As a Bengals fan, observer, and talentless blogger, I’ve become a bit of a soothsayer. Constant and vigilant, I’ve spent far too many waking hours reading the tea leaves and scattered chicken bones in NFL news cycles, trying to decipher the “thinking” happening behind the striped curtain.
Occasionally, I do guess right.
An oracle of folly; I’ve attempted to develop a mystical clairvoyance for bumbling team management. It’s like Inception, only you’re trying to discover the bad idea before it becomes a reality.
Much of this speculation these days has centered around the question of what the Bengals will do with the most important position, quarterback. Former franchise quarterback and “human JUGS machine” Carson Palmer has decided that he’s done in Cincy, and expects a trade or he’ll retire. Most of the team has taken him at his word and moved on. Tank Johnson, Adam Jones, Dhani Jones, Andrew Whitworth and Cedric Benson have all publicly chimed in on the subject, each in their own way suggesting that its better that Palmer stay away. The latest player to go on record on the subject was Chad Ochocinco, who offered perhaps the most comical observation on the subject.
“When a guy that grows a random beard says he’s going to do something, he means it,” Ocho said. “Seriously. Seriously, That’s totally out of his character. When someone like that grows a random beard and says he’s going to retire — if he doesn’t mean traded — he means business. And it’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”
Meanwhile, Old Man Brown isn’t writing off the former first overall pick. As he pointed out to one of our readers, “Offseason ‘situations’ often can be resolved and I am not willing to concede that our relationship with Carson is unworkable.” Brown isn’t prepared to totally move on from this relationship, despite the seemingly obvious fact (at least to me) that Palmer’s presence would do nothing but poison an already flaky locker room.
Nonetheless, we must consider the future of the franchise beyond number nine. We need to determine who gives us the best chance at success in 2011, and who the future of the franchise is for 2012 and beyond. They might be the same guy, or completely different persons.
So far, the life without Carson conceptual modeling has focused on two scenarios:
- We go with someone on the roster now: Ideally, rookie Andy Dalton grabs this tiger by the scruff of its neck and immediately takes command. He has the leadership capability to do it, and he could—with proper coaching—have the same kind of success that other rookie signal callers like Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez have enjoyed. Barring that, Jordan Palmer might provide a suitable alternative, and there are many interested in what Dan Lefevour can do to translate his MAC conference success to the NFL. If the team went in this direction, my guess would be that Dalton would start week one, or less desirably, Palmer would start and give way to the TCU rookie by week 8 or so in a quickly unraveling season.
- Option two focuses on bringing in a veteran to run the show for a year. This option gives Dalton a year to understudy much like Carson did, and perhaps gives the Bengals the highest probability of immediate success. Vets mentioned include has-beens like Donovan McNabb, journeyman also-rans like Billy Volek and, most recently, Bruce Gradkowski, and never-beens like Jim Sorgi. This scenario isn’t exactly thrilling to the fan base, and these names sound a lot like the Gus Frerottes, Neil O’Donnells, and Paul Justins of yesteryear.
But these days I’m seeing more and more the possibility of a third, and perhaps more exciting/frightening option being developed in the cypher and codes of the googlesphere.
One name: Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor will be available in the supplemental draft after his disgraceful downfall at Ohio State. He is in the midst of a full-on media blitz to rebuild his brand in advance of the draft and it seems to be working. Here are the reasons my latest voodoo incantations suggest his name in stripes:
- Pryor has what Dalton does not: He’s 6-foot, 6-inches tall with off-the-charts athleticism; the stuff that ultimately matters less than leadership and intangibles, but are virtues that Brown loves.
- Pryor is a former Buckeye. Mike Brown loves Buckeyes.
- Pryor is a fallen hero. Mike Brown loves his reclamation projects.
- Pryor is getting a lot of good press these days. He has former scout Ken Herock extolling his virtues as a quarterback, he’s already signed endorsement deals, and the hype continues to grow. A former OSU stand-out could certainly help sell tickets.
- Chad loves him, and Brown loves Chad.
- According to recent reports, Kenny Anderson may very well be the guy Pryor is tutored by ahead of the draft. A former Bengal connection would no doubt give the team a minor leg up in the scouting process, and an endorsement from Kenny would likely go a long way with Brown.
The team needs to bring on at least one more quarterback. The three on the roster are by no account sufficient for determining a starter, let alone making it through the rigors of training camp. The free agent pool seems weak with Gradkowski, an injury-proned and smallish signal-caller being the favorite due to his experience with Jay Gruden 100 years ago in Tampa.
Why go for the best of a scrap heap of feral cats when you can instead try your luck with not one but two promising young stars? One of them has to pan out, right?
That’s the type of thinking Brown would very well bring to the question, and could make Pryor worthy of a top 3 pick in the supplemental draft.
I could be wrong…just reading the tarot of the internet.