They Stunk and They’re Restless


The Bengals have followed up a disappointing season with an offseason that has deteriorated into a full-blown soap opera. The quiet, stoic son (Carson Palmer) wants to move out. His brash brother (Chad Ochocinco) is trading verbal insults with the father (Marvin Lewis). And the stubborn old grandfather (Mike Brown) seems to tick off his audience every time he opens his mouth. Then there’s all of us, watching the embarrassing drama unfold right before our eyes.

This show mustn’t go on. I’m re-writing the roles for all of these actors and doing my best to keep it from getting canceled. Here’s how it should play out:

Palmer:  Palmer’s actions are disappointing, but are completely understandable. How many of us could give everything we have to a job if the owner wasn’t doing the same? Especially if that same owner refused to change, even when things went terribly and consistently wrong? It’s an embarrassing moment for your franchise when the face of it wants to leave town.

But Palmer is stuck. Mike Brown won’t budge (and he shouldn’t unless a proven quarterback and a plethora of draft picks are offered in return). Plus, Carson wants to play. Maybe money doesn’t matter, but competition does.  And I refuse to believe Carson will take a year off  at this point in his career. Plus, many of the available trade options aren’t that enticing either (Cincinnati could be better than Oakland, Arizona and San Francisco next season. Seriously). Perhaps Carson just wants Bob Bratkowski gone too. For that, I’d applaud him.

Ochocinco:  He should shut his mouth. The more he talks, the more he’ll scare off prospective teams. He should play nice for a few months and let the team work out a trade. Otherwise he may end up out of legitimate options. Or in Oakland. Bwa Ha Ha.

Lewis:  He should be quiet too. The more he publicly disses Ochocinco, the more obvious it becomes that the team will not keep him around next year. At this point, the Bengals will be lucky to get a pack of Skittles in exchange for Chad. Lewis just needs to pretend he likes him long enough to pack his bags and get him a ticket out.

Brown:  He’s the stubborn guy with a deaf ear to all his critics. But this time he needs to listen. I’m not sure what Carson’s problems are, but there’s a good chance they are all legitimate. Maybe he thinks the offense needs a new coordinator (he’s right). Maybe he thinks the team needs a few more scouts (he’s right there too). And a GM (right again). Or a better medical staff (you get the point). Palmer is the good soldier that has finally given up. Brown needs to appease him for at least one more season. Draft a quarterback and give him a year as an understudy. Convince Carson to stick around one more season and play well enough to earn a new contract, either in Cincinnati or somewhere else. Brown was right in to squash Palmer’s trade demands, but he also needs to prepare for the future. And at this point, it’s a huge question mark.

This drama is painful to watch. But it won’t end until all the actors know their roles. And shut their mouths.