So another year has come and gone and once again the Bengals have still not won a playoff game since the 1990 season. What went wrong is a relatively easy question to answer, too many injuries, poor coaching, and poor ownership. The Bengals are still one of the most undisciplined teams in the NFL, which is usually a product of coaching. If you are waiting for Marvin Lewis to be fired, plan on a very long wait. So let’s look at the Bengals season position by position for the 2016 season.
Considering that Dalton was always missing some weapons and he very rarely had time to throw the ball he played well. Dalton who up until last year had a tendency to throw a lot of bad passes that were picked off only threw eight this year against 18 touchdowns. Dalton should be the Bengals starter for another decade; now they just need to get some lineman to give him the time to make plays. Backup A.J. McCarron wants to be traded; I say they Bengals see what they can get for him and improve the overall team. McCarron is loved by a portion of Bengals fans who don’t understand what they have with Dalton. McCarron beat two bad teams last year(Ravens and 49ers) and lost to Denver and Pittsburgh. Remember the playoff loss to the Steelers; the Bengals were shut out the first three-quarters.
Running Back (C-)
The loss of Gio Bernard early in the season had to have an adverse effect on the team as Bernard is an explosive player. Jeremy Hill did not fumble this year, which was the big question about him, especially after last years playoff loss to the Steelers. On the Bright side, Rex Burkhead finally got a chance to play and as Burkhead usually does he made the most of it. Hopefully, the Bengals will be able to resign Burkhead, he is a guy that needs to be on this team; he does whatever is asked of him, and he does it well. Another overlooked loss was the loss of Pro Bowl Special teams player Cedric Peerman who was out most of the year and is the fourth running back on this roster; Peerman is an excellent player in his own right.
TE/Wide Receivers (C)
A.J. Green was having his best season until a hamstring injury ended his season early. Of course, as always Tyler Eifert could not stay healthy, but the Bengals may have found a diamond in the rough in TE C.J. Uzomah. Rookies Tyler Boyd and Cody Core looked superb in the second half of the season, and Brandon LaFell got better as the season progressed. If they bring this entire group back and they can stay healthy, I think this group could be the better than the group the Bengals had last year.
Offensive Line (D)
The offensive line was the area that cost the Bengals a shot at the playoffs. The Bengals coaching staff’s insistence on continuing to play Cedric Ogbuehi, when he was obviously in over his head is still incredible to me. Center Russell Bodine continues to be a huge disappointment and another player that does not belong as a starting center in the NFL. Guard Clint Boiling is another player that under performed. The Bengals do have two excellent linemen in Tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler, who both played very well this season. Will they sign Whitworth in the offseason? Your guess is as good as mine, but you have to think they would since he is the best they have.
Defensive Line (C+)
Geno Atkins continues to be possibly the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. Carlos Dunlap had a solid season but was nowhere near as good as he was last year. Michael Johnson once again under performed and Margus Hunt should not even be on the roster. Domato Peko is showing his age but is still good enough to bring back at the right price next year, on the bright side Pat Simms seemed to play much better this year, and defensive tackle and fourth round pick Andrew Billings should be ready to go next year.
Vontaze Burfict is a beast, unfortunately, Rey Maualuga continues to be out of shape and out of position, he needs to go. Vinny Rey is a solid performer, who in a good linebacking corps would be a very good backup. Karlos Dansby looks like he has lost a step and maybe it is time for him to retire. Rookie Nick Vigil showed that he might be a solid player in the future. This is a position the Bengals need to upgrade.
Defensive Backs (C+)
I think Dre Kirkpatrick is starting to come into his own; Adam Jones seems to have maybe lost a step, but he is still a quality player, but he always seems to be the center of some controversy and if this recent story is true he needs to be gone asap. The problem this year was at safety were Shawn Williams seemed out of position a lot, especially early in the season. Safety George Iloka played ok but was better next to Reggie Nelson who was the QB of the secondary in previous years. Rookie seventh-round draft pick Clayton Fejedelem looks like he may have been a draft steal.
Special Teams (C)
The C comes because of Alex Erickson developing into one of the best return men in the NFL. It is no better than a C merely for the fact that a field goal kicker was allowed to stay here until he had cost the team three games.
The F here is mainly directed at Head Coach Marvin Lewis and defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther. Offensive coordinator, Ken Zampese did not do a terrible job, injuries limited what he could do most of the season so that I will reserve judgment until next year. The Bengals were awful in the second half of games, and that usually indicates a coaching problem, the lack of being able to adjust during a game is, to say the least very concerning. Why do the Bengals continue to employ offensive line coach Paul Alexander? He has developed very few quality lineman since he has been here and his continued defense of Bodine and Boiling is hard to believe.