As often as we can in the offseason on the Cincinnati Bengals blog, we try to post these Morning Stripes updates to give a glimpse into what others are saying about this team.
(In case you haven't yet gotten the concept of the Morning Stripes, it is a daily blog post that links to stories from other writers who either cover the team or are national voices who have something interesting or unique to say.)
For the most part, it's been a relatively quiet offseason for the Bengals. There have been a couple of days when the external links just simply haven't been there. In that sense, you could call this the calm before the free agency and combine storm. In the next few weeks, things should pick up for all NFL teams.
Lately, we've been using a lot of links from Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. We're using another one in this post.
As one of the veterans on a beat that has a few long-serving scribes, he's seen his share of change with respect to the franchise. He's seen players come and go, coaches breeze in and out and philosophies tweaked and turned and pulled. His perspective comes from experience. That's why as the beat's rookie, I attach a measure of value to what he writes.
Late Wednesday, he had a lengthy story about stability and why it will be important as the Bengals head into the free agency and more intensive draft portions of their offseason. Stability, it could be argued, has been the key to the franchise's recent regular-season success. Cincinnati still has yet to win a playoff game since the 1990 season, but it is now going to the postseason with regularity.
The framework for that success could be traced to the team's perhaps controversial decision to stick with coach Marvin Lewis after the disastrous 2010 season. At that point, changes had to come with respect to draft philosophy, offensive philosophy and player character evaluation. The groundwork for the Bengals' widely respected defense had already been laid; it was time to shore up the offense with young, recognizable stars and to create a less toxic locker room than what had previously existed.
Since 2011, the Bengals have had one of the smoothest sailing ships in the AFC North. Cleveland's drama the past two months in hiring a new coach and shoring up its front office has highlighted the need for stability in all ranks of the team. From the leadership on down to the players themselves.
As we get into this Thursday's Morning Stripes, we turn to Hobson for much more on the stability the Bengals have created:
From Bengals.com, here's the case for stability that Cincinnati has tried to make since Lewis' hiring in 2003. In the three years since the "reboot," the Bengals have started turning heads both inside the division and outside it.
While the Bengals have made it clear they want to hold onto as much "homegrown" free-agent talent like their former draft picks Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson, there have been charges from the outside concerning whether or not they will or should explore bringing in free agents whose deals are expiring with other teams. Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer takes a look here at the value of doing that. His thought to those wanting external help: Be careful what you wish for.
Finally, the Bengals have become the latest team to be sued by one of its cheerleaders over concerns about pay. In this from KTLA, Ben-Gal Alexa Brenneman has filed a lawsuit against the Bengals claiming her $855 season wage wasn't enough for the amount of appearances, games and practices she and other Ben-Gals are required to attend. Current and former Oakland Raiderettes filed their own lawsuit last month.