Brad Johansen said it best last night, "If this was supposed to be the dress rehearsal for the season opener, then the Bengals were playing naked." What I saw on Saturday night as I arrived from a very long drive from Hilton Head was astonishing, or more to the point repulsive. Year after year this team is getting harder and harder to watch, it is like we took a trip with 'Ol Doc Brown and Marty back to the 90's in Bengaldom, or should I say Bungledom!
Ten punts. They had as many first downs and they were only across the fifty yard line once.
136 total yards for the game and 38 were rushing. I remember the days when we thought that as long as our defense could hold someone to under two touchdowns that our offense would blow the doors off anyone. I am worried as I am sure most are, this once vaulted offense looks stale, predictable, and unmotivated. I am sure part of that can be accounted by the loss of Chad, T.J., and Rudi, but this is virtually the same offensive line that we had in 2005 and Palmer is getting beat like a red headed step child, more on that later. The other part of that is the scheme, it looks like to me that everyone in the NFL know what is coming from Bratkowski, hell I didn't even play college ball and I can almost tell you what play is coming next.
I mean this team can not be this bad and I am sure that it has talented players, so at this point I have to start questioning the coaches and in particular Marvin Lewis. This is a man that was praised as a defensive genius with that great defense he built in Baltimore. For one that is a pretty short resume, and I know he was in Washington and Shitsburg before coming here as well, but what did he really do there? And I am tired of hearing about what he did in Baltimore, he MIGHT have had a say in who was drafted, but as far as coaching the talent he was handed, well I know high school students that could coach that talent. All he had to do was tell them where to stand and with those guys the rest was easy.
Palmer had to leave the game, not that he was coming back after the half anyway, with a busted nose and lip after his third sack. I love Palmer, but I think that I am glad this happened. After watching the Detroit game and then the New Orleans game something dramatic had to happen to get the guys on the lines attention and maybe this was it. I can only hope because god forbid we have another incident from 2005. And that is exactly what will happen, that or he is going to get shell shocked like the likes of Tim Couch and Joey Harrington. We have heard of the phrase, "from worst to first," well I think the phrase can be reversed for the Bengals line, first to worst. They had better get it together!
The best was listening to Brad and Dave on the way to my in-laws house to drop off the golf clubs that we toted back from Hilton Head. Golf is an evil sport by the way enjoyed by only masochists and those who love to do harm to themselves. Anyway listening to them was like listening to Bob Uecker in "Major League." Never have I heard such defeat in a broadcasters voice, it was sad and funny all at once.
I have to end on a positive note or I will drive myself crazy, and this is just the third pre-season game. I love what I am seeing from Ben Utech, Keith Rivers and Corey Lynch so far. Utech and Rivers were supposed to come in and help and they are, but Lynch from a 1-AA school was fighting for a roster spot and I think as of about two weeks ago might have been on the outside looking in. I hope the Bengals are seeing what I am seeing from this kid, but who knows with the way this team is run sometimes. Chris Perry is tough to tell with the state of the line and with out a back like Rudi to get those in between the tackle Yards that Chris is now having to pick up.
All in all it looks to be a longer year than normal because expectations were still marginally high from three years ago. And don't tell me to stop living in the past because it was the single greatest year for the Bengals in close to 20 years and these fans deserve better. And if I cant live in that past then I don't know what else to do, because our future looks grimly like the past of the mid '90s and that is enough to make a true fan sick to his/her stomach.