The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

The Coach is a Keeper

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Look, Marvin Lewis can coach. When he took over in Cincinnati in 2003, he inherited a team that had gone 2-14 the previous season and was the laughingstock of the league.

He first got the Bengals to respectable, going 8-8 in each of the first two seasons. Then he got them into the playoffs, going 11-5 in 2005. Things have leveled off from there, with an 8-8 record in 2006 and a 7-9 mark last season. Now the Bengals are 1-9-1 and are back among the dregs of the league, but that isn't due to coaching.

A big part of this season's woes is not having Carson Palmer healthy. If you fix your quarterback position, you fix a lot of things in this league. The Bengals presumably will have Palmer healthy again and back in the lineup next season. If that's the case, they'll be immediately better.

But, really, this isn't about Carson Palmer, either. This is about Mike Brown, the owner of the team. He needs to do all that he can to support his coach and give Lewis what he needs to win. This is about the culture of how this organization is operated.

There is a lot of talk around the league that Lewis won't be fired in the offseason but he could leave the Bengals if he and Brown can't agree on how the franchise's football operation should be run going forward.

Perhaps Brown needs to add a strong general manager to help Lewis assemble a roster that can win. The Bengals can't keep gambling on players with histories of off-field troubles. That's a losing proposition.

Maybe disgruntled wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco needs to be sent on his way. The two first-round draft picks that the Washington Redskins offered last offseason for him would come in handy right now.

Drew Rosenhaus, the agent to the NFL stars who represents Ocho Cinco, got it right when he was asked during an ESPN interview Thursday about his client's future in Cincinnati beyond this season.

Rosenhaus said it was clear that they wouldn't be able to bully their way out of town, and added: "It's going to be Mike Brown's way or no way at all. It's going to be up to Mike Brown."

That's true about the Bengals in general, not just when it comes to the receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson.

By Mark Maske  |  November 21, 2008; 12:40 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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