When the Cincinnati Bengals announced that they signed Marvin Lewis to a one-year extension, keeping the head coach signed through 2016, there was an assortment of differing opinions:
1) Lewis provides continuity and that's important in a league that's constantly defined by change.
2) Lewis is one of the more successful regular season coaches in franchise history.
3) Lewis shouldn't have been extended until he wins his first playoff game.
4) Lewis shouldn't have been extended because his laugh irritates me.
Regardless, Peter King opined that a one-year extension makes sense but doesn't shy away from the usual talking points that stand against Lewis.
Does he need to win in the playoffs? Absolutely. Losing in the playoff opener four years in a row isn’t good, nor should it be something anyone with the franchise accepts. If Mike Brown were a Steinbrenner, Lewis would have been gone after last season. But I refuse to blame this all or even mostly on Lewis. The Steelers and Ravens start first-round quarterbacks who have played great in multiple playoff games, and both have won Super Bowls. Andy Dalton hasn’t—yet. I’m not putting the blame for that on Marvin Lewis. Now, I would put the blame on him for so solidly standing behind Dalton, without any consequence for his lousy January play. The Bengals need to draft a challenger to Dalton, not necessarily to hand him the job but to say, If we're going to be better than we’ve been, we need to be better everywhere, including at quarterback. To be clear: I'm not absolving Lewis of blame for never getting past the first playoff game. But I’m putting more of that blame on the quarterback than on the head coach.
I'm buying into that.