Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals Have a Critical Offseason Ahead

Mitch MorganContributor IDecember 2, 2008

The Cincinnati Bengals have gone through some rough times this season. At 1-10-1, they have the second worst record in the NFL behind the 0-12 Lions. Many did not expect this type of season for the Bengals, and the fans certainly do not want to have to go through this again.

There are a lot of things that owner Mike Brown and coach Marvin Lewis have to do in order to get this team back in gear and ready to compete in 2009.

There have been many problems this season, from Carson Palmer' injury to the ineffectiveness of the running game. One of the main components to winning and competing in the NFL is to have a run game. In order to have a run game, you need a solid, blocking, tough, offensive line. Drafting offensive line help this offseason is the key.

Andre Smith from Alabama is one of the top offensive linemen prospects for the upcoming draft of '09. Smith is a 6'4", 330-pound junior. He is expected to enter the draft and may be the first possibility for the Bengals to draft.

The second option for the Bengals is Michael Oher from Ole Miss. Oher, a 6'5", 325 pound senior, is a great, durable option for Cincinnati.

Both of these players are solid prospects for the Bengals in this upcoming draft. Many people say that the Bengals need to draft a running back. I say no, and here's why.

In order to have a solid rush game, you need to have blockers that can give your back lanes to run through. If you do not have this, the RB will get stuffed all day for one, two, three-yards gains at most.

Offensive line is the key to have a good running game, and a great example is the Patriots. They have one of the best offensive lines in all the NFL, and they make any back look great. A good example is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis was the fifth string running back for the Pat's before the guys before him got injured and he stepped in. He had solid games because his line gave him holes, something that is crucial to the Bengals.

There has been some speculation, however, to move right guard Bobbie Williams over to center and move Whitworth to right guard. The active center, Eric Ghiaciuc, needs some work if the Bengals keep him, which they should not.

What else the Bengals can do is trade troubled receiver Chad Ocho Cinco and not let T.J. Houshmandzadeh walk as a free agent. The Bengals could trade Ocho Cinco for a solid pass rusher on the defensive line, or for a few draft picks.

Chad has been a cancer to this team and it is time for him to get out of town. Andre Caldwell can be a solid No. 2 behind T.J.

The majority of the blame this season can be put on owner Mike Brown and offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski. As many know, most fans want Mike Brown to step down from his position because he does not help the Bengals as a team get better. They believe he just takes the money and runs with it.

Another main problem with Mike Brown is that he will not hire a GM to take care of all draft picks, free agents, and trade situations that the Bengals have. Many feel, as do I, that the Bengals would have more stability if they had a GM, and if this does happen, the Bengals may be more successful.

Bob Bratkowski's inability to get the Bengals moving the football down field has somewhat to do with Carson Palmer's absence.

However, there can be no excuses for not putting points up on the board. Bratkowski continuously calls back-to-back run plays when the first did not work. He calls running plays on 2nd or 3rd-and-long plays. His play calls worsen week by week, and the Bengals need to part ways with him in order to be more successful next season.

The Bengals have serious, serious issues going on with the team, and this offseason just may be the most critical for the organization in years, and for years to come.