The Cincinnati Bengals suffered a heartbreaking 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card Game Saturday night. The nature of the loss, featuring a late turnover and two defensive penalties that essentially handed the Steelers a win, has led to speculation that the Bengals could fire head coach Marvin Lewis. That's a real possibility, but it's not what the Bengals should do with Lewis. Here's what the Bengals should do with Marvin Lewis, starting with why the Bengals need to make a move.
Lack Of Control
The Bengals have often added players Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones, at the center of the penalties that cost the team, and found ways to get the most out of them. There's no doubting Burfict's talent. He's one of the most talented linebackers in the NFL, but went undrafted because he has a tendency to draw personal foul penalties and fly off the handle. Lewis can't control players like Burfict and Jones and it even spread to veterans like Domata Peko. He ran onto the field during the game just to shove a Steelers player.
The Bengals and Steelers get along about as well as the Hatfields and McCoys. But that's no excuse for the lack of control Lewis has over his players. The one thing the Bengals had to do late in the game was keep their cool. Their inability to do so falls on Lewis.
Lack Of Playoff Success
Lewis has been head coach of the Bengals for 13 years. He's 0-7 in the playoffs. There have been plenty of legitimate excuses along the way. In 2005, the injury to Palmer ruined a team that was a Super Bowl contender and the same is true this year with the injury to Dalton. But the end result is still the same. The Bengals haven't won a playoff game under Lewis and that's unacceptable. Owner Mike Brown has been incredibly patient, perhaps too much so, with Lewis. This loss might end up being the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Make Lewis The General Manager
The Bengals have a very talented team and Lewis deserves some credit for that. He's taken over a larger role within the organization in the draft process and the Bengals can't afford to lose that. Lewis might not be the best motivator or have control over his players, but he's an asset to the organization. The Bengals should try to convince Lewis to move to general manager and promote Hue Jackson.
The current offensive coordinator is going to get a head coaching job again soon and the Bengals would be wise to promote Jackson. Moving Lewis to GM and promoting an assistant has been mentioned as a possibility before, with current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Jackson can control players a bit better than Lewis, as Jackson was one of the few coaches able to calm WR Chad Johnson down when Johnson would lose control of his emotions.
After 13 years, perhaps Lewis has gone as far as he will as a head coach. Promoting him to General Manager will allow the Bengals to keep him involved, while also making a change that will hopefully result in the team finally winning a playoff game.Back to the Cincinnati Bengals Newsfeed
Related Topics: Marvin Lewis, Hue Jackson, Bengals News