When the Bengals had a severe meltdown in Week 14 against the Chicago Bears, the team looked flat. But, Marvin Lewis says he’s not the cause.
Watching the Cincinnati Bengals play football can really be a chore. It’s either due to mistakes or horrendous offensive game plans.There’s even the occasional lack of concentration (just kidding). But, lately, there seems to be no fire or passion when they play the game. And in a sport that demands the emotional equivalent of a hard rock concert, there’s no room for being flat. Yet, that seems to be the case with Marvin Lewis’ team.
Yes, the players are considered grown men. They’re college graduates who don’t live in mom and pop’s basement and have the ability to hit other guys like cement trucks. But, that doesn’t mean they have no problems with getting psyched for a football game. In fact, looking back at the Bengals’ 33-7 stomping by the Bears, they had 30 minutes of unrecognizable comedy happening on the field. There was a total lack of concentration and execution. It was sheer torture waiting for the next three-and-out.
Additionally, Week 14 was a big game that followed an even bigger game with the Steelers ending with the same result. Winning games that have to be won is not something that automatically registers with all players. It starts at the top and flows down. It’s all about the coaches motivating the team to a frenzied desire to get it done. In other words, the HC should be able to make his players walk through fire for him. Lewis has lost that ability.
It ain’t his fault
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A funny thing happened on the way to Marvin Lewis’ answer for the Bengals Week 14 meltdown. Somewhere along the way, Lewis had an epiphany. It wasn’t on him. The Bengals players are grown men and they need to act like it. They lost the game because they didn’t psyche themselves up and get prepared mentally for the Bears.
"“As I told them, sometimes they got to make their own music (laughs).”"
Wait, come again, Mr. Lewis?
"“When it comes to Sunday, you’re competing against the guy across from you — win your battles.”"
In essence, this is where Lewis throws his team under the bus.
"“These guys have a lot to play for, and it’s not my responsibility to get them — as I said — to turn up the music.”"
Well, there you have it. The man who has been called one of the best motivators in the game said he’s not responsible. But, as a pro, you have to find a way to get that passion going inside and make yourself a raving ball of chaos on Sunday, Monday or whatever day you play.
Essentially, it’s not about Lewis getting the hyped for the battle and providing sound game plans with his coaches. No, it’s not about halftime adjustments (they don’t exist). It’s about self.
Well, that seals the deal for me. Lewis is officially ready for retirement. He’s losing his mind.
Word on the street
Regardless, the Bengals have three games left in the season. And with the injury body count still over the top, there will be rookies playing. As Lewis implied with Joe Mixon, there are some things that have to be learned. But, who’s going to teach them? Who’s going to get the youngsters fired up for games that could help him exit Cincinnati and the Bengals organization with some pride?
"“When we had hard times with Marvin – he would push us. He would push the players and push the coaches. “Marvin would always say with the roster, you have to push the top of the roster hardest – Geno, A.J. and Andy – he would push those guys the hardest because most of the guys under those guys will follow. That’s one of Marvin’s trademarks.”"
Finally, Lewis says it’s not his responsibility. Exhibit A says it is. But, it’s just probably time for the flag to fly at half mast for Marv. Time to ride off into the sunset and play a few rounds of golf.