You won’t catch me agreeing with Stephen A. Smith too often.
The ESPN personality is known for is outrageously hot takes that are meant to draw in viewers during a slower period of TV audiences.
Still, on First Take this morning, Smith talked about the Marvin Lewis situation in a fashion only he could:
Now, of course, Smith starts out with his exaggeration. Although in this case, it isn’t even that exaggerated for Smith standards.
He starts out by saying he should’ve been fired three years ago. That would’ve been following the Bengals’ loss to the Colts in the Wild Card, and even though it was the Bengals fourth straight playoff loss, it happened without A.J. Green, who was injured. You could’ve made a case to get rid of him then, but it wasn’t that earth shattering that he stayed.
Two years ago the Bengals lost to the Steelers in the infamous 2015 Wild Card loss that included the Bengals imploding at the end of a very winnable game. In hindsight you can make a great case for Lewis leaving following that season.
It was clear he didn’t have the control over this team that you would like. Although the offseason that followed is what has caused the Bengals so much grief these past two season.
The Bengals lost Hue Jackson to the Browns. Then, Marvin Jones Jr. and Mohamed Sanu took their leave as well turning what once was a strength of the Bengals into a weakness.
2016 was the first time the Bengals missed the playoffs in five seasons, and any other coach would probably be fired. However, Lewis was seemingly given one last chance to turn this team around. Mike Brown did not offer Lewis his annual one-year extension to his contract.
Although Smith eventually gets to what every Bengals fan is thinking today, and that is there is no reason we should even be considering Lewis as the head coach next season. We watched this team fail to meet their own standards for two straight seasons, and a to of the blame falls right on the coaching staff.
The Bengals (0-3) start was largely due to the team coming into the season with an awful plan of action. They failed to even try and cover up any of their weaknesses. Instead, they just went out there and attempted to just run the same game plan as last season.
The biggest problem was the failure to infuse this team with the youth they had brought in until it was too late. Jeremy Hill was still receiving carries and wasting drives until he opted for season-ending surgery.
William Jackson didn’t really get to play until injuries riddled the secondary, and Carl Lawson had to explode onto the scene in Week 3 against the Packers in order to get playing time.
All of this is without even mentioning the huge mismanagement of John Ross who was benched during a critical Week 2 game because he fumbled. Even though the fumble was a great hit, and really hard to put on Ross being careless with the Ball.
Ross didn’t play another snap, and the Bengals already had Tyler Boyd as a healthy scratch. The team decided it was more important to try and beat the Texas with one hand tied behind their backs and teach Ross a lesson than win the game.
Lewis has done a ton for the Bengals, but the fact we are sitting here with the possibility of coming back next season is a “damn shame” as Smith said himself.
Hopefully, that is the first and last time I find myself quoting Smith, but that is what these Bengals have done to me.