Will Bengals commitment to winning finally show results?

Jun 13, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown watches as his team runs drills during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown watches as his team runs drills during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bengals have assembled a talented team of rookies and veterans. Now, the end result has to go beyond the excuses of the past.

For far too long, Cincinnati Bengals fans have been fed the same lines. The team gets close to the big haul and suddenly the tires go flat. With the signing of the 2017 draft class in the books, once again the focus is on getting to the playoffs and making some sort of splash. But, it’s always wise to be cautious when talking about the postseason. It’s best to be on the lukewarm side and then heat to boiling when the Bengals are showing results.

Before we get into the nonsense of my right to be pessimistic, the subject isn’t up for debate. I’ve been dipped in Orange & Black since learning Cincinnati had a football team. That was at the tender age of 12. In those 42 years of heartache and migraines, logic has still remained in the forefront. It’s time for the home team to do more than sit on the memories of 1981 and ‘88. Could this be the year things finally get accomplished?

For five straight years (2011-15), the Bengals had opportunities to make it happen. Those years have supplied some of the best and worst moments a fan could endure. But, has it been enough? Are Cincinnati faithful being given another box of empty promises to believe? After all, Mike Brown can still walk away at any time and still have a sweet bank account. Meanwhile, devoted followers of the Bengals will be left to witness a rebuild or worse. But, could it actually get worse?

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There’s no use in saying how good Marvin Lewis has been for the franchise. Anyone with a slight interest in the adventures of the Bengals understands how he turned things around. But, that only goes so far. In fact, it’s been the foundation of his tenure. Maybe Brown has grown weary of the close-but-no-cigar routine. Training camp is around the corner and Mr, Lewis is still without a contract.

Everyone has their limit. Fourteen years of playoff futility is insanity. The offseason moves have awakened the curiosity of diehard fans. But, the analysts are not drinking the Kool-Aid. Recently, Brown shared his feelings on the Super Bowl and commitment to winning. Seeing him put his desire into words is wonderful. It delivers a personal apology for the frustration. But, will that transfer to the field? Lewis is still the watchman and things haven’t been going great for him.

The bottom line is obvious. Barring any major setbacks, the Bengals have a team that can compete in the league. Yes, the NFL is a tough landscape. But, the Stripes have been to a couple of Super Bowls. They were a mere seven years apart. It’s been proven that a small market team can get there. Now, it’s time they grabbed the bull by the horns and finished the job.

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The draft has yielded players that Bengals brass thought would be gone. They snagged the talents of Carl Lawson, Joe Mixon and John Ross. There’s no need to drop more of the rookies’ names. They’re doing a good job of impressing Lewis during minicamp.

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But, minicamp is just that…camp. As the great Tim Krumrie once stated, it’s “Underwear Football.” What matters is what goes down when Baltimore comes to town for the home opener. From that point on, the Bengals will be judged on what they did and didn’t do to prepare for the season.

Lewis, Duke Tobin and the coaches have done their part. The Bengals have a smart and talented football team for 2017. Now, it’s all about getting the results fans deserve.