Mike&Mike Talk Bengals


This morning on ESPN’s morning show, Mike & Mike discussed the Bengals as a part of their offseason two-a-days. Their five questions about the Bengals were pretty good ones. I would love to pose the same questions to you to see if you agree with them.

#5: Can Carson Palmer regain his All-Pro form?

M&M: Maybe, but not in Cincinnati.

Me: From the way people in the know are describing Jay Gruden’s offensive style, I think it could happen in Cincinnati… if two conditions are met first.

1) The offensive line has to be improved. Carson had his best years behind Jones, Steinbach, Braham, Williams & Anderson. That’s a GOOD line. The current line is maxed out at just OK. Andre Smith has to be on the field and has to play more like Willie Anderson than like Dennis Roland. Left guard has to be improved.

2) Carson has to want to be here again. And that’s the $64,000 question. Can Mike, Marvin and Carson work it all out and get Carson happy again? Some think so. I’m skeptical.

You: ?

#4: Will Chad or T.O. (or both or neither) suit up at WR?

M&M: No way on T.O. (no real answer on Chad)

Me: I actually addressed this yesterday. The Bengals don’t want T.O. back, and he wouldn’t come back. I certainly don’t want him back. Contrary to all the talking heads saying he will probably be gone, I guarantee Chad will be back. Mike Brown controls him for 2011. Without Chad, Andre Caldwell is the most experienced receiver on the team, unless he gets one in free agency. That won’t happen. Chad stays.

You: ?

#3: Who is the emotional leader on defense?

M&M: Nobody.

Me: Excellent question. Carlos Dunlap might be the closest thing they’ve got right now, but that’s a big responsibility for a rookie. When Rey was drafted, we thought he might be that guy. Not so far. A good, tough, in-charge inside backer and a big-time safety are two big needs on defense.

You: ?

#2: What is the biggest need to address through the draft or free agency?

M&M: Quarterback.

Me: Several positions could be put here. A true #1 WR. A game-changing safety. Linebacker. Offensive line. Quarterback.

Without a resolution at QB, though, that position has to top the list. If he has the intelligence and drive to work (and I’m guessing he does), I like nate’s suggestion of Andy Dalton out of TCU. Intelligence, drive and accuracy are a vital combination, more important than athletic skill. As nate points out, getting a guy like that in the 2nd round allows the Bengals to address another big need in the 1st. Win-win.

You: ?

#1: Is the Bengals’ stock moving up or down?

M&M: Straight down, until QB is resolved.

Me: The situation with Carson Palmer will hang like a cloud of gnats over this organization until Mike Brown finally does something proactive about it. (Good luck guessing when that might be.) He can’t leave the most important position on the field in long-term limbo and expect the team to not suffer. It effects everything and everyone on offense. The offense has been in dire need of repair for four years now. Those repairs continue to be delayed.

Mike Brown chalks up far too many problems to bad luck when in fact they are caused by inaction like this. Either he can make Carson happy or he can’t. If he can, do it! Now! If he can’t, start making plans to change. Neither option should take more than a week to decide upon. This extended game of chicken is the worst of all possible options for the team. Yet it is the one Mike Brown chooses.

That, my friends is why Mike Brown fails so prolifically. Not because he is greedy. Not because he doesn’t care. It’s because he is not proactive. He does not take steps to make sure that his team is in the best position it can be. That is a GM’s job. But he waits for the answers to come to him. He still thinks about what might be if only David Pollack… if only Odell Thurman… if only Chris Henry…. He’s stuck in 2006. Meanwhile, 2011 sits on hold.

So Mike & Mike are right. Until Mike does something about Carson one way or the other, the team is stuck. A weaker schedule might mask some of the problems next year, but the fundamental problems will still be there.

You: ?