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Five Fixes for the Bengals

James Walker's general AFC North coverage is serviceable; though if you're like me, you can't get past the point that Walker primarily covers every team in the North but the Bengals -- and when he does cover the Bengals, it's generally poking fun. Then again, that's good for business here, knowing that this site runs circles around his coverage of the Bengals. So Walker provides his "five ways to fix the Bengals".

  1. Start the Youth Movement. Walker writes, "The Bengals had a whopping 10 draft picks this year. But where are they?". Keith Rivers suffered a broken jaw, Andre Caldwell has been injured more than not, Jerome Simpson was dropped on the charts after Chris Henry was signed (and they're not going to demote Johnson or Houshmandzadeh). Matt Sherry and Corey Lynch are on IR -- and Lynch played this season. Jason Shirley has supposedly been a project from day one -- aka, "oh crap, he's got court dates during the season?", Angelo Craig signed with Carolina Panthers off waivers and Anthony Collins can't leap-frog past the bank-breaker tackles (Levi Jones, Stacy Andrews). Though we kind of think of the intriguing lineup of putting Bobbie Williams at center, moving Andrews to right guard and playing Collins at right tackle (what are we going to lose, a game?). Mario Urrutia is on the team's practice squad. Pat Sims is fast becoming the team's best defensive tackle. Even if we wanted to start the youth movement now, we couldn't. Sims is the only rookie likely to see significant playing time for the remainder of the season.

  2. Blow up the Roster. Walker writes, "Part of the reason you start a youth movement in Cincinnati is due to the fact the roster needs a major overhaul." I agree with this point, in that the Bengals probably should be resigned to turning over their wide receivers with those drafted in the last NFL draft. However, I wouldn't expect to see another sweet offer like the Redskins had for Chad Johnson after this becoming his worst season in his NFL career. Chad is signed through 2011, looking to make $4.5 million (2009), $5 million (2010) and $6 million (2011) respectively. Also, I'd let Chris Henry go. Not that he's untalented, but he's done nothing for me; however, he's signed through 2009.

    Blowing up the roster would be nice, but there's no point in blowing it up, just to be forced back onto the free agency market to sign other middle-of-the-road veterans.

  3. Trade Down in the NFL Draft. I support this move one billion percent. Even if the Bengals are destined for a top-two pick, most likely an offensive tackle, the very real scenario exists that the Bengals will fail to negotiate the contract without risking the first quarter of the season to get the player on the field. And for the love of god, we don't need to spend on outrageous rookie contracts through the top-five (hence, why some of you shouldn't want an 0-16 season). Package Johnson with the first round pick could be too sweet of a deal to pass up for some annually bad teams, with the Bengals first round pick. In return, several second and third round picks and build the team's depth so that when others turnover, you'll be ready with more guns in the ready.

    Trade your first, for a first and second -- though we don't think that NFL teams are willing to do that anymore because of exploding rookie contracts.

  4. Hire a Bigger Scouting Staff. If an explanation is needed, then welcome you to the website. We're glad to have you on board as a Bengals fan.

  5. Carson Palmer Should Have Surgery Now. "The Bengals and Palmer need to decide on having definitive elbow surgery right now or, at the very least, start the rehab process for 2009." The issue here is that he's not being advised to have surgery. We also assume that that Walker hasn't examined Palmer, nor has the medical pedigree to make this suggestion. As far as we're told, Palmer just needs to rest and let the body heal itself. There's no references that says he requires surgery to be recover -- and there could be an unneeded risk of going under the knife when it's not even recommended. If he's advised otherwise, then fine. However, that's not the reports we're being told.

In response, I'll make my five ways to fix the Bengals.

  1. Blow up the Offensive Line. Replace Eric Ghiaciuc through the draft and cut Levi Jones. Replace Jones with the highest pick you have, based on whether or not a trade is made, followed up with a center in the second round -- or third if the value for a center at the second pick isn't there. Then you can replace Andrews with Collins.

  2. Advice from Walker. Increase your scouting staff and find ways to trade Chad Johnson increasing your draft picks, building from the ground up. In other words, declare 2009 as a rebuilding year because it's obvious this team isn't rebuilding right now.

  3. Quarterback Depth . If we learned one thing this year, it's picking up a quality backup quarterback that remains within the system, learning directly from Palmer, Ken Zampese and Bob Bratkowski so when another day comes that Palmer gets injured (which, in reality, has happened more than once), then the backup can go in there and not be 0-for-career.

  4. Coaches. I'm on this bandwagon, big time. More specifically, rethinking the required necessity of having Bob Bratkowski's philosophy on offense. Ken Zampese has been the natural successor for several seasons. However, we're not sure how damaged Zampese has become under Bratkowski's system as an under-study of sorts. The Bengals, to be successful in the AFC North, must rely on balance more than ariel -- especially true if Chad Johnson is traded and Houshmandzadeh isn't re-signed (or franchised).

  5. Ownership. The most obvious "fix" is something that won't be fixed. It's not only our belief that Mike Brown should step down, but it's the entire family. After all, if Brown steps down, then who would replace him? Family members that have been trained under him. Not a good prospect beyond this generation.