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Mike Zimmer: We’re really close

Mike Zimmer AP

The Bengals have advanced to the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in more than 30 years, a positive run mitigated by the fact that they’ve wound up losers to the Texans in the playoffs each year.

Those endings weren’t what the team would have liked, but the overall results of the last two years have left defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer with the impression that the team is close to being the kind of team they want to be.

“I think we’re really close,” Zimmer said on the NFL Network Tuesday. “The first year, we got thumped pretty good by Houston. This year was a lot closer. We’re right there. But we’re going to have to keep grinding and keep adding talent. We have a good nucleus of guys and I think we’re exactly where we need to be.”

It’s hard to argue too much with Zimmer’s take on the Bengals’ standing. The answers to two questions will go a long way toward determining whether they take another step forward.

The first is whether they’ll spend the money needed to keep free agents like Michael Johnson and Andre Smith while also upgrading elsewhere with their copious amounts of cap space. And the second is whether Andy Dalton’s going to prove to be the consistent franchise quarterback that they’ll need to make the leap into the elite of the AFC.

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27 Responses to “Mike Zimmer: We’re really close”
  1. joetoronto says: Feb 26, 2013 10:21 AM

    Close my arse, they made a big mistake drafting Andy Dalton.

    Dude has no arm.

  2. realdealsteel says: Feb 26, 2013 10:21 AM

    They won’t be going anywhere with the QB they have.

  3. bishopbengals says: Feb 26, 2013 10:27 AM

    If Zimmer can keep the defense playing at a high pace, all we need is for the offense to step up. Give Andy a receiver and a running back to spell Green-Ellis and that could get us much further.

  4. samoanjungle says: Feb 26, 2013 10:35 AM

    Defensively, yeah and they could be REALLY good if they sign their FAs and get guys back from injury, maybe add a Safety or put Leon Hall there.
    Offensively, needs improvement. Sanu was really starting to look like a versatile find until injury but the WRs need to be more consistent, the line has to open up more holes and Gresham needs to cut down on drops.

  5. mrfrostyj says: Feb 26, 2013 10:52 AM

    They’re close by default, not because they’re playing better. The same thing is happening with the Texans. They are a regular playoff contender not because they’re playing better but because the teams that have been hogging the spot in their division for the longest time (Colts and Titans) are rebuilding. In this case all the Bengals have to do to be the second place team in the AFC North (which usually lands a wildcard spot) is play better than an aging Steelers team and even Cleveland had success against them which makes it more likely that it’ll be a 3 team race soon for that spot. They’re still a long way from competing against the skilled teams that dominate their way to the playoffs.

  6. finsphan says: Feb 26, 2013 11:02 AM

    “they won’t be going anywhere with this qb they have” yea, except the fact that they made the playoffs both years he has been there and they were making it every year before dalton. Watch a game once in a while, might learn something

  7. whodey1218 says: Feb 26, 2013 11:19 AM

    Joetoronto must be the biggest bengals fan, every post they have about the bengals he puts a comment

  8. pgh15212 says: Feb 26, 2013 11:20 AM

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have won a playoff game more recently than the Bengals.

  9. gobungles says: Feb 26, 2013 11:28 AM

    Zimmer is right, the Bengals have a deep and talented roster. I question just like anyone else how good Andy Dalton can be, but this team is winning games despite mediocre QB play. Give him a couple more weapons and see if he can improve. The one positive in todays NFL is you can typically draft ready made starters if Dalton doesn’t step up.

  10. bengalskuta82 says: Feb 26, 2013 11:34 AM

    They are jjjusst right there

  11. originalsteelcurtain says: Feb 26, 2013 11:39 AM

    If the Bengals truly ARE close..it’s time to give-up the pajamas.

  12. scrp2 says: Feb 26, 2013 11:41 AM

    Bengals are a good team. There I said it.

  13. stoptrippn says: Feb 26, 2013 11:41 AM

    If Zimmer get Taylor Mays going, they will be in the AFC Championship.

  14. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Feb 26, 2013 11:54 AM

    JoeToronto is a Raiders fan. Raiders fans hate the Bengals because they got Carson Palmer trade, then they came to Cincy and got smoked 34-10. Get over it Raiders fans.

    The other hate comments are probably from Browns and Steelers fans, just jealous that we’ve had more success than them in the past 2 years (past 10 years when it comes to the Browns). And yes people…the Bengals have been better than the Steelers over the past 2 years.

  15. tbred2328 says: Feb 26, 2013 12:14 PM

    The Bengals are absolutely a couple players away from being a serious contender.

    Andy Dalton doesn’t have an arm? Don’t tell that to AJ Green because Andy overthrew AJ at least 10 times this season.

  16. krispyone says: Feb 26, 2013 12:27 PM

    The other hate comments are probably from Browns and Steelers fans, just jealous that we’ve had more success than them in the past 2 years (past 10 years when it comes to the Browns). And yes people…the Bengals have been better than the Steelers over the past 2 years

    Please explain to me how the Bengas were better than the Steelers last year, when the Steelers finished 3 games ahead of the Bengals, had a higher ranked offense and defense, and won both head to head matchups by a combined 35pts. I think your comment about the Bengals being better than the Steelers last year is the very definition of revisionist history

  17. Vegas Guy says: Feb 26, 2013 12:51 PM

    The Steelers will win a Superbowl before Bengals win a playoff game.

  18. raidergreg2000 says: Feb 26, 2013 12:56 PM

    I live in Cincy and love the Raiders. I have since 1977. The Bengals aren’t going anywhere with Dalton.

  19. joetoronto says: Feb 26, 2013 1:56 PM

    tbred2328 says:
    Feb 26, 2013 12:14 PM
    The Bengals are absolutely a couple players away from being a serious contender.

    Andy Dalton doesn’t have an arm? Don’t tell that to AJ Green because Andy overthrew AJ at least 10 times this season.
    **************************************************
    What you fail to understand is that ANY NFL QB can throw the ball 50 yards downfield, but only those with strong arms can put it on the money.

    A weak armed QB won’t be accurate on deep balls because he’s putting everything into it.

    Think of a golf swing when you try to kill the ball.

  20. sellout1983 says: Feb 26, 2013 2:30 PM

    People love to hate on the Bengals like it’s their job (joetoronto). I don’t understand the blind hatred and the unwillingness to even admit that the Bengals really are competitive. They got beat in the playoffs two years in a row. But they have made it three out of the last four years and BAD teams don’t make it to the playoffs. I do agree that Dalton is inconsistent with the deep ball. But people get on here and act like he’s Mark Sanchez or Jamarcus Russell. I mean the guy has thrown a lot of touchdowns in the NFL. People get so dug in on hating this team they stop seeing reality on realities terms.

  21. bengalsstillsuck says: Feb 26, 2013 2:44 PM

    Hey sellout people hate the Bengals so much because of there fans Bengal fans think they know it all an predict they are going to the superbowl every year when the franchise is garbage.

  22. bengalguy says: Feb 26, 2013 3:56 PM

    And fans of other teams don’t???????

  23. bengalguy says: Feb 26, 2013 3:58 PM

    And other teams fans don’t????

  24. ridnaway says: Feb 26, 2013 4:46 PM

    The weak link on the Bengals is Andy Dalton. He is just not an accurate passer. That being said the Bengals are a good team…… until they get to the playoffs and their OC designs a gameplan that ignores their best player in favor of a tight end whose hands are made of stone. Brilliant.

  25. johnnyb1976 says: Feb 26, 2013 5:01 PM

    The hatred of the bengals come from fear of the bengals. Yes last season the bengals were better than the steelers last I checked bengals were 10-6 and put the steelers out of their misery in Pittsburg.

  26. mazblast says: Feb 26, 2013 11:19 PM

    I have to question the ability of someone with the Bagels to know whether they’re “close”, given the franchise’s long- and short-term history.

    Even if they’re “real close” to winning a playoff game, the question must be asked as to whether that’s such a lofty goal. Granted, it’s something they haven’t done in 22 years, but good franchises aim a little higher than that.

  27. krispyone says: Feb 28, 2013 12:14 PM

    Johnnyb,

    Let me clarify, I was responding to a comment that the Bengals were better than the Steelers in the 2011 season, when records, stats and head to head meetings state otherwise

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