The Bengals are finding themselves negatively represented in the national media, “a manufactured narrative.”
Members of the national media, primarily Dan Patrick and Mike Florio, have been insisting that Joe Burrow doesn’t want to play for the Bengals. Steve Bartkowski said he should “pull an Eli Manning” and demand a trade if the Bengals draft him.
The idea that the Bengals are such a deplorable organization has been floating around for a while, but things got worse when Carson Palmer went on the Dan Patrick Show and said that the Bengals were not committed to winning. The media took that story and ran with it.
Bengals’ Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin has been hearing these sentiments, but said he changed his attitude after attending mass.
“The gospel was Matthew, and it was turn the other cheek, love your neighbor, don’t wish ill will, and pray for the people that want to harm you,” he said, via Ben Baby. “So I would just tell the media folks I’m praying for them.”
He laughed, but then addressed the elephant in the room.
“The narrative wasn’t correct. It’s not built on fact, it was built on opinion.”
If you listen to Florio talk about how he came to the conclusion that Joe Burrow doesn’t want to play for Cincinnati, then it sounds like Tobin is spot on.
Tobin went on to address two of the top concerns about the Bengals: the lack of spending in free agency and their inability to win games.
“Over this past CBA, we’re a top-half of the league spending team on players, so that’s not at the bottom. We’re 13th in wins, in the top 10 in playoff appearances...none of that says we’re he worst team in the league.”
Tobin also said that “it’s not a question” of the Bengals spending in free agency this year.
Duke Tobin on free agency: "It's not a question of whether we're going to spend."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) February 25, 2020
The Bengals are aware of the perception they have around the league, and they are trying to change it. For one, parting ways with Marvin Lewis was a huge step, and one that they still believe is in the right direction.
Zac Taylor has also said that the attitude is changing in the clubhouse, which was indicative of the improved play in the second half of the season. He says that people are starting to feel it around the league.
If the Bengals can bring in a few key free agents, re-sign A.J. Green, and get Burrow under center, then they can begin to change the narrative.