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Banks: Bengals no longer deserve bad reputation

For years, the Bengals front office could be blamed for the team's terrible decision making which resulted in an entire decade of bad football. Now, though, the Bengals have been to the playoffs three of the last four years and the front office deserves some respect.

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

When Don Banks ranked the front offices throughout the NFL, Mike Brown and the Bengals weren't listed in the top 12. However, the Bengals weren't listed as having one of the worst front offices in the league either. Banks lists the Bengals, along with the Redskins, as having front offices that don't deserve bad reputations anymore.

The Bengals obviously pulled off one of the great heists in recent memory in trading Carson Palmer to Oakland, but it was the Raiders in their brief and eventful Hue Jackson era, without Al Davis around to call the shots. Even without that move, Cincinnati has drafted boldly and well recently, and two consecutive playoff trips -- and three in four years -- has raised the bar of expectation for the Bengals.

The Bengals got their first big face lift when Marvin Lewis took over the team and handed the reins over to then quarterback Carson Palmer. After the team began to go south again, Lewis and the Bengals worked their magic for the second time in less than a decade, bringing in guys like A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and Geno Atkins as well as coordinators Mike Zimmer and Jay Gruden.

Now the Bengals are facing their third consecutive season in which they can head to the playoffs, something they have never done in franchise history. Cincinnati is no longer a team to be taken lightly, in or out of the division, and regardless of how you feel about the man, Mike Brown deserves quite a bit of credit, even if Lewis is the guy making most of the football decisions.

Brown may not rank among the best owners in the league, but he deserves more respect than he gets. It's not easy to pull a team out of the pit and that's exactly what Brown and Lewis have done. Twice.