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Cincinnati Bengals

Double Three-Wide Set, It’s Just a Shame

Jeffery Carr



© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Around this time, for the last three seasons, a joke amongst Bengals fans surfaces, and while I laughed the first time I heard it, it now sickens me. “I’d like to thank the Bengals for giving me back my Sundays, early, this year.” It’s just a shame. I do not blame any fan who feels this way, in fact I appreciate the humor, but I don’t want to stop caring about the direction of the Bengals season in November. Alas, the Bengals recent performances have turned me into a jaded realist, so this week’s Three-Wide Set is twofold because no one runs a six-wide set. One set of three is the realist in me, while the other begs for optimistic thinking to return.

The First Three-Wide Set

  1. They’re not going anywhere with Marvin.Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but the problems plaguing the Bengals are the same this year as last, which are spearheaded by the continued employment of their dearly beloved head coach. I say dearly beloved because a.) He brought the Bengals out of the mire of the 90’s and b.) Ownership loves him. The fan base is tired of him. They’re tired of the passivity, the random timeout with 8 minutes left in the first quarter because everyone forgot there was a play clock, and the ridiculous play calling. The fan base is sick of the excuses and done with the “they played hard, so that was good.” They’re professionals, they’re paid to play. They’re not a pop warner team.
  2. The defense is just plain bad, there, I said it. We were all convinced, in August, that we were about to see a stellar unit. That they’d set records for sack totals and cause turnovers, left and right, such that opposing offenses would cower in their presence. False. No one is scared of this defense. Everyone breaks their tackles. Raise your hand if you knew who Gus Edwards was before Sunday? You in the back, you’re lying, put your hand down. Nevertheless, this unknown, undrafted, rookie gashed the Bengals defense. Lamar Jackson was the focus, but he wasn’t the Ravens MVP, it was Edwards. Teryl Austin was fired because the defense allowed a staggering 3rd-down conversion percentage (56.2%), they couldn’t tackle, and they gave up oodles of yards and points. The Ravens converted 50% of third downs and compiled over 400 total yards. It was nice to see the opponent score less than 30, but overall, Marvin still has a lot of work to do with the D because it is bad, talent-wise, and will require some scheming to get better.
  3. Stop it with Cody Core, already. Anyone who has watched multiple games of this Bengals team knows who Cody Core is. He’s the guy who drops the ball. Now, he wasn’t the only reason the Bengals lost on Sunday, but he was a big part of it. IF Randy Bullock had bent his kick a few hairs to the left in the first half, it would have been a tie-game. If Andy Dalton would have recognized the defense the Ravens were in, he might have audibled to something different that didn’t rely on Core. Or, if Bill Lazor called something other than a deep fly route to John Ross on 2nd and three, this all may have been moot. The fact remains that Cody Core is paid actual real money to catch the ball. He didn’t. Stop it with him already. Get him out of there. Maybe he can help on special teams, or maybe he just needs to be cut, but Auden Tate played ONE SNAP. I’m not saying he’s the offense’s savior, but the man deserves at least two snaps to figure out if he’s anything. We know Core isn’t good, we still aren’t sure about Tate. Enough with Core, already.

The Second Three-Wide Set

  1. Their schedule is peachy, the rest of the way. One would imagine the Bengals getting to eight wins with as much ease as you can get in the NFL. They have three home games against the Browns, Broncos, and Raiders coming up. That leaves just a few fluke plays against the Chargers or the Browns, on the road, and they’re at 10 wins. They may even catch the Steelers at home in the last week with nothing to play for, so who knows, maybe they rest people. There’s a greater than zero chance they win out and go 11-5.
  2. AJ Green is coming back. The Team upgraded him from out to doubtful this past Friday and only ruled him out, again, just before kickoff on Sunday. He doesn’t need surgery and they said he could be back in a little as three weeks. Having AJ cures a lot of ails on the offense, and may give the team its firepower back.
  3. Did I mention the schedule…oh, I did…well…there’s a great new hashtag we can use to refer to the Bengals and that is #HueyLewis. I mean, that’s pretty great, right? Kudos to James for coming up with it. I am taking it and running with it.

Ultimately, the Bengals have no margin for error. In fact, some may argue that they must win out to get that 2nd Wildcard spot. Whatever happens, I’ll be dying cursing drinking my way through watching the rest of the way.

Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonBengals for Bengals stuff on Twitter.

Jeff has spent his entire life around sports. From playing baseball and golf in high school to traveling with college softball, volleyball, and men’s basketball teams as their media relations guy, sports have been at the center of his mind. Just as comfortable talking spread offenses as he is talking Sabermetrics, get ready for simplistic views of complicated sports jargon. The Queen City is his home and he is excited to write about the Reds and the Bengals.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Blog of Football Sorrows: Week 13

Jeffery Carr



Today I officially changed the name of this game recap blog. It just fits. To be positive about this iteration of the Bengals is to be a master of the mind that I cannot comprehend (aka delusional).

They’re done. I didn’t think they had much hope for the playoffs before the game, and they certainly don’t now. The injuries are a problem, but they aren’t the problem. The offense has been stale for weeks thriving on an identity-less scheme filled with dink and dunk passes and zero creativity. They now have four games left. The Raiders seem winnable, but with the hope of starting over, do we fans want that? Do we want there to be a glimmer of hope in management’s eyes? I don’t. I want change, and that doesn’t happen by winning any remaining games, this year. Lose em all, blow it up, let’s start fixing the problems that have been ignored for too long.

Jeff Driskel, to no fault of his own, was meh. Which is much the story of 2018. The game plan, in the beginning, seemed to be for him to get momentum built through screens and flat routes…but then they kept the training wheels on. Second quarter, third quarter…it kept going. The Bengals fell behind on the scoreboard and their answer was to run more crossing routes and short outs? Cincinnati ran RPO plays…and only passed. They asked an athletic quarterback who can move to stand tall in the pocket and fend off pressure from a defense with its ears pinned back matching up with a bad and battered offensive line. Kind of like James mentioned on the post-game pod, how bad is Cedric Ogbuehi that the answer to filling in for Cordy Glenn is the starting left guard and not your former first round pick, who is actually supposed to be a left tackle? So the coaching game plan was to tell Driskel to grin and bear it behind an uninspired line with uninspired play calling? But, you know, Marvin Lewis says “We’ve got to do our jobs better. The players have to execute the game plan the way it is coached.” What? The game plan hasn’t changed in 10 years! Different personnel, different opponents, different circumstances, same stale, boring, dull, lifeless, clueless plan. I get sick to my stomach when I listen to Marvin do a press conference.

The only thing left is the future, whatever may come. I know that is bleak. Not one of you reading these words can say, with a straight face, that you can see a different coach roaming the sidelines in 2019 who isn’t Marvin or Hue Jackson. We know. We know there isn’t going to be any change, and that’s why the stadium is empty. That’s why the orange in the stands at Paul Brown Stadium was Bronco orange and not Bengal orange. The sound at the end of the game? Cheers and applause, because anyone still there was a fan of the visiting victors. There’s no one left to boo because they’ve been booing for so long they’ve lost interest. It is understood that the most likely outcome this season, if change comes at all, is that Hue takes the reigns. We’ll go from a boring, uninspired, regularly out-maneuvered coach to a joke of a coach. So how can anyone care? I looked at tickets before the game. You could have sit 12 rows back in the endzone for $35…and I said no. Why? Because the joke that is the visual of the stands at PBS is the last thing we fans have left to tell ownership to get their rear in gear and fix this. Will they? You tell me…

Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonBengals on Twitter for more angst Bengals content.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Replacing Marvin

Russell Heltman



A lot of Bengals fans (myself included) wondered before the year why a young team with so much talent was pegged with worse Super Bowl odds than our in-state neighbors.

In the eyes of Las Vegas, it didn’t matter that the Bengals rallied to end last season at 7-9 with a signature victory over the Baltimore Ravens. It didn’t matter that the Bengals made legitimate offseason moves to sure up the offensive line. It didn’t matter that Bill Lazor was given a whole offseason to install his system or that Teryl Austin was bringing a turnovers-or-bust mentality with him from Detroit.

It. Didn’t. Matter.

The only thing that mattered was the face of the franchise returning for his 16th year. Marvin Lewis is and always will be the reason people around the NFL don’t take the Bengals seriously and it’s become both a blessing and a curse.

When Lewis arrived in 2003, he inherited what many considered to be one of the worst franchises in pro sports at the time. The players were using old jock straps, it was a dark time in Bengals history. Though to Lewis’ credit, he rebuilt this franchise into something fans could actually be proud of.

They became competitive, they got to the base of Championship Mountain, but that’s not good enough. Of the six coaches in the NFL who’ve been at the helm for at least a decade, Marvin Lewis is the only one without a Super Bowl trophy.

As of Nov. 28, Cincinnati has lost five of their past six games, their defense is the worst in the league, the offense can’t operate without A.J. Green, and they’ve fired one coach in waiting while rehiring another. That go-ahead score against Pittsburgh in mid-October feels like it happened in 2015.

The Bengals might not have moved on from Marvin, but I have, there’s nothing else I need to see following that 35-20 beatdown this past Sunday. ESPN has pegged Lewis with a 60 percent chance to be fired and though this might be for nothing, here are two head coaching paths the Bengals could choose to down in January.

Anyone But Hue Jackson

Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


That’s really all that needs to be said. Hue Jackson is a great POSITION coach, but he has proved over a large sample size that he is inept as a HEAD coach. Jason La Canfora reported before the Browns game that Jackson has a real shot to replace Lewis if he steps down or takes a front office role.

Fans would be less excited about this than retaining Lewis, especially if he’s in the building overseeing nine of the 10 or 11 losses this team is headed for. Who are we kidding here, this is Lewis’ best friend and if anyone has shown the ability to persuade Mike Brown over the last 16 years, it’s Marvin Lewis.

Jackson is the clear frontrunner if a coaching change ends up happening.

Eric Bieniemy

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Eric Bieniemy against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Chiefs 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A former Bengals player from 1995-98, This is the home run hire for Cincinnati. Bieniemy is in his first season as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs and I don’t have to throw stats in here to prove why that’s been a success.

As a former player for the franchise, Bieniemy has that familiarity that Brown always looks for in new hires. He could come in and immediately offer a fresh perspective on this roster, answer the Andy Dalton question, and start to move this organization into a new era.

Bieniemy has primarily coached running backs before taking over for Matt Nagy this season and some great ones at that: Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Kareem Hunt have all learned and thrived under Bieniemy. Imagine his expertise paired with the talent of Joe Mixon.

Oh and for those concerned with the “lack of coaching experience” after just one season as an OC, just look at the past two guys to hold Bieniemy’s current spot. Doug Pederson went from Chiefs OC to winning a Super Bowl, Nagy has turned the Bears from a laughing stock to a contender in his first season. Those expectations might not be fair for Bieniemy, but the blueprint is out there for Mike Brown to make a championship hire.

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Cincinnati Bengals

A Sucker Until the Bitter End

Jeffery Carr



© David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Am I frustrated? Yes. Do I look back at week 5 when the Cincinnati Bengals sported a 4-1 record and feel as though that was a lifetime ago? Sure. Here’s the thing, Stephen A. Smith said, and I don’t remember word for word, but if you continue to support the Bengals who continue to refuse to put a competent product on the field then you are a sucker. I must confess, I am a sucker.

Sure, I am in the camp that is counting down the days until things change…even though I do not know when that countdown will end. You can check out my last post for reference. That being said, I am still going to be a fan. I’m still rooting for my team. That won’t change. Heck, I even mentioned that I might go to the game, this Sunday, if I can get a deal on some lower bowl tickets.

I had a buddy tell me he’d rather get hit by a car than go to the game, and I can’t blame him. Heck, there might be more value in staying away from the stadium, to get the point across to Mr. Brown. Here’s the thing, though, I am actually sort of looking forward to what will happen with Jeff Driskel. Now, I’m not saying I want him to be theguy, but entertain me for the rest of the season. When we think of football, that’s the basis of what we’re looking for, entertainment. I believe Driskel has the possibility to be entertaining. Urban Meyer once thought he could be the next Tim Tebow. What that tells me is he has heart and toughness. Joe Goodberry broke down a play in which Andy Dalton ran against the Browns and Driskel later ran, against the exact same defensive look. Andy threw a pick and Driskel threw a TD, so who knows? Maybe this won’t be that awful.

So what are you thinking about the Bengals? Are you burning jerseys? Are you cancelling season tickets? Are you switching allegiances? Hit me up on the Twitter (@jefffcarr), or here in the comments section, I want to get a gauge. I don’t blame you if you do any of that, by the way. I can see why you’d want to switch allegiances (just don’t be a Steelers’ fan, that would be messed up). Just know that I will be here, still. There’s something in my DNA that no matter what Mr. Brown and the gang try to do to my fan heart, I keep coming back. It might physically hurt me to no longer be a Bengals fan, I don’t know, but I’m not going to find out. I keep hanging on to that super-slim hope that one day there will be a Super Bowl ring. One day I’ll get to sing “We are the Champions” in regards to my Bengals, and that will be enough to erase all these years of wondering if I could have better used my time on Sunday.

Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonBengals on Twitter for more Orange and Black content!

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