The most trialed years of Marvin Lewis‘s career are over, but he still has a challenge on his plate. So now coming off a year with almost no distractions, and entering a year without any, Lewis is for the first time in his career, poised to make an impressive stamp on the history of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Marvin Lewis has been with the Cincinnati Bengals more than any other coach in the NFL has been with their team. Through this time Marvin has encountered and dealt with more problematic players, and front office decisions, than most coaches deal with in their entire careers.
Back when the Bengals hired Marvin in 2003, he was already stepping into a role, that for lack of a better term, has been vacant of a true leader.
So from the beginning of the Marvin Lewis era, without even making a move or change within the organization, he was under the microscope from the media.
From 2002-2004 things for the Bengals looked fantastic. We drafted Carson Palmer, the artist formally known as Chad Johnson was in the middle of a streak that led him to several straight receiving titles, and our running game with Rudi Johnson was nothing less than above average. Then in 2005 the Bengals went on that run that brought faith and hope back to Cincinnati, or just until the Wild Card Round of the 2005 Playoffs. Carson gets hit, Carson goes down, and Carson tears his ACL.
From this point on Carson was never the same. He was afraid to get hit, and was pushing the ball rather than firing it down the field.
2006 was that hellish season for which we started out 3-0, and ended 8-8. That season was so bad that Ryan Parker wrote a song about it, “How Many Ways can You Lose a Game“. If you would like to relive that season of missed extra points, and giving up 42 in the second half to San Diego,you may do so here. Not to mention the multiplicity of arrests
2007 was the beginning of the end of the Carson/Chad era with the official start to the name change from Johnson to Ochocinco.
2008 the Bengals started off to an embarrassing 0-10-1 start. Shortly after, the sure handed T.J. Houshmandzadeh left for Seattle. One bright spot in 2008 was the hiring of Defensive Coordinator, Mike Zimmer. This signing helped lead the Bengals to the number four defense in the NFL and a playoff berth in 2009.
However, with the number four defense, our offense suffered. In response we sign Terrell Owens for the 2010 season. This is where it really got tough for Marvin. He had to deal with the alter ego of Chad, and the pre-ma dona in T.O. Owens would round off his routes, and the Ocho regressed with age.
Then in his most recent year, he began the re-building process yet again. With Ocho traded, Carson traded, and Owens gone, Lewis was able to focus on football, and led the Bengals to their third playoff berth under his reign.
Now on his second year without distractions, let’s see what Lewis can truly do. The charges we dropped on Rey Maualuga, Jerome Simpson and his Marijuana issue were signed by Minnesota, and another solid draft class should have Marvin Lewis poised for a back-to-back playoff run.
Unfortunately this opportunity could also back fire, because Lewis is set up so nicely, any sort of disappointment could be detrimental to his career.
I do think that the odds are on our side, and this will be an exciting year. Who Dey!