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Marvin Lewis wants you to “watch and see” what the Bengals do next

What’s in store for the rest of the Bengals’ season? We’ll just have to “watch and see,” according to the Bengals’ head coach/defensive coordinator.

Chicago Bears v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Bengals made headlines the day after losing 51-14 to the Saints by firing defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Even though Austin has only been with the team for nine games, the Bengals are on pace to have the worst defense in NFL history. So the Bengals parted ways with Austin and named Marvin Lewis the defensive coordinator for the rest of the season.

Lewis addressed the media on Monday afternoon, hours after news of Austin’s departure broke.

Lewis News Conference: 11/12

Lewis News Conference: 11/12

Posted by Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, November 12, 2018

With Lewis taking over the defensive play calling responsibilities, some wondered how he would juggle that with his regular head coaching duties.

“I’ve got a plan,” he said. “You just have to watch and see.”

Lewis was then asked if he would bring in another coach to add to the staff to help him out.

“You just have to watch and see.”

Finally, Lewis was asked specifically if he would bring in former Bengals offensive coordinator and recently-fired Browns head coach Hue Jackson.

“Watch and see.”

This one he said with a big smile.

We watched and saw quickly on that one as news came just hours later that Jackson will re-join the Bengals’ coaching staff.

The last time the Bengals made the playoffs, Jackson was on the coaching staff. He then went on to become the Browns’ head coach in 2016, where he went 3-36-1 over a span of two and a half seasons before losing his job in October.

Lewis did admit that he might need some help... from someone like Jackson.

“A lot of things happen on defense,” Lewis said. “I turned my back turned yesterday to the offense a couple times trying to bring the defense together and things happen. It could be whether or not we make a catch. Did we make a catch, did we not make a catch; did we make a first down, not make a first down? If I’ve got my back turned, I’ve to make a decision. Are we going for it? Are we in four down territory? I’ve to let Bill [Lazor] know, I’ve got to let the quarterback know he’s only got three downs here. Those kind of things. If I have my back turned making corrections or whatever, I can’t do that. So I’m going to try to minimize that as much as possible. I feel strongly that I have to make the correction and I have to coach the defense right now.”

Lazor is clearly going to have more responsibility managing the offense. But it sounds like if Lewis wants to successfully manage the defense, he is going to have to give up certain offensive duties. While there are several head coaches who call their offense’s plays, calling plays on defense is a different animal.

“Its different because on offense most of the decision are made. Most of the things happen on offense...The defense doesn’t decide if the offense is going for it on fourth down or so forth,” Lewis said.

Jackson could help Lazor with the offense, on things like whether or not to go for it on forth down, whether or not to punt or go for a field goal, or other decisions that defensive coordinators generally don’t make.

Jackson could also help with the defense, too. Nothing is out of the question. Whatever Lewis has up his sleeve, he wants to win now, starting with the NFL’s 32nd-ranked defense.

“I just felt like we have to rock their world, shake things up, we gotta do better,” Lewis said. “Its important where we are. We gotta get this done. Its our chance it get this done...We gotta do a better job of doing our jobs. And that’s point blank. That means the execution, the tackling, playing fast and being in the right spots.”

Lewis knows that the only way to fix the defense is to start at the top. Even though he parted ways with Austin, he still knows he is the captain of the ship whether it floats or sinks.

“My job’s on the line every day...that’s not a concern of mine,” Lewis claimed. “My job for this organization is to get the team to be world champions. That’s my job. One goal is to be world champions. The only way to get there is to get to the playoffs. The best way to get to the playoffs is to win the division and then go from there. Those are our goals and I’ve got sole responsibility for that to the organization.”

Lewis took the responsibility he was given and made the most sensible decision he could: firing Austin.

“I’m responsible ultimately for everything that goes on in this building and I just felt like I would be letting everybody down...if we continue down that road.”

Now that Austin is gone, the pressure is on Lewis to make things right. After all, he hired Austin this spring and he still has to answer for the results at the end of the season. With or without Austin, the defense is bad and that falls on the head coach.

“Its unfortunate that Teryl’s been the casualty of this,” he said. “Its not always his fault; its my fault. Any time something happens wrong in this building its my fault, and I accept that.”

He also said that his players should avoid the temptation to point fingers at each other.

“If they want to point at somebody they can point at me.”

Just because Lewis was thrust into this new role doesn’t give him an excuse to perform poorly. “I have to get it right; I don’t have a chance to be rusty. We gotta be good right now.”

Lewis wants to be good now so that he can finally get the Bengals the coveted Lombardi Trophy they’ve been longing for, for the last 51 years.

“My job for this organization is to get the team to be world champions. That’s my job. One goal is to be world champions,” he said. “The only way to get there is to get to the playoffs. The best way to get to the playoffs is to win the division and then go from there. Those are our goals and I’ve got sole responsibility for that to the organization.”

The Bengals had never fired a coordinator mid-season until 2017, but have now done it twice in the last two seasons. That means the team still hasn’t given up on the season and think that they are still contenders. The Bengals have a winning record and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. On the flip side, they are 1-3 in their last four games. Will this move be enough to turn the Bengals’ fortunes around?

Lewis thinks so.