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The Saga of the Mediocre NFL Coach

Yes, I do watch other sports. And when it comes to football, I'm a Bengals fan. I gives a few teams credit for going through as much as I've had to go through liking Cincinnati, but not many. One reason: The Bengals have the coach that is the definition of mediocre. 

Yes, you also have to include the mediocre owner Mike Brown, yet his management decisions haven't been as detrimental as years past. Brown has been part of the bone-headed decisions involving Carson Palmer which, yeah it worked out for the better, but his stinginess to prove he is right has hurt the Bengals in the past. But this article is about Marvin.

Lewis was hired in Cincinnati in 2003, which means he's been in the league 11 years. He not only has a record of 85-87-1, but has yet to win a playoff game. If you are an owner of a team, and your coach has yet to win a playoff game in 11 years, I'd at least consider the other options. There's only one coach whose tenure has been longer, and that's New England legend Bill Belichick. 

It's not just that. Marvin has made decisions that are boneheaded to say the least, some of those he gets bailed out on by the talent the Bengals have had in their years. In this season, it still exists, and for a 6-3 teams that's pretty shocking to have a coach who can't...well....COACH!

Let's look at some decisions this year:

Throughout the entire year, Marvin has had a habit of wasting a drive to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. On the first drive, the Bengals went three straight runs to BJGE before punting. He does this at least once a game and infuriates Cincinnati fans when you have electrifying back Giovanni Bernard when you watch a drive wasted in that way, especially after the night Bernard had. 

Then there is the set plays he puts Dalton into. People discredit Andy Dalton for his lack of accuracy on throws, and they are right to do so, but obviously Marvin is not helping. One specifically tonight was the 3rd down and 3 at the Miami 13 in the beginning of the second quarter. 

Dalton ends up getting sacked on the play, yet if you look around at his options, there is only one guy set up for him to throw to, and he's double-covered. That's the fault of the coach. If you are Marvin Lewis, and your QB has a third and manageable in the Red Zone, give him a chance. You're not helping a younger QB by limiting his options in a tough situation on the road.

Then there's the constant challenge flag issues Marvin has nearly every year. Some of those decisions work out, and some don't. Two years ago in the playoffs against the Texans, Lewis used both of his challenges early in the game on two calls, the first many thought weren't even close to being challenge worthy. 

It's a common theme. Too common. It's infuriating to watch his decision making and have the management be completely okay with it. A lot of people blame the lack of success in the playoffs on Andy Dalton, yet you really should look deeper than that.

Of course Dalton is a bit to blame. He's in his third year and is still as inconsistent as it gets. One days he's up for Offensive Player of the Week, and the next he's got 4 turnovers. He's had huge issues with overthrows and not putting the ball in the spot it needs to be. He's got all the talent in the world around him, yet still falters. But let's be honest, Dalton isn't a franchise QB. He's...well....the new Carson Palmer.

Cincinnati sure knows how to draft those QB's right? I love Dalton's hair, yet he really does remind me of a little bit more accurate Palmer, without the rocket arm. He can make some throws that are absolutely fantastic, put right in the position where only the receiver can get it. And then there's the pick-6 he threw tonight. He put it in one of the worst spots possible.

This team has all the potential, yet the coaching and the play-calling of Lewis can be described in 1 word...Conservative. In last night's game vs. the Dolphins, Lewis had an opportunity to give his kicker Mike Nugent a chance to win it in overtime with a 57-yard attempt. Yes it's OT, yes the Dolphins would get great field position, but Nugent has made two game winners this year and made a 54 yard FG with ease earlier in the game. 

It's almost like he's not trusting of his team and their talent. And oh man do they have talent. He doesn't play to win, he plays to not lose. Oh, unless it's a boneheaded decision.

Last year in Week 16, Marvin Lewis decided to let Josh Brown try a 56 yard FG, knowing the Steelers would get prime field position to win the game if he missed. How is this different than last week? This is a play-in game to the playoffs. Also, this wasn't their normal kicker. Josh Brown was signed because of an injury to their regular kicker Mike Nugent. He had two games played for Cinci before that, but a 56-yarder is ridiculous at best. A Reggie Nelson interception saved Lewis, yet the decision was nothing short of dumbfounding. 

So my big question is, why does Cincinnati keep Lewis as their coach? He has a big deal now from an extension in 2012, but they had the chance to let him go from mediocre year after mediocre year. They have two options on the team that could coach better than Marvin. Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer deserve coaching jobs for their work with their respective units much more than Lewis. As a diehard fan of the team who has been loyal to the team, it bothers me. 

This team has had loads of talent. Chad Johnson, Jonathan Joseph, TJ Houshmanzadeh, Rudi Johnson, Justin Smith and this team now has more talent than you can imagine. My favorite Bengal?

This guy is Corey Dillon:

He's one of the big reasons for my pride in Cincinnati. Watching him run was a marvel. He had such great speed and power it made you smile. Now this team has a younger and faster replica:

Gio Bernard. Rookie. Did I forget to mention this guy?

AJ Green. Pro-Bowl WR. Dalton's right-hand man. And of course the biggest loss in this game:

Geno Atkins, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. What's the point of all this......

LOOK AT THIS TALENT! How has Marvin not been able to win? How do loses like this keep happening, to a Miami team without plenty of it's starters, especially on the offensive line? To a team who had lost 4 straight games? The fact is, the mediocre label will continue to exist in Cincinnati as long as Marvin Lewis is coach. The Bengals need to realize they aren't going anywhere with a coach who constantly makes decisions that are not better for the team. For the city of Cincinnati, the Bengals need to move on from Marvin Lewis. It's what must be done.

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