Why Exactly Are the Bengals Keeping Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer?
In the final regular season edition of our LBS NFL Power Rankings, I stated that I would be speechless if Marvin Lewis’ contract with the Cincinnati Bengals was extended at the end of the season. I lied. That doesn’t, however, mean that I understand it. When Bengals owner Mike Brown sat next to Lewis on Tuesday and announced that he’s sticking with him for at least another two years, the NFL world all tilted their heads like they’d just heard the human equivalent of a dog whistle.
Terrell Owens hit the nail right on the head when he said the Bengals were terrible earlier this season, but apparently the belief within the organization is that its head coach is not to blame. Lewis has been the head coach in Cincinnati for eight years and has compiled a 60-67-1 record. He’s taken his team to the playoffs twice and won as many NFL playoff games as I have. Apparently that’s enough to keep your job.
After finishing the 2010 season with a record of 4-12, it’s obvious the Bengals need some significant changes. They’re keeping their head coach on board and it looks like their quarterback is staying put as well. The headache commonly referred to as Batman and Robin will likely be gone, but is that enough for Lewis to take control of a below-average team and build a winner?
The most embarrassing moment in the Lewis press conference came when Brown responded to criticisms about his scouting department by noting that the Bengals rank 10th in the NFL in number of games played by drafted players over the past 10 seasons. That’s lovely, but how many playoff games did those draftees win? Again, as many as LB and I combined.
There must be some sort of weird friendship going on between Lewis and Brown. Otherwise, I have no idea why the owner wouldn’t want to at least try a different avenue. I’m a huge believer in longevity and consistency in the NFL — if it’s working. I don’t see how you could argue that it is in Cincinnati.