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Sporting News' Shallow Analysis Yields Prediction of Last Place

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The Sporting News Today ran a "Camp Countdown" story today on the Bengals that had multiple themes:

  • There is no such thing as a short leash with the Bengals; Marvin Lewis is safe.
  • Without Carson Palmer, opponents don't fear the passing game.
  • According to an opponent, Marvin Lewis prefers the 4-3 defense but keeps drafting linebackers better suited to the 3-4. The defense can't stop the run, can't rush the passer and has no identity.
  • Unless Carson can "energize" the offense, the Bengals will again finish last in the division.
  • There is not enough stability on defense to ensure success.

I am actually surprised by the shallow analysis by authors Gerry Dulac, Vinnie Iyer, and Chick Ludwig.  Putting it all on Carson's back or a lack of stability on defense is so easy, but the article fails to cite any off-season upgrades or probe the implications of the lack of an established running back, the inexperience on the offensive line, etc.

On a positive note, the article includes a boxed quote from CBS analyst Phil Simms, who said, "I would be leery of this team.  They stayed competitive last year, even though they didn't have a healthy Carson Palmer and their offense was dreadful.  You look at how hard they played - and with passion.  It's possible they surprise some people this season."  I think that aside from Lapham, Phil may have just became my favorite analyst.

Unfortunately, I think Bengals fans see a last place finish in the cards.  I see that the team is now running ads for ticket packages.  I recently donated two season tickets to a charity for auction and the selling price was less than the price of one ticket alone.  I guess I could blame the economy but it is so much more fun to blame Mike Brown.