Marvin Lewis is getting frustrated with losing.
Everyone in Cincinnati is getting frustrated with the Bengals losing.
In his postgame press conference on Sunday, Marvin Lewis said one of the most honest things he’s uttered during his time in Cincinnati and something many fans have long believed: what he’s doing and what the team has done is not enough to get the Bengals “over the hump”.
“I just know, with the amount of work and everything that everybody’s pouring into it, it’s disappointing for them,” Lewis said of the Bengals coming up short after notching their sixth loss of the season. “For us as coaches, it’s what we do. We’ve got to be resilient, we’ve got to bounce back. But I’ve got to get them to bounce back, and get prepared, and get through it, and move forward. You find a way to push it over the hump, feel good about it and go to the next week, but that’s not quite enough to get us over the hump with these things.”
For someone who says a whole lot of nothing in most press conferences, this is somewhat astounding for the Bengals head coach to say.
In past years, that hump has been winning in the playoffs. This year, it’s simply been winning regular season games. The Bengals stand at 3-6-1 heading into Week 12. That’s territory the Bengals haven’t encountered in years. 2010 was the last time the Bengals won less than 9 games in a season. And the 2010 and 2008 seasons in Cincinnati have been the only losing seasons since 2002's 2-14 year. One year later, Lewis was hired in 2003.
Lewis’ work in the regular season for the last five years has been nothing short of adequate, that’s putting it lightly. He does deserve praise for getting the Bengals to five straight playoff berths. That’s not easy to do and few teams in the NFL have such a streak. The Bengals have made it to the postseason for each of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green’s five years in Cincinnati. And for the first time since their arrival, it looks like the Bengals will not be returning to Wild Card weekend again this year.
For Lewis to admit what he’s done isn’t enough to get over the hump seems to be him realizing that his time in Cincinnati is running out. Assuming that’s true, which is a big assumption, it’s refreshing to hear him admit to being incapable of getting the Bengals “over the hump”.
On Monday in his press conference, Lewis went back to his more generic commentary to explain what the Bengals are doing wrong and why they can’t take advantage of the favorable AFC North standings.
“We continue to let opportunities slip away,” Lewis said. “At some point, we’ve got to go and win games, or we will be out of it. We’ve got to keep going. As coaches, we have to continue to pull the details out of our guys and pull the good plays out of our guys. Encourage, empower and get them going.”
It will be difficult to encourage, empower and get the 3-win Bengals going without their best player in A.J. Green and one of their most complete skill players in Giovani Bernard.
If Lewis can’t figure out how to get the Bengals “over the hump”, maybe it will be someone else’s job to do so next year.