Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty ponders the possibilities of 0-16:
After 18 years, would the imperfect, defeated season move the embarrassment meter into the red zone? Would it force ownership to join the 21st century? Would it make those who make the decisions finally drop their arrogance and stubbornness, and their beliefs that they know what they’re doing?
In a word, no. And even Doc knows it, admitting a couple sentences later that “the chances of 0-16 and a change in how things are done are equally remote.” I take issue with that statement only in that I believe the chance of 0-16 is actually better than the chance that Mike Brown & Co. changes the way they do business.
Why show up? The question answers itself, Chick: they aren’t. When you lose 35-6 to a 2-4 team, you by definition did not show up. And that’s because the team knows the answer to Doc’s question, just as you do, I do, and even Marvin Lewis does:
“We don’t have many options. Nobody is going to ride in here and save us. It’s not like you’ve got anybody to ride in here and save you.”
I suppose I could break down Sunday’s debacle and talk about the soft coverage (bad) or the run defense (decent). I could wax rhapsodic about special teams (ick) or the offensive line (double ick). I could grade individual players like Ryan Fitzpatrick (C), Cedric Benson (B) and Johnathan Joseph (F-). I could even rate coaches like OC Sideshow Bob Bratkowski (-12 on a scale of 1 to 10). But the reality is, that’s all beside the point.
From the top down, the Bengals have packed it in for the season. And it’s hard for me to blame the players or coaches who are, after all, just taking their cue from a do-nothing, know-nothing and unaccountable front office. If the three-headed hydra GM of Mike Brown, daughter Katie Blackburn and her hubby Troy can’t or won’t do their jobs, why should anyone else in the organization? Just smile for the cameras, run around for a few hours every Sunday, cash your check, and count the days until the offseason.