That's the magic number for how long it's been since the Cincinnati Bengals have made back-to-back playoff appearances. They were set to make a run to the Super Bowl. But as usual, the Bengals, fall apart under the pressure and miss the playoffs all together.
Now Cincy is in-between a rock and a hard place with it's fans who are nearly fed-up with them. They need a few years to rebuild but they might not even have that many. All hope isn't lost however, because here are a few moves Cincinnati can make to save their season...
The Bengals are still in need of a North and South runner. Answer: Keep the Guy they got.
I know that the guy double his career fumble record in one year.
I know that he his second string averaged more ypc(yards per carry).
I know that he lacked the explosiveness he had last year.
Thing is, ced-ben still rushed for 1,000 yards on a pass heavy, predictable offense. He only had three hundred yard games, so that means he wasn't as good, but he had to be running hard to still get 1,000 yards. I'll have you know I won my fantasy league with him as my starting back every week he was avaliable. I lost during his only off week. He wouldn't think of asking for too much money either, not as much as a replacement, and would like to stay as long as Bob isn't there.
Many will say cut him and let Bernard Scott start. Scott isn't a up the gut runner however, so this would be a little to risky. Others will say sign someone like Michael Bush. I say in that case gets whoever is cheaper.(Oh god I sound like Mike Brown.) THe only thing about that is you will still be taking a guy who has not proven he can run as a starter a shot, and I don't have a good vibe about him. If Mike Brown is smart though, he will cut his friend Bob regardless, and re-sign a back who can still help the organization, because no running back can thrive under Bob's system.
"Why? They need help at wide-out and d-line before they need help at QB." That's probably a censored version of what some of you guys are thinking.
Thing is Mike Brown and the Bengals don't have a suitable replacement for Carson right now, and we can get great players at both WR and DL positions in the later rounds as well as free agency. I don't know about you, but I have no idea what Carson I'm going to get anymore.
At times you get Mr. Hero who can pick apart a defense for a game-winning drive. The rest of the time you get 2011 Carson. A lot of people will say that it wasn't Palmer's fault that he threw all those interceptions this season, and it's not. For the most part. Bad-route running and out-of-sync receivers were. However he hasn't been the same since 2005, so we need to get his replacement now, as well as start prepping him like Green Bay did with Aaron Rogers. That way we have a capable back-up to replace Palmer and not commit another year like 2008.
After watching all the bowl games, I felt that Ryan Mallet was the best quarterback in the draft after Luck, and seems as though he will fall the laps of the Bengals. He only lost his bowl due to the insane level of drops by his receivers. Unless they aim they for number-one overall next year, draft Ryan Mallet with the first pick. They could also try to bring in Vick from Philly, but after the season he had there I doubt he leaves.
Don't worry though, I have a plan for d-line and wide-out as well...
Heyward is expected to be a early second round pick who could fall in the laps of Mike Brown's Bengals. Not to mention unless a great workout with a few teams and a good combine, then Dane will fall even farther.
I have watched both players all year, and they would be long-term fixes and classy guys. Dane has great work ethnic, good hands, and pretty good break-away speed to help any team. Heyward is a horse, he has good strength and with a little work could be a great pass-rusher. He single-handedly owned the Sugar Bowl against one of the best SEC teams in the country. Not to mention they can be counted on to stay clean. They won't come storming out of the gate, but would provide great depth.
This however would not be enough, so let's look at the next stop...
There are some STEALS in free agency this off-season.
If the Bengals actually get off their lazy butts and get out there, wide receiver, o-line and d-line can all obtain at least some form of a up-grade, if not huge ones.
For WR, Sidney Rice, Vincent Jackson and Steve Breaston are all receivers who would be leaving bad spots for a potentially better one. If there's one thing Mike will write a big check for, it's recievers. So why not get someone who will actually play some games and contribute!(I'm looking at you Coles and Antonio Bryant) This will add to an already talented core of wide-outs who actually run good routes. That will at least drop the the INT rate of Pick Machine Palmer.
O-line has Jared Gauthier, Doug Free, and Matt Light on the market. None of these are particularly sexy picks, but they are all better then Andre Smith. They would all be bargains as well, so this would at least help the line a little without a big pay check.
D-line however is where the real prizes are. Haloti Ngata, Ray Edwards and Pat Williams are all dominant players. Edwards actually has some connections to the Cincy area. Now they really shouldn't add older players, but in this case they simply need some leadership and these guys would bring it. Plus this positions could wait until next year to find suitable long-term replacements, just sign big names to bring in the fans and to fill up seats.
Mike would have to hand out some serious green, but he would make it all back I promise you. If he shows that he's serious about changing Cincy's image. Of course this is Mike Brown we are talking about. Which brings us to my final point...
With a New Year comes a new time. With Time comes change.
The only way the Bengals are going to become anything is if you change your ways Mike Brown.
Isn't 29 years enough torment? When will the Bengals lose enough for you to realize that you have to change your ways? 0-16? Because I could handle three straight win-less seasons if it will reel in a few Super Bowls. You would need a dream team to save you right now, something I actually pray you don't get. That way when they leave you won't be dumb to try your methods again.
But if you bring in some stars and studs, you can fill the stands, and the wins will start to pile. So please, just tell us your magic number.
If it even exists.