Frustrations have been high within the Bengals’ fan base following the opening of free agency. With the departure’s of Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler, there is concern within an already struggling offensive line, and now, the overall direction of the franchise.
Bengals fans just simply want to be able to believe in the team they love. The question is, can this franchise give them something to believe in? Despite the frustration, we all want to believe that answer is yes.
It can be argued that no fan base has given more and been given less than Who Dey Nation. Year after year and after countless heartbreak this fan base still keeps coming back. I happen to believe we rival any fan base in the league. You will not find a more ‘do or die’ dedication anywhere else in professional football. Do we get mad? of course: Do we vent our frustrations, (especially on social media)? absolutely, But, no matter what, we keep coming back. Just like a great championship team, there is no quit in these fans. We bleed Orange and Black.
That’s why this legion of fans deserve the absolute best from the Bengals front office. Now, believe me when I say that I believe this organization gives maximum effort when it comes to running a team. However, I feel sometimes they could be a little more flexible in terms of philosophy.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Free Agency
Let’s look at free agency. Trust me, It’s OK to sign a player! That being said, I do agree, you have to be wise with your money. Going out and signing every available guy just because you can is just a recipe for disaster, It simply doesn’t work. However, you can go in with a plan. Figure out your needs then go address them. You don’t even have to find the most high-priced talent. Find a quality role player on a reasonable deal and bring him in.
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Look at the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, for example, both teams are perennial contenders but neither team goes crazy in March, however, they will plug a hole to improve their roster. The philosophy is simple, target your guy’s and then go get them. In other words, fill your holes in free agency and that will allow you to draft for value without having to reach for need.
Now give credit where credit is due, The Bengals had a good run of draft classes from 2011 to 2014, and it showed on the roster as well as on the field. I give a lot of credit to Duke Tobin, the man has an eye for talent. I also give ownership some credit. Mike Brown, Katie Blackburn, as well as Marvin Lewis, did a lot to change the culture from the dark ages of the 90’s but now, the time to take the next step is long overdue.
Bengals’ founder Paul Brown was an innovator. As a matter of fact, he was one of the greatest trailblazers the league has ever known. I say why not carry on the legacy, don’t worry so much about being so conservative. Once again, you don’t have to go crazy, just don’t be afraid to make a move. Remember 2003? Marvin Lewis came in and the team had a direction, They went out and signed guy’s like John Thornton and Tory James, these guys were not world changers but they were solid contributors. The course of the franchise changed that season, and it started with moves like this.
Sometimes You Have To Let Go
I’m sure you’ve heard of the term ‘addition by subtraction’. Sometimes you have to realize that it’s time to move on. Adam Jones has done some good things during his time in stripes, that being said, eventually enough has to be enough. I simply cannot justify letting a proven leader and team cornerstone like Andrew Whitworth walk while a player who for whatever reason cannot stay out of trouble remains on the roster.
I have no problem with second chances, in fact, I commend it. However, sometimes you have to cut your losses. There are three first-round corners on this roster, let them play. If you can put this faith in Cedric Ogbuehi then do the same with Darqueze Dennard and William Jackson. As much love as I have for Rey Maualuga, maybe it is time to get younger at the linebacker position as well. These moves would also free up a lot of valuable salary cap space also.
I say this because I have loved this team for literally most of my life, I believe the same can be said for most of the fan base. We get upset sometimes, but that’s only because we love this team because we are invested in this team. The Cincinnati Bengals are ‘our’ team. We may get mad, but we never stop loving them, even when we say otherwise. We want to believe in this franchise. Just give us something to believe in.