Head coach Marvin Lewis has been given chance after chance to succeed. This may be his last run at redemption with the Bengals.
The season isn’t over for the Cincinnati Bengals. But, the way they’ve been playing, it could soon be a reality. After being shell-shocked by Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Bengals are looking like a ragtag bunch in search of definite leadership. The hype before training camp was all about the new coaches and how they would make a difference. So far, the only difference is 2-4 instead of 8-0.
we’ve kind of put our backs up against the wall here
For the first time in four years, Cincinnati is starting the year with a losing record. The Bengals faithful have been rewarded with real football over the past few years. Some may call the performances subpar. But, making the playoffs is a huge feat. The Bengals have been able to make the postseason five straight years. Welp…that streak may be in jeopardy.
Who does this mess all fall on? You guessed it…Marvin Lewis. Sure. The team belongs to Mike Brown. But, Lewis is the man running the show on the sidelines. The players have been flat and emotionless this year. The fire they’ve shown in the past has fizzled. In fact, the players look like a bunch of Boy Scouts when they constantly pull other players from the turf. After a tackle, help our teammate up…not the opponent.
Before many of you start saying there needs to be a change at quarterback, stop drinking. This isn’t about some tailgating drunks analyzing the Bengals over beer and brats. Lewis has to get things turned around in a hurry. Frankly, this season could be his last chance.
My mother-in-law knew the Bengals had a tough first six weeks and she doesn’t watch football. Lewis and Co. have been staring at the schedule since it came out. Four of the games were on the road. That fact alone should have been extra motivation. Crowd noise you say? Well, that’s what happens when a team plays on the road. Lewis doesn’t have his troops fired up for the games.
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The red zone offense is horrendous. Ken Zampese is in his first year as the offensive coordinator. Should he be given the benefit of the doubt? To some extent, he can get a pass. But, Lewis has to demand that his play calling gets an upgrade. With the speed of Giovani Bernard, there should be no reason the Bengals running game falters.
The passion is still there. But, Lewis isn’t able to tap into the triggers for it. Have the players lost respect for him? That’s a good question. Have his cute motivational phrases lost their effectiveness? Um…the jury is out. That remains to be seen. But, with almost half the season gone, Lewis is not looking like the coach that turned this franchise around. He’s looking like a candidate for the unemployment line.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a homer. Yet, I can’t pretend to not see the disparity in this season from 2015. A.J. Green was candid when he let loose about the Bengals’ New England performance.
“There were times we played well, but we’re beating ourselves with penalties and stuff like that,” Green explained, per Bengals.com. “When you play a team like that, you have to be flawless.”
Sounds like a coaching situation.
Lewis Takes The Angry Approach
Cincinnati isn’t finishing games. They aren’t putting together 60 minutes of football on both sides of the ball. The win against Miami looks big since the Phins smashed the Steelers. But, those are the teams Cincinnati is “supposed” to wallop.
One thing that seems to be coming up the most is coaching. After the Patriots loss, Lewis was asked if this could be a turning point for the team.
"“We’ve got to continue to coach harder, coach better, get guys to play better. You know, whatever point that comes from, whatever spurs us forward, we’ve got to do it now because we’ve kind of put our backs up against the wall here.”"
It all starts and ends with coaching. Maybe Lewis should take a good long look in the mirror. If he doesn’t…this could be his last chance.