May 11, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis watches work outs during mini camp at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis started fielding questions during minicamp this week about a contract extension. Lewis, who signed a two-year contract last year, is entering the final year of his current deal. Lewis admitted that there haven't been any discussions with front office "in a while" and when asked if he expects an extension before training camp, Lewis replied with honesty saying, "I don't know how to answer that." (trust me, that's as much as we get from someone like Lewis).
We supplemented the news with a brief commentary, suggesting that the lack of talks is mostly a non-story for right now, reflecting on events the last time his contract expired following the 2010 season could simply repeat after the 2012 regular season.
Sure the prospects of the team hiring a new coach is somewhat frightening (specifically picking a bad coach, with which there's plenty of history of), but there's more than enough reason to extend Lewis. He's put together, what we believe, is his best team yet. Sure the 2005 squad was an ACL (and MCL) away from going to the Super Bowl (as our hardcore fandom truly believes). But we also believe that this team has a much higher ceiling overall with personalities that are starving for success for the team, not individually. Lewis should be given the opportunity to see this through.
If the plan is to promote someone like Jay Gruden, then doesn't it make sense to allow Gruden more time under Lewis, observing how he handles the front office and build those relationships. The front office undeniably trusts Lewis' opinions and perspectives, allowing him far more freedom than they've given any coach (including when Paul Brown was strictly an owner). Gruden, who rejected head coaching opportunities because he didn't feel ready, has the greatest potential of any coach for the eventual promotion on this staff. But then if Gruden is promoted, how does Zimmer react to that? (we're guessing it starts with a lot of curse words).
Either way, as we said in our commentary earlier this week, all of this speculation is a waste of energy. Something will happen one way or the other and all we can do is focus on is our anticipation for this season.