COMMENTARY: New Marvin Lewis? New Bengals? Don’t hold your breath


Marvin Lewis returning to be head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals still doesn’t make sense, but he did as much as he could to change that perception in an hour or less Wednesday. 

Scratch that: Someone claiming to be Marvin Lewis did as much as he could to change the perception of his rehiring on Wednesday. 

It looked like the man who has been the on-field leader of the franchise since 2003, but it sure didn’t sound like him — at least not compared to most of the rest of the time he spent in front of a mic since the start of the season. 

RELATED: Bengals re-sign coach for two more seasons

While 2017 Regular Season Marvin Lewis was mostly terse and dour, 2018 Offseason Marvin Lewis is apparently jovial and engaging. 

How about that? 

He started the second reboot of his Bengals tenure (2011 was the first) by referencing the beginning, saying he’s a better coach now than he was then (without offering evidence) but also that he has to continue to improve. 

The latter part probably could have been left unstated since the team is coming off consecutive losing seasons, but it’s good to be thorough. 

The start of the press conference wasn’t much different than usual in terms of mood. 

What seemed to get him fired up was a question about whether or not his boss for the last 15 seasons (and the next two) really wants to win. 

That’s a long-held criticism of owner Mike Brown, who took over the team from his legendary father, Paul, in time for a disastrous decade that still colors the perception of the franchise even today. 

“No doubt in my mind that Mike Brown’s goal is to be world champions, and I think, ya know, we spent the last two days spending time three or four times talking about what we felt like, where we needed to get better, why, and what now. 

“I think that’s the only thing the man thinks about, is having a championship organization,” said Lewis, though again there isn’t much evidence it’s true. 

It’s certain that Brown wants to win to some measurable degree that is more than zero. The better question is probably if he’s willing to make the sacrifices necessary. 

Retaining Lewis, who has more wins as Bengals coach than anyone else but also the most postseason losses without a win in NFL history, is a pretty good sign of that. 

Lewis can win, but can he win it all

Surprisingly enough, we’re going to get another chance or two (or more?) to find out. 

Maybe he really does have a new lease on life, at least from a career standpoint, but talk is cheap. 

It’s too early to reverse the spin cycle, right? 

The record is still the record. The last playoff win is still in 1991.  

That said, a new year is coming. 

Some things will be different. 

The roster has a lot of good parts, and it could gain more. 

If there was anything tangible to pull out of Lewis’ 40 minutes with the media Wednesday, it was a hint they might hit free agency harder than they typically have. 

In a possible nod to where things really started to go wrong in 2017, he said they need to do a better job evaluating what is available in the draft and targeting free agents at positions of need where the draft is weak. 

It’s hard to hear that comment without thinking about the way free agency left the offensive line decimated only for the team to find few candidates to take early in the draft to replace free-agent losses Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. 

He’s right to be excited about the playmakers at wide receiver, and he noted he was happy to see rookie running back Joe Mixon play through an injury in the season finale because that should earn him some cred with his teammates. 

Who knows — that might be more important in the Bengals locker room than in some others where the coach has a heavier touch. 

Or, hey, maybe now that Lewis has a second new lease on life as the coach in Cincinnati, the mood will be different from now on. Maybe that will even carry over to the locker room, which was rarely very enthusiastic last fall. 

But let’s be real. How long will the New Marvin last? 

Probably not long. 

The rest of the press conference was mostly platitudes about having to play better. Work harder. Do your job, etc. 

”We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re gonna get there,” was the last thing Lewis said.  

Well see. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Texas offers top-ranked 2020 dual-threat QB Bryce Young
Texas offers top-ranked 2020 dual-threat QB Bryce Young

Gennett’s walk-off homer lifts Reds to second straight win over Braves
Gennett’s walk-off homer lifts Reds to second straight win over Braves

Second baseman Scooter Gennett picked the perfect time to locate his power stroke. Gennett’s second home run of the game – and the season – helped the Reds overcome a bullpen meltdown and pull out a 9-7, 12-inning win over the Atlanta Braves before a crowd of 14,139 pizza-appreciating fans at Great American Ball Park. The recently...
This sarcastic tweet sums up Lamar Jackson NFL draft criticism perfectly
This sarcastic tweet sums up Lamar Jackson NFL draft criticism perfectly

Lamar Jackson is arguably the most polarizing prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft. Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 and followed that up with a spectacular 2017, but questions about his style of play at the next level loom. The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman poked some fun at the “red flags” pundits are pointing out about Jackson...
Saquon Barkley posts picture of new daughter Jada Clare Barkley on Instagram
Saquon Barkley posts picture of new daughter Jada Clare Barkley on Instagram

Still got it! Arkansas beats Texas Tech for fifth win against top-5 team this season
Still got it! Arkansas beats Texas Tech for fifth win against top-5 team this season

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Probably should not have needed evidence, but for those who did, take a look at Arkansas baseball Tuesday night. The Diamond Hogs, straight off a 3-game sweep at the hands of Mississippi State in Starkville, dispatched the No. 4 team in the nation, 5-1. Yeah, Dave Van Horn’s team is still good...
More Stories