Darrin Simmons

AFC Notes: Bengals, Lewis, Dolphins

Here’s a look at the AFC:

  • Bengals coach Marvin Lewis denies reports indicating that he’s going to leave the team to pursue other opportunities, but nine unnamed members of the organization tell Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer that they’re not buying it. Meanwhile, Lewis recently told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) that he would “listen to” opportunities to transition a GM role somewhere. Rapoport adds that special teams coach Darrin Simmons could be an internal candidate to take over as head coach.
  • The Dolphins do not have any plans to shift Laremy Tunsil from tackle to guard, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Tunsil, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2016 draft, has 12 penalties this year, the second-most in the NFL. Still, offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen is insistent that he will remain on the outside.
  • More from Jackson, who writes that defensive tackle Jordan Phillips has erased any questions about whether he should be part of the team going forward. That’s no surprise given the year he is having. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke went so far as to say that he is a reliable player, something that he probably wouldn’t have said over the summer. “Snap count was a little down last week, but he has been really good,” Burke said. “The two weeks before that, he was at his best in a long time. I feel he has been more consistent this year — to the point where I had conversations with him, ‘Hey man — you’ve got to be one of our leaders now.’ He has found his way a little bit. Even last year, he he wasn’t as outgoing as he’s been this year — I am encouraging him to be more of an energy guy — part of that comes with being consistent and being reliable.” Phillips, a former second-round pick, has a decent 72.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus for his eleven games this year.

Marvin Lewis To Leave Bengals After 2017?

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is expected to leave the team after this season to “pursue opportunities elsewhere,” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Following today’s loss to the Vikings, however, Lewis denied the report and stated he’s made no decisions about his future, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).

Marvin Lewis (Vertical)

Lewis is the second-longest-tenured head coach in the league, behind only Bill Belichick of the Patriots. He was a linebackers coach in the collegiate ranks and for the Steelers before becoming the defensive coordinator of the expansion Ravens in 1996. He rose to prominence as an architect of the record-setting 2000 Ravens defense that helped capture Super Bowl XXXV and then served as the defensive coordinator/assistant head coach for the Redskins in 2002. He was hired by Cincinnati in 2003, when the Bengals were a laughingstock, and he restored them to relevance. He has posted a 123-111-3 regular season record and has guided the Bengals to four division titles. Despite his successes, however, his head coaching resume is marred by his 0-7 career playoff record, which has hung over his head especially heavily in recent seasons.

Nonetheless, there is expected to be a plethora of head coaching jobs available this offseason (even more than usual), and Schefter reports that the 59-year-old Lewis would be on the short list for a number of those positions. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though, tweets that Lewis plans to move to a front office role. Schefter does suggest that a front office or coaching adviser job is a possibility, but only if a head coaching job does not materialize.

As for the Bengals, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Lewis’ decision came as a surprise to the team. And, as most, if not all, of the team’s assistant coaches are also on expiring contracts — some of whom are unhappy with the way they have been treated financially — Schefter suggests that Cincinnati is likely to undergo a major coaching overhaul.

Nonetheless, Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network suggest that the Bengals could opt to replace Lewis with an internal candidate like current DC Paul Guenther or special teams coach Darrin Simmons (Twitter links). But Michael Lombardi of The Ringer tweets that the Bengals’ head coaching job is highly desirable, so the team will not be hurting for quality candidates.

The Bengals do not have a comment on the situation at the moment.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Flacco, Boldin, Landry

PFR sends best wishes to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who “will be taking time away from the team to focus on a minor health issue,” according to a club announcement. Specifically, Lewis is dealing with a Baker’s Cyst on his ankle, but the initial fear was that he had a blood clot, per Stacey Dales of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Bengals expect Lewis to return sometime this week, fortunately, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons will hold the reins as long as he’s out.

More from the AFC:

  • There’s no comeback date for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s dealing with a back injury, but a second opinion last week yielded news that was “positive for a slow return,” a league source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). The Ravens can afford to be patient with Flacco because he’s a 10-year veteran who has a full understanding of their offense, noted head coach John Harbaugh. “Every play we’ve run, he’s run before numerous times,” Harbaugh said.
  • The Bills’ signing of Anquan Boldin could help put them in position to land a third-round compensatory pick next offseason, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Because the Bills signed seven free agents and lost five prior to May 9, the cutoff date for the compensatory formula, they aren’t poised to receive a pick at the moment. But Boldin may make one of those signings, wideout Andre Holmes, expendable, and Rodak lists fellow FA additions Vlad Ducasse (guard) and Ryan Davis (defensive end) as release candidates. Parting with all three would give the Bills more losses than signings (five to four), thus netting them a valuable pick for 2018.
  • This week, the girlfriend of Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry issued a statement regarding the allegations that were raised against him earlier this year (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). “In March of 2017 the father of my child and I had a vocal disagreement that resulted in someone calling 911. I, myself did not call the police. When the police arrived they determined that there was no cause for any arrests nor was there any concern for my physical well-being. There were no arrests made, there were no criminal charges, I was not in any way physically harmed Yes, we are going through a civil family court case and emotions are high, but I would like to make it very clear that Jarvis would never, ever do anything to harm me or anyone else. Jarvis and I are happily raising our beautiful daughter and I would like to make a plea to the media that they refrain from spreading this completely false story.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.