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Walker: Bengals Head Coach Lewis Named Best Grinder in AFC North

ESPN has been running a series of "Best in the NFL" posts breaking players in each division down into categories and picking the best players or coaches in those categories.

Most recently AFC North blogger picked five categories to judge AFC North coaches on. Those categories are Best Ego Manager, Best Grinder, Best Hair, Best Coach-GM Tandem and Best Post-Game Interview.

Yes, I said best hair. That wasn't a joke.

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was named the best grinder of the AFC North coaches.

Best Grinder: Cincinnati Bengals fans have been hot and cold on head coach Marvin Lewis, but one thing you can't deny is his work ethic. Due to the way the Bengals are set up as an organization, Lewis has to grind and deal with more than most head coaches. He has to combat heavy-handed ownership. Cincinnati's scouting staff also is very thin, which puts extra pressure on the coaching staff to examine college players. The Bengals also do not sign big-name free agents or devote the same resources to other areas -- such as hiring a general manager or building an indoor practice facility -- as many other teams. Despite several things being stacked against him, Lewis has produced two playoff teams in his eight seasons in Cincinnati. Before Lewis arrived in 2003, the Bengals went 12 consecutive years without the postseason.

Lewis' time in Cincinnati and his ability to keep pushing forward definitely makes him fit the bill of a grinder and even though he probably hasn't found the success he hoped he would as the Bengals' head coach, the Bengals have been much better under Lewis than they have under any other head coach in the Mike Brown era.

In that way, it's kind of like Lewis is continually swimming through a lazy river against the current. There have been small signs recently, though, that the current may be getting weaker allowing Lewis to move easier. Hopefully that's the case and the Bengals, and more specifically Marvin Lewis, can move on from something other than being good grinders.