After another Bengals loss, I joined SB Nation Radio’s Lewis Woodard to discuss the Bengals’ performance on Monday Night Football, as well as what has gone wrong so far this season.
We went over why the Bengals look so different this year than they did last year, Marvin Lewis’ tenure in Cincinnati (and whether he’s on the hot seat) and if there’s reason to believe the Bengals could turn this season around and make it to the playoffs, despite losing five of their nine games played this season.
I’m usually an overly positive Bengals fan. I’ve made statements all year that the Bengals would defy the odds and make it back to the postseason for the sixth straight season. But, I no longer can do that. In short, this team doesn’t look like we expected it to. Some of last year’s best players no longer can be labeled as the best players and when players are asked to step up, they largely are unable to do so.
Darqueze Dennard got a chance last night to see what he could do and if he was more deserving of playing time than Josh Shaw. But after last night, I’d say it’s safe to say he’s not. Shaw should earn back his playing time on defense next week and Dennard should get to work at figuring out how he can play more effectively. The idea of letting players on defense sit on the bench and “learn” instead of play in their first few years in the NFL is one that’s growing old and clearly not working. If you think about the Bengals’ best defensive players, most of them are players who didn’t sit on the bench and learn for years. And, I don’t think that’s just because they were good enough to start right away. We’re talking about draft picks, and for Dennard, a first round draft pick. The expectation is that they are drafted in the first round because they’re ready to play right away.
At 2:00 a.m., and on the brink of losing my voice after attending and cheering for the Bengals for hours, I certainly didn’t come across as positive in discussing the Bengals’ outlook going forward.
As I always say, I certainly hope the Bengals prove me wrong and can turn things around. I’d actually love nothing more. Wouldn’t it be ironic for this 2016 Bengals team to be the one to win a playoff game?