If the Bengals are going to prove they can turn things around, Week 4 at Cleveland has to be better than the second half breakdown against the Packers.
The 2017 season started with such promise. During the offseason, moves were made to get the Bengals beyond the 6-9-1 madhouse of last year. But, three games into the latest campaign, the same old song and dance are being served to fans. A prime chance to show the football universe how the franchise has changed was blown. The home opener to the Ravens was a disaster and they looked lost on Thursday Night Football against Houston. Essentially, the Bengals returned to the days of the Bungals.
During each of the losses, they had chances to win. But, in true Bengals fashion, they took the L and looked like an uninspired team. Usually, this is the time to spout off a ton of statistics about how certain players’ snap counts need to increase, certain plays need to be run and the typical over analyzing.
Honestly, the Bengals can turn this season around. Take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year, they reached their Bye Week at 2-2. The last game before the break was a 43-14 beat down from the Pittsburgh Steelers. To be honest, the Chiefs looked nothing like a team that would win the division. But, they finished the year with a 10-2 run and made the playoffs.
It Starts With Determination
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The Bengals are coming up on a stretch of games that could make or break the season. Starting with the Browns in Week 4, there can be no more excuses. This team has been built upon excuse after excuse and there’s always a new reason for failure lurking in the bushes.
Both the Ravens and the Texans were decimated on offense. There was no reason the Bengals should have lost to either team. But, the biggest flaws came from execution, passion and preparation. To inject some hope into the situation, the Texans traveled to New England for Week 3 and put up 33 points on the Patriots. The Bengals were able to hold that “powerful” offense to 13 points.
Let’s be real. If the offense clicks in either of those games, Cincinnati is sitting at 2-0, going into Green Bay. If Randy Bullock doesn’t go wide right on a 48-yard field goal attempt, the Bengals are sitting at 3-0. Execution, preparation and rock solid attitude are what this team lacks. Again, that all starts with the head coach and trickles down. Marvin Lewis is working on borrowed time…as he should be. Ken Zampese was labeled as an over-thinker. Is it fair to say that Lewis doesn’t think enough?
Lost For Words
Simply put, there have to be serious thoughts about cleaning house and getting things together from the coaching standpoint. It’s too early in the season to gut the whole show and start from scratch. That would be a suicide mission. But, things have to get better. Could we please see some second-half adjustments? After OC Bill Lazor went through the script, Green Bay was basically ready for everything. It was three to five plays and punt. Not a good way to keep the aggressive change going.
Also, the difference between 0-3 and 3-0 is simple, yet even simpler than imagined. There was a disconnect between Zampese and Andy Dalton. A one-game turnaround like the one Dalton experienced is not a reason to celebrate. There have to be 13 more that will be better.
Finally, there’s still hope. The season isn’t lost. But, on the other hand, the hole has gotten deeper.