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Get ready for another Cincinnati Bengals reboot

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 17: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals hands the ball off to Josh Malone in the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 17, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 17: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals hands the ball off to Josh Malone in the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 17, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /
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No matter what happens with Marvin Lewis and his staff, the Cincinnati Bengals will be looking at another reboot for 2018.

Even if Marvin Lewis says the reports of his leaving are old news, it’s time to get ready. Whenever the Bengals franchise decides to make a change, it’s best to be prepared for hard times. The past two seasons may have been hard to deal with, but the future is definitely hazy for the Bengals. When Marvin leaves, most of the coaching staff will be calling it quits also. That always signals reboot.

When the Bengals were subject to a coaching turnover a few years back, the feeling was the same. Most knowledgeable fans understood it was a time to get things in order. But, in the time since the coaching turn, the Bengals have gone 11-18-1. If that record belonged to the Cleveland Browns, things wouldn’t be so bad. Hue Jackson and the Dawgs are in the midst of a well-documented reboot.

But, the Bengals went 12-4 in 2015 and came within seconds of winning their first playoff game under Lewis. Such a sudden collapse has fans calling for a new head coach. Can you blame anyone for wanting the franchise to get it right? After five straight years of postseason appearances, the wheels have fallen off and it’s time to sweep out the mediocrity.

Let the coaches leave 

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It’s time for some new philosophies and schemes for the Bengals. Now, that doesn’t mean scrap the West coast brand of offense that was invented on the banks of the Ohio. But, it does mean inject some new ideas into the playbook. Teams are able to adjust to whatever the Bengals do and shut them down (yes, Marv, adjustments do exist).

Bill Lazor hasn’t been the total answer for the offense. Maybe it takes him longer to get an idea of what the strengths and weaknesses are for this team. In any case, the Bengals offense is horrendous and will likely end the season as the worst unit in the NFL. For years, Cincinnati has been known for being an offensive powder keg. Under the guidance of Ken Zampese and Lazor, the Bengals have gone from subpar to atrocious.

Paul Guenther has been mentioned as a replacement for Lewis. Truthfully, the Bengals defense has been suspect all season. To be fair, there are individual performances that stand out. Carlos Dunlap is always a menace to the league, Geno Atkins stood his ground and William Jackson III made huge strides. Carl Lawson shines as a rookie and Vincent Rey along with Vontaze Burfict caused havoc. But, overall, Guenther had the defense playing a laid-back brand of football. When they play aggressively, the results change drastically.

If Guenther becomes HC, things won’t change. Look for more of the same tired approaches.

Will the real Ginger stand up?

Andy Dalton has shown signs of pure athleticism. His 2015 campaign was one of his best in Bengals stripes. But, he still can’t win the big games. Moreover, he’s not being given the guidance to win the games. Yes, being a franchise quarterback means getting the job done.

But, Dalton has been jacked mentally. In his seven years under center, Dalton has digested the philosophies of four coordinators.  Each one should be considered a marriage…and those ain’t easy. His most successful campaign was under the tutelage of Hue Jackson. Now, he looks the indecisive rookie from 2011. Whoever takes on the role of head coach has to get Dalton’s confidence back to that of two years ago. Lazor just doesn’t seem to have his code yet.

Yes, there have been tons of drops by receivers. But, a true leader will address that issue and settle things down. Andrew Whitworth is that kinda guy. Oh, yeah. He ain’t with the Bengals. My bad. And don’t count on AJ McCarron coming back. That bridge is burned. Jeff Driskel will be taking his spot.  

Just in case

If Mike Brown and Lewis sit down for their yearly talk and an extension is signed, all of Bengals Nation will revolt. But, it could happen. Of the coaches available to be hired, none of them are willing to take the control issues and penny-pinching of Mikey Boy. And if there is a hire from outside the Bengals organization, will he be worthy of the challenge?

In other words, get ready for a reboot to end all reboots. It may be a long time before another playoff appearance. But, the Bengals need to get the ship righted to win when it happens again.

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