As the NFL Playoffs are coming up, it’s a sign of how the football season is winding down. But that doesn’t mean that the news will stop rolling in. Several teams have already fired their coaches. The Redskins have already named their successor. The other teams will field a slew of candidates. Some of them will make sense, and some of them won’t. The biggest speculations will be college coaches entering the pro football ranks. NFL coordinators from really good teams will also be mentioned. Veteran coaches like Mike McCarthy will also get an interview. One NFL veteran that teams could sleep on is Marvin Lewis.
Lewis had a 16-year roller coaster of an NFL coaching career with the Cincinnati Bengals. While the negatives will turn some people off of the notion of bringing the formerly longest-tenured NFL coach on board, you have to look deeper into what happened in Cincinnati and see that the issues with the Bengals weren’t necessarily his problem. Lewis is a great defensive-minded coach who has done a good job of getting the proper assistants on his staff. His staff choices helped him achieve six seasons of ten wins or more. While the lack of a playoff win is concerning, injuries plagued a couple of those teams.
Lewis finished ten of his sixteen seasons in Cincinnati with a winning record. He finished seven of those seasons with nine or more victories. The biggest obstacle for his Bengals teams was with the front office. Bengals owner Mike Brown has never been a fan of free agency. He’s admitted that publicly. Yes, the Bengals have acquired free agents, they haven’t been proactive in keeping players from free agency. Especially with the offensive line. Brown has never considered the o-line as a critical position. That stance hurt the Bengals a ton when Lewis was there and it hurt them also this season after his departure. So Lewis took the brunt of the blame in Cincinnati, the front office (mainly Brown) was the reason holding the Bengals back.
A team that could be a good fit for Lewis is the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones may take a lot of flack, he also tries to improve the team in areas on need. Jones is a micro-managing owner. That could be an issue with some coaches, but Lewis should be able to adapt well to that. The Bengals didn’t even have a general manager for half the time that Lewis was their coach, so he basically dealt with Brown a lot. In a nutshell, Lewis played with the cards he was dealt with in Cincinnati. If an NFL team will give him a lot of support, he could do great things. By that, I mean a front office that will not only retain players but will also give him the opportunity to create a strong depth chart. Many will disagree with Lewis being a good candidate, but there’s a reason he lasted sixteen years in Cincinnati. He’s better than people think.