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johnstownsteel

What Has Marvin Built?

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In starting this topic, I am in no way meaning to smack, dig or even downgrade all that the Bengals have accomplished the past couple of seasons. To be honest, if my Steelers don't make the playoffs ( an almost certain guarantee) I will be pulling for your Bengals. I only intend to draw out solid opinions and thoughts on the subject. So again I ask, what exactly has Marvin built?

Taking a look at the Bengals current roster, it's quite obvious to me that the offense is the teams strong point. At this point I asked myself, how many players were inherited by Marvin from the previous regime? I was surprised to find that almost the entire starting lineup consisted of players brought in by other coaching staffs. Don't get me wrong, Marvin and his staff should be given some credit for player development, but as far as building this offense, much of the credit should go elsewhere.

Let's now break down what I'm trying to convey. Most would agree that aside from Carson, T.J Housh, Chad Johnson and Rudi Johnson are the backbone of this offense. All players inherited by Marvin. Nice cast of talent to walk into wouldn't you say? Throw in Willie Anderson, Levi Jones and Rich Braham (all inherited players) it then becomes even more apparent that Marvin was blessed with talent already there.

Getting back to Carson, although it's true that Carson was drafted by Marvin with his first pick, wouldn't anybody have made Carson the #1 choice in that draft? Considering Palmer was the Heisman trophy winner coming from a program like USC and considered by most to be that drafts top prospect, it was pretty much a no-brainer wouldn't you say? I guess one could consider Carson an inherited player but for arguments sake let's just say he wasn't.

Now for the parts of the puzzle Marvin should be given most of the credit for putting his touch on...the defense. Looking over the Bengals defensive personnel, most of the cast are players brought in by Marvin through either free agency or the draft. Aside from Justin Smith and Brian Simmons, Marvin was instumental in putting together what many feel is keeping this team from reaching the Super Bowl.

Granted, injuries have played a huge part in defensive meltdowns but even without them, the defense still had it's problems. In addition, bringing in solid backups and developing players to step in when injuries occur is the head coaches responsibility isn't it? Unless I'm missing something, quality depth just isn't there.

Don't get me wrong, I see some nice young talent in players such as Medieu, Joeseph and Thurman (we'll get to character issues later) but until these players prove themselves year in and year out then we must take a wait and see approach. As far as free agents brought in by Marvin such as Thornton, Adams, Dexter and Tory James, well... let's just say they aren't exactly tearing it up. I will give Marvin some credit with Delta. A very nice move on his part.

Let's review the coaching staff that Marvin has gone with. In my opinion Bratkowski is a pretty good offensive coordinator but with the talent that he has to work with, shouldn't productivity be a given? My only question with Brat is his play calling. At times, his calling of a game can be baffling. This was most evident to me during the Steelers/Bengals AFC wild card game last year. Even this year, Brats play calling has been questioned by not only the fans but also the media as well. True, Bratkowski was retained from the previous coaching staff. A decision that I'm sure Marvin had complete control over.

Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan was promoted to his current position a couple seasons ago by Marvin. Since then, the Bengals defense has made only modest gains. One gain that can not be overlooked is the defenses tendancy for forcing turnovers. Aside from that, the defense really isn't holding up it's end of the bargain. At times, the defense seems to quit on plays and shows no heart. In my opinion, this is a coaching problem that stretches to not only the defensive coordinator but also the head coach.

Although I'm not all that familiar with the Bengals positional coaches, from what I know and hear Hue Jackson, Ken Zampese and Jim Anderson are highly respected and thought to be solid coaches throughout the NFL. Is it any wonder that they coach on the offensive side of the ball? With talent some would consider a gold mine? Not surprisingly, defensive positional coaches are hardly mentioned. Maybe this will change when a defense is built that posseses talent and heart. Then again, maybe not.

As far as what Marvin has brought to the table in regards to team chemistry and character, this past off season has really made one wonder. In addition, with all the suspensions, arrests and finger pointing going on, no team can be considered a legitimate contender. I'm not sure how much control Marvin has with the types of players that he can bring in but he has to have at least some say so right?

In wrapping this up, I'd like to insist that I'm in no way putting down your Bengals. I'm only intested in your thoughts and opinions about your current head coach and to ask if your satisfied with what he is doing. In Cowhers 15 or so years, we as fans have always questioned our coach. Will you be satisfied going 10 more years with a winning team without a Super Bowl? Going 14 or so years without a Super Bowl much the same Steelers fans have done with one coach? Trust me, it was hard....real hard. When would you start to question your coach like I have?

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When would you start to question your coach like I have?

Not any time soon since the the Bengals were 2-14 after an endless mire of incompetence during the Mike Brown era. I'll take a couple 8-8's, a AFC North title and whatever this year brings. As long as Marv is the man, fine by me. I've seen a whole parade full of worse.

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Your post covers too much ground to reply to quickly and I don't want to hurt my pretty head. So, I'll just share my initial thoughts. First, it's easy to get all upset when a few things don't go your way and you had high expectations for this season. I don't think that every players' performance is a direct reflection on the coaching, especially young players who haven't had much time in the system. So, when you're starting a CFL player and a supplemental draft player at LB together with a couple of backups you can't expect ProBowl level play immediately. FA has been more of a "what he didn't do" than who was signed by Marvin. He passed on Sapp and Vincent, which look like good moves now. Marvin focuses on second tier FA's because I believe he feels that core players need to be drafted. Sam was brought in IMO because they felt they might have enought everywhere else to go deep in the playoffs. I don't feel he's performed well enough, but I don't fault the attempt. You seem to suggest Dexter Jackson hasn't played well, but I disagree. He has played relatively well when active -- I believe that's what they hoped for from him. Again, basically a second tier FA with a couple of years left. Marvin hit with both Tory James and O'Neal.

I question every one of his drafts, but not to the level of thinking that he doesn't know what he's doing. I think that's the same for every coach of every team. The fact that offense has progressed faster is a reflection of how stocked we were there already. This year is a bad case study to me because most of the players that were being built around are not playing. I don't think it's fair to say there's not quality depth -- it's just that we have lost waaayyy more players than any other team. Any year you get to that level with one of the most difficult schedules in the league you're not going to go far.

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Granted, injuries have played a huge part in defensive meltdowns but even without them, the defense still had it's problems. In addition, bringing in solid backups and developing players to step in when injuries occur is the head coaches responsibility isn't it? Unless I'm missing something, quality depth just isn't there.

Remember the '03 Steelers team? 6-10? Shot to hell by injuries? Welcome to our world.

Marvin Lewis' defense scheme keys on the LBs. They are the axis around which all else spins. Coming into the season, our starting LBs were David Pollack, Odell Thurman, and Brian Simmons. Thurman got axed before the season began, Pollack lasted precisely 2 defensive snaps, and Simmons has now been out more than one game.

Basically, the heart of the D was cut out amost from the word go. No team in the league can hope its depth includes three starting-caliber LBs.

This has been exacerbated by the fact that the Bengals have concentrated, defensively, on the LB corps and secondary in the draft. Their selection of DE Frostee Rucker (now on IR) was their first day 1 d-line selection since Justin Smith. They havent taken a DT on day 1 since Dan Wilkinson.

Football games are won and lost in the trenches and right now on defense the Bengals are losing that battle.

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The Bengals had so many poor players when Marvin arrived, the draft simply could not fix all the problems. FA had to be used and Marvin built the Dline that way while building the rest of the defense with the draft. The Cincy Bengals had a great run last year with few injuries, then the Carson injury was followed by almost endless key injuries. Tough luck to be sure.

What will really challenge Marvin in the rebuilding he must do beginning in year 5.

Look at the Dline. Will any starters in 2006 be back? Peko, Geathers are sure replacements but will need more.

Line Backers have been decimated this year and most likely not a single starter from Kansas City game will be starting in 2007.

Secondary is bad this year with Tory and maybe Deltha not around next year. I don't know what is wrong with Deltha but he's most definitely not a Pro Bowl Corner this season. Tory probably won't be in the league next year.

On top of all of this crap, Marvin had to rebuild the Offensive Line during the 2006 season and in that he's done real well. GuyCheck is getting the job done. LT isn't a problem with a rookie!

Wide Reciever has come back after all the injuries and KnuckleHeads behavior.

Marvin has kept the Bengals alive this season. Name a former Cincy coach past Forrest Gregg that could have done better.

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I don't really feel like going as deep into the question as I should, but, I do have to say ... Very good, intelligent post from our rival. Man ... the more and more I read these boards, the more I feel like the Steelers are like a brother of ours who we can't stand most of the time but every once in a while we get along. Those words go a loooooong way you Steeler fans so take it for what it is. ^_^

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Good post, JTS.

If you look at the Bengals soon before (and a bit after) Marvin, you might be surprised in terms of offensive talent. Along with Rudi, Chad, and TJ, we had (not all at once) Carl Pickens, Corey Dillon, Lorenzo Neal, Willie Anderson, Levi Jones, etc... Even during the Dark Ages, this team had an underrated core of players on offense... but there was never a coach in sight capable of making them a consistent, motivated team.

They had the big statistics, and they even had a few Pro Bowls... but the team still finished 4-12 every year. I'd argue that when Marvin came to Cincinnati, the offensive talent he inherited wasn't all that much more impressive that those of previous Bengals squads. I his first season, 2003, he had Corey Dillon, Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson Wille Anderson, and Peter Warrick. Palmer had been drafted, but keep in mind Jon Kitna still took every single snap that season.

On paper, that looks like a solid group, no doubt. The same could be said about those other Bengals teams in the few years previous. The only noteable difference was at head coach, and in turn the team took a noteable step foward in the standings. They finished .500 for the first time since '96, and were in playoff contention until the end of the 16th game. Marvin reinvigorated the entire franchise, and made productive use of the offensive talent he had at his disposal.

As much talent as he inherited on offense, he inherited equally little on defense. He had Brian Simmons and Takeo Spikes. Beyond that, scrub city. He let Spikes, discontented with the team, leave for free agency, and from there began rebuilding everything.

As has been noted, he did not look to free agency as a means of building his defense. He signed Tory James and Kevin Hardy to take on leadership roles that would prove invaluable for the rookies he'd be bringing in. It has been a slow process, no doubt... And despite how it may appear in games like 49-41 Sunday, there has been progress made.

One of the youngest defenses in the league is gradually learning the fundamentals of Marvin's/Bresnehan's schemes, and while we wait... their talent alone has worked out in the interim in the takeaway department (2nd in the NFL the last three seasons in that category). Marvin's earlier picks, like Madieu Williams, have stepped into new leadership roles while his newest picks (aside from the admittedly failed gambles like Odell Thurman) are still inconsistent and growing as players.

Going into this season, it appeared to fans that everything was in place on defense for the Bengals to finally make that deep playoff run. Marvin picked up Sam Adams and Dexter Jackson to add more veteran presence and leadership to the field, and the starting roster looked great.

I know nobody likes the injury excuse, but I do think it is warranted for the Bengals this season. A defense set to take a big step foward has taken no steps at all after losing two starting linebackers for the season (and perhaps forever), and another for a few games. Dexter Jackson has been hurt as well, and Tory James has been burnt toast. The run defense has been inconsistent, sometimes good and sometimes outright horrible. Third down defense has been an embarassment. Depth is nice to have, but nobody wants to actually USE it. As always, though... Marvin's rookies look good.

In a year that was supposed to be different, unfortunate setbacks have brought only disappointment.

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1. Carson Palmer was a "no brainer."

This could not be further from the truth. with Marvin coming in and Kitna in place, there was very strong thought that the #1 pick would be a defensive stalwart to shore up a horrendous defensive side of the ball. And there were very serious questions abouts Carson's "brain type" or whatever and his ability to lead. thank God that Marvin didn't listen. This was Marvin's pick. And it was not a "no brainer."

2. Marvin has been the final decision maker on draft day.

Again, not true, recent information has come out that Mike Brown has been the final decision maker and has saddled Marv with certain guys because of his faith in Marv's ability to handle the problem cases. Results are mixed, with maybe the argument being not so strong as to how successful he has been so far. We shall see.

3. Aside from the first pick in 2003, Marvin has focused on D.

2003 5 picks were on the offensive side of the ball, including the first 3. 4 on D, all on the second day (4th round or later).

2004 we still picked 4 offensive players, including a 1st round RB.

2005 4 of 7 players were offensive.

2006 4 of 8 players were offensive (plus 1 supplemental from 2007 which was defensive).

So in summary: 36 total draft picks by Marvin, 17 offensive and 19 defensive; not the imbalance one might expect had Marvin been focusing on the D.

5 of those 19 defensive picks have been released...

5 are on IR/PUP or suspended...

The one thing we have had is stability on the offensive side of the ball and the offensive ability of this team shows what that means to a ball club. We have not had that same stability on defense, either with draft picks or with FAs (Webster was hurt in the first couple of games he played with the Bengals and is now gone).

So, until we have a couple of years of stability on defense to develop a core group it will be rough on the defensive side of the ball. This year is especially bad, since it would have been the first year of the beginning of that stability (Odell, Pollack, Simmons at LB in 2nd or more years, secondary w/ Williams back and the addition of Jackson, etc.). Now with the injuries, you are calling on guys to step up their level of play and putting the pressure on them to carry the team. Last year we had one rookie starting LB and occasionaly 2 with Pollack and Thurman and it showed. Now we have that again and the rookie in the middle did not have the advantage of a full mini camp and offseason to learn the defense.

It adds up to what you see on the field. I still believe that this defense will improve as the year goes along, as long as guys quit trying to do too much.

Bengal draft history: http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/teams/CIN

and...

http://bengals.com/team/draft_central06.asp

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1. Carson Palmer was a "no brainer."

This could not be further from the truth. with Marvin coming in and Kitna in place, there was very strong thought that the #1 pick would be a defensive stalwart to shore up a horrendous defensive side of the ball. And there were very serious questions abouts Carson's "brain type" or whatever and his ability to lead. thank God that Marvin didn't listen. This was Marvin's pick. And it was not a "no brainer."

Agreed. Not only was there plenty of support for not drafting a QB 1st overall, but there was plenty of people who felt Byron Leftwich was a better prospect. Who knows what they were thinking.

Regardless, once the decision to select Palmer was made it was deemed critical that the team follow through on that decision by surrounding Palmer with weapons everywhere, including at each backup skill position. This was complimented by this seasons biggest priority of making sure that his offensive line remained largely intact.

These player acquisition strategies have resulted in more high draft picks being used on offensive players than many of us would have preferred, as well as a massive commitment from the Bengals front office to retain their own critical offensive FA's. These include the starting RB, FB, #2 WR, LT, C, RG, and most recently the RT. Add in contract extensions for Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer and it's easy to see that, from the moment Marvin arrived, the franchises priority has been to protect the offensive pieces that were here while adding several others that would not only make it truly elite, but under contract for years to come.

With the emphasis placed on building an elite offense overflowing with young players who rank amongst the very best at their respective positions, the defense has until late been put together with older 2nd and 3rd tier free agents. Repeated attempts to fill critical positions such as MLB or SS have failed utterly and completely due to veteran players suffering career ending injuries...forcing the Bengals to attempt quick fixes at MLB with risky boom-or-bust players...a strategy they also embraced when they traded for Deltha O'Neal. The results have been mixed. They've boomed as often as they've busted, but the margin for error is smaller than on the offensive side of the ball.

Bottom Line: The Bengal defense is actually an older team than most realize, with far too many critical positions being manned by FA's who, despite being known to be declining players, were still the only type of free agent that Cincinnati could attract. And right now too many of the other positions are currently being manned by outstanding prospects with far too little experience, or marginal mid round draft picks who weren't drafted to be starters. The result has been prolonged failure, but IMHO wasn't part of some failed grand design. Instead, it has evolved from a mix of having other priorities, suffering a few critical injuries, and a continued inability to attract impact free agents.

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I will never turn on Marvin after what he did with this dead franchise. There was a time where we would have just won our first game. Picking Palmer may have been a no-brainer, but resisting starting him and let that bum Kitna take the lumps from a rebuild was genius. Marvin is a great, great coach. I still believe they will end as a dynasty. Just not this year.

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It was smart to not start Carson immediately but not genius (every anaylist said the same thing before he did it). And even Marvin admits that he has not performed at a level he should. And he did have an offense here when he got here (adding JJ for Neal is 0 sum). So dont feel like such a Judas when you express your opinion about facts. And Carson was a no brainer, but again what hope do we have on D if we have to rebuild through a draft without a 3 rd pick and enough injured recievers to fill a section of PBS. No fault to Marvin but our drafted LB's suck or are suspended. And most of our d line picks suck or have been released and we only have 1 safety in 4 years. His only diamond in the ruff on D was madieu and he was even drafted 1-2 rounds early. Uhmm....Chris Perry? Marv has done well but has made some mistakes.

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First of all, I'd like to say thanks for such informative feedback and your thoughts about the questions that I pose. Once again you have all proven that message boards are more valuable than any sports page or magazine out there in terms of what the fans are really thinking. Kudos to you all.

Having said that, many of you would be surprised to learn my thoughts on Marvin Lewis and the job that he has done. Truth be told, I feel Marvin is one of the top head coaches in the league and will be for years to come. The Bengals orginization should feel very fortunate. What may surprise you even more is that if Cowher does decide to hang it up at years end, Lewis would be my first choice as his replacement. A scenerio that most would agree would never happen.

The reason I started this topic was to find out if a Bengal fans mentality is anything like mine. Through Cowhers long tenure in Pittsburgh, there were countless times when I gave up on him and decided a change was in order. Don't get me wrong, I give Cowher a ton of credit for so many playoff calibur teams and of course for bringing the Lombardi back to the "burgh". Is it wrong to wonder what might have been had Cowher been replaced say six or seven years ago? Maybe the Steelers become a dynasty. Or maybe...just maybe they become the leagues doormat with it's fans still waiting for that one for the thumb. We just don't know.

I guess what I was trying to draw from you all is the answer to the following question. How many more years do you give him? In a time when head coaches are given minimal time to build a winner, I'd say the question is fair. I could be wrong, but I'm willing to bet that if Lewis doesn't bring it home within three years many will be calling for his dismissal. I for one wouldn't blame you because I did that exact same thing during Cowhers tenure. Was I right in my thinking? You tell me.

Best case scenerio and most probable is that Lewis brings a Lombardi to Cinci sometime between 2007-2009. Worst case scenerio is that by the time he builds a championship type defense it's time to rebuild an offense with aging vets a/o one suffering from free agent losses. I will say this, I give the Rooneys credit for patience. Will Bengal fans show patience like that?

I know I didn't.... :unsure:

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I remember when FA's wouldn't even consider coming to the 'nati for a look see. He now has guys very interested in coming here to play. Atleast we haven't had anyone pull an Eli Manning.

I think the Bengals organization has made some bad choices when drafting players with character issues. You never know who is going to get injured and you try your best to have depth at every position. I have NOT lost my faith in Marvin. I think he is a defensive genius.......and I think he needs to take control of this defense.....NOW!

My answer to your last question...................We have been patient...............very patient. We expected results.....FAST! and we've seen results in the last 2 seasons. Only time will tell if Marvin can really turn this franchise around for the years to come. I can wait..........but, I don't want to see this come to fruition after I turn 40. (I'm 33)

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It was smart to not start Carson immediately but not genius (every anaylist said the same thing before he did it). And even Marvin admits that he has not performed at a level he should. And he did have an offense here when he got here (adding JJ for Neal is 0 sum). So dont feel like such a Judas when you express your opinion about facts. And Carson was a no brainer, but again what hope do we have on D if we have to rebuild through a draft without a 3 rd pick and enough injured recievers to fill a section of PBS. No fault to Marvin but our drafted LB's suck or are suspended. And most of our d line picks suck or have been released and we only have 1 safety in 4 years. His only diamond in the ruff on D was madieu and he was even drafted 1-2 rounds early. Uhmm....Chris Perry? Marv has done well but has made some mistakes.

The only comment I have on the above is that you seem to complain about not having a 3rd round pick next year. That 3rd round pick is currently the starting MLB, however, so I would tend to believe that whoever's decision that was to draft Brooks is working out pretty damn well right now. I think most would agree that you would be a fool to expect to draft an immediate defensive starter in the 3rd round of any draft. As for your comment that the drafted LB's suck -- who are you referring to? Pollack was a good pick, Landon and Miller have provided consistent depth. On the d line, Peko is playing well and Frostee is hurt. which linemen suck and/or were released?

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Best case scenerio and most probable is that Lewis brings a Lombardi to Cinci sometime between 2007-2009. Worst case scenerio is that by the time he builds a championship type defense it's time to rebuild an offense with aging vets a/o one suffering from free agent losses. I will say this, I give the Rooneys credit for patience. Will Bengal fans show patience like that?

No, they won't. In fact, many have shown an amazing lack of patience already.

I fear the ugly truth is this. Lewis may have managed to change the culture of losing within the franchise, but it remains vibrant within the fanbase itself. For example, despite the fact that this franchise barely resembles the historical wreck that Marvin inherited...blatant second guessing is now so commonplace that it may surpass the game of cornhole as a local sport. Worse, most of it isn't even intelligent second guessing. It's blatant whining from fans who demand wins under any circumstance.

That said, I rest my hopes on the fact that this franchise has never cared very much about what it's loudly complaining fanbase might want. Simply put, I'm betting the powers that be continue to back Marvin for as long as he wants to stick around soley due to the fact that he's a very good head coach.

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It was smart to not start Carson immediately but not genius (every anaylist said the same thing before he did it). And even Marvin admits that he has not performed at a level he should. And he did have an offense here when he got here (adding JJ for Neal is 0 sum). So dont feel like such a Judas when you express your opinion about facts. And Carson was a no brainer, but again what hope do we have on D if we have to rebuild through a draft without a 3 rd pick and enough injured recievers to fill a section of PBS. No fault to Marvin but our drafted LB's suck or are suspended. And most of our d line picks suck or have been released and we only have 1 safety in 4 years. His only diamond in the ruff on D was madieu and he was even drafted 1-2 rounds early. Uhmm....Chris Perry? Marv has done well but has made some mistakes.

The only comment I have on the above is that you seem to complain about not having a 3rd round pick next year. That 3rd round pick is currently the starting MLB, however, so I would tend to believe that whoever's decision that was to draft Brooks is working out pretty damn well right now. I think most would agree that you would be a fool to expect to draft an immediate defensive starter in the 3rd round of any draft. As for your comment that the drafted LB's suck -- who are you referring to? Pollack was a good pick, Landon and Miller have provided consistent depth. On the d line, Peko is playing well and Frostee is hurt. which linemen suck and/or were released?

Who's complaining about Ahmed? Not me. Always been for it. He is a good player, great size speed, and open field ability, and if he doesnt get suspended, arrested, mamed, tasered, shot, gang banged, druged, convicted ect...he should be oh-tay. Was merely trying to point out the uphill battle with one less draft pick next year. Although i have held out hope, Landon and Calib are generally not regarded as quality picks. Both have some ability for SP but not as everyday guys for varies reasons, mostly because they are TINY and they break. You can get that effort or better from the cfl or rfa and not waste 3rd rounders. And if imediately means 3 years, it does not matter because they are still not ready to start. Both have played poorly all season is a large part of why our d sucks. Pollack showed a little potential at the end of last year but not 1st round play. He was still LOST IN SPACE (echo added for effect) which is may be why he tackled poorly (head down and not rollin them hips) and fractured his kneck. He was only going to be a situational pass rusher, was drafted way to high, but if he never plays again he will be regarded an undersized bust who got broken. Langston Moore, Odellio, Pollack, Elton Paterson, Askew, Kahlida, Weathersbe and Keiwan (what to soon?) are all gone or likely to not return. Frostee was a terrible draft choice regardless of how he performs because no one else was going to draft the pervert. And after watching his poor preseason performance, he is likely to suck. Gathers is situational at best and inconsistent at worst.

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What has Marvin built? Marvin has built a real football team in Cincinnati.

Let's look back into a little Bengals history and see where we've come from. At the end of the 80s, the Bengals stood at 162 - 161 - 1 with two apperances in the Super Bowl. Certain years they were up and other years they were down. While not world beaters, they were respectable and would contend from time to time. And then the 90s arrived and the team went into utter disarray. I don't need to repeat that long, sad tale here as all of you here already know what it was like being a Bengals fan in those years. In the 90s, the team was a collective 52 - 108 - 0. Some of those teams had good talent, but both the front office and the coaching was terribly inept. There were many Bengals teams that should have had better records, but you can't have a winning season on talent alone. You have to be coached. Management has to bring in players who fit into an overall scheme rather than just taking random people and putting the same uniform on all of them. The Bengals of the 90s should be a lesson to anyone on how vital proper coaching and management is to the viability of any professional sports franchise. But, I digress.

Let's go back to only just 10 years ago and look at what the Bengals accomplished before Marvin showed up.

1996 8 - 8

1997 7 - 9

1998 3 - 13

1999 4 - 12

2000 4 - 12

2001 6 - 10

2002 2 - 14

Some of these teams had talent and as has already been mentioned, Marvin inherited players such as Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson, Willie Anderson and others. While Marvin was a defensive coordinator, when he showed up in town, he started to work on the offense. I can't say that I know Marvin's motives, but it seemed to me that he started to work on the offense first for two reasons. First, he already had some building blocks to work with and he was betting the franchise on Carson Palmer. With the franchise clearly on Palmer's shoulders Marvin needed to set Palmer up with a situation where he could suceed. By sitting him out for the 2003 season, not only did Palmer have time to learn, but it gave Marvin another year to further bolster the offense. With a tuned up offense, Palmer was in one of the best situations that a young quarterback could have. In his first year of play, the Bengals went 8 - 8 which when you think about it is a very good record for a quarterback to have in their first season of being on the field.

Because of the concentration on offense, the defense got the short end of the deal. The defense had many more holes and bringing in a new coaching philosophy wasn't going to change much. And also remember that in the first couple of seasons, Cincinnati wasn't a place that attracted free agents. With Marvin having come from the defensive side of the ball, everyone expected the defense to perform a lot better, but year after year the defense continued to languish. The fact of the matter is that while someone may have a great defensive philosophy, you need the right players in order to make it execute properly. Anyway, we're already a couple years into the Marvin era and he's only then beginning to work on the defense in earnest. Because of the late start on the defense, the defense continued to track in the bottom third of the league, even last season when the Bengals went 11 - 5 and won the AFC North. This current season seemed to be when we were supposed to see the defense really come together and perform well, or at least show a very good improvment. However, with Thurman and Pollack out among other injuries, there was no way that a young defense could hold together and we're now seeing the effects of the lost cohesion.

This season has been a disappointing, but it's not something that we can blame squarely on Marvin. Sure, there are individual things that we can question such as in-game decisions, draft picks and the like, but that happens to every coach in the league, even the Super Bowl winners. Marvin has built a competitive team. No coach of the 90s can say that their teams were competitive. Marvin has made Cincy appealing again to free agents, not only to those outside the organization, but those on the inside as well. I'm sure that all of you remember players getting out of Cincy as soon as they became a free agent. Marvin has installed a powerful offense centered around a great young quarterback. We saw what the offense could do last season and we've seen flashes of that greatness this season, but Carson Palmer coming back so quickly from knee surgery and the decimated offensive line have taken a huge bite out of the offensive attack. Marvin is in the process of building a defense and as I said above, I thought this would be the season where we'd see the beginning of the improved defense, but that will have to wait until we get a linebacking corps back.

Even with all of the Bengals woes, we have been in every game we've played. In the blow-out loss to New England, the Bengals were only down by 1 point in the third quarter. The losses to Atlanta and Baltimore were only by 2 points each. The loss to Tampa was by 1 point. And Cincy was up big on San Diego before they came back to hand us another loss. Sure, a loss is a loss no matter how you cut it, but to be playing .500 ball against a cast of hard opponents. And if there were a couple of different bounces, we'd be looking at 6 - 3 instead of 4 - 5. We've only had one loss to a team with a sub-.500 record. A brutal schedule with injuries doesn't equal a good season for any team.

Even with the current stuggles, Marvin has built a competitive team. He's built a team that other teams can't circle as an easy game on their schedules. He's built a team that's shaken the "Bungles" moniker it wore for a decade. He's built a team that's actually attractive to free agents. He's built a team that is capable of winning the division and making the playoffs. Marvin has built up a lot of things, but there's still more work to do, but having seen what he's already done, I want to see him continue that work.

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Since everyone has pretty much said everything that can be said about your great topic JTS, I will just echo "In Marvin We Trust" and thank you for starting a well thought out, intelectual football thread. :cheers:

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Marvin took four or five years to build the great defense he had in Baltimore in 2000. I think he took over as D-coordinator in 1996 when they first moved to Baltimore. And that team was average at best. They got their stud player/game changer when they got Ray Lewis. Unfortunately we haven't drafted ours yet. Odell may have been that guy but we will probably never know.

Parcells had LT. Chuck Noll had Joe Green and Mel Blount. On offense Bill Walsh had Joe Montana and Jerry Rice while Jimmy Johnson had Aikman and Emmitt.

It's easy to be a genius when you have guys like that on your team. Be patient. The best is yet to come.

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Marv was on the right track as far as building his defense. We brought in a couple of Free Agents this year and used the draft to pick up a first round corner. Odell's suspension and injuries have diminished this defensive squad. I mean come on guys, when a team loses one starter from injuries its crucial, we've lost at least 3 starters! At this point we've lost our whole starting LB'ing core, Thurman, Pollack, and Simmons. So to judge what Marv has built is insane. We're lucky to be at the point we're at now, which is right were we should be considering all the injuries to the offensive side as well...

Chucky from Tampa said it best after his loss on Monday Night to Carolina. "Pain is Pain. We've lost 2 QB's so we're giving the young guy some time. Injuries hurt" or something along those lines. Basically his whole season has been thrown away b/c of injuries and it's out of his control as a head coach. Just like Marv, who knows how good we wouldv'e been had we not lost soooooooo many players this year...

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Marv was on the right track as far as building his defense. We brought in a couple of Free Agents this year and used the draft to pick up a first round corner. Odell's suspension and injuries have diminished this defensive squad. I mean come on guys, when a team loses one starter from injuries its crucial, we've lost at least 3 starters! At this point we've lost our whole starting LB'ing core, Thurman, Pollack, and Simmons. So to judge what Marv has built is insane. We're lucky to be at the point we're at now, which is right were we should be considering all the injuries to the offensive side as well...

Chucky from Tampa said it best after his loss on Monday Night to Carolina. "Pain is Pain. We've lost 2 QB's so we're giving the young guy some time. Injuries hurt" or something along those lines. Basically his whole season has been thrown away b/c of injuries and it's out of his control as a head coach. Just like Marv, who knows how good we wouldv'e been had we not lost soooooooo many players this year...

Is it insane to judge what marvin built positively or just negatively? Im confused because you seem to judge him and then say your insane? :dontgetit:

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Marv was on the right track as far as building his defense. We brought in a couple of Free Agents this year and used the draft to pick up a first round corner. Odell's suspension and injuries have diminished this defensive squad. I mean come on guys, when a team loses one starter from injuries its crucial, we've lost at least 3 starters! At this point we've lost our whole starting LB'ing core, Thurman, Pollack, and Simmons. So to judge what Marv has built is insane. We're lucky to be at the point we're at now, which is right were we should be considering all the injuries to the offensive side as well...

Chucky from Tampa said it best after his loss on Monday Night to Carolina. "Pain is Pain. We've lost 2 QB's so we're giving the young guy some time. Injuries hurt" or something along those lines. Basically his whole season has been thrown away b/c of injuries and it's out of his control as a head coach. Just like Marv, who knows how good we wouldv'e been had we not lost soooooooo many players this year...

Is it insane to judge what marvin built positively or just negatively? Im confused because you seem to judge him and then say your insane? :dontgetit:

I may question a few of Marv's calls, but I stand by our head coach. Marv has completely revamped this team and has built the fan base by at least doubling or tripling the number of young fans. You have to understand that not only is football a game but also a business. Marv's the top guy to look at when things are going good or bad and I realize that. Yeah, I may critisize Marv from time to time out of frusteration, but I still trust that Marv wants to build a SB team and is passionate about Cincinnati. That's what its all about my friend. It's insane to judge what Marvin has built here on any level, anyone who says different is f**king insane as well. We were a 2-5 win per yr. team pre-Marvin and at least 8-8 in the years off. That speaks enough for itself. What Marvin has done here in Cincy is nothing less than remarkable and for that I will always stand by him and cherish every minute we have with him as our head coach...

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I may question a few of Marv's calls, but I stand by our head coach. Marv has completely revamped this team and has built the fan base by at least doubling or tripling the number of young fans. You have to understand that not only is football a game but also a business. Marv's the top guy to look at when things are going good or bad and I realize that. Yeah, I may critisize Marv from time to time out of frusteration, but I still trust that Marv wants to build a SB team and is passionate about Cincinnati. That's what its all about my friend. It's insane to judge what Marvin has built here on any level, anyone who says different is f**king insane as well. We were a 2-5 win per yr. team pre-Marvin and at least 8-8 in the years off. That speaks enough for itself. What Marvin has done here in Cincy is nothing less than remarkable and for that I will always stand by him and cherish every minute we have with him as our head coach...
First off, I understand your feelings about Coach Lewis. As I stated earlier in another post, I too feel he's a great coach and has done a fantastic job. That being said, I feel it's unfair for you to tag me or anyone else as being insane for simply judging him.

Look, anyone that has a job or career is judged. Why should an NFL coach be any different? I'm willing to bet every team owner and F.O. personnel sets time aside to evaluate and judge it's coaching staff. And yes, I'd throw the head coach in there as well. Like I said though, I feel Marvin is doing a great job but does my opinion mean anything. No...not really.

Let's look at this from an entirely different perspective. You say Marvin has totally revamped this team. Myself...I'm not so sure. He was handed talent such as T.J., Chad, Rudi, Levi, Braham and Willie to name a few. Throw in the fact that he was also given the rights to draft Palmer (which I still feel was a no-brainer). Totally revamped? Are you sure about that? With talent like that, I'm not so sure that any number of coaches out there wouldn't have accomplished what Marvin has. How do you feel John Gruden, John Fox or maybe even Belicheck would have done had they taken the keys? I'm not saying they would have done any better but I'm certainly not saying they'd have done worse. Who knows..that Bengal defense could be top ten right now. We just don't know.

The responses I've received from starting this topic was exactly what I was hoping for.... yours included. We all think differently. I'm not saying my thinking is right or wrong. I was just putting some various ways that fans may look at things. Marvin just happened to be the topic I chose. I'm not sure about how anyone else feels, but some of the responses that I've gotten here has made for great reading that you just can't get from any newspaper or magazine.

I thank you all... :)

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