Marvin Lewis has solid tenure in the NFL. But, in his time as Bengals’ leader, he keeps delivering the same disappointments. Is time running out?
Week 11 is upon the NFL world and it’s a shocking revelation for many. But, the bizarre happenings of 2016 are nothing new to fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s the same old story warmed over. Promises of a spectacular year are overshadowed by the reality of mediocre preparation and play. Each year, there are changes made in the Queen City. But, one thing has remained the same for 13 years. Marvin Lewis has been the head coach.
On the heels of a record-setting season, the Bengals were supposed to dominate the AFC North. This was supposed to be the year of the tiger. Andy Dalton was healthy and looked sharp in camp. Reggie Nelson and Leon Hall were gone but replaced by young talent ready to make headlines. So far, that dream has fizzled. The Marvin Lewis effect has taken hold once again and produced a season of desperation.
For some strange reason, the Bengals can’t seem to get over the hump. What hump? Actually, any hump that they encounter. The season has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and mistakes that add up to the same thing…disappointment.
When does it change? What will make the Lewis effect a non-factor on this team? Those questions rise to the forefront each and every year.
Why Is Lewis Still Around?
Honestly, that situation has been questioned by so many people it should be a mainstay on Jeopardy!.
“Alex, I’ll take Bengals’ Fans for $200.”
“That’s a Daily Double! No playoff wins, sounds like a broken record, needs to be fired.”
“Who is Marvin Lewis?”
Since his hiring as head coach of the Bengals, Lewis has become one of the longest-tenured coaches in the league. The only football guru ahead of him is Bill Belichick. It’s a nice warm and cozy feeling to see a coach with job security. But, when the effort doesn’t match the effect, why keep things the same?
Lewis has been to the postseason seven times and is still shooting blanks. Stephen A. Smith may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he’s a sage in the eyes of most Cincinnati fans. Smith has been asking for Lewis’ head for some time. Don’t expect to see it happen anytime soon. Bengals’ owner Mike Brown isn’t going to switch gears in the middle of the season. The stakes are too high. Plus, that ain’t how Brown rolls. He’s an insider. Who’s the capable replacement from inside the organization?
Coaches have been replaced for much less than what Marvin is doing (or not doing) in Cincinnati. It’s gotten absolutely laughable.
First, it was going to be a hard first half of the season. With Vontaze Burfict out, the Bengals would struggle on defense. After Burfict returned, things would get better. Since No. 55 has been back, the Bengals are 2-3-1. Nah. That wasn’t the answer. Next came the Tyler Eifert debate. Eifert was supposed to turn the clock back to 2015. Nope, hasn’t happened. The Pro Bowl tight end has nice numbers but the team is 1-1-1 with his return.
Coaching is about adjustments and utilizing the players available. Sure, there are high-salaried players that can make a difference. But, there’s also the matter of having a system that works without the insane dollar amounts. Yes, times have changed. Football has evolved since the days of Bill Walsh, Sam Wyche, and Don Shula. But, at the same time, it recycles. A leader will stay on the cutting edge and take note of those shifts.
Lewis is in the ballpark but he hasn’t hit a home run. Brown has kept Lewis around in hopes he matches the production of other coaches with tons of wins. There’s a huge problem with that mindset. Those other coaches have won Conference Championships and played in Super Bowls. In 13 long years, Marvin hasn’t even sniffed the second round of the playoffs.
Rabid Cincinnati fans shouting for the head of Marvin Lewis is natural. In fact, I hear the current mayor is talking about making it a local holiday. The problem is simple. Brown has hired a coach that wins. Money is being made.
If Marvelous Marv turns the Bengals’ season around, he’ll be given an extension. That’s just the way it is. There’s still time for a repeat of 2012…if adjustments are made.