THIS blog has got a problem and not for the first time, it’s the subject matter.
In theory, writing about a sports team should be something which creates pleasure and enjoyment. It’s the chance to add your twopenceworth to the stories of the day, the latest games, the hopes for the future.
But when that sports team brings only negative news, with few rays of hope, it becomes a grind.
As I’ve probably mentioned several times in the past, I don’t get paid for writing this blog. I started it off my own bat as I like writing, I like the Cincinnati Bengals and I thought it would be fun.
How wrong I have been.
Last season I decided to kick the Bengals off the blog in November, when it became obvious the season was headed for disaster.
But this year the season hasn’t even started and already I’m running out of positive things to say. This could be the quickest ditching since Kelly Brook got fired from the Big Breakfast.
The off-season started badly and it’s been downhill ever since - Palmer’s “retirement”, losing Joseph/Chad etc.
Marvin Lewis decided to come back for another crack at head coach when no-one expected he would. Back in January we all questioned why and if anything those questions appear to have gotten bigger.
There has been no great change in the way the organisation is run. The scouting system is still far too small, there is no sign of an indoor practice facility. Whatever concessions Lewis asked of owner Mike Brown, it appears he didn’t get them.
With a situation as grim as this, humour would seem to be the best answer and there was certainly plenty of black comedy in the Bengals dreadful 34-3 pre-season defeat to the Lions last Firday night.
For biggest laugh, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton throwing an interception with his very first pass for the club takes some beating. For a team linked inexorably with failure, it was a moment almost too perfect for words.
The fact the defeat was against Detroit should also raise a pained smile. Over the last 20 years both franchises have competed hard with each other for the tag of “worst” but the Lions now seem to be on the upward curve. They got rid of their hapless General Manager, we’re owned by ours.
Of course, you can always find excuses and over the past few days the Bengals PR machine duly has.
It was only a pre-season game, true, but even though the result means absolutely nothing it’s still an idea to at least keep the scores respectable.
This was the Bengals worst pre-season defeat ever and there was little to suggest the various problems will be solved by the time the real season starts on September 11.
To his credit, Dalton recovered well after the early pick and looked ok on the subsequent two drives, even if he seems inaccurate with any pass over ten yards.
The biggest worry where he’s concerned would be the offensive line and once again I find it incredible they are going to start him over Gradkowski - who is a wily old veteran with experience of playing on poor teams - which the Bengals almost certainly will be this year.
Dalton was often scurrying around behind the poruous line - with Lions DT Ndamukong Suh actually being fined for one hit where he threw the rookie to the ground after relieving him of his helmet.
Again, if Dalton is the long-term plan in Cincinnati, wouldn’t it be better to give him some protection before risking his career?
Next up for the Bengals is a trip to the New York Jets on Sunday night and maybe then there will be something positive to say.
I won't bank on it.