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Bengals Bytes (12/18): Needs for this offseason

It is never too early to take a look at what the Bengals will need this offseason. It is the right time for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals to part ways.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

2018 NFL Draft: Cincinnati Bengals team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch
The Bengals lost a lot of talent last offseason, and while the hope was that younger players would step up and fill roster holes after the team didn't do much in free agency, the house of cards instead collapsed, leaving the Bengals with back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2007-8. They appeared to find a few long-term pieces in last year's draft but got nothing from top-10 pick John Ross. Now, they might have another top-10 pick to play with in 2018. How will they approach the offseason? Let's dive into it.

Zimmer, Vikings clinch division at expense of Lewis, Bengals
Mike Zimmer has a second NFC North title in his fourth year in Minnesota, with the Vikings just a few wins away from becoming the first team in history to play in a home-stadium Super Bowl. Zimmer’s mentor, Marvin Lewis, is simply winding down a wince-inducing season that could be the last of his 15 years as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Marvin Lewis out: Here are seven candidates Bengals should look at to replace him
It's going to be an interesting offseason in Cincinnati now that Marvin Lewis is reportedly done with the Bengals. For the first time in 15 years, the Bengals are going to have to conduct a coaching search, which is always an adventure in Cincinnati and that's mainly because of the way the team's ownership is structured under Mike Brown. Basically, Brown is the entire structure and he has final say on all decisions.

Marvin Lewis planning to leave Cincinnati Bengals after season
After 15 seasons in Cincinnati that have made him the longest-tenured head coach in franchise history, Marvin Lewis is planning to leave the Bengals after this season to pursue opportunities elsewhere, league sources told ESPN. As he has done in the past, Lewis willingly opted to enter 2017 on the final year of his contract, but unlike in other years, this time he is planning to leave Cincinnati, sources said.

Brennan: Lewis is both the best coach and the most disappointing - WCPO Cincinnati, OH
CINCINNATI -- Ask people for the day when the once-so-promising Marvin Lewis’ Bengals took a downward turn that couldn’t be reversed, and you’ll likely get the ghoulish and wickedly disappointing playoff collapse vs. Pittsburgh in January 2016.

Bengals at Vikings Postgame Quotes
I think going in to the football game there are things we’ve got to get done. First off, [we] give them the ball first and they go down and score a touchdown. Then we come back and we don’t convert [on] third down. We go down and actually get the stop defensively, then we come back and we have the interception on offense. Those things put ourselves behind a little bit in the football game. We’re just playing catch-up and it was unfortunate. We don’t want to get in a situation in this football game and you know, I took the fourth on a half-yard and we don’t convert that fourth down, which was a huge play and defense does a nice job and holds them to a field goal there.

Vikings dominate, 34-7
Kicking the game off with a report that head coach Marvin Lewis isn’t coming back for a 16th season, his offense went nearly on track for its worst performance in his 15 seasons when the Bengals promptly fell behind the Vikings, 24-0, in the game’s first 25 minutes generating all of 35 yards, a first down, three sacks and five three-and-outs on seven possessions on the way to a 34-7 loss.

Mixed messages seem to fuel disconnect between Marvin Lewis, players
The saga of Marvin Lewis resembled something of a circus on Sunday afternoon. Lewis denied a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who was told by sources that Lewis plans to leave Cincinnati at the conclusion of his contract. Lewis' contract, along with those of several assistants, expires at the end of the season.

Bengals hit low point, drop third straight in wake of news Marvin Lewis is leaving
It seems the Marvin Lewis era will conclude with a whimper. The Bengals reached a new low in franchise history on Sunday afternoon with an 34-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, just hours after ESPN's Adam Schefter broke news that Lewis plans to leave at the conclusion of the season.

Timing is right for Marvin Lewis and Cincinnati Bengals to part ways
It was time for the Bengals and Marvin Lewis to part ways. Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Lewis plans to leave the Bengals at the conclusion of his contract after this season to seek other opportunities, whether that ends up being in coaching or in a potential front-office position. It will mark the end of a 15-season run for Lewis and the Bengals, the second-longest active head-coaching tenure behind Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

AFC North Bytes

Four takeaways help Ravens put away winless Browns, 27-10, stay on pace in AFC wild-card race
The anxious moments for the Ravens lasted a little more than five minutes in the second quarter Sunday afternoon. The Cleveland Browns turned away the Ravens with a goal-line stand and then went the length of the field to score a touchdown. Suddenly, the Browns had a lead and the home fans who decided to show up — and there weren’t many of them — believed that this Sunday could be different from so many others for the franchise.

Hue Jackson Thinks It's a 'Fair Question' If DeShone Kizer 'Will Ever Get It'
Cleveland Browns rookie DeShone Kizer still hasn't proved he can be an NFL starting quarterback, and his coach is apparently waiting to see more. "He has some work to do," Hue Jackson said after Sunday's game, per Mary Kay Cabot of "I think that's a fair question if he'll ever get it. I think he will, but he has to keep working."

Antonio Brown Taken to Hospital After Suffering Calf Injury vs. Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown suffered a calf injury during Sunday's contest against the New England Patriots and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Further tests revealed Brown has a partial tear in his calf muscle, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who added that while it's "unlikely" he plays in Week 16, Brown is expected to play in the playoffs.

Random Bytes

NFL Playoffs 2017-18: Updated Standings, Bracket Picture and Scenarios
No teams is flying higher than the Philadelphia Eagles through 15 weeks of the 2017-18 NFL season. Despite losing quarterback Carson Wentz to a torn ACL in Week 14, the Eagles defeated the New York Giants 34-29 on Sunday behind four touchdown passes from backup Nick Foles, good enough to clinch a first-round bye in the postseason and maintain their status as the top seed in the NFC.

Jerry Richardson Puts Panthers Up for Sale Amid Misconduct Allegations
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced in a statement Sunday on the team's official website he will sell the franchise at the end of the 2017 NFL season. The move comes after Sports Illustrated's L. Jon Wertheim and Viv Bernstein reported Richardson had paid out settlements to resolve allegations he acted inappropriately at the workplace.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys Escape with Win vs. Raiders After Late Derek Carr Fumble
Sometimes it takes a little luck in the NFL playoff race, and the Dallas Cowboys had plenty of it on their side Sunday during a 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Alameda Coliseum. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr lunged for the end zone with 31 seconds remaining for what likely would have been the game-winning touchdown, but he lost control and fumbled through the end zone for a touchback—clinching the win for the visitors.