The past, the present, the future?
I am a Bengals fan from the bottom of the veins in my toes to the blood that flows through the tip of my brain. I was born in a hospital 20 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. I am one of you but maybe a little different. The majority of people that visit this site are optimist. Lately the optimists have been right in many ways because of a great year by the Bengals. Unfortunately, the pessimist like me are painfully saying "I told you so" right about now. What I'm about to do is not pick a scab. I'm going to take the knife and drive it right in to your insecurities. I'm going to take a bottle of orange hot sauce and pour right into your crying eyes. I'm going to call it like I see it, call it for what it is, I'm going to speak the truth. At least you guys can feel comfort in knowing I only do this because I am coming from a place of love and have a history that makes me feel the way I do.
Nobody helped Andy, Andy choked in front everyone, and history repeated itself. It's a what have you done for me lately league. However, the Bengals past, their present, and their future has everything to do with why they are in a bad place right now and may stay there for awhile.
Andy, Andy, Andy... It's easy to blame the Quarterback for the lost, after all he threw stupid throws under pressure, he fumbled the ball--maybe--most importantly--he has his hands on the ball almost every time the center hikes it. With a defense that played as well as the Bengals did, it's hard not to place blame on the guy.
Andy Dalton: cannot play when every is watching, makes horrible decisions while he is under pressure, is not good when the team needs him to be, overthrows wide open receivers, and doesn't come from behind when you need him too. "We went from C'mon Son" to "One and done Dalton"...
Andy Dalton has had plenty of opportunities to show he is the real deal and has proven that he absolutely can perform when the team is up, the defense is scoring, and nobody is watching. He has also proven he cannot perform when defense doesn't score, the team is down, and everyone is watching. It's hard not to want Carson Palmer back when you are aggravated with Andy. It seems everything Andy is not good at, Carson was good at. Do you remember the Cardiac Cats? A football team successful because of the performance of a good QB. Mediocre young receivers coupled with a once great wide receiver that was well past his prime. A defense that was nothing worth noting in the grand scheme of things. Yet this team still won the division, swept the AFC North, something that is not in the foreseeable future with Andy Dalton at the helm. He has a horrible AFC North record despite winning the AFC North this year. While playing the Ravens, Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis had an outstanding record. I know the optimist will say I'm crying over split milk but let's face it, we had a franchise QB that won despite having a bad franchise. We built a great franchise with him in mind and got a Quarterback that has won because of it. I can't help but wonder "what could have been" and that fuels my hate for Carson Palmer.
So what do we do from here? We have a QB that has a winning record, has taken us to the playoffs three years in a row, and is coming off a season in which the Bengals won the division? We won't have a good enough draft pick to put in a better QB. The one we have has only one year left until his agent wants a franchise deal. Mike Brown believes in continuity and I'm sure he is satisfied with this season. We might lose the biggest reason Andy has done well--Jay Gruden--to another team looking for a spark. What does the forecast show for the Cincinnati Bengals? Andy gets a franchise deal? A.J. Green is franchised because Mike Brown is too cheap to pay him Calvin Johnson money? What the Bengals should do is obvious to a pessimistic like me. We should be showing A.J. Green what we failed to show Carson Palmer. We care about winning a Super Bowl. We should be signing somebody immediately to challenge Andy Dalton for the starting job. He has held this roster back enough! Andy Dalton is NOT the QB of the future. He is NOT a "Franchise QB". The Bengals will not make progress, until they ADMIT they have a problem. Remember, that is the first step... He broke franchise records right!? Anyone with backup abilities could have did what Andy has with this team. That is how good our roster is.... I do not want to hear about Andy's offensive Quarterback statistics. I'm sure deep down Mike Zimmer doesn't either.
What will likely happen is very depressing in my eyes. We are a half decent quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. As I said, we might lose Gruden, which will make Dalton a rookie again. Mike Brown will likely take losing Gruden on the chin and because continuity is best he will sign Dalton to a kind of franchise deal. What we should do is admit we have a problem, deal with it delicately, and move forward. The first thing on Mike Browns mind right now, should be who can I sign that will challenge Andy Dalton for his job? Who can I sign that has enough experience and ability to show my team I care about what they did this year? Who can I sign that is slightly better than what I have right now? Who can I sign that will make Andy Dalton prove to me he is in fact the future of this franchise? It's hard for me to believe that, easy to get guys like Michael Vick, Kyle Orton, or even Josh McCown won't be in consideration. However, this is Mike Browns Bengals and Andy Dalton is bought in to his program. Mikey is all about loyalty, continuity and hometown discounts... Which Andy will be willing and ready to give him because let's face it.. Andy knows he's not that good... You can see it on his face in almost every prime time game he has ever played...
Believe you me, I would like to be more optimistic and not so pessimistic. I would love to release my negative energy and sign some positive energy to a franchise deal. I can't do that though, I know the Cincinnati Bengals. I know the past, I know the present, and the pessimism in me is pretty good at predicting the future. If I were A.J Green I would want out as soon as Andy is signed. I would be sick of being overthrown in the NFL. If I were Mike Zimmer I would jump ship. I would be sick of having to tell my defense to put up points. If I were Mike Brown I would open my wallet to make sure that does not happen. It's unfortunate, but at the beginning of the fourth quarter, I found my self hoping the Bengals would lose, just so their MIGHT BE a chance Mike Brown would see Andy Dalton for what he really is. A quarterback that has broken records off the back of other players. A great 2nd round pick that would be an excellent backup QB in the NFL, but not someone that is worthy of being the face of my Franchise. In hindsight It almost makes me sick seeing him were number 14 after those highlights of Ken Anderson in the freezer bowl. Could you imagine Ken Anderson with a A.J. Green and Mike Zimmers defense? Montana would not have stand a chance.
Hate me if you want, I'm just calling it like I see it....