A majority of Bengals fans want the team to move on from Marvin Lewis this offseason, and it seems like most of that group wants the team to head in a completely different direction.
ESPN made a bold prediction that the team won’t go that route. In a list of 26 bold predictions for 2018, ESPN writer Mike Sando predicted the Bengals to keep Lewis and move him into the front office, while former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson returns to Cincinnati.
22. Marvin Lewis will slide into a front-office role with the Bengals, clearing the way for the team to hire Hue Jackson as head coach
The reason: The Bengals are averse to change. They could move on from Lewis as coach without moving on from him entirely. Jackson is also familiar to them.
The caveat: Jackson is not yet available. He could be a tough sell as a head coach after posting a 1-30 record in Cleveland so far.
This would be probably one of the worst-case scenarios in my mind. This team needs a fresh voice and look in 2018. There is talent on this roster, but they haven’t been properly utilized for the past two seasons really.
How many times have we seen a terrible team bring in a new coach and all of the sudden they jump up to being a contender?
Too often to ignore the fact that it could work for this team as well. I get that change is scary, and that it doesn’t always turn out for the better, but doing what ESPN is projecting will keep this team in mediocrity at best.
The positives of this move is that Lewis hasn’t always had a bad drafting track record. The way this team runs it only takes one or two bad draft classes to run this team into the ground like we have seen.
It is really hard to tell between Mike Brown, Duke Tobin and Lewis who is responsible for drafting what player. Although with the way he has treated some of the better draft picks over the past few years it is hard to imagine he was on board with drafting guys like John Ross and William Jackson.
It does seem hard to believe that Lewis would be okay with stepping back from coaching like that. Admittedly, it could work out, but we will have years like we have had the past two years.
Jackson is an even harder sell as a head coach. Jackson has won nine games in three seasons as a head coach in the NFL. Eight of those wins came in 2011 with the Raiders. More recently he has only won one game with the Browns with only one game left in his second season.
Obviously, he wasn’t given the best roster his first year, and it is clear he hasn’t been a big fan of Deshone Kizer, but you can accidentally win a few games even if you are the worst team in the league. The Browns season has been filled with close calls that for one reason or another just never ended up in a win.
The only advantage to having Hue come back is his familiarity with Andy Dalton and other core members of this offense, but the last time he was calling plays for this offense he had a good offensive line and Marvin Jones Jr. and Mohamed Sanu to pair with A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert.
Jackson jumped ship right as the offense started to sink, so it is hard to say whether he could’ve replicated the 2014 and 2015 offense with these players at his disposal.
It would’ve been hard to do any worse.