After the Browns were the media darling for the 2019 NFL season, it could very well be the Cincinnati Bengals who make the move out of the AFC North cellar.
The Cleveland Browns have a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, OBJ (for now), and a lot of talent that should have swept them into the postseason picture following this past season. The Cincinnati Bengals, meanwhile, finished 2-14, have the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and look for all the world to own momentum in Ohio.
So what gives?
it’s the potential of a turnaround. The Bengals look to be on the cusp of turning around a franchise that has been down and out in recent seasons. In Cleveland, a change at the head coaches position and at GM signal another reset for the Browns.
This wasn’t the plan for Baker Mayfield and Co. It was Baker who was all the rage entering the 2019 season. With prime-time games and more commercials than you can count, the “Mistake By The Lake” was booked for postseason play and Mayfield as the next NFL cover boy. It just didn’t happen.
Fast forward to a Bengals 33-23 victory over the Browns to wrap up the regular season, and what was once can’t miss hype is now a punch line. The Browns look to be back to square one, and Cincinnati looks to have a plan to get out of the AFC West basement as fast as Cleveland looks to be setting up residency at the bottom.
Hey, it couldn’t happen to a better franchise. This isn’t to explain away how dysfunctional the Bengals are and have been, but despite a plethora of talent, the Browns have managed to squander away another season, while Cincinnati looks to be in a position to turn the corner in a big way.
The Bengals are on the verge of a generational turnaround. If they can manage a smart decision with their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and be wise in how they handle both Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, it will be Cincinnati who the media will be talking about this offseason, not the grease fire that is Cleveland.