If you were to ask a Bengals fan how far removed they are from that feeling of total disappointment in the 90s today, you'd get a reaction that would challenge the Age of Helplessism (those years). Many are making the Marvin Lewis has become the Dick LeBeau arguments. Like 2002, the Bengals have the worst scoring defense in the league. The difference between 2002 and 2007 is that this year's defense has given up two more points per game. This year, the Bengals are on pace to give up 488 points -- 32 points more than 2002.
Of course then you're asking, why the 2002 comparisons. Believe it or not, to me, that was the low point of the Bengals franchise. And it showed during a 30-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on ESPN's Sunday Night Football. And again, I wondered if we found another franchise low point after being embarrassed on Monday Night football against the Patriots and allowing Chad Pennington and J.P. Losman to have Pro Bowl caliber numbers while surrendering a touchdown pass to Marshawn Lynch.
It's now to the point that many Bengals fans expect the team to lose. And not in the waning moments of the game. Here's a brief template of games this season. Bengals defense allows other team to score, a lot, and the Bengals offense is stuck forcing plays that are just not there.
Is it injuries? Yes, of course. Many say that injuries is no excuse. I believe that if injuries weaken your talent, then it's justified to blame injuries for your horrible record.
Is it character and lack of leadership? Yes, of course. While this team has tons of talent, you don't see anyone stepping up to take control of any game. Mostly, it seems, just whining, shouting and admittance of being a horrible football team. Of all the money makers on this team, none are playing the role of team leader. That's been my reasoning for bringing up Palmer this year, which caused some people to go into a frenzy. But that argument could be used just as easily with the head coach.
What's worse is that many of my posts have shifted in attitude. Whereas I predicted the season, wearing my Willie Anderson jersey, to be well above .500, I know now that they are two losses away from another non-winning season. Two losses that will likely come this month.
Who's #3? Who is the Bengals third leading receiver? Glenn Holt with 14 receptions. Reggie Kelly is fourth with 11.
Neither team seemed intimidated by the spotlight - in fact, both teams brought their A-game. I was personally struck by the contrast between the Bengals and the Colts/Patriots.
- TarZander on the differences between the Bengals and the success of the Colts and Patriots.
Lewis refuses to believe that he needs to alter anything he does. I understand that you want to stay true to what you think works. But, if you don't have the players, then you have to alter your approach to the players you have.
- Sledridge on Lewis' Monday Press Conference after 33-21 loss to the Bills.
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Now that Anthony Schlegel is out against the Ravens, the Bengals will have at linebacker:
- Landon Johnson
- Rashad Jeanty
- Dhani Jones
- Robert Geathers
- Corey Mays
Also on that post, we listed the defensive players drafted by Marvin Lewis. Here's a quick summary. No defensive players drafted in 2003 remain. Of the three defenders drafted in 2005, only Jonathan Fanene is playing -- Pollack injured, Thurman suspended. Between the 2006 and 2007 drafts, only Johnathan Joseph currently starts without the assistance of another player injured -- Leon Hall started with Joseph injury and suspension.
The golden draft was 2004. Of the seven defenders drafted that year, four have started at least 10 games in their career with at least one start this season.
Earlier this week, I posted a piece, via Titans insider, that listed the available free agents on defense. Did you notice that eight defenders were once Bengals? They are (comment if I missed one):
- Carl Powell
- Dan Wilkinson
- Kenderick Allen
- Matthias Askew
- Ed Hartwell
- Lamont Thompson
- Keiwan Ratliff
- Tory James
Tells you how much our defenders are wanted by other teams.
The Ravens and Bengals are finding company competing for the most disappointing team in 2007. We previewed the game in this primer.