Bengals are betting on speed in 2017

The Cincinnati Bengals could go in one of two directions this season. They could show last year’s 6-9-1 finish was an aberration, or they could turn the losing into a trend.

In 2015, the Cincinnati Bengals set a franchise record with an 8-0 start to the season. They went on to finish 12-4, made the playoffs, and had eight players voted to the Pro Bowl. Just a year later, down an offensive coordinator (Hue Jackson) and a few key weapons (wideouts Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu), the Bengals sputtered Cheap Stitched Jerseys on offense. Their scoring declined from 26.2 points per game to 20.3, and they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

To paraphrase: “We’ve been through a lot,” Fisher would remind the press after each game. Usually, “we don’t make excuses” was thrown in there, too.

The Rams struggled to win last season for a lot of reasons. The move was just one small part of that mix, but not enough to paper over four prior years of poor roster building — thanks to a long list of squandered possibilities from trading the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft to Washington for a bundle of draft picks.

This show picks up in the fifth year since Fisher and general manager Les Snead have run the team. It’s a squad without much talent to speak of on offense. The defense, which features a budding superstar in defensive tackle Aaron Donald, is the better unit, but it too was in a down year in 2016. That was in part due to the team’s failure to lock down cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who would’ve provided the show its most compelling player by far.

How the Rams devolved into a four-win team is mostly left up to the viewer to decide. The cameras failed to catch whatever conversation on the subject that might have happened between players and the team’s leadership.

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