Marvin Lewis has done an incredible thing with the Bengals. He grabbed them by the collar and led them from the cellar of the NFL to the team that has made the playoffs five of the last six season. Yeah, Cincinnati has become a regular in the NFL post season. Some teams and their fans would kill for that kind of output.
Yet, the story ends the same way. In 2005 and in 2014, the seasons ended with bad injuries. 2005 was to the quarterback and receiver on one play against the Steelers. 2014 was a slow chipping away of the roster on a weekly basis to the IR. Standing on their own, these really are two excusable seasons.
Yet, we can't and shouldn't excuse them. This is the narrative of a Marvin Lewis coached Bengals team. We see it in the post season, we see it in primetime. The Bengals falter when the lights are on and the stage is big. This has been the continuing theme as a Marvin Lewis coached theme.
The other seasons the Bengals have made the playoffs they faced a Houston Texans team that was lucky, the Colts were no good to win their division. The Bengals looked like the better team heading into those games. They also faced a San Diego Chargers team and New York Jets who that limped into the playoffs with help. Yet, the outcome was always the same. The Bengals lose and really were not competitive doing it. Post game quotes from members of these teams tell the story of how they knew what the Bengals were going to do.
In one playoff game against Houston, the offensive game plan was to keep the ball out of A.J. Green's hands. The Bengals literally did not allow their best player to be involved in the offense for almost three quarters of the game. This may have been a really bad plan by the offensive coordinator, but, this is a plan that Marvin Lewis signed off on.
We all recognize Marvin is a very good talent evaluator. He is responsible for giving Adam Jones another opportunity. He plucked Vontaze Burfict from free agents no one wanted to give a chance and he consistently hits the mark with the Bengals draft needs.
Then he struggles with clock management, motivation and game day decisions. Like, why do the Bengals have an all pro kick returner that has to split the return duties almost 50 percent of the time with a guy that struggles so much in the same arena? Why are the Bengals so unprepared for the big games, while the opponents look like they know everything the Bengals are going to do?
Marvin should be congratulated for the respectability he has brought to the team. I would be good if his role were to morph into a GM type position. That being said, I think it is time to make a change for the Bengals and this is where it should be made. The Bengals need that kick in the butt that takes them to the next level. Much like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did with Tony Dungy, the Bengals could make a move to get them over the hump.
Marvin Lewis is a good coach and has proven that with the Bengals. He would probably easily catch on somewhere else and be given even more freedom than he has in Cincinnati. His pay day would probably greatly increase too. The problem is, there is no motivation to get rid of him for Mike Brown. The Bengals have been wildly successful in the regular season. This is what you expect from your football team.
So my case is that Marvin Lewis takes that next step for himself. No more Cincinnati extensions. It looks like he has taken this team as far as he can. Marvin is a good company man. We may never know exactly what his decisions were or what they could have been. In order to get that full control, he would need to go else where. I encourage him to do so.