Marvin Lewis

Extra Points: Bengals, Lewis, Eagles, Foles, Chiefs, AAF

The Bengals are counting on some new coaching roles making a major difference this season. Marvin Lewis survived another year on the hot seat but knew he would need to rearrange his staff after another disappointing season. Teryl Austin will succeed now-Raiders DC Paul Guenther in running Cincinnati’s defense, and Lewis made Bill Lazor the full-time OC. The team jettisoned longtime offensive line coach Paul Alexander as well, with other new staffers coming in to help a team that’s fallen in the AFC hierarchy the past two years.

I made up my mind I wanted to coach,” Lewis said, via Jonathan Jones of SI.com. “So, do I want to go start over somewhere where I don’t know the people or coach these group of guys downstairs that no one else has? That’s an easy decision. You look at what’s open and these are the best players. And that’s what you want.

I knew we were going to have a lot of change on the coaching staff. I knew I had to make changes and those are the things that (owner) Mike (Brown) and I had to discuss. I had to make changes on people that had been with me for a long time and had been friends, and it’s difficult.”

Lewis added that he didn’t want to make wholesale roster changes, pointing out the number of Pro Bowlers still on the team, but the Bengals aren’t receiving much attention as a contender this season. They’re hoping these staff moves can re-route them back to the AFC playoffs.

Here’s the latest from the football landscape:

  • The Eagles received a scare Thursday night when Super Bowl MVP and temporary starting quarterback Nick Foles went down with a shoulder injury. The shoulder sprain Foles suffered is believed to be a minor malady and not one that will require a significant rehab effort, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. It’s looking like it will come down to the wire on whom the defending Super Bowl champions will start at quarterback on opening night, with Carson Wentz unlikely to play in the preseason. The Eagles not having Foles would throw a major wrench in their plans, despite third-stringer Nate Sudfeld having a nice offseason.
  • Steven Nelson will be a full-time outside cornerback this season, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star notes. This change emerged in the offseason, one that featured breakout slot man Kendall Fuller’s arrival, but the Chiefs are evidently committed to trying Nelson – their most frequent slot corner over the past two seasons – as an outside man. The 2015 third-round pick is entering a contract year. While Kansas City has looked at other corners this month – Bashaud Breeland and Orlando Scandrick – the trio of Fuller, Nelson and David Amerson remains atop the depth chart. Nelson did leave the Chiefs’ game Friday night with a head injury, however.
  • Former Jets second-round pick Stephen Hill and ex-Titans backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger are two of the notable new names signed on to play for the Alliance of American Football. The AAF announced 100 more players will join. Ex-Rams running back Daryl Richardson, former Saints and Jets ball carrier Khiry Robinson, linebacker Deontae Skinner and running back Storm Johnson are among the new contingent. Former Giants and Ravens safety Will Hill and veteran kicker Nick Novak, who was with the Chargers last season, were among the first wave to sign.

Poll: Who Will Be The First Coach To Get Fired This Season?

It’s a new year for every coach in the NFL, but not every coach will survive the year. Already, there’s speculation about which coaches could be on the hot seat in 2018. Some coaches with shaky job security may include:

  • Hue Jackson, Browns: Jackson is the oddsmaker’s favorite to lose his job first. After compiling a 1-31 record in his two seasons at the helm in Cleveland, it’s hard to argue with the professionals. Jackson certainly has more talent to work with thanks to the arrivals of running back Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and a vastly improved secondary, but along with that comes raised expectations. When also considering that Jackson is a holdover from the previous regime and not necessarily the preferred choice of new GM John Dorsey, it’s quite possible that Jackson could be ousted with another bad start.
  • Adam Gase, Dolphins: When Gase was hired in 2016, he was the league’s youngest head coach at the age of 38. He earned a playoff appearance in his first year on the sidelines, but last year turned ugly after quarterback Ryan Tannehill was lost for the season and replaced by Jay Cutler. Tannehill’s return should help matters, but it’s fair to wonder whether this team has improved much at all after losing Ndamukong Suh on the other side of the ball. The Dolphins’ early schedule may also hurt Gase as they open against the Titans, Jets, Raiders, and Patriots. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dolphins split those games, like they did in 2017, but it’s also conceivable that they could open the year 0-4. As you can probably guess, an 0-4 start is historically difficult to climb out from. Of the 117 teams that have started 0-4 in the 16-game era, the ’92 Chargers are the ones to have reached the postseason with with an 11-win campaign. The 2004 Bills and the 2017 Chargers both rallied to win nine games, but neither club reached the playoffs.
  • Marvin Lewis, Bengals: The Lewis saga took some weird twists and turns last season. In the midst of a second-straight season without a playoff appearance, there was speculation about Lewis’ job security. Then, in December, we started hearing rumblings that Lewis might leave the Bengals to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Ultimately, Lewis was signed to a two-year extension to, theoretically, keep him under contract for his 16th and 17th seasons in Cincinnati. Lewis has avoided lame duck status for 2018, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll survive the year if the Bengals falter.
  • Vance Joseph, Broncos: Joseph was nearly axed after the 2017 season before John Elway ultimately decided to retain him. The Broncos’ defense is still jam-packed with talent and they have a capable quarterback in Case Keenum, so anything short of a playoff appearance will be a disappointment in Denver. This will be Joseph’s second season at the helm in Denver, but it’s clear that he is under pressure it win.
  • Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers: Koetter was already believed to be on the hot seat but he was placed squarely behind the 8-ball last week when quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of the season. Even if the Bucs come out of September unscathed, they’ll be up against an overall schedule that is the fourth-toughest in the NFL, based on the combined win percentage of opponents in 2017.

The list goes on from there. Jay Gruden (Redskins), Todd Bowles (Jets), Bill O’Brien (Texans), Jason Garrett (Cowboys), John Harbaugh (Ravens), and Ron Rivera (Panthers) could also be in varying degrees of jeopardy with disappointing seasons. We’d be surprised to see a quick hook for Garrett, Harbaugh, or Rivera no matter what happens, but you may feel differently.

Click below to make your pick for who will be the first to get the axe. Then, you can head to the comment section to back up your choice.

[RELATED: The Average Age Of NFL Head Coaches In 2018]

Bengals Owner Mike Brown On Marvin Lewis

The Bengals re-signed coach Marvin Lewis to a two-year deal, leaving many in the football world perplexed. While Lewis has led the Bengals to the playoffs five times, including five consecutive appearances from 2011-2015, he has never gotten the Bengals past the Wild Card round. There were also multiple reports indicating that Lewis was looking forward to doing something else in 2018. Marvin Lewis (Vertical)

On Friday, owner Mike Brown sat down with Jim Owczarski of The Enquirer to discuss what went into the team’s decision to re-sign Lewis. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

On whether he thought the team’s relationship with Lewis was over in light of the aforementioned reports:

I chose not to make a decision on what we were going to do going forward until all the evidence had been submitted. And that meant playing through the full season and not making a call prematurely. I would say that while we had serious reverses and they were unsettling, to put it mildly, we bounced back at the end of the year. We beat two teams that were in playoff runs. We beat them in games that were important for them where they gave their best shot and I was impressed how we rebounded. That played into what was in my mind when I had to make a final call.”

On the impact of the team’s season-ending wins over the Lions and Ravens:

“Yes. We had a very unusual season. Obviously, we were off offensively. We lost a handful of games that were games we could’ve, should’ve won. They were very close. They were one-play games. And if we had managed to win our share of those, we would’ve been out of that middle group of teams. In my mind, there’s a middle group that runs from say 6-10 to 9-7. That’s over a dozen teams. With all of them, they have a fan base that is dissatisfied. Ours is no exception. And yet they are all close to having been in the next level. And I think that that’s where we were. We had a disappointing season because we didn’t win our share of those close games that we could’ve, should’ve won. I think it goes beyond that, though. I think we tailed off in some areas that brought us down. I think those issues are correctable. I don’t think we’re far off. I think we can make the changes that we need to make and quickly rebound to the level where we were a couple years ago.”

On why he ultimately stuck with Lewis:

“I think he knows our situation well. He brings continuity. I don’t think he lost the football team. I think that was evidenced by the last couple games. The players like Marvin. They support him. I think that’s a good thing. The area where we have some making up to do is with our public. They are unsettled because they wanted to see more. And then it didn’t come through for them in the fashion they had expected or hoped; they began to make commentary and some of that was well, it’s Marvin, some of that was well, it’s Mike, some of that was whatever it was. I have to look beyond that. I have to just do what I think puts our team in the best position to win. Even if it is a short-term issue with our fans. I will tell you that it’s all going to play out on the field here. And if we win, it will be great. If we don’t, you’ll be right back here asking why.”

“…I think he can manage. I think he has managed it in the past and I think we’ve been very close. We haven’t quite gotten where we needed to get. He knows that. I know that. I do think, repeating again, that our best chance to get there is with him having another run at it. He brings a lot to the table. You can always say the next one will be better, an improvement, but you’re talking about the unknown essentially. We do know Marvin. We know him with his strengths, we know him with his weaknesses. And we all have a few of those. He has his. I think they’re enough to get us there. And I decided to give him the opportunity.”

Coaching Rumors: Bengals, Cowboys, Colts

A roundup of the latest coaching news and rumors from around the NFL:

Bengals, Marvin Lewis Agree To Extension

Marvin Lewis isn’t going anywhere after all. On Tuesday, the Bengals announced that they have agreed to a two-year extension that will take him through the 2019 season. Marvin Lewis (vertical)

Marvin Lewis has been an important member of the Cincinnati community and the Bengals family for the past 15 years, and we are happy to have reached this agreement,” said Bengals President Mike Brown. “Marvin has made significant contributions during his time here. While recently we have fallen short of our expectations, we have full confidence in Marvin to re-establish winning football in 2018.”

For a while, it appeared that Lewis and the Bengals were on a direct path to divorce. In December, it was reported that Lewis would leave Cincinnati to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Meanwhile, he admitted that he would be intrigued by an opportunity to be a GM. Apparently, that’s all ancient history.

My family and I are very grateful for the opportunity to stay in Cincinnati and continue my career with the Bengals,” said Lewis. “My job is to win a World Championship. We have a talented roster full of veteran leaders and emerging young stars, and I am committed to making the necessary improvements to put this team in the best position to win.”

Had Lewis left, it was said that Browns head coach Hue Jackson and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden would have been leading candidates to replace him. Both men served as offensive coordinators in Cincinnati, which underscores the importance the team places on organizational familiarity. Although things were rocky between Lewis and the Bengals this year, the team has opted to bring him back for (at least) a 16th season.

The Bengals finished out 7-9 this year, missing the playoffs for a second consecutive year. However, under Lewis’ leadership, the Bengals have made the playoffs seven times, including five consecutive appearances from 2011-2015. Of course, Lewis has never gotten the Bengals past the Wild Card round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals, Lewis To Wait On Future

The Bengals and head coach Marvin Lewis are expected to take time on deciding the long-tenured coach’s future with the team, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Owczarski writes. Marvin Lewis (Vertical)

Owczarski heard from multiple sources that Lewis met with team owner Mike Brown on Monday and the two did not come to a resolution. The pair may wait until Tuesday to come to a decision.

The Bengals surely want a speedy decision with the NFL’s coaching carousel already turning just hours after the season has ended. The Lions, Raiders, Colts, Giants and Bears have already fired their coaches and have begun lining up candidates to fill those roles.

Lewis, however, has coached the Bengals since 2003 and the team is sure to respect the coach’s wishes. Following the team’s 31-27 win over Baltimore, Lewis said his future with the team is “complicated” and he doesn’t know if he will return to the team. Earlier in December, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the team and Lewis were expected to part ways at season’s end when Lewis’ contract expired.

Rumors have already begun to swirl about members of the Bengals’ coaching staff, with the team’s defensive coordinator Paul Guenther being linked to Oakland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Notes: Gruden, Lewis, Joseph

The Raiders‘ firing of Jack Del Rio less than a year after signing him to an extension would have come as a shock at this season’s outset, when the team was picked by most to win the AFC West. But now that Jon Gruden‘s name is in the mix, the franchise is operating like it has a real shot to lure him back to Oakland.

In firing Del Rio, the Raiders are confident they can bring Gruden back to Oakland, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Raiders doing this looks indeed to be for a Gruden landing, with Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News hearing (Twitter link) the Gruden buzz is legitimate. This comes shortly after Gruden’s name was connected with the Buccaneers. But the Bucs kept Dirk Koetter after a less successful tenure compared to Del Rio’s Oakland run. The Gruden noise appears louder regarding the Raiders. He was the most recent coach to receive a four-year opportunity coaching the Silver and Black, doing so from 1998-2001 prior to being traded to the Bucs in early 2002.

Here’s the latest from the coaching carousel.

  • Marvin LewisBengals played a spoiler in Week 17, knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs. The coach’s future in Cincinnati remains murky, however, as his contract expires. Lewis made an interesting comment postgame regarding his status. When asked if he would accept Mike Brown‘s offer to remain the Bengals’ HC in 2018, Lewis replied (via Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com), “It’s a little more complicated than that.” A report emerged last week about Lewis stepping down from his 15-year post. He has yet to confirm that.
  • Vance Joseph‘s Broncos tenure is also up in the air. However, the rookie head coach said he “absolutely” expects to be the team’s coach in 2018 and said (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, on Twitter) he has not been informed of a decision yet. Joseph said he will meet with John Elway tonight or Monday. The Broncos have never fired a coach after one season. However, this is only the second time in 27 seasons they’ve won five or fewer games. Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter) Elway will not make the decision tonight, planning to sleep on it. Klis adds that it shouldn’t be a surprise if Joseph is given a second season.
  • Bruce Arians met with Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill on Sunday morning, Laura Okmin of Fox Sports reports, adding a decision on whether or not he will step down could come by New Year’s Day (Twitter link). Arians has said himself his decision could come as soon as Monday, or as late as February, although Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes he’s likely to leave.

AFC Notes: Hopkins, Gordon, Bills, Lewis

Even with poor quarterback play for much of the year, Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins has solidified his place in the top tier of NFL receivers. At 25 years old, Hopkins eclipsed the 1,300 yard marker and has managed double-digit touchdowns in a season for the second time in his career. But perhaps one of the most impressive things about Hopkins is that he’s never missed a game. The former first-round pick has played in 79 straight contests, but that streak is expected to end on Sunday, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Wilson notes that Hopkins is currently dealing with a calf injury and was forced to miss practice on Thursday afternoon. It’s not a good sign when a player misses practice late in the week and that is no exception even for a player like Texans number one wideout. Hopkins produced perhaps his best season yet in 2017 because of the offensive situation he had to deal with. It’ll be a shame if he doesn’t end up going on Sunday because of his ability to make insane catches at any time, like the one he pulled off against the Steelers in Week 16.

Here are more stories we’re following from the AFC as Week 17 approaches:

  • While Melvin Gordon‘s Week 17 status was more uncertain at the beginning of the week, it appears as if the talented running back is “optimistic” he’ll be able to go on Sunday, a source tells to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The third-year back is dealing with an ankle sprain, but swelling is minimal, according to Rapoport. The Chargers would love to have Gordon available vs. the Raiders because their playoff hopes are still very much alive. The team does not have much depth behind their surefire number one back with Branden Oliver representing the only true backup on the depth chart. The Chargers have not signed an additional runner to the roster just yet, so it appears as if the team may think Gordon will be able to give to a go this weekend.
  • The Bills also face a must-win scenario in Week 17 in order to make the postseason. Two critical players in wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and cornerback E.J. Gaines have been dealing with injuries throughout the week, but both look like they are trending in the right direction with gameday fast approaching, according to the team’s website. “He looks like he’s ready to go,” said head coach Sean McDermott of Gaines. The rookie head coach was hedging his bets a bit more regarding his number one wideout, stating that, “He practiced today and did some good things, we’ll get a better feel tomorrow.” In order to reach the playoffs, Buffalo needs to beat Miami on the road and get a Ravens loss, or have the Titans and Chargers both lose on Sunday afternoon.
  • Bengals longtime head coach Marvin Lewis is currently working through heavy speculation that he will be relieved of his duties come Monday morning. However, the coach told reporters yesterday that he has not discussed his current contract situation with owner Mike Brown, per Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Terrell passes along that the two do speak everyday. So if they do talk about his future with the team, they are not making it public at this time. The Bengals have fought through what will be the Bengals second straight losing season, and without any playoff wins to show in 15 years with the franchise, it appears likely the two sides will part ways at some point this offseason. Though it should be stated that Lewis has been able to stick around for this long even with an 0-7 playoff record to his name, so I guess anything is possible.

Breer’s Latest: Black Monday Preview

With the final week of the NFL’s regular season approaching, that only means two things; 12 teams will soon be focusing on reaching the Super Bowl, while the rest will start to look ahead to next season. One major part of looking forward is addressing who on the coaching staff will be returning in 2018. Many of these coaching questions are answered on the day following Week’s 17 conclusion, conveniently called “Black Monday”.

Veteran reporter Albert of Breer of Sports Illustrated, gave a preview of the coaches he expects to stay and the ones that will likely be shown the door in his most recent column. Breer ranked the potential firings as “Likely/Done”, “We’ll See”, and “It’s Complicated”. In total, there were 15 head coaches mentioned who could see their situations change starting next week.

Here’s a quick look at Breer’s takes on some of the league’s hottest coaching questions:

  • There were five head coaches included in the “likely/done” category including: BearsJohn Fox, BengalsMarvin Lewis, LionsJim Caldwell, ColtsChuck Pagano and and the Giants‘ interim coach Steve Spagnuolo. The four full-time head coaches on this list have all had their fair share of success in the league. In fact, three of them led their current teams to multiple playoff appearances during their tenure. However, Caldwell and Lewis have been unable to win a postseason game with Pagano and Fox having failed at continuing the past success they have shown during their careers in football. Breer notes that while the “expectation is that Fox will be gone”, the decision on the fate of general manager Ryan Pace is true question facing the franchise this offseason. There’s been rapid speculation about Lewis, Caldwell and Pagano throughout the year, so their inclusion on this list is no surprise. Finally, the Giants are currently interviewing general manager candidates who will almost certainly be looking to lead their own head coaching search once hired.
  • Breer puts six current head coaches in the ‘we’ll see” part of the list. This portion mentions the CardinalsBruce Arians, BroncosVance Joseph, RaidersJack Del Rio, BuccaneersDirk Koetter, TitansMike Mularkey and the RedskinsJay Gruden. There’s a variety of situations going on here with Breer noting that Arizona could see Arians retire, which could lead them to other current NFL head coaches: Todd Bowles and Bill O’Brien. Del Rio and Gruden have had their fair share of success because of quality quarterback play, but both have managed to decrease confidence because of an inconsistent 2017 season. However, Breer points out that both are signed long-term so their owners would have to eat the remaining years of their current deals. Mularkey and Koetter were rewarded for the relationships they formed with their QB’s, but there’s been disappointment with how this season has unfolded for their teams. Breer notes that should Mularkey lose this Sunday, he could be on the chopping block come Monday morning with the team looking to hire an offensive-minded coach like Josh McDaniels. Finally, Joseph has forced himself to the hot seat even in his first year of coaching the Broncos, though Breer says himself that this situation is “unpredictable” given that team president John Elway is just “not pleased with how the season’s gone”.
  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson, and the two previously mentioned O’Brien and Bowles of the Texans and Jets, find themselves on the “it’s complicated” section of Breer’s roundup largely because of just the many factors are at play in regards to their situations. Jackson got a vote of confidence from owner Jimmy Haslam himself, but new general manager John Dorsey could have his sights on implementing his own guy after a winless season. O’Brien has made the playoffs before, but has struggled committing to a QB even after the team selected Deshaun Watson in the first round. Bowles has done a lot with a little in New York this season, but ownership could go in a different direction with a new starting signal caller likely walking into the building next year. Also, there is the potential that all three coaches could move onto new head coaching gigs with the number of openings that could be available this offseason. The final and definitely most surprising inclusion on this list was Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who Breer mentions could retire at age 66 with a roster about to see major turnover in the next few years. Although, I would venture that nothing he’s said this season would indicate that being the case.

Coaching Notes: Panthers, Cardinals, Bengals, Bucs

There’s plenty of uncertainty when it comes to the Panthers organization, as owner Jerry Richardson is shopping the team and they’re currently rolling with an interim general manager in Marty Hurney. However, the team is looking to establish some stability by locking up head coach Ron Rivera.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the organization is prioritizing locking up their head coach long term. While talks have just started, the reporter expects negotiations to quickly heat up. Meanwhile, many in the organization are hoping that Hurney is promoted to full-time general manager, although the team will presumably explore their options before committing to the executive.

Rivera last signed a three-year deal worth $19.5MM. That deal would take the head coach through the 2018 season, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of urgency for the organization to lock up their head coach this offseason.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hasn’t informed the organization about his future, but Rapoport reports that the team is “more confident than ever” that he’ll return. Still, since there is some uncertainty, the organization is exploring other potential options, and Rapoport notes that one of those candidates is Texans coach Bill O’Brien. If available, the Cardinals have made it clear that O’Brien would be atop their list of targets. Arians is under contract through the 2018 season, but there’s been chatter that the 65-year-old could retire to better focus on his health.
  • Unsurprisingly, there’s some concern that Browns head coach Hue Jackson may have lost his locker room, reports Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. This concern recently came to a head when running back Isaiah Crowell “liked” a series of tweets that were critical of Jackson. Meanwhile, Florio notes that there are whispers that some of the team’s defensive players are upset with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his son, Blake, who is the Browns’ linebackers coach.
  • The Bengals are eyeing Jackson or Jay Gruden for their impending head coaching vacancy, reports Florio. It’d be a homecoming for the pair, as both Jackson and Gruden served as offensive coordinators for Marvin Lewis. The writer notes that Lewis could ultimately be promoted to a front office role.
  • Even if Dirk Koetter sticks around as the Buccaneers head coach, Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders is convinced the organization will require some other coaching changes. Specifically, defensive coordinator Mike Smith could be on the hot seat, and the team could look towards former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as a replacement.