The use of the team's final timeout against the New Orleans Saints has come under a lot of scrutiny during the past few days. With 22 seconds left in the game, a four-point deficit and 51 yards to win the game, Carson Palmer connected with Brian Leonard on a 14-yard screen pass. With direction to spike the football, rather than using their final timeout, Palmer brought the offense to the line. As they were still lining up, the Bengals finally called a timeout with eight seconds left in the game, watching between 7-8 seconds tick needlessly away.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis called in at Dickmann's during Bengals Line on Monday Night. Lance McAlister asked the reasonable question, "Coach, is it reasonable then for fans to wonder how a quarterback in his eighth year who is the face of the franchise making $100 million, doesn't call timeouts?"
"Because he doesn't need to worry about that," replied Lewis. "He needs to go on to the next play because he's directing guys to get lined up. And for him to have to worry about 'do I need to call a timeout or not' he's not looking at the entire picture of that whole situation. There's a lot more into it than that and that's the way we've always practiced it and that's the way we go about it and frankly, that's the way every team in the NFL goes about it."
The question before, Lance asked if the coaches have always been the ones that called timeouts. "That's always been the case, yea," said Lewis. "Coaches can call timeouts, so it's much easier for him not to worry about that. We'll give him direction of, as we told him as we went in, anything in bounds we want to clock it so we can maintain the timeout and the opportunity to get the next play off."
Dave Lapham followed up the questions about timeouts about the fact that there was only one left. "When you talk about timeouts," Lapham said, "I know that you probably wish that there were others that you could of had at the end of the football game and for various reasons they weren't available to you. That had to be frustration."
"Well, they weren't available and that's part of it, Dave," said Lewis. "They were used at other points in the game to get other things done and straightened out. That's part of the game."
Lewis has said this week that the lack of timeouts was mostly substitution issues. However, not allowing your quarterback to call a timeout because he's already tasked with lining everyone up is borderline absurd. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe Palmer's issue isn't one of leadership. Maybe Willie Anderson was right when he said: "A lot of time leaders on those teams were told to stand down and down get on certain players becuz it would mess up Chemistry!"