The Bengals need more players willing to speak up about the mediocrity of the play calling. It may not be popular with coaches, but it needs to get done.
After eight weeks of what was supposed to be a marvelous year, things look shaky for the Bengals. Ken Zampese was kicked out the door under tons of pressure and the offense made strides towards looking decent. They came out strong against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 but lost in overtime.
For most of that game, it seemed that the offense had turned the corner and big things were about to happen. But, Week 7 saw a return to the problems which had plagued the team during their 0-3 slide.
When A.J. Green offered his feelings on the Zampese situation, it was a sure sign that things weren’t peachy-keen in the Bengals’ locker room. But, it wasn’t hard to see that things weren’t that good before he let his sentiments be known. What was not so good? Frankly, the offense was playing like they had just seen the playbook and the ball wasn’t getting into the hands of the playmakers. Instead of me babbling on and on, I’ll let Green refresh your memory.
"“We are playing like sh** right now,” Green said, after the Houston game. “We got to find a way to get our playmakers the ball. That’s it. It’s a superstar-driven league. You are not going to win without them.”"
Yeah, that was pretty much the extent of things. Then came the two-game winning streak. After that, the putrid performance in Pittsburgh (those creative writing classes paid off). That game brought on the confusion of Joe Mixon.
Just Fix It
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Marvin Lewis took an attitude after Mixon addressed the lack of a running game in Week 7. After having success against the Steelers’ front seven, he didn’t touch the ball in the second half. Lewis lit into his running back.
"“You should show maturity just like everybody else. Everybody wants to be out there all the time…We got to handle it all the time the correct way, and be strong enough to not be led into questions after the game, which unfortunately he doesn’t know enough about.”"
Don’t think that Bill Lazor is going to get canned for the remarks Mixon made. But, it’s pretty interesting, in its own way. Green has to point out something to get results and now Mixon is steamrolling the running game. I may be setting myself up for failure, but Bengals players shouldn’t have to point out what’s ailing the offense. And coaches shouldn’t be ready to throw them under the next Greyhound smoking.
When Zampese was called to the front of the class, he was guilty as charged. But, since a rookie is pointing out what fans were already thinking, he needs to get some maturity? No, Colonel Sanders, you’re wrong. Like Green said, the NFL is star-driven. When the Bengals drafted Mixon, it wasn’t to see him pace the sidelines and wave to fans. Joe is a legitimate threat that was taken out of a possible winning situation.
Bengals players should have the right to voice their opinions when things aren’t right. If not, the coaching staff should be willing to apply in-game adjustments. Otherwise, there could be more frustration creeping into Paul Brown Stadium. Either fix the problem ahead of time or take the advice. A good, winning franchise would.