Urgency has become a normal theme for much of Marvin Lewis’ recent tenure.
Despite rumors of retirement and hot-seat talk, Lewis will be back as the Bengals’ head coach for the 2017 season, but the urgency to win will be as great as it’s ever been during his 15 years in the Queen City.
Such is life in the NFL, and Lewis is fine with having added pressure next season. Earlier this offseason, Lewis expressed that he wanted another contract extension this offseason.
“We’d like to agree to something at some point,” Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquire about his desire to receive a contract extension. “It puts, I think, everybody’s mind at ease going forward for their futures. A lot of the people in the building, it makes it easier on them.”
But, now Lewis is saying he’s also fine going into next season without an extension, as 2017 is the final year of his deal.
“I don’t think it’s critical or crucial,” Lewis said of an extension, via Bengals.com. “If things work out we would look to do that. I think some people are sometimes more at ease with that. Maybe that’s not where we need to be. Maybe that’s not the right place for us to be right now … everybody is year-to-year, right?”
It would be much easier for Lewis and the Bengals to rebound from the 6-9-1 debacle in 2016 if Jeremy Hill regains his rookie magic from 2014. That year saw Hill take the league by storm as he carried Cincinnati into the playoffs, but he was a liability more often than not in 2016.
But not all of that can be blamed on Hill[‘s play. Lewis pointed to injuries and needing the coaches to do better as reasons why Hill shouldn’t shoulder as much blame as he has.
“A couple of years ago Jeremy was runner-up rookie of the year. I don’t think he became a bad player. We need to improve as coaches,” Lewis said. “Jeremy played injured last year and it probably got him into some bad habits.
“When we needed him to play he stayed in there and played. We knew internally he was hurt. A lot of guys wouldn’t have been able to deal with the pain that he dealt with the first and mid part of the season.”
Lewis also didn’t seem to think Rex Burkhead’s status in free agency will have any impact on Hill’s role with the team going forward, even though Lewis wants to see the impending free agent re-signed.
“We bet on him (Hill). We have no other choice. We bet on Jeremy to continue to progress and move forward,” Lewis said. “Our job is to try and re-sign Rex. That doesn’t affect Jeremy.”
Lewis and Hill both have a lot riding on their shoulders this coming season as Hill is also entering the final year of his deal. Perhaps that’s why Lewis seems intent on riding Hill again, for better or for worse.