Now that you've had a week to digest the Bengals playoff loss, what do you have to say about the 2012 Bengals? If you were forced to describe them, what would you say?
B. Clifton B. The 2012 Bengals were a defensive-led bunch that still had a lot to learn on offense. I think they overachieved for the second straight year thanks to a really well-composed coaching staff. I think losing in the Wild-Card game was just about right for this team when you look at them in a bigger picture rather than the microscope of their matchup with Houston.
Nick C. The Bengals came a long way since their 3-5 start, there is no denying that. If I were to describe them in one word? Inconsistent. They could put all three phases of the game together, like the Giants game, or come out looking like they didn't have a clue, like the Houston game
B. Clifton B. I agree with that, too. Very streaky, which is typical of a younger team.
After the Bengals offense finished at No. 22 and the defense finished at No. 6 are you surprised that offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has gotten much more attention when it comes to being a head coach candidate than defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer? Do you think either of them will leave Cincinnati this offseason?
Nick C. I am not that surprised to be honest. Gruden has the name, we all know that. But I think fans are being a little too hard on him after Saturday's game. Look at what he has done with young players and an average quarterback, in my opinion. I think teams like what he has done, helping to lead the Bengals to two consecutive playoff berths.
B. Clifton B. I'm not surprised Gruden is getting more looks because of two reasons. One, the current NFL would rather go with an offensive coach because they are more aggressive and inventive than are the defensive coaches. Two, I feel when a coaching candidate is "hot" in a particular offseason and they are passed over for various reasons, they become a lot less attractive the next year and the next. There will always be hot young coaches, but if one doesn't land a job during that stretch, the next batch trumps them.
Nick C. That's a good point too. Owners and General managers are looking for offensive minded head coaches in the league that we live in today. Also, some owners do not like the high-strong personality that Zimmer has, for whatever reason.
Do we buy in to the murmurings of Mike Brown hiring a GM? If so, who would they hire for that position?
Jason G. I personally think that the murmurings of Brown hiring a GM are nothing but rumors. I would love it if they were true, but I think that what he has been doing over the last few years have been working and there's no reason for him to make a change by bringing in someone new to the front office.
Nick C. I don't expect Brown to hire a GM in the near future. I think Marvin Lewis is essentially GM at the moment anyway. If Brown were to hire one, I think Duke Tobin, director of player personnel, would be the likely choice
B. Clifton B. Me too. I have to take the "I'll believe it when I see it" approach to this possibility. If they were to name a GM other than Brown himself, I think it would be internal and not Marvin Lewis. Duke Tobin comes to mind.
Nick C. Brown has hired more scouts too, a step in the tight direction
A lot of fans are calling for Marvin's head after another playoff loss and an overall 0-4 record in the playoffs in his tenure. Do you agree with them or disagree, and why?
Nick C. After the team started off 3-5, I wrote a controversial article stating that Lewis should not be fired. The team went 7-2 after that point, so I certainly have not changed my stance on that. Lewis has led the team to the playoffs three of the past four seasons, ceased some control from Mike Brown, and has done a solid job drafting players.
B. Clifton B. I totally disagree. Those who think the front office would hire a better replacement than Marvin I feel are being naive. The man runs a tight ship. He is still learning as he goes along and he appears more confident in his ability than ever before. His players have bought into his program, he has effectively developed many key players and he knows exactly what he's looking for. There's no way there are that many coaches available that are better fits than he is, if any.
Nick C. Right. Lewis struggles with in game management. But I think the players seem to love to play for him, and he gets a lot out of them
Jason G. I agree with both of you, Marvin needs to stay. I think that Lewis has taken some control of the team away from Brown and if the Bengals were to bring in a new had coach, where does that control go? Right back to Brown.
Nick C. Exactly. We have to enjoy where we are. Do fans want more? yes. But try to be patient. Continuity is good
B. Clifton B. There is no defending his game management, but his program is NFL-proven. He gets LOTS of respect inside the league. Lots.
What is one personnel move you would make that others haven't really talked about too much?
B. Clifton B. I would draft a quarterback maybe as high as the third round. That way, if he's decent and can be devoloped for two years, you have some leverage in the next round of Andy Dalton negotiations. Also if Dalton doesn't raise his game adequately, it would be in-house competition for 2014.
Jason G. I may bring in a free agent No. 2 receiver to take some pressure of of Green. I like Mohamed Sanu but I don't think he has the speed necessary to play on the outside, especially against a top-notch secondary. Sanu, in my opinion, would be much better utilized in the slot than on the outside.
Nick C. Sanu is definitely better in the slot. I think Marvin Jones will get a look opposite Green. I would potentially look to use one of the second round picks on a receiver like Deandre Hopkins from Clemson, if available.
I think the more weapons given to Dalton, the better.
B. Clifton B. I also like the idea of a No. 2 FA wide receiver. The weapons we have now are young and fairly promising, but I personally am tired of waiting for late round picks to become legitimate threats. The best teams in the league either have great QBs or lots of legitimate weapons on offenss (or both).
Jason G. I don't want the Bengals to use a high draft pick on a wide receiver. I think there are much bigger needs. I know it will never happen, but how cool would Dwayne Bowe playing opposite of Green be?
B. Clifton B. A FA that isn't too old (T.O./Coles) or too hurt (Bryant) could come in here and make hay right away.
Nick C. I don't like Bowe. He plays lazy and drops too many passes. Would be an upgrade, but at his cost? I am not sure.
B. Clifton B. Once again, I agree with Nick. Bowe is a flashy name but his risks outweigh his rewards. Besides, Bowe fancies himself a No. 1 and no one is replacing Green in this town for a long time. I haven't seen a list of names available FAs, but I would look for more of a straight No. 2 like a Manningham for example. Was interested in Garcon last year. I also wouldn't shy away from drafting a center in the first round.
Nick C. Unless you take Barret Jones, there aren't any available
Jason G. I wouldn't either. What I'm really hoping for, though, is that the Bengals actually address the strong safety position in the draft for the first time in a very, very long time
B. Clifton B. Than take Barret Jones.
Nick C. The Bengals play their safeties interchangeably, but I agree. Would love Kenny Vaccarro, from Texas
B. Clifton B. We definitely need a SS, but those guys can be found in FA too. I find with DBs that their success hinges on scheme more than most positions.
What do you expect to see from Dre Kirkpatrick in 2013?
B. Clifton B. Just to stay on the field. His injuries mounted fast this past season and wiped out his rookie year. I like his size and potential but am scared he is cursed. Head injuries lead to more head injuries and this thing with his knee is not your average NFL knee problem.
Nick C. I know a lot of fans are down on Kirkpatrick. He recently tweeted something to the extent of "Motivated to prove people wrong." I think he knows that a lot of fans think 17 was a wasted pick last season, and he will work hard on getting healthy for training camp. He did a nice job on special teams this season, when he was healthy. I think he could also potentially be moved to safety.
B. Clifton B. If he can play, he will be fine. He was drafted that high for a reason, but if he can't get suited up he is as effective as we are in secondary.