What message have Bengals sent to fans with inactivity at NFL trade deadline?
CINCINNATI (WKRC/AP) - The NFL trade deadline came and went on Tuesday, and while many teams in contention for postseason spots were active, the Bengals were not one of them.
The NFL's lone undefeated team made an already dominant defensive front even deeper. The Los Angeles Rams swapped a pair of draft picks (a third-round pick in 2019 and a fifth-rounder in 2020) for Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler, adding the third overall pick in 2015 to a defense already stocked with Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers and Mark Barron for the most surprising move at the NFL trade deadline.
Denver sent wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to Houston. The Texans (5-3) have won five straight to take the lead in the AFC South and had to replace Will Fuller who tore a knee ligament in a win over Miami last week. Houston sent a 2019 fourth-round pick to Denver with the teams swapping seventh-rounders in next year's draft.
Philadelphia gave Carson Wentz another target by picking up receiver Golden Tate from Detroit. Tate, 30, has 44 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns this season and joins an offense that already has Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews and tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Tate can help the Eagles be less predictable with his ability to play in the slot.
"We're not going to sit on our hands," Eagles personnel boss Howie Roseman said. "It's hard to find really good players and this is a really good player. The message to our players, our coaches and our fans is that our foot is always going to be on the gas."
Washington added safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Green Bay for a fourth-round draft pick in 2019 as the Redskins (5-2) boosted a stingy defense. Now Washington can pair Clinton-Dix, who will be a free agent after this season, with D.J. Swearinger. Clinton-Dix, a first-round pick in 2014 out of Alabama, has started 65 of his 71 games, and he has 14 interceptions, including three this season. Swearinger leads the NFL with four interceptions this season.
The Bengals, sitting 5-3 and second in the AFC North, did not make a deal. Cincinnati failed to improve a struggling defense that has a major hole at linebacker and now a lack of depth at end after losing Carl Lawson for the season with a knee injury. It did not bolster an offense minus starting tight end Tyler Eifert and oft-injured (as well as underachieving) wideout John Ross.
Instead they will bank on Ross contributing more than his seven catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Head coach Marvin Lewis and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will continue to rely heavily on AJ Green and hope Tyler Boyd shows as much in the second half of the season as he did in the first (49 catches for 620 yards and five TDs). And they will have faith that the return of first round pick Billy Price, who has been out with a foot injury since week two, will stabilize a mediocre offensive line, although his replacement, Trey Hopkins has played well.
And defensively... there just has to be some improvement from the worst unit in the league because there's only one way to go and it's harder to play any poorer.
So what message has Bengals president Mike Brown, director of player personnel Duke Tobin, Lewis and the rest of the front office and operations department sent to the fan base by failing to address immediate holes and needs? Local 12 digital sports columnist and editor Richard Skinner and Rick Broering addressed that issue on a recent edition of The Skinny Podcast (listen to the entire audio here).
Some information courtesy Associated Press