Although it's not a shock that it would take a twelve-minute rant about Cincinnati's head coach to get the Bengals some attention from ESPN, it was interesting to watch. It was also nice to have someone else express my thoughts, in such compelling fashion.
All we seem to agree on as fans is that change is needed and three straight losses in the playoffs is unacceptable. We are better then that. We deserve better. We MUST be better. I'm not sure how many more first round losses we can take in a year that we have the talent to win a Super Bowl. The real argument comes when we try to decide how to fix the problem.
Is Marvin the only one to blame?
Should he take the most blame?
Who was really responsible for the offense? Who makes the half-time adjustments? Is Marvin responsible for Gruden's failures? Was it Gruden or do we have to let Marvin go? Are the coaches responsible for Dalton shrinking in prime time? Is that even something that can be coached out of someone?
I, for one, am a big advocate for Marvin Lewis, but NOT as a head coach.
He is the first coach to wrestle some measure of control from Mike Brown, and he used that control to build arguably the deepest roster in the NFL. A roster that lost it's two best defensive players and still had the third best defensive in the NFL. An offense with play makers at every position. The talent is undeniable. Marvin Lewis's contribution is undeniable.
Ironically Gruden is moving to Washington to take over their head coaching duties, and it appears Dalton and Lewis will be allowed to live out the final year of their respective contracts. Maybe after three winning seasons and the first time in Bengals history we have made it to the playoffs 3 consecutive seasons, they deserve that much. Maybe we're all too angry, disappointed, and dejected to think straight right now.
I think that both men have proved they can be successful in the regular season. Cincinnati has undoubtedly made progress in each of the last three seasons. However, we've also reached a point that improving each year isn't enough for a team that hasn't won a play off game since Jan. 6, 1991, a head coach that hasn't done it in 11 straight years, and a quarterback that has yet to show up in a prime time game.
There are a limited amount of years that our core players will be in their prime. We need to win NOW, and the question is....can Marvin and Dalton take us there? Stephan A. Smith has his answer, do you have yours?