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Bengals’ continuity among best in NFL

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You could make a good case for this being a good or bad thing.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Bengals are one of the NFL’s best franchises when it comes to continuity.

Anyone who follows Cincinnati knows this to be true, but it may surprise you how much continuity this team really has. According to a study from ESPN, the Bengals are the sixth-best NFL team when it comes to continuity and remaining unchanged.

6. Cincinnati Bengals

GM: 1 | HC: 1 | OC: 3 | DC: 2 | Primary QBs: 1

The Bengals have used a league-low 77 starters since 2012. That is 30 fewer than the league average and 60 fewer than Chicago, which has used the most. Team owner Mike Brown has described himself as less involved in running the team. The people who have filled the power void have been with the Bengals for many years. Losing three coordinators to head-coaching jobs is what kept Cincinnati from ranking even higher.

Among the factors used for this study include:

  • How long the head coach and GM have been with said franchise
  • How long the offensive and defensive coordinator have been there
  • Stability at quarterback
  • Number of starters each team has used (77-137 was the range)
  • Number of players who started at least one game in three of the past five seasons (22-33 was the range)
  • Number of players who logged 2,000 snaps from scrimmage for teams over the past five seasons while remaining on the roster in 2016 (3-17 was the range).

Outside of having a new offensive coordinator in Ken Zampese last year, the Bengals were one of the best franchises when it came to stability and continuity, two things this franchise has prided itself on under Marvin Lewis.

That’s come to a fault at times with guys like Russell Bodine, Domata Peko, Rey Maualuga, Brandon Tate and even Lewis himself having big roles with the team for long periods, whereas many other franchises would have looked to find upgrades over those players and coach much sooner. The Bengals would rather Lewis’ mediocrity rather than taking a chance and shaking things up.

But it’s also been great having guys like Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling, George Iloka, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Vincent Rey, Carlos Dunlap, and Geno Atkins spend the best years, if not all the years of their NFL careers in Cincinnati.

It also helps to see Cincinnati is right behind teams like New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Carolina in this ranking. Those are teams who’ve all been to at least one Super Bowl since 2010 and have combined to win four of them. Those are the teams Cincinnati is in the same class with when it comes to continuity, so that would seem to bode well for the future of the Bengals organization. Five of the teams in the top 10 of this ranking made the playoffs following the 2016 regular season.

Teams at the bottom of the ranking include (from 32 up) the Browns, Bills, 49ers, Bears, Jets, Buccaneers, Titans and Jaguars. Many of those teams were among the NFL’s worst teams in 2016 and none made the playoffs. So, there seems to be at least some correlation between continuity and being a successful NFL team.

Knowing what we know about the Bengals, do you see continuity as a good or bad thing?