The season finale for the Bengals will give fans an idea of how far the team has progressed since Week 1. But, it may not be enough to keep Lewis on board.
There’s still a game to be played in 2017. The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to hang a season-ending loss on the Baltimore Ravens and avoid losing 10 games. Posting a W over the Ravens would also put a damper on Baltimore’s postseason hopes. Getting the players hyped and ready for the finale shouldn’t be a problem. But, head coach Marvin Lewis has had issues with motivation in the past. That’s one of the reasons a fresh start is needed for the 2018 season.
Dropping a downer in the midst of the Bengals’ final game of the season seems downright disrespectful. But, actually, it’s not. Amid the rumors and denials of what Lewis will do at the end of the season, there has to be some sort of understanding. At this point, it’s not clear if he’s staying or going. What do we as fans know? Lewis hasn’t talked to Mike Brown about the situation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much. In years prior, Lewis and Brown didn’t talk about contracts and Marv was back on the sidelines.
Another inside job?
Just because Lewis says he doesn’t know his future, he has to be prepared for something. There’s an old saying that goes ‘Fail to plan and plan to fail.’ Lewis isn’t the type of man to do that. In fact, even with his marginal success as Bengals coach, he’s planned for things that just didn’t pan out. Please don’t hit me with the halftime adjustment talk. I’m well aware of that insanity. But, Lewis is ready for something.
The NFL is gearing up for the rumor mills to shift into overdrive. In fact, Arizona Cardinals HC Bruce Arians is supposed to be in his final season. As a result, there will be tons of social media fallout linking Arians with the “open” position that will happen with the Bengals.
Honestly, the chances of that happening are as good as Jon Gruden having Mikey Boy on speed dial. It just ain’t happenin’ anytime soon. But, it’s always fun to dream.
There are also rumors building about Lewis moving into the Bengals’ front office. Well, that’s one way to keep him from wandering the sidelines (maybe).
But, it’s not rocket science. The Bengals need to get new faces and fresh schemes in place for the 2018 season. Depending on the same old internal promotions has gotten this team nowhere. Old school fans remember and understand the Bill Walsh incident. That was a goof-up which could have brought a dynasty to the shores of the Ohio River. The most recent seems to be Mike Zimmer.
Is it too late?
When Lewis came aboard as one of the hottest new coaches, in 2003, he had the fire and tons of juice. But, now it seems like he’s just biding his time until the season is over.
Yet, there seems to be a discrepancy in what should happen with Lewis after the season. Of course, there are the fans who want to see him tossed out and shipped his belongings in a U-Haul. But, there are players who still believe in him. Is that due to his nature of being a “player’s coach” or fear of a disciplinarian taking over?
"“He’s been a wonderful mentor. He’s taught me a lot. He always pushed me. If he doesn’t come back it’s going to mean a lot to me because he meant a lot to me,” George Iloka admitted. “If he doesn’t re-sign or come back, he left this place better than how he found it.”"
And then there’s Carlos Dunlap’s take on the matter.
"“He’s been a great mentor. I would love to see him come back. The decision is his to make. Whatever happens, is going to happen.”"
If Marvin could do a Babe Ruth and promise the Bengals will be making a trip to Atlanta in 2019, that would convince a few more people to keep him on the field. Until then, it’s anyone’s guess.