So the Bengals extended Marvin Lewis’ contract through 2016 this week, and from what I can tell, everyone is absolutely thrilled about that. “Big Marv’! Couldn’t be happier, here’s to another great playoff run!” said all of the fanbase.
But does this happy news have any impact on the Bengals draft? Does the extended contract make Lewis more or less likely to rock the boat? It could be that there’s a real danger of feeling that there are no glaring holes in the team and then not being aggressive enough in pursuing strong draft prospects.
Marvin Lewis at a real press conference that definitely happened.
Marvin Lewis has undeniably built a solid team over his tenure, but solid can sometimes be uninspiring, or worse, predictable. He has been in his position long enough for other teams in the NFL to build up a picture of his MO: other head coaches are not kept guessing, and Marvotron’s robotic reaction to things going wrong has led to shutouts. There’s no Belichick-style mixing-it-up, or even Rex Ryan-esque headline grabbing. It has left some people asking if the coach has taken the team as far as he can.
And yet when Massive Marv’ decides to be a bit zanier, the results (such as last year’s second round pick Jeremy Hill) seem to turn out pretty well. An unexpected draft pick in an early round could have other teams wondering if they have Marvin Lewis and the Bengals figured out after all.
This is why the coach faces the choice of solid (and perhaps uninspiring) or going out on a limb. Having said that, although the latter is more exciting, the former is still highly commendable.
Solid draft picks in the first couple of rounds could lead to the team staying strong for many more years to come; Bengals fans will just have to hope there isn’t a group of NFL head coaches ticking off a box on Marvin Lewis bingo if that happens.
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