The last blog I made was discussing Marvin’s potential replacements. I didn’t dive into the current staff or defensive minded coaches as my wish was to hire a young offensive mind. It was 90% likely that Marvin Lewis was leaving and then he all of a sudden wasn’t. This was my nightmare and then I started to think about the situation. There are bright spots or two in this even though many of us were disappointed. It was rumored by many and pretty well known that Marvin was ready to move on and was not happy with Mike Brown from some decisions he overruled Marvin on last off-season. At the end of the year review Marvin made some demands and if these were not made then he was moving on. We do not know what these were but we have a few ideas.
1. Paul Alexander is GONE!
It is likely that it gave Marvin the power to replace the OL coach Paul Alexander. Alexander has been the Bengals OL coach for the last 23 years and pre-dated Marvin. Mike Brown had a close relationship with Paul Alexander and needed to be pushed to replace him. This should remind everyone of the Bob Bratkowski situation at the end of the 2010 season.
2. Upgrades on the coaching staff!
Teryl Austin was one of the defensive minded coaches I would have been happy with the Bengals hiring as their HC. Landing him as a coordinator is a great move and he has experience in the AFCN. He was an assistant for the Ravens and has a DB coach background. He really helped the Detroit Lions DBs in recent years and was able to significantly improve the Lions ability to create takeaways. The Bengals have a ton of talent in the secondary but have been on the low end of takeaways. Austin has coached multiple styles of defense and changes it up based on the strengths of his personnel (novel idea). He is also very motivated as he is attempting to showcase himself for a head coaching job in the next couple of years. He could ultimately be the guy who replaces Marvin in 2035.
Frank Pollack was the OL coach for the Cowboys in recent years. The Cowboys made big investments on the OL and seemed to hit on nearly every player they went after. Pollack is well liked around the league and this seems like a home-run hire by Marvin. The Bengals were rumored to be close to hiring a different OL coach and then it was announced that Pollack would not return to the Cowboys and the Bengals jumped at him. There was some competition with the Raiders and another unnamed team so Mike Brown actually opened up the checkbook a little bit to get their top rated guy. He also just looks like he coaches OL and will turn talented athletes into successful lineman.
3. We might participate in Free Agency!
Marvin alluded to the Bengals being more active in filling needs with players from other rosters. This concept that Bengals fans might not know about is called free agency. The Bengals do not really participate in this activity. When you are hitting home-runs with your drafts it is not a big deal but the Bengals had a couple years of misses 2014 & 2015 and the cupboard is a little bare. The way Marvin spoke of this got everyone excited but I don’t see the Bengals becoming big FA players. The extent of the Bengals free agency moves have been grabbing 4th and 5th tier free agents as they bargain hunt. I do not expect this team to hit the market tossing out multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts, but I’d like to see them get involved in some tier 2 and 3 level players. This would be a big change but also not require Mike Brown to break the bank. The team could fill some holes and head into the draft at the end of April with a completely open mind on any prospect.
What still sucks?
Just so no one gets too high there are still big issues.
- Marvin still needs to get over his fear of featuring rookies often on the field. John Ross needs to play next year. Carl Lawson needs to be set loose. Whoever they draft this year needs to play right away.
- Marvin’s time management is still piss poor. Most NFL HC’s suck at time management even including Bill Belichick, but Marvin isn’t overcoming his errors.
- End of half management can be a part of time management but the Bengals have either screwed up offensively or been too passive defensively. This has led to opponents getting too much time or too little resistance and they go right down the field and steal a cheap 3 or 7 points right before halftime. In a game of inches those points can be the difference in the game and the Bengals have lost a lot of 1 score games over the years.
- Halftime adjustments – These are more a product of your coordinators but Marvin is the one that sets the tone in preparation and needs to push for more from his coordinators. I believe his conservative approach also leads to some of the lack in adjustments.
And last but definitely not least…this dildo still owns the team:
Here is to hoping Marvin got enough power that the team can overcome the owner and the struggles of the past to bring us some happiness and success in the upcoming season.