With the NFL about to explode in Caddyshack-like fashion at the hands of a free agency period seemingly inspired by the hair-brained Carl Spackler blowing up Chuck Rodent, the Bengals hope to pick up where they left off last offseason.
Of course, if a 4-12 season, a 131-day lockout, and a disgruntled franchise quarterback don’t cause amnesia, what will?
But think back to those first heady days of the last training camp. The Bengals were coming off a division sweep and Georgetown College had turned into the set of VH1 with the arrival of Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens. Local and national media were handing it to the Bengals. Owens looked as if he were the final piece for a Super Bowl contender after an offseason the Bengals made all the right moves.
The reason they went and got Owens was the only downer. The four-year, $29M deal they gave the man they chose over Owens at the beginning of free agency, Antonio Bryant, blew up with his knee. They had young guys like Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Dez Briscoe in the wings, but the club reportedly listened to Palmer’s lobbying for Owens and opted to take a one-year shot on the controversial and mercurial receiver.
That came at the end of an offseason the Bengals kept defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer by making him the highest paid assistant in club history, as well as re-signing two veterans that were first drawn to Zimmer on one-year deals in tackle Tank Johnson and safety Roy Williams. While re-upping two key locker-room guys on offense in right guard Bobbie Williams and tight end Reggie Kelly for chemistry, they also drafted talent in the weapons everyone said Palmer needed in first-round pick Jermaine Gresham, a tight end, and third-round pick Jordan Shipley, a slot receiver.
And Owens turned out to be their most productive receiver. Of course, as things went south, he also became the most outspoken and critical Sunday Afternoon Quarterback when it came to drilling his own coaches while rubbing some teammates the wrong way.
But if the blueprint had worked the way it was supposed to work…
Well, 2010 proved blueprints don’t win. If the Bengals can accomplish close to what they got done in the last offseason (with no fragile knees), it’s a good place to start. Keeping in mind September depth charts don’t win games.
Tags: offseason moves
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