When Marvin Lewis was hired as head coach of my beloved Cincinnati Bengals, I was excited. I knew that Lewis was a great defensive coach, and I though that he had the fire and dedication needed to turn a sad sack franchise around.
When he went 8-8 with a team that was still pretty low on talent, I thought that we definitely had our man, a guy we could look to for the next 20+ years. When Cincy went 11-5 and actually won the AFC North, I was telling anyone who would listen that Marvin might just be a future hall-of-famer. But since then, Marvin has looked like a guy who’s more interested in keeping his job, than doing what it takes to win.
Since that miraculous 11-5 season, the Bengals have struggled mightily, both on and off the field. Chris Henry got into so many problems that people just stopped counting, and subsequently was suspended for half the 2007 season. Linebacker A.J. Nicholson got nabbed for burglarizing a former college teammate’s apartment, and defensive end Frostee Rucker was charged with not one but two counts of spousal abuse, and had a charge of vandalism tacked on for good measure.
Make no mistake, while Marvin Lewis’ control of his team off the field has been less than desirable it’s been his control of the team on the field that has sold me on the need to clean house.
Since starting out 2006 8-5, the Bengals have reverted to the Bungles, going 4-11 in their last 15 regular season games. 5-14 if you want to count the pre-season. That’s Dick Lebeau type numbers, that’s Bruce Coslet. That’s not acceptable.
It pains me to say this, because I truly wanted to believe that Marvin Lewis was going to be the man to finally shuck off the mantel of worst NFL franchise, but it appears even with all the weapons Lewis has got in his arsenal, that he cannot turn this team into a winner. It’s time to try someone else. Who? That’s a question for next time…