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Missing the boat; speaking out of orifices

Missing the boat. Marvin Lewis said that Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, among others, needs to train with the team during the offseason rather than training on their own. Here's Lewis' quote:

"Well, it has been, and hopefully they learned a good lesson about what they used to be and what they kind of molded themselves into," Lewis said when asked if it had been a trying season for his star receivers. "Hopefully they'll go back and understand that what they used to be made them more productive - and they kept their edge a little better. I can't have said it enough times that they weren't quite ready to go when we got started, and that makes a big difference. It's difficult to train at the pace everyone else is."

ESPN's James Walker partially agreed with Lewis' assessment saying that Houshmandzadeh had "92 catches and has skipped offseason programs the past few years." There's no questioning Houshmandzadeh's overall performance. The truth is, Lewis is right. Houshmandzadeh included, the Bengals passing offense had no timing, and the receivers struggled early to find separation from the opposing coverages. With six receptions for 70 yards in the first two games, Houshmandzadeh was clearly struggling to before exploding against the Giants for 12 receptions and 146 yards receiving. However, in three of his first four games, Houshmandzadeh didn't record over 50 yards and scored only one touchdown.

We're not arguing how awesome Houshmandzadeh is; rather that Lewis is right. The team, with Houshmandzadeh, struggled offensively very early and Lewis' point is that both guys, veterans (and leadership in Houshmandzadeh's case), needs to train with the team so the Bengals can get out of the gates quicker.

Missing the boat, part 2. Chris Steuber mocks that the Bengals will select Michael Crabtree as their sixth selection. It's not that Crabtree is a bad player (obviously or he wouldn't be the class' best wide receiver). But we have a tough time accepting that the Bengals will select a receiver at all in the draft. Chad Johnson will likely remain; there's too much over-estimation for his demand right now after his performance during the season and off-season. Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell, Antonio Chatman and Jerome Simpson are signed through next season. Glenn Holt is a restricted free agent and the team is making another push at signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a long-term deal -- and the franchise tag certainly still exists (no matter what anyone's opinion suggests). Then we have guys like Mario Urrutia and Maurice Purify on the offseason roster after being on the team's practice squad through much of the season.

Exactly where would Crabtree go? There's too many needs on this team to address with that first pick; receiver isn't one of them. Not by a long shot.

Trends are bad, mmmkay? After a 27-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders on December 10, 2006, the Bengals have lost 23 of their next 35 games. However, Geoff Hobson makes the comparisons with Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick, from finishing with a three-game losing streak in 2006 to a three-game winning streak in 2008.

  Comp / Att - Comp% Yards TDs INTs
Carson Palmer (503 / 810 - 62%) 5,498 33 26
Ryan Fitzpatrick (221 / 372 - 59.4%) 1,905 8 9

Links and Notes

On the defensive side, the Bengals would like to re-sign Chris Crocker, John Thornton, Darryl Blackstock and Jamar Fletcher.

For those of you that expected the Bengals to spend during free agency, what were you thinking?

"In most cases, teams sign back their players. And players are generally going to be more productive with the football team they're with, because they know the intricacies of things," Lewis said. "They know their ups and downs. Players are generally more productive on their current teams. That's why most players that are wanted generally fit back into their teams a little better than they do when they go elsewhere."

Geoff Hobson makes the comparisons between both quarterbacks in the last 12 games they played respectively.

Dave mocks the draft, as well as predicts the team's free agents.

Walker doesn't like the prospects for Cincinnati in 2009.

Ben Utecht and Andrew Withworth will give personal testimony at the McClendon Baptist Church.

Unrestricted free agents.

Making the best out of a bad situation.

None of our Bengals teams made the list for worst teams ever.

The Bengals offense went three-and-out, 34.4% of the time.

Blah, blah, blah... more talking out of the ___

As for Lewis, a supposed defensive guru, his Bengals defenses never have been outstanding. Until the last year or so, his team led the league in player arrests. And one of his players regularly puts himself above the team.

But here is the bottom line: 46-49-1. That's the Bengals' regular-season record in Lewis' six years as coach. They have had only one winning season and are 0-1 in the playoffs.

Since going 11-5 and winning the AFC North in 2005, the Bengals are 8-8, 7-9 and 4-11-1. That's the kind of downward spiral that would earn most head coaches a ticket out of town, but Lewis continues to survive.

This season's performance was skewed by a shoulder injury to Carson Palmer, who played in only four games. But that doesn't explain the Bengals' other seasons of mediocrity under Lewis' watch.

Yes, fire Lewis so Brown can be outvoted again for their next head coach selection. Does no one actually know the Bengals and how they operate? Shesh.