Bengals News

Too late for Marvin Lewis to become hardcore coach

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CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts in the second quarter of a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on August 11, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts in the second quarter of a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on August 11, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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With time slowly ticking away, Marvin Lewis may be looking at his last season walking the sidelines for the Bengals. It’s a bit late for change.

The Bengals have indeed fallen on hard times. Cincinnati’s football franchise has gone from being perennial playoff ornaments to borderline hasbeens. Two consecutive sub par seasons have made the Bengals a question mark in the minds of fans and casual NFL watchers. But, what has become more evident is the stance of head coach Marvin Lewis. Suddenly, with the Bengals slipping to an irrelevant status, Lewis feels it’s time to become a hardcore disciplinarian. Frankly, that should’ve happened after the first playoff appearance.

What has become glaringly evident is how Mr. Lewis is tossing people under the Greyhound bus headed nowhere. At this point, it’s a losing battle. Getting nasty and trying to look like the grand puppet master isn’t going to change a thing.

The players are not buying into the t-shirt slogans, cute sayings and vast knowledge (questionable) that’s supposed to keep them hyped and ready for battle. What the public is witnessing is a team of players on the brink. Yes, it’s mandatory for Bengals players to stay positive and keep the fans believing. But, there’s only so much they can take. Eventually, it spills over into their play and attitude on the field.

Drama with no chaser 

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Instead of the Bengals being in the thick of the playoff race, they’re drawing attention to the wrong things. Ken Zampese was canned, after showing how weak his offensive game planning had become. Honestly, it was a farce from the moment it happened. Yes, I was one of those hopefuls who prayed that coaching pedigree and been passed down from dad Ernie Zampese. Short analysis? Way off.

But, it really wasn’t about Ken and his Harvard graduate style schemes. It was about Lewis tossing him in the garbage. Sure, the Bengals needed a change and it had to start somewhere. But, it would have been nicer to see Marin step down and admit he’s lost the juice to coach.

Really?

Additionally, there was the public shaming of Joe Mixon. Lewis essentially called him a clueless rookie and he had no business questioning decisions. Really? I thought showing heart was a prerequisite for playing the game of football. Shows how much I know. Can the kid be blamed for wanting to win? Yup. If you play for the Bengals and have Lewis as the coach, things are always going to be chaotic.

Moving on, the most recent case of Lewis mania involved wide receiver, John Ross. He was criticized for not completing a route against the Titans.

"“John had a play last week we weren’t very thrilled with,” Lewis said, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. “For Andy, against that coverage to throw him that football, he should understand how the quarterback feels about him. That he expects him to be where he needs to be. He let his teammates down. He let me down…let Andy down.”"

Constructive advice or more cries of a lame duck coach taking shots and throwing shade?

It could happen

Here’s the scary part about all of the newfound attitude Lewis has shown. Owner Mike Brown just might buy into it. If the team responds well, Bengals fans could be looking at a one-year extension for Mike’s friend.

But, the problem is obvious. If Lewis feels that players need to be called out and be held accountable, this is way late. Most athletes are no more than big kids with tons of money. Just because they have a huge bank account, they aren’t suddenly capable of being running the entire show.

A head coach is in place to keep the ship running smoothly. If that takes more than a few harsh words, so be it. But, waiting until the wheels are falling off is a scam. Lewis may have been an edgy guy when he arrived, but he’s gotten soft. He’s known as a “player’s coach.” In other words, he’s all about making it cozy for those he favors.

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When Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones went ballistic during the 2015 Wild Card game, he should have put the hammer down. Yet, he was content in letting that slide. So, anything that resembles discipline at this point of the juncture…is laughable at best.

Lewis will always be remembered for turning things around in the Queen City. What he won’t provoke are memories of being a hardcore disciplinarian.

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