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12 players on Injured Reserve is all Mike Brown needs to keep Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati

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If you thought Marvin Lewis would be fired at the end of this season, think again.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton, Preston Brown, Cethan Carter, Tyler Eifert, Ryan Glasgow, Trayvon Henderson, Tyler Kroft, Carl Lawson, Mason Schreck, Rod Taylor, Josh Tupou, and Adolphus Washington.

What do these Bengals players have in common? Their seasons are all over due to injury.

Starting quarterback Andy Dalton joined that list on Monday following a thumb injury in the Bengals’ loss to the Browns.

If you thought there was any chance Marvin Lewis would be fired at the end of this season, you’ll need to think again.

This many injuries is exactly what Mike Brown needed to excuse Lewis for the Bengals’ roller coaster of a season and let him (at least) coach through his current contract, which ends at the end of the 2019 NFL season.

Is there a chance Lewis quits after the 2018 season? Sure.

Do I expect it? Absolutely not.

We’ve been through enough (SIXTEEN SEASONS) to know how this game — and I do not mean football — works.

Honestly, the injury to Eifert and A.J. Green missing a few games probably would have been enough for Brown to excuse the Bengals’ bad season and keep Lewis after the completion of the year. Maybe that’s why the Bengals re-signed Eifert in the offseason. OK, I’m kidding on that one, let me be clear. But in reality, it wouldn’t actually be hard to believe that Brown created a built-in injury excuse for his beloved head coach.

In addition to the 12 guys on IR at this point in the season, here’s a list of players who have missed a minimum of two games this year: John Ross, Josh Malone, Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Billy Price, Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, Nick Vigil, Darqueze Dennard. Six of those guys are starters and plenty more starters have missed just one game, like Dre Kirkpatrick on Sunday.

It’s hard to imagine a team being more injured than the Bengals. Personally, I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to not fire Lewis at the end of the season. But I also would’ve fired him by now if I was the one calling the shots at Paul Brown Stadium.

Beyond having a massive injury situation, the Bengals’ linebackers are inadequate and unable to cover anyone, the wide receivers failed to step up after shining in training camp, the play calling is questionable on both sides of the ball, and the coaching is more suited to the NFL in the 1990s than in 2018.

So yes, the Bengals’ injury situation is bad. Very bad. And it likely is going to ensure Lewis remains head coach for another season but let’s hope he recognizes how much work this team needs during the offseason to be a real contender next year.

Though, what am I saying? The Bengals will never be a real contender with Lewis as head coach.