Bengals vs. Eagles: a Tale of Two Seasons
By Jason Marcum
Dec 9, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid looks on during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
A disappointing season was given a positive ray of light on Sunday after the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to end a 9-game losing streak, but as a whole, this season has been a massive disappointment. Head Coach Andy Reid is arguably on the hottest seat of any current NFL coach. At 4-9 and in the midst of just the third losing season of the Reid era in Philly, the Eagles are already out of the playoff picture in a year that was considered Super Bowl-or-bust. The Eagles were expected to contend with a team made up of highly sought after free agents, but like any other sport, chemistry and continuity are as important aspects as talent is, though watching the Eagles this year, you wouldn’t know they were stacked with talent.
Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) quarter shout out instructions to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) during the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-US PRESSWIRE
Chemistry and continuity are too aspects commonly found in teams are who are heavily built via the NFL draft. Players come into the league together, or not far apart from each other, and are able to learn and grow into the NFL together while their veteran counterparts mentor them. The Bengals have certainly been a team that’s gone this route, and it’s paying dividends right now, while the Eagles attempt to build a team via free agency is exploding in their faces.
It will be interesting to see the Bengals travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles Thursday night in primetime game that will have Cincinnati still alive in the postseason hunt, while the Eagles will be out of the playoff picture It will also be a contrast of styles, pitting the Eagles who have opted to build their teams up through free agency, against the Bengals rely heavily on the NFL draft to build up quality teams, something they’ve gotten better at in recent years.
Look no further than at 5 of the Bengals’ best players in A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Geno Atkins, Andrew Whitworth, and Leon Hall to see that the draft is where they find their stars. That core of Bengals has a combined 16-13 record in the past two seasons, while the Eagles corp of free agent superstars is just 12-17 in that same span. The Bengals had 17 starters last Sunday against Dallas that were either drafted as signed as college free agents by the Bengals, who have built their team the right way and are reaping the rewards, while the Eagles will enter this offseason without a head coach, a franchise quarterback, and a lot of question marks on defense.
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