The Bengals have reached the point in the season where all they are playing for is pride and evaluation.
However, Marvin Lewis is sticking with Andy Dalton like he has through Dalton’s entire Bengals career. The Bengals do have a promising backup in AJ McCarron on their bench.
But when asked by reporters on Monday if he’ll play McCarron over Dalton in the coming weeks, Lewis shot down any idea of it.
“No, I will not.”
McCarron is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason. Although, he could end up being unrestricted if his grievance goes through.
Either way, at the end of the season the Bengals will have to make a decision on McCarron’s future with the team. We still don’t know that much about McCarron either. He saw most of his action in 2015 when Andy Dalton went down with a thumb injury. He ended up finishing the season with six touchdowns and two interceptions while completing around 66 percent of his passes.
McCarron was also the quarterback for the infamous Steelers’ playoff game that season. He threw a go-ahead-touchdown late in the game to A.J. Green, but of course, tragedy struck through mental mistakes after that. It is hard to say McCarron was the reason the Bengals were in position to win that game for the Bengals, but he made the necessary plays when he needed to.
Of course, the Bengals almost parted ways with McCarron this season at the trade deadline, but the Browns front office messed up the trade process. The deal would have netted the Bengals second and third-round picks.
Part of that value was tied to his very affordable contract though, which will be gone after this season. What I’m getting at is the Bengals won’t be getting a deal better than that for McCarron this offseason or beyond. That is unless they allow him to play these final two weeks. He could really come out and play well, or he could kill his value by struggling behind an offensive line that has been torn to shreds.
I understand wanting to stick with your guy if you are Lewis. These are his final two games with the team, allegedly, and he doesn’t want to go out by just evaluating players.
That brings up a good question though. If Lewis isn’t committed to the future of this team, and the owners feel the next head coach is in house, then why is Marvin Lewis still coaching this team?
Why not give Paul Guenther or Darrin Simmons the last two weeks to show what they have, and allow them to evaluate players on this roster that are still question marks. The only reason they aren’t seems to be because they respect Lewis too much to tarnish his legacy by firing him in season.
I would say he lost that privilege when he came into this season with little to no idea how to properly put this roster into the proper situations. It took us most of the season to see Joe Mixon get the starting nod, and to get the offensive line to a stable place.
Now, he is refusing to do something that could end up being beneficial to the future of this team again, and it is just frustrating to see him go out like this.