A published short essay in the Springfield News-Sun checked off all the things that drives him crazy about Marvin Lewis. Two took center-stage: the developed roster and Lewis' attitude towards the media. Worry not my friends. The 1,228 word piece does have a compliment. Stewie's theory dictates, while practicing it during Brian's telemarketing job performance review, that you sandwich a negative between two pieces of positive bread. Some of you have no idea what I'm talking about. Me? I'm shredding it. The only positive I can export is the possibility that football players are also astrophysicists.
On Lewis' responding to the name of Chris Henry. The piece quotes Lewis as saying "Who? ... He's not on our team" in regards to Chris Henry. Not only did the piece fail to put the quotes in context, but I truly do not remember that. Did it happen recently? I remember him saying of Odell Thurman in early January: "Odell is not a member of this football team...". Perhaps that's it. He's forgotten how many cases of amnesia he's suffered in response to Thurman's name. I don't remember Lewis having amnesia with Chris Henry. If I missed it, well, my bad. It's entirely possible. But I'm also not sure how you get the two confused when Henry floats around the country with "1" and "5" on the shirts he goes clubbing in.
"One theory is Lewis wanted to upgrade the talent so much he took guys with questionable character." I agree. But most teams you see are a "victim" of that theory taking talent over character. This has become an NFL trait. Not simply the Bengals. A trait, however, most would like see controlled. It's a fair point. Not a complete one. But fair enough.
"His defense hasn't gotten much better, but Lewis is more defensive. Earlier this season, he told his players not to explain certain things because reporters wouldn't understand them anyway. Classy." Who cares about classy? Was Paul Brown classy? Listen to Bob Trumpy stories. Paul Brown is the father of modern football. But no one goes directly out of their way to talk about Brown's class. Classy is that pretty ball of yarn that never unwinds. Pretty with no purpose. Classy is the intermission between acts. But answering a question with a question, I ask: "Would you rather have a classy coach or a head coach that makes a difference?" Dick LeBeau was plenty classy. AND WE HATED HIM AS A HEAD COACH. And I know what you're going to say. Well, Lewis really hasn't made a difference. Doesn't win much. Has only one winning record. You got me there. But ask yourself this. Take the time machine back to week #17 in 2002 and fast-forward to 2007. Difference? Absolutely.
And yes, this goes back to me suggesting that we not take Lewis' attitude towards the media so franticly. Or, dare I use the word, seriously.
National commentators — ex-jocks who understand football's astrophysics [Kirkendall: scratching head] more than mere reporters — are saying things like the Bengals are out of control and the coaches are losing them. Thank god those football astrophysicists have no names. Otherwise, Stuart Scott's knowledge would be out of this world, yo.
[Personal note: Why is it that the media sometimes flaunts a very noticable flaw: the inability to accept that you're not always an expert on the topic your reporting or discussing. And before you go after me, just remember, I'm a blogger, not a reporter. Big difference. In fact, many bloggers feel insulted when grouped as "media". Modern bloggers -- most political and sports -- were born of their distaste for the media, not their desire to join it. If anyone in the media reads this, I'm sorry. It's not personal. It's just business, baby.]
The commentary ends, "Lewis is a good coach. This team could bounce back. But win or lose, that snippy attitude doesn't play with fans. Who Dey? The ones who buy tickets, that's who." What?! Are fans seriously considering giving back their season tickets because Lewis is snippy with the press. Hold on. (startling screech of hysterics takes out half of the North-side). Hold on, hold it, hold back, hold down, wait, stop, check, clog, cork it, fill it, zip it brake while I laugh, deride, gibe, crackle, mock, scoff and cachinnate.
Fans care about winning. Not some press conference days after an embarrassing loss on national television. The media made a big deal about this. So much so, now some are going Dan Rather on our asses.
However, Jerricho Cotchery said of the Jets offense in the first half. "We were just in another world." Hummm. Astrophysicists? Possible. Feasible. Workable. Viable. Imaginable.
Chick Ludwig heard what Mort said too.
Bengals fans were vocal in their criticism of Johnson all week on sports talk shows, saying Johnson's on-field antics are wearing thin.
"You know me," Johnson said. "So there's no need to pay that any attention. It's the nature of the beast. When you're against me, you add fuel to my fire."
Alrighty then. Don't let it bother you. In the meantime, hearing the smoke pouring from this story will only make a bigger fire. We'll see how it turns out. But when fans keep hearing off the wall gibber-jab that Chad will be traded, then suddenly confirmed, it makes us fans take notice. Having been a long-time fan of Chick's stuff, I'm sure he'll ensure we remember this in the coming months.
Marvin Lewis did respond to Mort.
"There's always truth in anything that's said."
Hate to say it Chad. But we proved that wrong in the article mentioned earlier in this post.
Chad was sad about Daugherty's piece though.
"To think someone who actually had a year to deal with me and write my book, going home and spending time with my grandma," Johnson said, "understanding my background, understanding where I came from, understanding knowing the ins and outs and knowing all the struggles I've been through to get to this point and write what he wrote yesterday, you've got to be kidding me. You've got to be kidding me. You've got to be kidding me."
MSNBC.com listed three reasons that the Bengals are off to a bad start. Number one, injury. Check. Number two, suspensions. Check. Number three, responding poorly to adversity. Check. Very sound reasons. Dan Pompei says, "There have been rumors that Lewis would welcome the hiring of a general manager. And it probably wouldn't be a bad thing. The Bengals could use someone to give the organization more direction and take some of the pressure off Lewis."
Wait? There's rumors with the Bengals?
The New York Times, the country's "classy" version of hard-knock politics, wrote an entire story on Darrelle Revis's... penalties.
Speaking of Chris Henry, he could start practicing again Wednesday. Lewis suggests that Perry could also. Dexter Jackson and Willie Anderson are fine after Sunday's game. Expected to start against Pittsburgh. Who knows about Rudi Johnson, Caleb Miller and Ahmad Brooks. [Bengals.com]