Not Good Enough


It is a fact that the Bengals have one of the smallest scouting departments in the NFL. Fans have griped about it for years. Talking heads mention it every draft season. Mike Brown thinks it’s fine the way it is.

BROWN: “The scouting thing is another criticism that rises up when we don’t do well. If you look at our record on scouting over the last 10 years, we rank 10th for the number of games played by players we drafted. I think we sank to 11th on the number of players who are in the league that we drafted, and we would be higher than that except for injuries that were serious that players like (David) Pollack suffered, or Chris Perry, or what happened with (Odell) Thurman, or what happened to Chris Henry. We had a number of those. It was disproportionate. I don’t apologize for our scouting. It’s an easy target, but if you look at the real facts, I think you’ll see it differently.”

The stat about “games played by players we drafted” is just stupid. It could easily mean that they just hang on to mediocre (or worse) players for too long. The stat where they ranked 11th is more respectable though. Not great, but better than average. Every team swings and misses, but this would indicate that they whiff less often than many teams.

After the press conference, Mo Egger interviewed Solomon Wilcots, and he asked Solly about Mike’s comment. Solly said that the Bengals are respected around the league for their drafting. (This surprised me, but he knows people in the NFL and I don’t, so I have to take his world for it.) He pointed to value found in later rounds, like TJ in the 7th, Chad in the 2nd, and Artrell Hawkins and Takeo Spikes in later rounds. They fail in development, but do pretty well in drafting. That was an angle I had never considered before.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that Mike and Solly are right. Let’s assume that fans are on the entirely wrong track and that the scouting dept really is that good. Why is small-but-efficient good enough? Why is 11th best good enough? If 3 full time scouts plus coaches can do that well, would 6 scouts get them into the top 5? Top 5 is better than 11th! Think of the advantage that the Bengals would have as a top 5 drafting team! But that isn’t Mike’s goal. 11th is good enough for him.

Marvin spent two days in negotiations with Mike Brown and at one point left the building. But at the presser, he defended the way everything had been done so far. Why is the status quo good enough? Mike said that the team was “close” and that “continuity will help us.” Why is “close” good enough? Why is more of the group that gave us 4-12 good enough? Both Mike and Marvin said that things would be different and better, and then denied that any perceived problem area would change or even needed to change. How exactly is more of the same ‘different’? And why is that good enough?

I don’t want to settle for good enough. I want better! We deserve much better! After 20 years of having the bar set at ‘good enough’, it’s high time the bar was raised. With all the money fans have spent over 20 years, we’re owed that. Sadly, after a presser like yesterday’s, ‘good enough’ appears to still be the standard for the Cincinnati Bengals.