Fox Sports' Peter Schrager wrote ten storylines for the NFL this coming season. Interestingly enough, Schrager's headline assured us that we wouldn't read about Brett Favre because, well, we're so interested in that. We know he's playing. We know he'll play in a uniform other than the color green. Sit back, have popcorn, an ice cream sandwich or a colossal three-pound cheeseburger (why not all?) and wait.
His second top storyline, believe it or not, is whether this will be Marvin Lewis' final season. Now the absurdity of questioning this in May aside, unless Lewis does worse in 2008, and that would be a hell of an accomplishment, we still don't see Mike Brown letting Lewis go. It's just not in his nature. The relationship between coach and owner has always been reportedly strong, even though they've shared public disagreements in the past. There's no report of tense "can't-work-together" issues that would make one believe that Lewis is on the hot seat. And having a single poor season, behind four mediocre seasons and one playoff appearance, four years removed, just isn't enough for Mike Brown.
With so much new talent coming into Cincinnati this year, Lewis might already have a reprieve, suggesting that this season is a rebuilding year, putting the new pieces in place and seeing what they have. There's also the issue of calling 2008 "one of those years", and no matter who the coach was, the season would have resulted the same. Finally, there's the question of, who replaces Lewis, which goes beyond suggesting the highest profile coaches that will be available.
I do agree that Lewis will have to deliver, or his contract won't be extended beyond 2010. Do I agree with the same urgency that Schrager does? No. Not really. He's suggesting Lewis is fired after this season. But hey, the Bengals had a strong offseason this year. They could surprise us again.