As preseason nears and training camp is just around the corner, we start to take a look the expectations for the season.
Last year, everyone expected the Bengals to go further and do more, which you could argue that they did by winning the division. This year though, that will not be enough. Playoffs are not only an expectation, it is a demand by the fans and the organization, and a playoff win at that.
The Bengals have a core group still in place with only a few players departing in free agency for money and starting roles. The changes in the coaching staff seems to bring the understanding aspect and being just as close to these players since they came from in house. This should mean no excuses, right?
The Bengals head into a key year, with the Andy Dalton’s contract due up and their focus to get Vontaze Burfict and AJ Green under a long term deal. The performance of those key players, along with the return of Geno Atkins, should provide the push for this team to go further.
Marvin Lewis has not been on the hot seat yet, even though many have called for it. Certain teams have proven that stability at head coach can push a team, especially when stability is key for younger players to develop. He should start to feel the pressure, and without a playoff win on his resume, his time may start to dwindle.
Playoffs or bust, should be an understatement, a playoff win may be the only way to prove that this team can be a viable contender in future years. Even more, it may be the only way Andy Dalton keeps his job without taking a discount and to keep Lewis off the hot seat.