These particular Cincinnati Bengals are past their expiration date, and the future is uglier than the present.

Today’s loss to the Browns has been coming to the Bengals for quite some time and should not be a surprise. Falling to 5-6 at the hands of the worst team in professional sports isn’t even the silliest thing that they did today.

Prior to the game starting, the team has indicated that there may be a succession plan that peacefully transitions out of the Marvin Lewis era with placing Hue Jackson in the head coaching spot.

Now Andy Dalton has taken an injury, we’re learning about the severity but it’s looking bad. AJ Green is on the mend, but its hard to imagine that meaning anything if Dalton’s injury is indeed serious.

Rendering the rest of the season useless.

The thing is - there was almost a reason to get pumped this year. They started off 4-1. None of the teams we beat are winners, but the team seemed competent and looked like one that could take care of business. It wasn’t without some uninspiring moments but, 4-1 is 4-1 and we were beating “the teams we should be able to beat” which was a welcome change.  

So what happens we run into the brass of the NFL?

Nothing. We faced good teams and lost to them. The Chiefs and the Saints are the toast of the league and we were showed to have a lot to work on before thinking about a playoff run.

We eked out an overtime victory against a 3-7 Buccaneers who are wildly more in pain than we are, and now we’ve blown it on two in division games that you would like to think we could handle.

Today’s loss confirms that we are not expected to win any of our remaining games.

10-6 is mathematically possible, but not realistic.

A winning record is on the table, also hard to imagine.

8-8 would be progress from last years’ 7-9 campaign.

Something less is looking more likely. We’ve been torched by rookie quarterbacks in consecutive weeks. If they fart their way into the playoffs once again, it’s going to match the one and done trend that has plagued Marvin Lewis for his entire career.

Our defense is woefully out of form for weeks, and Marvin has had to take on the coordinator role on top of head coaching duties proving two things:

There’s nothing a coordinator can do, and Marvin personally doesn’t have enough to turn it around. We’ve all been shocked before, but this year has to be the last one.

I have sympathy for him - but this is a new low.

Do you want to see them turn it around in the final part of the season?

You shouldn’t, as it will only prolong this era of futility.

We have a handful of great players - but there’s no reason to believe that we’re in a spot to be contending any time in the near future.

Even if the team walks back the Hue Jackson idea, they are still in deep trouble. Hue might be the only one who wants the gig. This is not an attractive job and a young coach would be ill advised to step in right now and be a flash in the pan.     

So what do you do? Blow it up?

If you can - but that isn’t going to be so easy either.

The marquee players on this team are stuck here. For money or personality reasons, it’s hard to imagine potential dance partners to trade with.

The likes of Andy Dalton, AJ Green, Geno Atkins, Joe Mixon, and particularly -  Vontaze Burfict are all stuck here unless the Bengals are willing to take a couple of L’s and make some tough decisions.

For the record, while we’re here - we are probably going to re-sign 2019 Free Agent, Tyler Eifert who has only played a total of 12 games in three seasons. It’s a very Bengals thing to do. Eifert has a certain presence, but is a financial liability at this point and has not been able to develop.

The cold reality is this team is stuck. You know what you have at the core of this team. It’s not a winner. This goes beyond a new coach - and your best option is Jackson: the guy who just got smoked by the ONE team he couldn’t have gotten smoked by.

You’re going to lose either way.

It’s becoming painfully obvious that the team will try to stay above water and continue to lose, rather than surrender to the situation and prioritize trying new things, while taking the same losses.

This organization would rather bet on getting lucky with a few small changes than pay the bill for all of the years of putting band-aids where stitches should be.

The Bengals quickly need to figure out how to sell this team next year. Cincinnati deserves better, and it’s been proven that we will allow for it to be ugly for a little while, when you show us a plan - like the Reds have done. While doing this, it would be a wise time for the Bengals to introduce the long awaited ring of honor and educate the fans of the history of the team - just like the Reds have done.

What is there possibly left to see with this era? Through the miracle of time, this can be cleaned up -  but they’re already late.

Where does this put you as a fan?

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