As has been written often here and in other places recently, the next few months will be rather busy ones for the Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the NFL's teams.
No, there won't be any games to play, but in the back rooms, behind closed doors, coaches, owners, general managers and scouts will be meeting to determine which way their franchise will progress ahead of next season.
Will they retain certain offensive and defensive philosophies? Will they try to hold onto as much of their current talent as possible? Or reinvent themselves with an influx of new players with personalities that better match the system they'll be implementing heading into the next year?
Those are just a few of the questions that must be addressed in the coming weeks and months.
Between now and mid-May, the Bengals, like other coaching and front-office staffs, will be in free-agent and draft mode. The bulk of their decisions these next few months will affect personnel changes that will come when several new faces arrive in the draft, and when others, who aren't able to be re-signed, depart. The path to a fourth straight playoffs begins right now. The potential journey to the Super Bowl has just commenced, as well.
We begin this Thursday's Morning Stripes by taking a deeper look at the timeline the Bengals are facing as they begin contemplating their various personnel decisions:
Specifically, we turn to Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson who has a detailed take on how that timeline may play out, and the way the Bengals may make some of their personnel decisions at the times they have to make them. While we've been writing a lot of these same things here on ESPN.com recently, it's interesting to see another person's take on a few of the moves that could take place. Also, if you're looking for a more succinct NFL offseason timeline, here's one from ESPN.com.
Staying with Hobson, he has a really intriguing and captivating read on Bengals.com about how the family of the late former Bengal Dan Ross reacted when his Super Bowl record 11 catches was broken Sunday night by Denver's Demaryius Thomas. Also in a losing effort, Thomas caught 13 passes, passing the mark the Bengals tight end first set in Super Bowl XVI. Ross' mark was eventually tied by Jerry Rice when he caught 11 against the Bengals seven years later. Deion Branch and Wes Welker also later tied the mark.
Finally, we catch up with the guys at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Earlier this week, Paul Dehner Jr. caught up with Bengals radio play-by-play announcer Dan Hoard for an early-offseason podcast.