This is quickly starting to look like a lost season for the Bengals.
Those happen in the NFL to everyone but the Patriots.
When the inevitable calls for an end to the Marvin Lewis era roll in, I don’t think I’ll try to talk anyone out of feeling that way.
It’s a reasonable opinion to hold but not one I share.
I’ve been there before, though.
I thought it was time to try something different after the 2010 season, but Lewis and the Brown family re-upped instead.
The result was a five-year run better than the five years before. Arguably the best five consecutive years in franchise history, though the highs haven’t matched 1981 or ‘88 obviously.
Is this the best Lewis can do? Maybe.
Are the mistakes and lack of execution that seem to repeat themselves grating? Absolutely.
I generally resist change for the sake of change, but sometimes it is good.
The Buccaneers went all in for Jon Gruden and won a Super Bowl a decade ago.
The Steelers hung with Bill Cowher and claimed the Lombardi Trophy, too, in his 13th season.
Pittsburgh has won one playoff game in the last five seasons, but Mike Tomlin’s job seems plenty safe. Having won a Super Bowl previously helps, of course, but this is a league notorious for short memories.
Meanwhile, how are the Bears since firing Lovie Smith?
What about the Tampa Bay’s post-Gruden era?
REPORT CARD: Bengals vs. Giants
You can view Lewis’ tenure either way you want. Obsess about the negatives or cling to the positives. Maybe even take them both, but we both know how rarely that happens, at least on the internet.
The reality is everyone knew last year was the last ride for a lot of Bengals. Everything was working until Andy Dalton got hurt. We’ll never know what might have been, and the playoff game was its own special sports tragedy.
This was looking like a transitional year long before it started thanks to the realities of the CBA and the NFL’s ridiculously small rosters.
Too many personnel changes to review here led to a significantly different lineup this fall, and most of the moves they’ve made haven’t worked so far.
That’s true of putting some youngsters in new roles, of veterans who were re-signed and free agents who were brought in.
It’s all proving too much for Andy Dalton to carry on his own, even with the brilliance of A.J. Green to help.
Could someone else do more with this roster? Aside from Bill Belichick, I doubt it.
Is the state of the roster also Lewis’ fault? To a certain extent, yes, but again there’s only so much that can be done in this day and age of free agency.
Players come and go as they get better offers and opportunities elsewhere, and sometimes it is hard to keep good young players when there’s a numbers crunch at another position.
As flawed as it is, there are many building blocks in place for the future, too.
Lewis is credited with building a previously hapless franchise into a consistent contender, at times among the deepest in the league, so that still has to count for something.
Is it enough for another year? Only time will tell.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.