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ESPN says the Bengals have ‘lots of work to do’ to win a Super Bowl

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The Bengals are viewed as long shots to win next year’s Super Bowl, and ESPN thinks they have a lot to do in order to catch up with the pack.

Wild Card Game: Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After the Bengals committed to the status quo by re-signing Marvin Lewis for two more seasons, fans and national media haven’t been very excited about their odds next season.

ESPN is the latest to say the Bengals aren’t as close as Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis may think as they rated each teams odds of winning next season’s Super Bowl.

Here is what Katherine Terrell had to say about the Bengals.

80-1: The Bengals were considered a Super Bowl contender just three seasons ago, but losing key pieces such as Marvin Jones and Andrew Whitworth hurt their offense. The roster doesn’t need to be completely overhauled because they do have key pieces like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap on the defensive line, A.J. Green at wide receiver. There’s also up-and-comers like pass rusher Carl Lawson, cornerback William Jackson III and running back Joe Mixon.

However, instead of making widespread changes, the Bengals chose to bring back Marvin Lewis and most of his staff, although they parted ways with several assistants and hired respected coaches to oversee the offensive line and quarterbacks. The team, which has often shied away from making big moves in free agency, needs to at least consider that avenue to fix the offensive line. If not, they need to aggressively pursue one in the draft.

The number one thing that everyone will hold against the Bengals and Brown this offseason is the missed opportunity to bring in a new voice to come in and get this talented roster excited to go out there again.

It is going to be hard to convince people in the offseason that signing up for another season under Lewis will create any sort of change. The only chance they will have to do that is by being more aggressive in free agency, and actually address their needs during the draft with impact players.

When I say be more aggressive, I’m not saying go out and sign the top free agent to a record deal, but look at what the Eagles did. They went out and brought in plenty of low risk free agents (aside from Alshon Jeffery), and they ended up panning out and contributing. The Bengals rarely bring in anyone via free agency, and that really needs to change. Especially after a couple rough years of drafting.

As far as bringing in impact rookies, that is more to do with the players they draft and how they are brought along. The Bengals are infamous for not playing rookies early. They also love taking players with a ton of potential, but they need plenty of coaching to actually be playable.

The Bengals got better with that last season by drafting players like John Ross and Mixon early, but the coaching staff took way too long to actually get them playing. By the time Mixon was taking a majority of carries and starting the season was already lost.

It isn’t surprising to see the Bengals so low or with such poor odds of winning the Super Bowl, but it could be worse. They could’ve been the Browns who were the only team to be put in the category of “Not Even Close.”