The Bengals are still the Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals seemed to be on the right path until signing wide receiver Michael Westbrook.

Just when you think the Cincinnati Bengals might be turning the corner, they go and do something stupid once again to remind you why they lose 10 or more games every season.

The Bengals finally pulled the trigger and signed free agent wide receiver Michael Westbrook Tuesday, likely ending Darnay Scott's career in Cincinnati. Cincinnati seemed poised to take a step forward this offseason.

The Bengals already returned a defense that had ranked in the top 10 last season - and with stud defensive end Justin Smith now having some experience under his belt, the defense could be even better this season.

Cincinnati also added a veteran quarterback to the equation, signing Gus Frerotte to battle erratic Jon Kitna for the starting spot.

But replacing a speedster like Scott with a plodder like Westbrook - who's also a bad apple - will only make the offense worse.

A few years ago, I spoke with then-Baltimore defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis about the Steelers. At the time, the Steelers were the defending division champions.

Lewis told me that he had spent countless hours during the offseason breaking down the tape from every one of the Steelers' games, something he had done because they were still considered the team to beat. He said he had put in about half of that amount of time with the other teams in the division.

But that is generally what NFL teams do: gear up to beat the team who is considered the best.

In Scott, the Bengals had a player who had made a habit of burning the Steelers during his career. In 14 career games, he caught 53 passes for 869 yards and six touchdowns against Pittsburgh, including scoring plays of 47, 44, 61 and 76 yards.

Replacing a proven Steelers-beater with a guy who is only known as a teammate-beater only seems like a step in the wrong direction.

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