+ Though not entirely urgent, and perhaps destined for a back-row storyline until the end of the season, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis admitted on Thursday to the lack of discussions regarding a contract extension. Conclusions can be drawn for the reasoning, but we believe that would be premature.
If negotiations follow the same journey that they did in 2011, then Lewis may require satisfaction with an added set of demands. These demands, if we believe them to exist similarly to the ones reported in 2011, benefits the Bengals because in a very real sense, it maintains an evolution. Just remind yourself what's happened since January 2011.
Now if the team is culpable for the lack of discussions (which we don't believe), some may argue for the promotion of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer or offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. They're the most logical and natural candidates. At the same time Gruden had an opportunity to put his name in the running for a head coaching position, but elected to sign a three-year extension over the offseason because he didn't feel ready. Maybe next year.
Though Zimmer is loved in Cincinnati, we don't know about his relationship with the front office. His bluntness may generate friction. Whether it's true or not, they're variables you have to consider.
It's rare in today's NFL that head coaches stay with the same team for ten years. Eventually coaches lose the team, players tune out or an infusion of new blood is desperately needed. If the events of last year didn't happen (new players developing a new foundation, playoffs, veterans following Lewis' lead), then we'd argue his time in Cincinnati has concluded. However there is new blood, there's no indication that the team is tuning out and ask yourself this: Have you felt more anticipation about the regular season like you do right now?