Did you know: Three of the past four Super Bowl Champions finished their respective Super Bowl seasons with a 1-3 record during the pre-season.
The one positive spin I can throw at you is that I still don't have the impression that this football team lacks talent. The same offensive line that set a franchise record low for 17 sacks allowed, is still intact. We have three incredibly talented wide receivers out right now, likely returning soon, while the team (and fans) see Chris Perry and Ben Utecht as upgrades over their respective positions last season.
Preseason is still meaningless. That's not changed.
What happened Saturday night was awful; there's no way to conclude otherwise. Though if you watch the game carefully, the problems incurred wasn't the result of a talent-less group of players (except for perhaps wide receiver). It was mental mistakes, an effort that makes the description of piss-poor an understatement, and bad communication amongst the offensive line. It was lacking our three best wide receivers, a power running back and flawed protection schemes by the Bengals offensive coordinator. It was using a manila philosophy on offense and testing their progress with the implementation of an aggressive defense. As a result, the Bengals couldn't rush the ball with any consistency while passing to wide receivers that are lower than fourth on the depth chart who failed to create any separation against the Saints defensive backs.
Saturday night was a preseason game, clearly displaying the team's un-readiness for the regular season. Saturday night was the failing interim before the quarterly report card. Yet, it's best that this performance happened in August, rather than any of the proceeding 4-5 months.
The bad performances in the past two weeks is, I truly believe, the lack of preparation. Perhaps the result of starting training camp later than other teams. In truth, the Bengals have less than two weeks to get the problems with their offensive line resolved with the inclusion of Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rudi Johnson and Chris Henry by kickoff weekend against the Baltimore Ravens. There's still plenty of time to fix things.
There's no reason why we should suddenly believe that preseason games means anything. Of the previous five preseasons, the Bengals have one winning record. In 2006, they finished the preseason undefeated, yet finished the season 8-8. In 2005, the Bengals finished the preseason 2-2, yet finished 11-5. In 2004 and 2003, the Bengals finished 8-8, yet in the preseason of those seasons they went 2-2 (2003) and 1-3 (2004).
I realize that the issue right now is primarily an assault against our hope. After the past two weeks, the Bengals have provided none. They've invited rants and opinion that the Bengals are back to their old-style of being lifeless, talent-less, coach-less and down right horrible. And in truth, that's exactly how they've looked.
No doubt I'm in the minority -- I'm not the type of person that wants to complain incessantly, or childishly attack other bloggers for having an opinion or point of view that doesn't agree with my own. All I'm trying to say to you is that we have one pre-season game to go, before a 16-game meaningful regular season. Bad losses happen to all teams, as well as hopeless efforts during the preseason that translates to absolutely nothing in the regular season.
Last night was a bad loss, but it's better that it happens during the third game of the preseason than at any point during the regular season. If September is a repeat of August, then we're absolutely in trouble. But we haven't hit September yet.
All I'm trying to say to you is that now is a good time to reset, for us as fans. And all that we've learned of this team right now is that they're not ready for the regular season. Thankfully, they still have a chance to fix things -- though you'd be right to be pessimistic that our coaching staff and the attitude of the players are capable of changing anything. And that's my biggest concern, not how they're losing in preseason games.
Paul Daugherty said that Palmer looked Klingler-ized in the first half.
Levi Jones after the game: "I'll tell you what makes me angry, seeing my quarterback get up off the ground. That's what will infuriate me at any point in time. Especially seeing blood. I'm highly pissed off about that."
He continues: "I'm highly upset right now. There's going to be hell to pay this week, without question."
The Bengals pass rush has been nearly nonexistent, enabling the opposing team's offense to average 7.3 yards per pass and five touchdown passes.
Bob Bratkowski on the lack of protection for Palmer: "I don't think you can put most of that on the offensive line. Our backs missed a bunch of protections. The quarterback(s) missed a bunch of hot throws. The tight end missed protection a couple of times. That's not on the offensive line. That goes on the backs, the quarterback, the tight ends."
Jerry Magee takes Mike Brown to task. " It must have occurred to you as it did to me after Mike Brown stunningly, and I think wrongly, returned Chris Henry to the good graces of the Cincinnati Bengals: his father would not have done that."