Bengals should treat 2018 like the real anniversary

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DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 19: Wide receiver Alex Erickson #12 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Brandon LaFell #11 after 29 yard second quarter touchdown reception against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 19, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 19: Wide receiver Alex Erickson #12 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with Brandon LaFell #11 after 29 yard second quarter touchdown reception against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 19, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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The 2017 season was a disappointment that made Bengals fans more bitter than ever. Winning football is a priority for 2018.

The 2017 season was supposed to be a time of contentment and joy for Bengals fans. It was marked as the 50th anniversary of the franchise and there were supposed to be huge changes. In the minds of many faithful, that meant a turnaround from the past year and a renewing of the winning ways. Instead, the home team sputtered to a 7-9 mark, finishing a mere half game better than the prior year. With the massive overhaul that took place with Marvin Lewis’ rehiring, 2018 should be the real year of change.

When the Bengals drafted Joe Mixon and John Ross, the feeling was generally mixed. There was the desire to get the offense rolling, but it wasn’t a complete dedication to the cause. Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler were allowed to chase the money and the O-line never recovered. The results were bottom-dweller stats that proved to be the worst in franchise history.

Andy Dalton was tossed about like a broken pinata and regressed from running for his life. But, Bengals fans are resilient and held out hope for another miracle season. Sadly, the damage was too much to overcome. A year that was earmarked for greatness turned into a giant flop.

Same old song and dance

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Just like years past, Mikey Boy had gotten over on the people addicted to his product. The Bengals looked like a team that was never prepared for big games and struggled in games they were supposed to win. Mike Brown had won again. There was just enough done to make the 50th anniversary seem special. But, it was all icing on a brick. 

In all fairness, it was nice to see the old Bengals players taking the field at halftime of the home games. But, that’s not a substitute for winning. And it looked horrendous when they blew a 17-3 lead over the Steelers after the break. It would have been awesome to get the true feelings of the players being honored. But, understandably, there’s a decent amount of respect for Brown. Yet, I’m sure there were some head-scratching and WTF moments floating around at Paul Brown Stadium.

Accountability

Here’s the scary part. The Bengals have the ability to beat those “elite teams. But, they’re always flat. If not that, Marvin Lewis refused to hold his coaches accountable for the schematic breakdowns. In layman’s terms, there weren’t adjustments to keep things going their way.

Furthermore, Bengals Nation was duped into the same warmed over stew from 2016. Now, with the return of Lewis, Brown expects fans to forget the dumpster fire of the past two seasons. It’s not that easy. The 2018 season has to be brilliant. This has to be the campaign that makes fans stop thinking about the next year.

What can Brown do for you?

Simply put, Mike should allow things to go smoothly and stop interfering. But, the rumors have always been the same. He likes to get involved. For the love of Atlanta, 2018 needs to be the year he chills.

Essentially, the consensus is that he has a hard time letting go. Well, per Bengals.com, that attitude oozed out, when talking about bumping heads with Lewis.

"“He has full input on that,” Brown said. “I generally defer to his wishes. There are some occasions he has to accept my views. There are occasions I insist on things, but it isn’t very often.”"

Next: To Stay Or Not To Stay

Um…yeah, okay.

Again, if there’s going to be a sense of continuity and flow with the Bengals, this has to be Marvin’s toy. But, as the phrase goes, “I see better than I hear.” And that’s the truth.

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