One of the Cincinnati Bengals’ all-time greats, Chad Johnson, defended the organization on ESPN’s First Take Wednesday morning.
Thanks to owning the number one overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals are at the center of the sports world currently. With the spotlight comes plenty of criticism, and there was no exception to that rule on Wednesday morning.
In a two minute tirade, Smith criticized the organization for being cheap, despite the front office spending over $100 million in free agency just last month, completely overhauling their defense. The shots didn’t stop there, as Smith continued by saying,
"“I get so sick and tired of all of these folks sitting around talking about ‘Oh, Cincinnati is not that bad’ and bringing up Kenny Anderson from the 80s and Boomer Esiason and, you know, Andy Dalton… but here’s the reality, that organization is not a great organization. They’ve done nothing to show us otherwise.”"
Ochocinco, clearly uncomfortable with the bashing of the team he poured his heart and soul into, responded by saying,
"“I’m very optimistic and I think he’s [Burrow] gonna be able to get it done. I think the Browns have relinquished some of the power… allowing Zac Taylor to choose the players that he needs to continue to build a team that can win… Now he’s coming to Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green, John Ross. I think they will be fine in the long run. Again, Zac Taylor’s first year, it’s his first year. Things will get better as time goes on and it takes time to build a team. Especially, a winning team of that magnitude…”"
Smith, who obviously hasn’t been paying attention to the recent transactions occurring in the Queen City, then goes on to say that he hasn’t seen anything to suggest that the culture has changed for the Bengals.
However, such evidence does exist and is actually quite plentiful. One of Zac Taylor’s first moves as the lead man in Cincinnati was to move on from players such as Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones, two guys that had earned a negative reputation.
There’s also the previously mentioned spending spree in free agency, a complete 180 from the usual philosophy employed.
Let’s not forget the way roster construction has been handled either. Guys such as Preston Brown and John Miller didn’t play up to Taylor’s standards and were sent packing. Such transactions with veterans in the Marvin Lewis era never would have occurred.
The simple truth is, whether the culture has changed or not, the Bengals will continue to draw harsh words until they get that ever-elusive playoff victory. For now, fans will have to settle hearing the optimism from guys like Ochocinco and Andrew Whitworth until winning results are put on the field.