Doesn't that headline sound like something Baghdad Hob would serve up?
Recently, James Walker over at ESPN.com posted some comments from last summer that described fan's thoughts on the 2008 season. Mainly, it was Bengals and Browns fans ripping on the Steelers and Ravens, saying that Pittsburgh's schedule was too tough and the the Ravens had an aging defense, no offensive line, and garbage at quarterback.
This got me thinking about how the turnaround success last season for teams like Baltimore, Miami, and Arizona could get the Bengals excited about doing the same thing in 2009. Quite honestly (like 2005), this is not a good thing for the Bengals to witness. They see the successes of these teams and think to themselves "Hey, we are only a player or two away...and without injuries or bad luck this season...we are headed back to the playoffs!"
And while the Bengals are generally credited with a solid draft this offseason and dipping their toes in free agency, the difference is that the Bengals don't have the front office structure or singular vision that teams like Baltimore or Miami possess.
In Baltimore, yes they were in transition with a new head coach, rookie quarterback, and an aging defense...but they still had one of the best GM's in the business in Ozzie Newsome (along with a stellar personnel department).
In Miami, Bill Parcells overhauled the scouting and personnel departments and the team excelled due to being smart, creative, and aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Hell, even in Arizona Bill Bidwill has allowed his son to change the culture by adding scouts and putting more money into the personnel side...and they went all the way to the Super Bowl.
In Cincinnati, after a 4-11-1 season, they made no changes to the coaching staff (unlike every other team in the top 10 of the NFL draft). Bob Bratkowski is still the offensive coordinator. The offensive line was not addressed in free agency, specifically where no effort was made to court a center. The Bengals still are employing the tiresome Chad Ochocinco. The Bengals still have the smallest scouting department (broom closet) in the NFL. The Bengals still have the same braintrust that has earned them the worst record in professional sports since 1991.
These are not ingredients for a turnaround like the Ravens or Dolphins enjoyed last season.
So, while Walker says in his post 'one year can make a big difference', I would argue that only applies to teams that have a solid front office foundation and set the standard to win every single year. Period.
Rumors persist from inside PBS that Katie and Troy Blackburn are taking over more and more from Mike Brown. The best evidence is that Hard Knocks is coming to Georgetown. No way Mike Brown signs off on this show a few years ago...not a chance. However, Mike still has control and final say over personnel. And it will be that way until the end.
No matter how bad it gets around here.