The Cincinnati Bengals have been pretty close to the playoffs the last couple of years. Well, maddeningly close. OK, knife-throwing-act-at-the-circus close. Not really, but it’s not far fetched to think that they are closer to being one of the Bengals teams that made the playoffs 5 straight seasons (2011-2015) than a team that is in total rebuild mode.
Since we can’t change the past, we’ll do the next best thing – we’ll go back to the past. We’re gonna make our call on which four players from Cincy’s best teams (1988 and 2005) could help get this year’s team into the postseason.
4 Cincinnati Bengals Players We Wish We Had On This Year’s Team
Carson Palmer (2005)
No offense to Andy Dalton, but we’ll take 2005 Carson Palmer any day as our signal caller. That year, he threw for 4.35 miles and had as many interceptions as he did multi-touchdown games (12). The 101.1 QB rating doesn’t hurt either.
Palmer was also sacked only 19 times in ’05. Yes, that has more to do with the offensive line’s performance, but the quarterback still has to be able to avoid the rush and deliver the ball. Palmer did that.
Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco/Johnson/7-11/WTF
The only thing tougher than remembering Chad’s last name was trying to cover him in 2005. He posted a career-high 97 catches for 1,432 yards, and had 23 catches of at least 20 yards. On a scale of 1-10, his performance was a 16/dieciseis.
Having him as a complement to A.J. Green would keep defenses on their heels, and that’s before we insert a deep threat. Speaking of which …
Eddie Brown (1988)
Brown was the long baller (now, now) that we hope John Ross will be. He proved it by averaging 24 yards per catch in 1988 (still an NFL single-season record). The cherry on top of that sundae was how he saved his best games for Pittsburgh. In his two 1988 games against the Steelers, he totaled eight catches for 281 yards and three touchdowns.
Having Brown on this year’s Cincinnati Bengals team – with two wins against Pittsburgh under our belts – would have the Paul Brown Stadium crowd dancing like a Fortnite flash mob. Let’s hope Ross can channel his inner Eddie.
Anthony Munoz (1988)
Munoz, the best O-lineman in franchise history, missed only three games in his 13 pro seasons, and none in 1988. You couldn’t get that kind of consistency if you custom-made an offensive tackle on Madden and raised all his durability levels to 99.
Even more than his toughness was his productivity. That much is evident by his nine first-team All-Pro recognitions. And in a pinch, he could be used as a receiving option (seven catches, 18 yards, four TDs). We know we’re talking more about his career than just that season, but … c’mon, it’s Munoz.
There’s no shortage of Cincinnati Bengals fans who think Marvin Lewis needs to go. If it happened (not that we’re saying anything), good ol’ Sam Wyche is the perfect replacement. He’s a proven winner who has a voice that sounds like a chainsaw revving up. Besides, anyone who does this needs to be leading the team. And he should get Valentine’s Day cards.