CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 11: Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown looks on during a rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles were the kings of the offseason. They signed many huge names on the free agent market and had one of the highest payrolls in the NFL. When they signed Vince Young to be a backup quarterback for the club, he jokingly called them "The Dream Team". If you followed the NFL last year, you would have known that that dream quickly became a nightmare.
The Eagles started off horribly and were heavily scrutinized. They ended up putting it together at the end of the season and finished 8-8, saving Andy Reid's job in the process. Evan Silva of RotoWorld Sports and ProFootballTalk.com made an interesting tweet equating this year's Bengals squad to last year's Eagles team. Calling his shot, as it were:
We're unsure of where this came from, other than Silva hearing the dreaded "Bengals haven't made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in thirty years" statistic. It's hard to see where the correlation is, given that the Eagles' focus last year was swooping up big-name free agents, whereas the Bengals were deemed as killing it in the draft. And, unlike the Eagles last year, the Bengals haven't been the media darlings and being hailed as the Super Bowl favorites because of their offseason acquisitions. Most agree that they will be competitive and fight for a playoff spot, but no analysts are proclaiming the team Championship-bound.
Unfortunately, as the season approaches, it seems that the "because they're the Bengals" argument is gaining momentum. There's a lot to be cautious about with the club: they're young, there's question marks at certain starting positions and they went winless in 2011 against playoff teams--including 0-4 against the Steelers and Ravens. Still, they've made quiet strides at improving their roster at many important positions and they've built depth.
To say that the team is a year away from being a serious Super Bowl contender is something that I might listen to, given some solid information. To call this team "overrated" is a reach and seems unjustified at this point. We'll see who is right--Silva claims that he was about the Eagles last year.