By Chris Slone
January 7, 2014
PDT Sports Editor
After taking a few days to digest another embarrassing playoff exit from the Cincinnati Bengals, there is one thing that has become clear — changes are needed in the Queen city.
After a perfect 8-0 home record for Cincinnati during the 2013 regular season, the Bengals were bounced out of the wild-card round with a lack luster performance against the San Diego Chargers.
Most people are glamouring for a new starting quarterback, and rightfully so, but lets not jump off the deep end just yet. The coaching staff is more of a concern than the guy under center, at least for the moment.
After 10 seasons as the head honcho in Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis is 90-85-1, which equates to a .514 winning percentage. For a Bengals franchise that has seen limited success, those numbers are not horrific, in fact, they are pretty good. However, Lewis is a whopping 0-5 in the playoffs. Those numbers are cause for alarm, and after ten years, dismissal.
Lewis needs to leave town along with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden who, according to a report by Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, was instrumental in the acquisition of Andy Dalton. According to the report, Bengals’ owner Mike Brown favored Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett over Dalton.
Kaepernick was selected one pick later by the San Francisco 49ers, while Mallett was taken in the third round by the New England Patriots.
If the report is accurate, Gruden has severly hampered a franchise that could not afford to select the wrong quarterback. With the talent assembled, the time to win in Cincinnati is now, plain and simple.
On the other hand, Lewis is a defensive minded coach who had one of the league’s top rated defenses, with the help of Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer, who has the accolades be an NFL head coach.
But that brain trust has produced next to nothing for a city beging for postseason success.
What the Bengals need is an offensive minded coach that can breed some life into a very talented group of players.
Look at the Kansas City Chiefs, who suffered their own playoff blunder this weekend. Any Reid is a quarterback friendly coach. Reid took Alex Smith, who has been a disappointment after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the 49ers in the 2005 NFL draft.
Under Reid’s tutelage, Smith threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts. If not for an enempt defense that looked dazed and confused, Smith would have been the postseason darling, instead of Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck.
I’m using Kansas City has comparison to the Bengals becuase they are very comparable.
Cincinnati needs to find the quarterback driven coach to get the most out of Dalton’s abilities. On the defensive side of the ball, hopefully Mike Zimmer would stay on board. If not, find another 4-3 (four defensive lineman, three linebackers) coach that can continue to lead a very talented defense.
In a couple of seasons, the true Dalton would emerge. Either he’ll find his stride and development into a play-making quarterback, or he will digress is way to the unemployment line.
Either way, starting with the coaching staff. The Bengals have a solid nucleus and to start from scratch would set the franchise back for the forseeable future.
If Brown decides to stay pat, then I predict there will be more downs than ups in Cincinnati over the course of the next year.
I went 3-1 with my picks over wild-card weekend, only missing on the Cincinnati selection. My picks for the Divisional Round will be in Friday’s edition of the Daily Times. There might be an upset or two, so make sure you grab a Friday paper or visit our website, www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com on Thursday night or Friday morning.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Chris on Twitter @crslone.