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Open Thread: Observations about the Bengals heading into the offseason

Through the first quarter in the second NFC Wild Card game, the Arizona Cardinals are dominating the Green Bay Packers. This came after the Baltimore Ravens dominated the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys dominated the Philadelphia Eagles. Domination. Though it wasn't so much domination in the Bengals one-and-done game against the New York Jets, the end result left all of us empty. Perhaps it should have been expected considering the way Cincinnati lost their steam and mojo towards the end of the season. Regardless, the season is over.

I'm not sure if the problem with the team's passing game this year is the quarterback, or the talent around him. Either way, this team needs to focus on getting the passing game off the ground again. That leads me into a couple of beliefs that needs to be addressed this offseason.

  • First and foremost, Jerome Simpson has to man up. The Bengals took a risk on Simpson in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft. Now it's his turn to prove that the Bengals made the right decision or else take a different direction.
  • However, since I said that last year and since he could have proven something this year, I believe the Bengals need to address wide receivers in the offseason no matter what. They should address the position again in the NFL draft, sign guys on free agency, let Laveranues Coles go and promote Quan Cosby.
  • Early in the season, Andre Caldwell seemed like the answer to the team's short passing game. In the second half of the season, if Caldwell wasn't making mistakes, he turned ineffectual.

Considering that wide receivers are hardly the only pressing matter with this team, here's a few more observations.

  • The Bengals shouldn't attempt to re-sign Shayne Graham. He's been a quality field goal kicker throughout the early Marvin Lewis era. However, you need a kicker that can convert field goals in the redzone during a playoff game. If he can't do that, then what good is he?
  • I think the Bengals offensive line was one of the reasons they went from 4-11-1 to 10-6 and a playoff berth. On the other hand, they need to improve pass protection schemes and the Bengals need other players that can block -- hence we miss Reggie Kelly and Kenny Watson's ability to block at their respective positions.
  • I believe that Cincinnati should go after an impact safety on the first day of the NFL draft.
  • J.P. Foschi would be a decent backup tight end. But considering that Chase Coffman struggled to be an active tight end during game day, the Bengals might want to search other avenues.
  • Perhaps Carson Palmer needs competition at quarterback and the Bengals need a good quarterback to back him up. Draft someone.

What improvements with the team's players and positions do you guys think need to be made?