Since when is being 0-8 a fluke?
Entering their bye week, the Bengals are still one of two winless teams in the NFL. They’re not less lucky than the average team; they’ve lost just as many games by one score as they have by multiple scores.
There’s not a single part of their roster that is performing well relative to the rest of the league, and considering they trusted a first-year head coach to maximize a roster that barely even changed from last year, that’s not too surprising.
In terms of evaluating where the roster is at, that about covers it. But no excuse goes as far as “we just haven’t been healthy”, which seems to be the excuse the Bengals are using again this year.
The Bengals should be inactive today as the trade deadline creeps towards 4pm EST, and the reason why is because, per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, they plan to see how their roster looks when certain players return from injury.
Don't look for any movement from the #Bengals on any of their "key guys" by the trade deadline Tuesday, at this time. I'm told Cincinnati would still like to evaluate their roster when they get healthier after their bye this week.— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 28, 2019
Certain players obviously includes A.J. Green, Carl Lawson, Dre Kirkpatrick and maybe even Jonah Williams and John Ross III. The Bengals’ weekly inactives list have been filled with notable players; which is pretty unlucky considering how many injuries they had to deal with last year. Missing these players and others throughout the season has been damning, but it isn’t the sole reason why they’ve been this bad.
It is imperative for the Bengals to use these remaining eight games to find out who is worth further investment—no one should be arguing against that. Essentially out of the playoff race before November, Cincinnati has no choice but to test the entirety of the roster so they can figure out what to do with it come the offseason.
But it’s not as if this team would be a playoff contender even if they weren’t eviscerated by injuries. The entire league sees that, but do the Bengals themselves? Not based on this report.
Having won just 19 games in the previous three seasons combined and not improving the weakest parts of the roster, the Bengals have been stuck in a miserable purgatory since they last made the playoffs. This version of the team isn’t much different, they’ve just been less healthy and have an inexperienced coaching staff. The true changes stop there.
Despite this, the Bengals are obviously not ready to blow everything up just yet. And by the time they might be ready, when the results don’t improve much after Green and Co. returns, the opportunity to improve for the future will have passed.