Bengaldom remains in an uproar that this year’s team has yet to locate an identity. Is it a running team led by Ced Benson? A passing team fueled by Carson and wideouts T. Ochocinco? No one seems to know, but 2-2 doesn’t seem good enough.
I say that all the identity crisis stuff is overblown. Good teams can win many ways. The Patriots have done it for years. In my mind, Cincinnati’s biggest problem is a general lack of discipline. It starts with Ochocinco, a 10-year veteran who is averaging roughly a penalty per game, including a costly one that knocked his team out of field goal range late in a three-point game. And I believe the offensive line was fourth in the NFL in penalties at one point during Sunday’s game.
Some of the defensive penalties can be excused. I think Chinedum Ndukwe and perhaps even Dhani Jones were wrongly penalized in Sunday’s game. But all the false starts and illegal procedures are inexcusable. And ultimately, that’s a reflection of the head coach. If this penalty craze continues – and Cincinnati’s up and down season does too – I think it might be time for Marvin Lewis to leave.
But this season isn’t a lost cause just yet. I’m expecting a big win Sunday and some momentum heading into the bye week. That gives the team some time to correct their undisciplined errors. And fix the problem before it kills the whole season.