Thornton Likes Bengals Playoff Chances in ’09


DT John Thornton makes the case that the Bengals will bounce back and into the postseason next year. It’s tough to argue with anything he says, except to say it reminds me of a lot of what I wrote before last season. Cincinnati was supposed to have improved chemistry last season, too, with multiple units finally returning the same or mostly the same starters for at least the second straight year. Young players like Eric Ghiacuic and Stacy Andrews were talked up as on the cusp of breakout seasons. And of course we had plenty of names coming off the injury report last year too, including Levi Jones, Willie Anderson and Rudi Johnson.

And in the end, none of it mattered. Guys like Anderson and Rudi didn’t even make it out of camp. Levi was never healthy. Ghiacuic never emerged and Andrews was so-so. I will give John, and coach Marvin Lewis this much: they’re right that the 2008 Bengals never caved. Past Bengals teams would have crumpled by 0-6 or 0-7 at the latest. They kept punching, for all the little good it did them. So there’s that. But they still need to upgrade talent on both lines and in the backfield — and that’s just to name some of the more obvious areas of need.

So I hope everyone will forgive me if I don’t jump on the postseason ’09 bandwagon just yet. Ask me again around training camp.

As for the first big event of offseason 2009, free agency, things are starting to heat up. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is making the rounds of sports talk radio (h/t Bengalsgab). The burning question regarding T.J. is whether or not the Bengals will hit him with the franchise tag. Today is the first day teams can apply the tag.

Predictably, WDR doesn’t like my take on Doc’s recent stuff. Well, speaking of unpleasant truths people don’t like to hear, let’s provide a few more. One, people who keep buying tickets and going to the games aren’t irrational, they’re simply spending their money on something they enjoy, and seeing the Bengals win isn’t necessarily crucial to that experience. Nor is this behavior “harmful to the team.” That conclusion proceeds from the false premise that if enough people stop attending the games, owner Mike Brown might professionalize the front office with a GM, more scouts, etc. However, history suggests he’d simply go back to serving players box lunches at training camp and making them buy their own towels. So basically all Doc is doing is whining that other people are spending their own money to have fun in a way he doesn’t like. Well, sorry. I’m sure Doc spends time and money on some hobby I’d find foolish and wasteful. But that’s his business and I don’t write newspaper columns bashing him for it.