Home Authors Posts by Justin Williams
I do my best to avoid being a vindictive person. I also spent the better part of this past week contemplating Carson Palmer's impending return to Cincinnati this Sunday, as the Raiders take on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The latter sentence did very little to help the efforts of the former.
One of the favorite pastimes of Bengals fans—many of whom identify as members of an understandably bitter and jaded persuasion—is ripping on the front office. Mike Brown is the undisputed crowned king of this activity, but the longtime role of second banana has largely been assumed by the scouting department (or lack thereof). It doesn’t take much effort for one to peruse through previous drafts, particularly in the 1990s, and be reminded of the putrid selections made with high-end picks. David Klingler, John Copeland, Big Daddy Wilkinson, Reinard Wilson, Akili Smith, Chris Perry. It is a litany of horrors, with the occasional bad luck tossed in for good measure (Ki-Jana Carter, David Pollack).
Something interesting happened late in the first half of the eventual 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers two Sundays ago. The Bengals (3-4) jumped out to an early lead after an initial touchdown drive that was essentially a work of art, marching down the field with a balanced attack and even going for it on a gutsy fourth down call by Marvin Lewis, despite being in field goal range. It was exactly the type of thing Bengals fans wanted to see in a primetime, nationally televised rivalry game. The offensive unit thrived in an up-tempo approach, throwing out different blocking packages, running out of the shotgun, mixing in new receiver groupings and doing whatever it could to keep the defense off-balance. The drive was paced by a heavy dose of the run game, but not in a stagnant, predictable manner—conventional results achieved through unconventional methods.
As far as I can tell, the Cincinnati Bengals will not be a very good football team this year. I’m certainly no expert, but I have been a Bengals (and football) fan my entire life, and I just don’t see good things on the immediate horizon for the men in stripes. They’ve made some smart decisions for the future (drafting Dalton and Green, extending Whitworth, Hall, and Cook), but those moves will take some time to (hopefully) pay dividends. Until then, this season could be rough for many, many reasons—none of which have anything to do with Carson Palmer or Chad Ochocinco.