July 23, 2014

Three More Added to Pro Bowl, Proving Next Year Is Now or Never

The New England Patriots’ trip to the Super Bowl, took Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, and Rob Gronkowski off the Pro Bowl roster. It also put Andy Dalton, Geno Atkins, and Jermaine Gresham in the game, joining their teammate A.J. Green. According to my extremely-detailed mathematical logorithms, that makes four Bengals in the Pro Bowl. Four! FOUR!

The Bengals haven’t had that many since 2005 and have never had four that young make the trip. To me, the larger point is that the Bengals must make it to the playoffs next year and win a game or Marvin Lewis should be sent packing. It’s nothing against Lewis, who I believe is a solid person and a decent coach, but next year is about going further than that.

The Bengals have four Pro Bowl caliber players (five if you consider Andrew Whitworth) at important positions. Yes, I understand that some of those guys only made it to Hawaii because of good fortune, but the point is, they were good enough to get close. Thus, the team is plenty talented and will get even better with eight picks in the draft, including two in the first round. They also have plenty of cap space available in free agency after clearing Carson Palmer off the books. And for added measure, they should be getting some solid players back from injury as well, Jordan Shipley, Keith Rivers, Leon Hall, and Roddrick Muckelroy.

With all that considered, it should be pretty simple. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Let’s hope it’s the former.

WHO DEY!

Comments

  1. WHO DEstiny!!! (formerly known as the Eternal Who Dey Optimist) says:

    Personally I wouldn’t read too much into this.

    The team surpassed expectations this year, by any account no question.

    However, they could have also finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs and had no one get into the pro bowl and my outlook on the season would remain the same.

    No question there will be more pressure on them to find more and greater success next year, specifically to start beating the “elite” teams at least in some of their games while still beating with regularity the teams they should beat.

    But I would not go so far to make any blanket statements about firing Marvin should the team fail to reach the second round of the playoffs.

  2. WHO DEstiny!!! (formerly known as the Eternal Who Dey Optimist) says:

    And furthermore…

    OK so you want to fire Marvin…who you gonna get to replace him? Will he be as good? Specifically, will he be as adept at pushing Mikey Boy’s buttons as Marvin clearly is (i.e. getting Mikey to do what you want him to do, even if it isn’t what Mikey wants to do, by making Mikey think it was his idea in the first place)….

    Not that I’m trying to make excuses for Marvin in 2012-13 before we even finish this year’s super bowl, but just again to point out that Marvin deserves much more slack than an ultimatum like this….

  3. Bill says:

    There is no doubt that Marvin has done a great job reinventing this team. Twice. I don’t think anyone on this site would deny him full credit for that. We have seen him take the Bengals from bad to good. But can he take them from good to great? He couldn’t in ’06, but there was a lot of dysfunction with that group. That’s gone now.

    With the talent on this team already and two first-round picks awaiting them in April, if 2012 is little more than a re-run of 2011, it would be justified to conclude that he can’t make the step to great. In that case, assuming he is still here (which is appearing more and more likely), the could easily turn to Mike Zimmer to replace him.

    That said, I hope Marvin does make the step to great and we don’t have to have that argument in a year.

  4. Nate says:

    I love Marvin and I think it’s hard to truly evaluate any coach working under Mike Brown. However, I think even he would admit that the team has to produce next year. If they miss the playoffs again, or go one and done again, and you don’t make a coaching change, you are sending a message that mediocrity is acceptable.

    It is not.

    Marvin has done a tremendous job of lifting the team out of the doldrums, but it’s time to make a leap to become a consistent contender.

    I think everyone would agree that next year is do or die. Especially with some great coaching candidates already in house.

  5. WHO DEstiny!!! (formerly known as the Eternal Who Dey Optimist) says:

    I think we will have to agree to disagree. I don’t want to be construed as promoting mediocrity, I agree the team can and should go to the next level…..

    BUT keep in mind your expectations may be too high.
    This was a 9-7 team playing a weak schedule that lost in every chance it had to beat elite teams.
    We finished with the #6 seed in the AFC and I think the team was probably at the end of the day the 5th best team in the AFC. I think NE, Balt, Pitt, and Hou were superior teams. We didn’t play NE but lost to all 3 other teams twice.

    I would call NE, BALT, and PITT the elite teams.

    I would call HOU either elite or the top of the “good” category depending on starters in/out of their lineup.

    The “good” category would include +/- HOU, CIN, TEN, and the entire AFCW, NYJ, BUF in somewhat descending order.

    The “sucky” category would be MIA, JAX, and of course CLE.

    And where do you put IND? With a new front office and Luck next year, will they return to elite? Probably somewhere in the “good” mix would be a safe bet.

    Keep in mind only 4 AFC teams are in play in the second round.

    …Look, I hope we’re there. I think they can be there. But to FIRE a coach of a 9-7 team for not moving into the top 4 next year????? Absurd.

    Now if the team tanks again to 4-12, you may have a point. But a 10-6 year with a first-round playoff loss…to call that year a failure???? My friends we are not all of a sudden New England!!!

  6. Eric says:

    I wouldn’t discount Jay Gruden as the candidate Mike Brown would have in mind to replace Lewis. I think that may have a lot to do with his big pay raise and extension. If Brown chooses to move on from Marvin, my gut tells me he’ll want an offensive-minded coach, especially with a solid defense in house and a bunch of young, up-and-comers on offense.