Marvin Lewis

Bengals Fire Marvin Lewis

Just moments after Adam Gase was let go, another more surprising move was made. Marvin Lewis has been fired by the Bengals, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

While Lewis came very close to losing his job last year, he ultimately ended up signing a two year extension with the Bengals and had been expected to be allowed back in 2019 if he wanted to continue. It’s the end of one of the longest coaching stints in recent NFL history, as Lewis coached the team for 16 years. Although he inherited one of the worst teams in the league that was a complete mess and turned them into a winner, the Bengals went 0-7 in the playoffs during his tenure.

That being said, Lewis completely changed the culture of a team that was a laughingstock and hadn’t had a winning season in 13 years when he was hired, so it’s understandable why owner Mike Brown had stayed so loyal to him over the years.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted in a follow up tweet to “keep an eye on Vance Joseph” in Cincinnati. Joseph, who was fired by the Broncos earlier today, was an assistant on Lewis’ staff for a couple of seasons before taking the defensive coordinator job in Miami. The Bengals like to hire and promote from within, so Joseph getting consideration isn’t a surprise.

Mike Garafolo wrote in a tweet of his own that Lewis has told people that he wants to continue coaching, so this isn’t a retirement. It’ll be very interesting to see if another team gives him a shot as a head coach. All told throughout 16 seasons, Lewis went 131-122-3, and won the AFC North four times.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Coaching Rumors: Fitzgerald, Harbaugh, Bengals

We heard last night that the Packers are interested in Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, and now there is some fire for that smoke, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Green Bay is expected to request an interview with Fitzgerald after Northwestern plays in tomorrow’s Holiday Bowl. It is unclear whether Fitzgerald will accept the interview request, but Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy was Northwestern’s athletic director when Fitzgerald was hired as the Wildcats’ head coach in 2006, and the two men have a great deal of respect for each other.

Now for more coaching rumors from the league’s north divisions:

  • Schefter reports that at least one team that is considering a head coaching change is also considering calling the Ravens about a potential trade for head coach John Harbaugh if Baltimore is eliminated from postseason contention today, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk) says multiple teams are thinking about making a run at the 11th-year HC. The Ravens announced earlier this month, despite weeks of rumors to the contrary, that Harbaugh would remain in Baltimore in 2019, but his future with the club still does not feel like a slam dunk. Florio suggests that Baltimore would want at least two first-round picks in exchange for Harbaugh.
  • No one is sure what will happen with Marvin Lewis and the Bengals, and his assistant coaches are actively trying to find out, per Florio. Some believe Lewis will retire from coaching and begin a broadcasting career, while others believe he could become a candidate for the Cardinals‘ head coaching job. If Lewis moves on, Florio writes — as has been reported numerous times — that Hue Jackson would be a candidate to replace him, as would current Vikings head coach (and former Cincinnati DC) Mike Zimmer. Zimmer would perhaps be interested in the Bengals’ gig, per Florio, but much would depend on whether Minnesota would let him leave and if the Vikings would demand significant compensation in exchange.
  • The Vikings will likely attempt to promote interim OC Kevin Stefanski to the full-time job in 2019, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The problem is that Stefanski is only under contract through 2018, so Minnesota may have to fight to retain him.
  • We heard several weeks ago that Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams has a chance to get the “interim” tag removed, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Cleveland will indeed give Williams serious consideration (though the team will obviously interview other candidates and continue its full-blown search). Ownership remains high on Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, but if the team does not give Williams the full-time job, it will risk losing the bulk of the staff that has led the Browns’ promising turnaround this year.
  • Lions OC Jim Bob Cooter‘s contract is up at the end of the season, per Rapoport, who suggests that it would be a surprise if Cooter remained in Detroit in 2019. The 34-year-old is expected to be a highly-coveted OC candidate assuming he and the Lions part ways. Unsurprisingly, Rapoport says head coach Matt Patricia is safe [SOURCE LINK].

Latest On Andy Dalton, Marvin Lewis

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, now in his 16th year at the helm, appeared all but gone from Cincinnati at the end of last season. It was reported last December that Lewis was expected to leave the team to pursue opportunities elsewhere, which included another head coaching job or perhaps a front office role. However, Lewis and the Bengals surprisingly reversed course, and the two sides came to terms on a two-year extension back in January.

However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the two-year extension was actually a one-year pact with a team option for 2019, so the club can move on from Lewis without penalty at the end of the season if it so chooses. Which means, as Rapoport notes, that Lewis’ future as the club’s head coach is once again in doubt.

Lewis has guided the Bengals to a 130-118-3 mark during his tenure, and his club has qualified for the playoffs seven times (including five straight seasons from 2011-15). But Cincinnati is 0-7 in playoff games under Lewis’ watch, and the team now appears destined to miss the postseason for the third consecutive year.

One of the reasons for the Bengals’ disappointing 2018 campaign is injuries. Lewis’ club has been ravaged by the injury bug — the Bengals have put more players on IR in 2018 than they did the last three years combined — and a number of key players who have avoided IR have nonetheless been sidelined for multiple games. So, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, owner Mike Brown will have to think about how much different the season would have been if the Bengals had not been hit so hard by injuries and determine Lewis’ fate based on that. We learned last week that current special assistant Hue Jackson could succeed Lewis as the Bengals’ head coach, and Rapoport confirms that report. RapSheet also suggests that Lewis could transition to a front office role with Cincinnati.

As for quarterback Andy Dalton — who is now among those Bengals on IR — Rapoport says that the Red Rifle will be back with the team in 2019. Dehner writes in a separate piece that Dalton, who did have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, is expected to make a full recovery before the team’s offseason program begins next year. Dalton believes he has the full support of the team’s decision-makers, and Dehner agrees that no one is expecting the Bengals to part ways with the 31-year-old signal-caller (even though they could do so without taking on any dead money).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.