The 2008 Bengals: Worst Bengals Team Ever?

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The Cold, Hard Football Facts make the case that the 2008 Bengals are, so far, the worst Bengals team ever.

I can’t do more than quibble at the edges. The Bengals averaged 15.5 points per game under Carson Palmer, not 13.3. Palmer played against Dallas as well as in the first three weeks. But that is still far from enough of an “improvement” over the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense to matter. Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson adds to CHFF’s argument today, noting that:

"[T]o blame the offense’s historic problems [on the loss of Palmer] is to ignore the slide that began early last season with a healthy Palmer coming off a season in which he was named the Pro Bowl’s best player. They scored two touchdowns or less in 12 of the 16 games. This season it has happened in 10 of the 11.In Ryan Fitzpatrick’s seven starts this season, the Bengals have scored more than two touchdowns once. In Palmer’s last seven starts dating back to ’07, the Bengals have scored more than two touchdowns just once."

How to fix this? The answer certainly isn’t the one Hobson appears to suggest later in the previously linked piece:

"…one school of thought is that the Bengals start over with a fleet of young receivers next season.Houshmandzadeh, whose goal is to be a general manager after his playing days, doesn’t think the Bengals are going to put the franchise tag on him at the end of the season."

Geoff further suggests the possibility of drafting a wide receiver in the first and keeping an obviously hobbled Levi Jones because it’s “too early” to let him go. Both suggestions earn Hobson a well-deserved ripping from WDR. I can only agree. If Stacy Andrews was worth franchising because of a lack of depth on he offensive line, then T.J. is definitely not too expensive to tag for a year, especially if the Bengals do find a trading partner for Chad Johnson.

As for Levi, it looks like his knees, which have undergone multiple procedures over the last two years, simply aren’t going to cooperate. That’s a real shame, because back in 2005 he was a top-tier LT, and I was happy to see the Bengals extend him in 2006. That it hasn’t worked out is just one of those things that happens.

The Bengals need to concentrate on the offensive line this coming offseason. The team needs a tackle and a center at the very least. In addition to Levi, it’s time to: trade Chad; cut the cord with the unreliable Jeremi Johnson and find a new fullback (and no, Daniel Coats is not the answer); give a laurel and hearty handshake to Chris Perry as he exits, stage left; and bid a fond adieu to John Thornton and Dexter Jackson.

Regarding Carson, Hobson also notes that Palmer may start throwing sometime in December to see whether he needs surgery on his elbow. This is depressing news, because the later any surgery is delayed, the more at-risk Palmer puts his 2009 season. I understand his reluctance to undergo surgery, but this dilly-dallying could backfire badly.