The Cincinnati Bengals lost a few key players this offseason, but also retained and brought in some new talent. And while the Bengals have a plan, which they’ve clung to for many years, some people associated with the team get frustrated by the approach.
After seeing many valuable veterans walk out of the door, fans have been dissatisfied with the inactivity seen during the past two offseasons. But, it wasn’t just a cynical fan base that raised its eyebrows with the franchise’s plan. Even Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap seemed to publicly call out the Bengals on their strategy a couple of weeks ago.
I don't see the plan but guess that's not my role to either.— Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) March 14, 2017
While in Phoenix, Arizona for the annual NFL owners’ meetings, Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis was asked if he talked to Dunlap about the team’s plan and his seemingly-veiled shot via social media. The tweet got plenty of media attention, including being discussed on ESPN. It seems as if Dunlap clarified his thoughts to Lewis and an amicable conversation occurred.
“What he meant was I don’t see the plan because it’s not my job to see the plan,” Lewis said, via Bengals.com. “His response was that’s not my job. He’s not saying I don’t see the plan, because I’m not the planner. He was responding to a question, that’s all.”
We’re not sure exactly what “question” Dunlap was responding to, as a question wasn’t asked of him via social media. The original tweet seemed to only be prompted by what Dunlap and Bengals fans saw the team allowing to happen this offseason. Regardless, the tweet gained quite a bit of traction with the Bengals’ fan base and significant fan criticism of the team continued in response to the tweet.
“He didn’t mean anything derogatory about it,” Lewis continued. “Just not my responsibility. Just my job is to be the best defensive end in the National Football League.”
This may have been a bit of P.R. damage control done by Lewis, as the team has to have some kind of a pulse on their fan base’s public disappointment. Still, there’s no reason to believe that the two men didn’t discuss the issue and put it past them.
In fact, Lewis also talked about how he spoke to the new core of leaders regarding the direction of the team in 2017. Per The Cincinnati Enquirer, Lewis talked to his stars, including Dunlap, about what could be ahead for the team this year.
“I talked to the guys in January that this is where we were,” he said. “That the football team was going to have a different landscape.”
Though the Bengals’ roster will look quite different this year, the good news is that the team does have a number of their stars under contract for at least a few more years. Most of them have quite a few good years left in their careers, so the Bengals’ best players will need to take the slew of 2017 draft picks under their wings as they lead a now-younger team.