ESPN analyst puts Bengals executive on a list that he should not be on

Glenn Adams
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals general manager Duke Tobin talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals general manager Duke Tobin talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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In a new article from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, he names Bengals Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin as someone who is under the most pressure in 2022.

However, the Cincinnati Bengals exec should not be anywhere near this list.

Of Tobin, Barnwell writes:

"Duke Tobin, director of player personnel, Cincinnati BengalsThe Bengals organization is understandably flying high. It’s impressive to go from 2-14 to the Super Bowl in two seasons. The Bengals weren’t able to hold on to their lead or launch a fourth-quarter comeback once the Rams began to pick apart their offensive line, and unsurprisingly, Tobin went looking for linemen this offseason. Cincinnati imported three new starters: Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins. On paper, the line looks much better than it did heading into Week 1 a year ago.Did Tobin do enough? Collins missed most of 2020 with injuries, was suspended for the start of the 2021 season and didn’t look like his old self after returning. Karras comes from New England, and Patriots linemen don’t always live up to their former levels of play after leaving Foxborough. Jackson Carman, a 2021 second-round pick who wasn’t playing well enough to make the lineup a year ago, is penciled in to start at one guard spot.If the Bengals keep up their play from the final two months of 2021 and protect Joe Burrow, Tobin is right up there alongside Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane for successful turnarounds. If not, well, there are plenty of one-hit Executive of the Year wonders."

Bengals’ Duke Tobin is in no danger whatsoever

First, Duke Tobin, at this point, is practically family. He has been with the Bengals since 1999. Sure, during that time, Tobin received his fair share of criticism. However, it did not seem that he was ever in danger of losing his job. It is like saying that Mike Brown was at risk of losing his job as General Manager. It was talked about but never really a thing.

In his first four seasons as director of player personnel, the Bengals’  record was 16-48. Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau were the coaches who were let go. Tobin’s job was never really under pressure.

The closest challenge to Tobin came in the form of Marvin Lewis. Lewis arrived in 2003 and had the first non-losing season for the Bengals since 1996. He led Cincinnati to the playoffs in 2005, the team’s first appearance since the 1990 season.

Lewis had his vision of the team, which did not always mesh with the front office. That led to a few standoffs between Lewis and the higher-ups over power and control. Despite Lewis’ success at turning around a sports franchise that was considered one of the worst in all of American sports, in the end, Lewis left and not Tobin.

Second, calling Duke Tobin a one-year wonder is not valid. No matter who deserves the most credit for it, the Bengals went from possibly the worst franchise in American professional sports to consistent division winners and playoff contenders while Tobin was on the job.

When Coach Lewis left, Zac Taylor took over. In Coach Taylor’s first two years, the team’s record was 6-25-1. Yet, Tobin’s job never felt as if it was in jeopardy. Coach Taylor was on the proverbial hot seat.

Furthermore, now that the Bengals are coming off of a Super Bowl run, Tobin is far from being an executive under the most pressure. Instead, he is closer to being a proper General Manager candidate for a team looking to turn a downtrodden franchise around than an executive under pressure.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com ranks Tobin as the eighth best team executive in the NFL. Of Tobin, Rosenthal wrote:

"Signing middle-class free agents and drafting college brand names from big programs is a strategy that is working well for Tobin. He has to take some grief for failing to solve an offensive line problem that precedes Zac Taylor, but this is the second Super Bowl-caliber roster Tobin has put together."

Tobin is the director of Player Personnel, who drafted Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. That is enough to give any GM or Player Personnel Director room for error.

Unless things are going on behind the scenes that Bill Barnwell is privy to and we are not, there is absolutely no reason to think that Tobin is under any pressure.

Did Tobin do enough? He did enough not to be put on this list by addressing the team’s biggest perceived need. A lot of hopes are riding on the Bengals’ new-look offensive line. However, if it does not work out, Tobin will have another hack at it, just like with all of the bad offensive lines in recent Bengals history.

Tobin is under the same pressure that he is every year. Of course, he wants the team to succeed, and he hopes that the moves the Bengals made this offseason lead to another successful season. But, as far as losing his job over it, he is not under pressure.

Let’s hope Tobin ends up in Barnwell’s successful turnaround category rather than on the one-hit side.

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