Here's the Bengals offseason, as it pertains to news that affect the field.
Marvin Lewis returned, after refusing to sign an extension for over a year, to a two-year deal that could expand beyond that if he produces results. Carson Palmer demanded a trade, saying he was frustrated with the team's inconsistencies -- whatever those really are is up in the air. The Bengals fire offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and hire AFL Superstar Jay Gruden, whose only position in the NFL was as an offensive assistant for his older brother Jon in Tampa Bay.
The questions left to answer far outweigh what's happened in the past month.
If there's a Collective Bargaining Agreement (which we're sure there will be one), will the team be able to bring back Johnathan Joseph. Is Cedric Benson going to return with the hopes that a new offensive philosophy will give him a rebound season. Then there's a questions about other free agents, such as Brandon Johnson, Jonathan Fanene and restricted free agents such as the team's starting center Kyle Cook. What about Carson Palmer?
Defensively, the team has a mix of rising youth and aging veterans with no depth at safety. Additionally, the team needs players that were expected to make a major impact (like Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga) to step up and be those players we expected to have during their respective drafts. While there's promise here, there's more questions.
If the Bengals are to make the Super Bowl in 2011 (provided there is one), they will have to work hard at bringing back key contributors and basically dominate the 2011 NFL Draft with impact players on offense and defense. But above all, the Bengals have to rise above the adversity from the 2010 season and this offseason and believe that they can make it.