgrade the secondary. You should sign free agents for the present, and draft for the future. Clements is on a two year contract, Jones is injury prone, and we hope that Hall be ready for the start of next season. We need another shut-down corner to partner with Hall for the future. It's a passing league, and you must have good CBs or get eaten alive.The Bengals should use one of their first 3 draft picks on a shut down corner. There are 4 "round 1" worthy CBs coming out this year. We'll get one of them.

    If the Bengals can do these three things, I would call the offseason a success. Positions which I didn't mention that come up in a lot of threads are safety and WR. Although I'm for adding depth at all positions and if a diamond falls to us we should grab it, I don't see these positions as being priorities.

    On the safety issue, our priority is to re-sign Nelson. If we do that, we shouldn't have to look elsewhere for a safety. Mays and Sands should be given the opportunity to fight for the other starting job and I don't see any problem with signing some journeymen free agents for depth. Our defensive scheme doesn't feature the safety, it's built around our corners and if we get our shut down corner, we should be okay.

    On the WR issue, a common argument is that we need a #2 "deep" option to take the pressure off of AJ Green. I disagree. We have a #2 option, his name is Jermaine Gresham. With Shipley coming back, we should be okay at WR. And yes, I wouldn't be surprised to see us come back with basically the same receiver corps. Obviously, "Baby" Hawk and Whalen will be given every opportunity to win spots, but I don't see us spending any serious money here on free agents. I know that may be a little disturbing to folks but here is the logic. This past year, we were running a new offense, with a new QB, and a new coordinator without the benefit of a true off season. Our offense was designed to be pretty conservative/vanilla and clearly Dalton was instructed to throw the ball away when in doubt. This kept the turnovers down, but it also hurt his numbers, the secondary receivers numbers, and our offense generally. I imagine a much more imaginative offense last year that maximizes Gresham's potential as a receiver. Also, keep in mind that Dalton doesn't have a strong arm--this isn't a Carson Palmer led offense, where you have one guy streaking down one side line, another down the other and a third doing a deep crossing route. It's dink and dump. If we are going to help Dalton's passing, we don't need a "deep threat," we need another underneath threat that will pull defenses up and spread them out and if they are stupid enough to leave some space downfield for Green, then Dalton should throw him jump balls to his hearts delight.

    This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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