Losing is all the Bengals know right now, and it didn’t use to be this way. Ask cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick about that.
A first-round draft pick from 2012, Kirkpatrick has been a part of an equal amount of highs and lows here in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the lows are starting to become more and more frequent nowadays. Last night’s 27-3 decimation by the hands of the Steelers has only escalated the frustrations felt by the players, Kirkpatrick not being an exception.
“We gotta just figure this s*** out. We gotta get wins. They don’t pay me to lose. That s*** is unacceptable to me.”
Four sentences. Four equally compelling statements that need but brief explanations.
“We gotta just figure this s*** out.”
The s*** that needs figuring out isn’t too complicated. Your brother-in-law, James, who sells latex for Vandelay Industries, can tell you what the problems are.
The Bengals are not very talented. It’s tough to win at all when the personnel isn’t up to snuff. And the coaches aren’t good enough at this point to boost that talent to a needed level of competence. Very simple.
“We gotta get wins”.
Not only are they all alone at the bottom of the AFC North now, history does not side with winning much after starting 0-4. Since the NFL increased the schedule to 16 games in 1978, the average finish of an 0-4 team is about 4-12. Three out of the 120 teams have gone on to win at least nine games, including the 9-7 Los Angeles Chargers from 2017.
Losing is simply the likely outcome from here on out, and desperation can only push a bad roster so far beyond a handful of victories.
“They don’t pay me to lose.”
Attaching a team’s record to a cornerback is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. So when we say the Bengals are 13-23 since they signed Kirkpatrick to a five-year $52.5 million contract, it’s an irresponsible correlation.
But it doesn’t make Kirkpatrick’s words any less ironic. And it doesn’t help that he’s more times a liability than an asset on the field.
“That s*** is unacceptable to me.”
Fans are never more upset than the players when it comes to losing. If you, a fan, disagree with that, maybe you should step back from fandom for a little while. It’s just a game. For Kirkpatrick, it’s a sobering reality.
For the past four years, the Bengals have been a losing franchise. Kirkpatrick isn’t thinking about losing now to get better later, he can’t afford to. By the time the Bengals can realistically be competitive again, he may not be around to experience it.
Regardless of how unacceptable losing is to Kirkpatrick and his 52 teammates, it’s going to keep happening unless a new team steps onto the field.