Bengals legend Boomer Esiason on Marvin Lewis’ lame-duck status: ‘I’ve never really seen anything like this’

Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason said his former team needs an infusion of energy, seemingly hinting it might be time for a coaching change.

However, when asked specifically if he thought this should be Marvin Lewis’ last year, Esiason backed off his previous statement.

»RELATED: Bengals rookie falls further out of favor

Esiason, who led Cincinnati to the Super Bowl in 1988, was one of 20 “Bengals Legends” to be honored at halftime of the Monday Night Football game against the Steelers, as part of the team’s 50th season celebrations at Paul Brown Stadium.

“Only Marvin knows if it should be it for him,” Esiason said. “Right? He’s a lame-duck coach right now. I’ve never really seen anything like this. Most coaches don’t go into their final year without a contract, but this has always been a unique place, to say the least. Only Marvin knows what he wants to do in his heart. If he decides to retire, he’s had a great run here. Maybe one of the best runs ever. He’s certainly been a very solid face of this franchise for many years and he’s never done anything to embarrass this franchise, that’s for sure.”

»RELATED: Bengals fans might have to root for Steelers

The three-time Pro Bowler said the Bengals, who entered Monday’s game 5-6, have plenty of talented players and said they have drafted well in recent years, noting “whatever they decide to do coaching wise … there’s a real opportunity here to be a real competitive team.”

He went on to describe how strong of a quarterback Andy Dalton is but said he needs a “Sean McVay type” coach in his life, speaking of the Rams coach guiding Jared Goff to an impressive season.

“Sometimes you’re in a situation that just kind of gets stale,” Esiason said. “If that’s happening here, (Dalton) would know that. You’d love to see a new-found energy around this team because that’s what it’s going to end up taking. Maybe (Monday is) the start of that, who knows? If they win, they come back to work together, they come back to work tomorrow and it’s a whole different mindset. If they lose, unfortunately, and they struggle on offense, they’re going to be back in that hole that they’ve been in for predominantly a big part of this year.”

Esiason said the offense’s struggles have a lot to do with the changes on the offensive line, which lost Andrew Whitworth to the Rams and Kevin Zeitler to the Browns in free agency.

The Bengals were successful during Esiason’s time in large part because of the offensive line anchored by Anthony Munoz, which also helped his Esiason’s confidence. Esiason played for the Bengals from 1984-92 and in 1997, going 62-61 over 10 seasons, and he was named the league MVP in 1988, despite losing Super Bowl XXIII to the 49ers the year after the strike season.

“I also think there has to be an attitude about wanting to win and believing you can win,” Esiason said. “When you lose to good teams and you are struggling on offense, your confidence ends up going.”

Dalton deserves some of the blame for the offense’s struggles, too, Esiason said.

“We deserve our share of criticism when it comes, when it’s realistic,” he said. “I think sometimes fans tend to be unrealistic and aren’t understanding what the quarterbacks are dealing with in terms of his environment. He can also make his environment better. …

“I’ll just say, I think Andy gets down on himself, that’s just me watching from afar. I just want to shake him and say, ‘You’re better than this. You’re a good player. You should be the leader of this team. This should be your team, there should be no questions about that. You have to assume that mantle.’ Some guys are uncomfortable with that. I don’t think that Andy is, I sense when I watch him on the field and on the sideline, that he’s really into it and he wants to do well, but, you know, you’ve got to fight temptation sometimes. When you get beat up and you’re not running the ball effectively, sometimes it’s hard to live with that each and every week. I’m telling you, I could win with that guy. I know he’s always going to be there, he’s always going to set the right example and he’s a winning quarterback in this league.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Cincinnati Bengals

Former Buckeyes try to enjoy themselves during pressures of Pro Day
Former Buckeyes try to enjoy themselves during pressures of Pro Day

The stars came out Thursday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center — the stars that wore scarlet and gray last fall and the ones who stalk NFL sidelines on Sundays. Five NFL head coaches plus four defensive coordinators and two general managers — and 140 NFL representatives in all — attended Ohio State's annual Pro Day. Bengals head coach...
Antetokounmpo thanks Dayton after deciding to ‘start a new chapter’
Antetokounmpo thanks Dayton after deciding to ‘start a new chapter’

Kostas Antetokounmpo announced his departure from the University of Dayton on Twitter on Thursday night, hours after an official press release by the university. Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman forward, plans to explore his options in the NBA, Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Thursday. He left school with six weeks left in the semester...
Photo gallery: Marion Local D-IV boys state semifinal win
Photo gallery: Marion Local D-IV boys state semifinal win

Marion Local defeated Pandora-Gilboa 56-54 in a boys high school basketball Division IV state semifinal at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Thursday, March 22. Marion Local (24-4) will play Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (21-7) in the D-IV state championship at 10:45 a.m. Saturday also at the Schott. The following is a photo...
TCU coach Gary Patterson talks staff changes, has ‘a lot better sense of humor’
TCU coach Gary Patterson talks staff changes, has ‘a lot better sense of humor’

With TCU football hosting its first full-pad practice of the spring earlier on Thursday, coach Gary Patterson appears to be in good spirits. But it’s not necessarily because of what he saw on the field from his players, per se. 2018 has a bit of a different look for the Horned Frogs when it comes to spring practice – at least...
NCAA Tournament 2018: What John Beilein said after Michigan’s win over Texas A&M
NCAA Tournament 2018: What John Beilein said after Michigan’s win over Texas A&M

Michigan basketball is headed to the Elite Eight on Saturday after a dominating 99-72 win over Texas A&M on Thursday night in the Sweet Sixteen. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led the way for the Wolverines with 24 points while Moe Wagner had 21. The Wolverines held serve wire-to-wire and built an insurmountable lead, going...
More Stories