The Bengals—pre-2011 draft—were too content to beat themselves.
That's exactly why they ended up with the fourth pick in this year's draft.
Cincinnati was a moist petri dish in which the bacteria of ego and entitlement spread with unrivaled proliferation—Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens all came together in a climax of conceit that was 2010.
Marvin Lewis may be a lot of things, and a motivating coach may not be on that list, but he showed that he knows how to revive a team on life support.
Carson Palmer placed himself above the team by demanding a trade or outright release, which only serves to illustrate the very flaws that crippled the Bengals in 2010.
The Bengals became victims and the perpetrators of the crimes were also the Bengals—it was too often that a player posted a controversial tweet, made an obnoxious comment in a press conference or refused to be all-in as a teammate on the field.
As such, the Bengals faltered and finished the year an abysmal 4-12; it was time for change in Cincinnati.
Many mock drafters predicted that AJ Green and the Bengals would unite with the fourth pick, and such occurred.
In the second round, the Bengals drafted a new franchise quarterback in TCU's Andy Dalton.
Dalton may not be the strongest-armed quarterback in the draft, or have the most talent, but he is a stark contrast to everything that was wrong with the Bengals in previous years.
Dalton keeps his nose clean by staying out of trouble.
He is a bright, young quarterback who wants nothing more than to immerse himself in the game.
Dalton is competitive beyond belief, and has a chip on his shoulder after being picked behind arguably worse quarterbacks in Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder.
Carson Palmer, on the other hand, seemed happy to just collect his paycheck and wasn't even affected by the losing in Cincinnati.
The soldiers at the front line are desensitized and used to death—it is the fresh soldiers that are so stunned by the horror and gore.
Dalton and Green are fresh soldiers, and won't tolerate the losing that has become so engrained in the Cincinnati Bengal mindset.
AJ Green is a new number one wide receiver who isn't a diva and is content to let his play speak for itself.
Bengals fans can be cautiously optimistic, as Cincinnati is moving further and further away from a dark past.
Third round pick Dontay Moch will have an immediate impact, and improve an already-good defense.
The Bengals seem to have changed their mindset while keeping their talent-laden roster, for the most part.
AJ Green might just be an upgrade over Chad Ochocinco, and Andy Dalton will take care of the football better than an apathetic Carson Palmer would.
The Bengals never really had a problem beating other teams.
They just needed to conquer themselves and with a fantastic 2011 draft class, they've finally done just that.