If we're comparing Cincinnati's four-year run -- making the playoffs and getting bounced in the first-round -- Groundhog Day would be a suitable comparison. In the four years since this version of the Bengals launched with the return of Marvin Lewis and the departure of Carson Palmer, Cincinnati has found a way to win games and qualify for the postseason.
Unfortunately, the Bengals have always found a way to look overpowered and out-of-place in the playoffs, failing to secure their first win since the 1990 season. For as great as this has been, the formula has to change.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis appears to be hinting that. During a conversation with Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. and Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson in Mobile, Alabama during senior bowl week, Lewis is hinting that owner Mike Brown is looking to change things up.
"Oh yeah, (Mike Brown) is the one leading the charge," Lewis said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He doesn't want to hear, 'We will be better when we get these guys back.' No, we need to get better. He knows we need to get better. He's pushing people to identify players that will make us a better football team in free agency."
"It's a different feel than where we have been," Lewis said. "It's not a status quo. There has not been a status quo conversation or 'Oh, we'll be OK, we'll just get these guys back.' No, no, no, that's bull. We got to be better."
Settle down... is the little voice in my head.
It's hard for me to wrap my head around an organization that will heavily spend on free agents during the first day of free agency. On the other hand, instead of waiting a week or two before making that first selection, maybe the team signs a starter or two during the first four days.
Label me as a "believer when I see it", but it's a good start.