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Bengals Mailbag: Gotta have faith

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John Sheeran and Anthony Cosenza took the air on Friday afternoon to answer your questions. One of which was in the ability to trust the team’s decision-making skills in a rebuilding effort.

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The roller coaster that is the 2019 Cincinnati Bengals season just isn’t slowing down.

Andy Dalton is back at quarterback, as the team tries to scrape together wins in the final five games. There are some winnable ones on the slate, so anything is possible.

John Sheeran and I took the air the day after Thanksgiving to answer your questions. One of them was in level of trust fans should have in the Bengals, as they move forward to a rebuild in 2020.

Assuming Zac Taylor is still the coach next year (and barring something unexpected, we assume he’ll get a shot at re-shaping the team in his image), big decisions will need to be made. Quarterback is the top discussion on the docket, and this year’s class brings about intriguing options.

Whether it’s in an Andy Dalton mentorship type of scenario, or handing the reins off immediately to a Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, or Justin Herbert, certain determinations will shape the course of the franchise for the next handful of years. And, with the team’s spotty track record of success in building winners, it’s understandable that fans have their reservations.

In the 1990s, Cincinnati failed to land a franchise quarterback on two separate occasions in David Klingler and Akili Smith, respectively, along with making three disastrous inside head coaching hires to cause a decade-long tailspin. Only a new head coach from the outside with a Super Bowl past and a Heisman Trophy winner woke them out of their slumber.

2020 certainly will have its similarities to that of 2003, won’t it?

As of 2019, Cincinnati is coming off of its fourth-straight losing season after making five straight playoff brackets. When Marvin Lewis took over the job in 2003, “The Lost Decade”, the Bengals had just finished their 12th consecutive losing season.

If you think you’re having trouble maintaining faith now, try and think back to your mindset in spring of ‘03, if you were even a fan at the time.

Depending on how you’d prefer to look at it, Cincinnati lucked/sucked into high picks and a subsequent solid draft class. Carson Palmer, Eric Steinbach, Kelley Washington and Jeremi Johnson comprised four of their first five picks in Lewis’ first haul and all of them greatly helped to shape the rebuilding effort.

This year, Cincinnati is poised to be in a very similar situation. And, with those top picks, they could very easily land the top quarterback of the class and a very solid offensive lineman at the top of round 2. If these moves pan out, this could right the ship quickly, as it did in 2003.

Of course, this will take faith in Duke Tobin, Mike Brown and the Blackburns in making the appropriate moves. After the solid draft classes in 2010-2012 and building what was one of the league’s deepest rosters from 2010-2015, four consecutive low-yield draft classes have directly correlated to the downhill slide we’ve seen for close to a half decade.

It’s a tall task to pander for faith in the future, but as fans, it’s what you’re being asked to do.

*****

Also on this week’s episode:

  • What will the Bengals’ quarterback depth chart look like in 2020?
  • Did Ryan Finley even prove enough to be the team’s backup next year?
  • How close (or far) is this team to turning things around?
  • Should we expect the run game to continue its improvement with Andy Dalton back in the lineup?
  • And more!

We appreciate all of the live listeners we had for the holiday weekend. We do these live listener questions at least 2-3 times per month, so join us on the OBI YouTube channel, or Cincy Jungle’s Facebook page.

You can also hit us up on Twitter @BengalsOBI, or call/text us at (949) 542-6241 to have your questions answered on air. We’ll also be checking out our email, theobinsider@gmail.com, so send yours our way to be answered on the next feature.

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