When will enough be enough for the Cincinnati Bengals?

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 15: A Cincinnati Bengals fan is seen voicing his displeasure during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Paul Brown Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 15: A Cincinnati Bengals fan is seen voicing his displeasure during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Paul Brown Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals are now 0-3 and are dangerously close to another lost season. Fans are frustrated, players are frustrated and coaches have to be frustrated as well. The question is, what is going on in the heads of ownership in the middle of this downward spiral and when will they realize their team-building philosophy is not working?

The Monday following a loss is always an emotional time for football fans and its certainly possible for over-reaction to rear its ugly head. However, can you truly chalk years (and even decades really) of frustration with an organization like the Cincinnati Bengals up to just simply being a “Monday over-reaction?”

It is no secret that the Bengals are off to a slow start in this 2019 season with three losses coming out of the gate. Two games, one could argue were winnable games that ended in heartbreak, while the other was just a disaster from beginning to end. Now, there is still a lot of the 2019 season left to go and anything can happen, but one must admit that things are looking bleak at the moment.

Fans are frustrated, and understandably so. Booing at Paul Brown Stadium (at least the ones that are still willing to attend a game) was noticeable in Week 2, and players are upset with the booing because they want the support of the home crowd. Even the coaching staff have to be shaking their heads with the way this season has started. Losing begets frustration, which leads to finger-pointing and that is unfortunate because, at the end of the day, everyone wants the same thing; to find the root of the problem and fix it.

However, that’s where the problem lies in this situation. The problem in Cincinnati starts at the top and change must start there before it can work its way down to the rest of this franchise. Do I mean we need a change in ownership? Not necessarily, because we should be honest here, that isn’t going to happen and it shouldn’t have to happen, but that’s a conversation for another day.

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The truth is, I believe the Brown family does want to win. The problem is they don’t know how to win but believe that they do, and that is a dangerous combination. Of course none of this is breaking news and we have heard all of this before, however here we are still having to ask this question: When will enough be enough?

Room for improvement

I still like Zac Taylor and I still believe he can be a successful head coach, but not without help from the front office. The first area that must be improved is free agency. Bargain-bin free agents just simply are not going to cut it. There is nothing wrong with team building through the draft but you simply must supplement it with free-agency to fill holes on the team and moves like re-signing a struggling Bobby Hart is not upgrading your right tackle position, just for example.

There is a misconception that ownership doesn’t spend money, but the truth is that they don’t spend their money wisely in terms of free-agency. The Bengals as an organization must change the way they spend cap money in order to upgrade positions of need. Spending money more wisely can lead to winning, and winning, of course, will make the Brown family more money. Seems like a no-brainer.

You don’t have to sign every big name available in order to get the most out of free-agency however, you have to be willing to offer fair contracts to quality players. This is where you take care of team needs and you don’t have to reach in the draft.

Get the most out of the draft

The NFL draft is an art and not a science and it has one simple rule that must be followed for team building success…always draft the best player available. Never draft just to fill needs. The Bengals followed this rule and had success between 2011-2015. However, the 2015 draft was a back-breaker for this franchise and quite honestly has set it back. The Cincinnati Bengals have hit on some quality players in the years since, but have missed on far too many players over these last few years. Maybe it is time for the front office to consider expanding the scouting department.

The Cincinnati Bengals fan-base deserves better

Once again, these are all topics that have been discussed for years. It is hard for the common fan who understands what it takes to compete to understand why a front office who’s job is to win football games refuses to learn these same concepts. Football is changing every day, from the play on the field to how a team is built. The Cincinnati Bengals must be willing to move with the league in order to remain relevant and sadly this team, at the moment, is no longer relevant.

This is hard for a fan-base that has been loyal and cheered for a team that hasn’t given them much to cheer for. Some fans date back to the beginning, giving they’re money, time and emotion to this franchise. This city helped pay for a stadium, fans buy merchandise, attend games and give they’re heart and soul for this team. Fans give their all and should get the same in return.

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This front office is full of intelligent people, so one would think that at some point they would realize that adjustments must be made, that this current state of business is not getting the job done. No championships since 1968, no playoff wins since 1991. No winning seasons in what is trending towards four seasons. When will enough be enough?