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Marvin Lewis failed? No. The Bengals failed.

Mark published a note he received from a Browns fan that said:

In my opinion, Marvin Lewis has absolutely no right whatsoever to berate anyone. Preparing a team mentally for a football game is the coaching staff's responsibility, and the Bengals were not the least bit prepared. One small example of this is when the Bengals were called for having too many men on the field during the first play of a quarter. There is no excuse for that, and Marvin Lewis needs to be held accountable for his failures, rather than passing all of the blame off to his players.

Marvin Lewis, being the head coach and supposed general of the Cincinnati Bengals, is ultimately responsible for each failure and success. Every manager and director is responsible for their people's actions, inactions and reactions. That's the nature of leadership. I even wrote a few days ago that the Bengals need leadership hinting towards Lewis' inability to redirect the storm that hit Cincinnati hard. That, to me, is where his leadership faltered. Not during the game. Not during the clubhouse's explosion.

At the same time, I do believe players are responsible. Players, not coaches, are the ones that drop third-down passes, miss a tackle, whiff on a block, miscommunicate on passes that are intercepted. The coach coaches. The players play. If players play miserably, well, I have to point towards the players for, you know, playing miserably. If the team lacks a feasible and workable game plan and comes into the game completely unprepared, then you point towards the coaching staff.

I believe that Marvin is justified to call out his players. All great coaches have done it. But if you look around the successful teams, not only do they have a great coach, but they have great player leadership. Do you think Bill Belichick is the sole leader of the Patriots? Tony Dungy? Bill Cowher? Sam Wyche?

I still believe this team lacks leadership. And I don't mean a single, mountain-top, leader. I mean leaders. I don't mean wide receivers going after their quarterbacks ultimately assuming blame nearly two days after the quarterback had settled the dispute to the media. I don't mean other wide receivers noticeably deflecting questions with responses of that's the "coach's job".

I guess the short-sightedness of seeking someone, a single individual, to blame for failures is a pet peeve of mine. This is a team. And this team failed. So point your finger at this team, not just Marvin Lewis.