This week in review was a misappropriation. Over the week, I came to discover I was in the minority. I didn't fault Lewis for his critical press conference performance. I let it go as a head coach still ticked off after Sunday's performance responding to questions demanding obvious answers of who to blame. He was the target as a bad guy -- he should be held completely responsible -- after converting a non-issues into a hot-topic.
Marvin Lewis should be fired?
No joke. There are fans that promote this. They write in caps. They speak in random musings. They talk about Lewis' inability to make the playoffs in three seasons. They talk about how Lewis hasn't built that GREAT defense.
But what worries me with this thought, is what happens next? Does Mike Brown search? Or does Katie Blackburn hold her objection card like before and hire a good one? Does the team go after an established NFL head coach, or a college coach? Or an inside job that promoted such incompetence in recent memory. No one knows. All that's cared about is firing Lewis. The rest is secondary.
It's not whether or not the Bengals should fire Lewis in the anti-Lewis crowd. The question should go one further, "What do you believe should happen next?" Go ahead, you have all season to think about it. If that's all you want to think about.
Fire Chuck Bresnahan!
And hire who? The Bengals have had little stability with defensive coaches. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that it's not the system that hampers the Bengals defense. It's the talent. And I'm not saying they're short on talent. Many players have talent in their own right. And I still believe that injury is a valid excuse over a lack of talent or the system -- look at linebackers. Two starters could be players that were without a job.
Note: I don't believe in status quo, but a week 2 performance in 2007 shouldn't dictate the entire future of this team.
When you have so much money tied into the offense, you're limited on defense -- and fatally hampered on special teams. That gives the defense run-of-the-mill guys that are affordable at their position. And those second team defensive players, players that allow the salary cap to remain friendly, are those that play on the league's worst special teams unit.
Think of this concern also. Landon Johnson and Justin Smith, arguably two of the team's better defenders, are unrestricted free agents next year. Contracts also expire for Madieu Williams, Bryan Robinson, Keiwan Ratliff and Rashad Jeanty. The largest "deal" is Smith's $8.644 million franchise contract. He will likely play with another team in 2008 considering Smith and the team failed to agree on any long-term deals. Williams could command decent money, but I would put my money on that he sticks around. Robinson and Ratliff would only be signed if they failed to find a replacement. I have no idea about Landon though.
That's all rubbish anyway. My point is that if this defense struggles now with defensive talent that's affordable, then 2008 will probably be status quo.
Back to Bresnahan. Who would you get? Do you really believe it's the system that's putting defenders out of place or mental mistakes? Furthermore, do you think rotating defensive coordinators would help? Yes? How? Sometimes you have to look at the overall talent before demanding the team fire its defensive coordinator. We did that once already and we're still at the same point we were.
You lose a game by 6 points allowing the other team to score 51 points and target Lewis' press conference? Most, if not all the media, took offense from Lewis' curt and condescending answers.
Asked if we'll see improvements on the field.
"You just wrote all about it last week. We were the '85 Bears a week ago. I tell the players all the time, don't try to explain it to you (media), because you don't understand it. And as I've always said, you're never as good as you seem to be after a win, and never as bad as you seem to be after a loss. So we just need to play football -- make our corrections and move forward."
But look at some of the questions.
- The defense talks about making corrections, but when will we see it on the field?
- Two things you talked about earlier, finishing and consistency. Does it frustrate you when those two things don't happen?
- What in your mind is the biggest reason players make mental errors?
It's not that the press is asking bad questions, per say. It's that these questions prompt coach-speak. They invite obvious answers. And after losing the way they did, the head coach isn't going to be a vase of roses.
Eventually, the press spoke about Lewis' performance at a press conference for two days. He was a target in a game between a married couple. Lewis had to admit obvious answers -- mostly accepting blame -- while the press found a stand up guy in Chuck Bresnahan admitting the things that the press had sought all along.
"It's a frustrating deal, but put it on me. For some reason, we blew very simple adjustments that we did the entire offseason. There was nothing special in this game plan. To not execute, I take that personally, because I really believe the way you play is a direct reflection of the way you're coached."
Perhaps in hindsight, Lewis should have played nice to avoid the expected over-reaction. This isn't the last time the focus goes from game to press conference within this city. After this week, I think the Bengals lost against Cleveland, but I know that Marvin Lewis is pure evil in this city.
Linebackers are hurting... badly.
The linebacker position is taking another hit with Ahmad Brooks and Lemar Marshall listed as doubtful -- neither practiced this week. Curnutte says that Marshall has a "better chance at playing" than Brooks. Still, not encouraging. After the Bengals waived Andre Frazier (picked up by the Steelers), they signed Dhani Jones. Going into Sunday's game against Seattle, if Brooks and Marshall sit, that would leave Landon Johnson, Caleb Miller, Anthony Schlegel and Jones. Yikes.
Officially out: LB Rashad Jeanty (shin), S Ethan Kilmer (knee), WR Tab Perry (hamstring)
Henry's troubles: It was reported that Henry had a reportedly stolen car in his driveway. So far, little has come of it. Henry rented a car from Hertz but claimed they didn't receive the money for it and reported it stolen. Henry thought the insurance company was picking up the tab and hadn't.
But... "An officer spotted a car he did not recognize parked in the Cincinnati Bengal’s driveway, ran the license plates and discovered the car had been reported stolen by a rental-car company." I didn't realize that cops used powerful memory skills of car's make and models when passing by Bengals homes. More so, I didn't realize all cars in personal driveways required the cops to know that it should, or shouldn't be there.
Again, not much was made of it and I doubt anything comes of it. Unless the Mustachioed Man returns.
Sad, sad story. James Francis owes $905,000 in back child-support. Remember James Brooks? He had to pay over $100,000 in back child support for children of two mothers. The fire storm came when he claimed he was illiterate. The system failed him and he became the victim.
T.J., not Chad, is the best receiver on this team.
Johnson marvels at Houshmandzadeh's ability to make tough yards after the catch and his willingness to take a hit.
"His toughness is different," Johnson said. "I'm talking about carrying one guy and another guy hitting him, and he's still trying to get extra yards. It's something I would like to be able to do, but my body is not built to take that kind of pounding. I'd never make it through the course of the season."
I agree. T.J revealed this offseason that he finished the last four games in 2006 with four cracked bones in his back. Saying T.J. is tough, would be an understatement.