Tag:Marvin Lewis
Posted on: January 23, 2011 11:05 am

Not surprisingly, Bengals are losing fans

Cincinnati fans are not happy with their team (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Coming off a disastrous news conference in which Cincinnati owner Mike Brown announced Marvin Lewis would return as head coach, the Cincinnati Enquirer did an informal survey to see how many fans would renew their Bengals season tickets.

According to the Enquirer , about 2/3 of the 176 who responded will NOT re-up their deals.

It could be that the economy continues to wreak havoc on a fan’s entertainment budget, but the Bengals 4-12 record in 2010 – and the impression Brown gave at his presser that he was satisfied with the way his team is doing business – certainly doesn’t help.

Three years ago, the Bengals had a waiting list for season tickets. Now, they’re not selling out games and likely won’t fulfill their quota of season passes.

Wrote fans Dick and Carol Jones, season ticket holders since 1970, in an e-mail to the paper: "Like many others, I suppose that we have been waiting and hoping to see a sign of change. The press conference last week further showed that no change is going to be forthcoming. We do know of one change. We will not be spending any more money to support those who care so little about their fans and what should be their obligations to the City and County which have supported this team."

Even my buddy Mo Egger – who hosts a daily radio show on ESPN 1530 and who’s as big a Cincinnati sports fan as anybody in the city – is giving up his tickets.

"The PBS experience has devolved as well," Egger told the paper. "The years of losing have seen the people I've looked forward to seeing in section 306 slowly cancel their tickets, and they've often been replaced by empty green seats. PBS has the character and ambience of my grandfather's old tool shed."

Though the Bengals released a statement to the Enquirer saying, in effect, that the 2011 season would be better, I think fans are simply tired of Brown and the way he runs the team. It’s hard to blame them.

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Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:00 pm

Could Childress be Bengals next O-coordinator?

Brad Childress Posted by Josh Katzowitz

At first, it was a Thursday dinner with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, one that could be written off to old colleagues who became pals after they went on a USO Tour last offseason.

But the next day, it was a meeting with team officials, and suddenly, we have to wonder if former Vikings coach Brad Childress is actually a candidate to replace Bob Bratkowski as Bengals offensive coordinator.

We told you a few days ago about Lewis most likely bringing back Bratkowski for his 10th season, but I didn’t include this little snippet: when the Cincinnati Enquirer asked him if the same coaching staff that was flying to Mobile, Ala., to coach in the Senior Bowl was the same coaching staff that would return, Lewis said he couldn’t be sure.

“I think we still have a chance for change,” he told the paper. “We still have an opportunity to revise some things.”

Even if Childress isn’t hired and doesn’t coach this season, he’s still entitled to the $3 million per year the Vikings owe him in 2011 and 2012. Bratkowski is under contract for 2011.

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 10:06 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 11:30 pm

What will become of the Bengals offense?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATE (11:28 p.m.):
Well, maybe Bratkowski isn't as safe as Lewis led us to believe. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Marvin Lewis and former Vikings coach Brad Childress were spotted having dinner together tonight.

An interesting twist, eh?


We mentioned it earlier in Hot Routes, but I wanted to bring up once again the assumption that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis will NOT terminate offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski – who’s been in the position for more than a decade, longer than Lewis has been head coach.

C. Benson might not return to Cincinnati next season if offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is back. (Quick aside about Bratkowski: aside from game day and from events that demand you cover your legs, you never see the guy in pants. He ALWAYS wears shorts. Twenty degrees outside at practice? Bratkowski wears shorts. Figure skating at Fountain Square in the snow? Bratkowski wears shorts. An expedition to the North Pole? Shorts.)

The Bengals fans seem fed up with Bratkowski, who put together some wonderful offenses in the middle of this decade (Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rudi Johnson, etc.) but lately has not had the winning formula. That’s with the exception of last season when Cincinnati became a run-based offense that, perhaps not coincidentally, won the AFC North.

And this season was brutal. Palmer has completely regressed. Benson was overlooked at times. Ochocinco had the worst season of his career. So, why does it appear that Lewis will keep Bratkowski when it seems like the offensive coordinator’s tenure has grown rather stale?

Um, it’s kind of hard to tell. Read this quote and see if you can figure it out.

“(Fans) are clamoring for heads and I understand that. Right now at this point I’m not ready to give them heads yet and we’ll see what happens,” Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I understand the frustration. If we lop some heads maybe we’ll get better but maybe we wouldn’t but that’s what I’m looking at. Minimal might make things better and more productive. Making major changes rather than an overhaul of the system. A new system is harder than an overhaul and looking how we do it.”

Maybe part of the reason Lewis won’t fire Bratkowski is because owner Mike Brown won’t allow it. Other than that, it’s hard to figure why Lewis would keep his OC (Bratkowski being a nice guy and an extremely quotable coach probably don’t count as reasons).

ESPECIALLY, when you consider that RB Cedric Benson might not want to re-sign with the team if Bratkowski stays (Benson was irked that the team shifted away from that successful run-heavy offense and became more of a passing attack this season).

Said Lewis: “Ced’s passion and energy will make us a great football team again and I don’t want to curtail that and you have to take the bad with the good. I opened up the season talking that it was going to be difficult for Ced with all the attention going to the receivers and that he was going to have to hang through this.”

But one reason Benson might reconsider. Lewis plans to use fullbacks more often this season – Chris Pressley and Fui Vakapuna likely will compete for the starting spot that Jeremi Johnson used to hold.

And what about Chad Ochocinco? Well, if Lewis keeps firing so-called shots at his temperamental WR like this – “No one was talking about him. He couldn’t stand that,” Lewis said regarding some of Ochocinco’s latest Twitter offerings. “You want them to talk about you,
go win football games.” – he shouldn’t expect Ochocinco to want to return.

Of course, maybe that would be best for all anyway.

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 5:35 pm

Hot Routes 1.20.10: Favre's next stop

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • It appears at this point that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis won’t make many – if any – changes to his coaching staff. Cincinnati fans have fallen out of love with offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, but it sounds like Lewis will bring him back anyway.
  • Former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has taken that same job on Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle. Well, since it doesn’t look like Brad Childress will return to coaching this year, I guess Brett Favre will just have to play next season with the Seahawks.
  • The Ravens gave up 40 sacks this season, and thus, Baltimore fired OL coach John Matsko and replaced him with assistant OL coach Andy Moeller – who faces seven charges, including DUI, from an arrest in September.
  • Packers fans probably aren’t happy to see the announcement that referee Terry McAulay’s crew will be working Sunday’s NFC title game. That’s because the last time McAulay had a Packers game, the crew penalized Green Bay 19 times (18 were accepted for 152 yards). For his part, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t sound too concerned.
  • Apparently, Bears LB Brian Urlacher and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers get along famously on the field. They have inside jokes, and they try to throw off the other one by calling out dummy audibles. Somebody needs to mic up those guys.
  • Once again, Bears S Chris Harris sat out practice today. He says he’s going to pla y Sunday, but you’d have to assume he’s going to have to get on the practice field at SOME point.
  • An interesting story in the NY Post on some of Darrelle Revis’ exploits in high school in a small Pennsylvania town.

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Posted on: January 11, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 4:52 pm

For the gambler in you

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The latest prop bets from bodog.com (playoff and offseason edition):

Who will be the starting QB for Carolina Game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Free Agent QB 11/10

Jimmy Clausen 2/1

Matt Moore 5/2

A 2011 Draft Pick QB 6/1

Here’s what new coach Ron Rivera said today when asked if Clausen was his starter going into next season: “You assume right now until you find that other guy to come in and compete... He is a young man with some talent and some abilities and we have to be sure the guy who comes in as the coordinator as well as the quarterbacks coach understand that.” I think Clausen will get every chance to start next season, and I think he’ll be OK enough in the preseason to earn the starting nod for Week 1. And maybe not much longer after that.

Who will be on the Bengals roster for game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Chad Ochocinco only 3/2

Terrell Owens only 5/1

Both Ochocinco & Owens 3/1

Neither Ochocinco & Owens 3/2

I don’t think Owens will be there at all. Since Marvin Lewis will return as coach, I can see Ochocinco coming back for another season as well (despite the fact he’s still “mopey”). But I don’t think he will. So, I’d go with neither.

Who will be the starting QB for Denver Game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Tim Tebow 1/1

Kyle Orton 3/2

Other 3/1

It has to be Tebow, doesn’t it? Isn’t it written in the stars or something?

Will Michael Vick be an Eagle Game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Yes -700

No +400

Yes. As the team’s franchise tag.

Will Kevin Kolb be an Eagle Game 1 of the 2011 regular season?

Yes +150

No  -200

Yes. As a well-compensated backup.

Who will Nnamdi Asomugha sign with?

Dallas Cowboys 6/1

Baltimore Ravens 7/1

Green Bay Packers 15/2

Jacksonville Jaguars 15/2

Detroit Lions 9/1

Houston Texans 10/1

Philadelphia Eagles 10/1

Denver Broncos 12/1

Oakland Raiders 15/1

Any Other Team 2/3

No idea. You’re on your own for this one.

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Posted on: January 5, 2011 4:35 pm

Ochocinco still upset with Marvin Lewis

C. Ochocinco is still upset with coach Marvin Lewis. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Though many of his players seem excited that Marvin Lewis will remain the head coach of the Bengals, WR Chad Ochocinco – who’s been coddled for most of Lewis’ eight years in Cincinnati – isn’t sure how to feel.

He told Sporting News Radio, via sportsradiointerviews.com, that he feels betrayed by Lewis. That’s why he didn’t have much to say when asked about Lewis’ return.

“I have nothing to say about that. I’m not the owner of the team. My hands are out of that situation. The only thing I can remember, as of right now, about Coach Lewis, is Coach Lewis throwing me under the bus. When it was time to play the Chargers, knowing that I was hurt. That’s the only thing I can remember at this point.”

Ochocinco is referring to the incident in which Lewis referred to Ochocinco as “mopey.” Of course, Ochocinco absolutely IS mopey, one of the mopiest players around when he’s in one of his moods. Not to mention sensitive and thin-skinned.

But if Ochocinco HAD to work with Lewis next season, could he do so?

“I don’t know,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know. To say some of the things that have been said in the past, for some reason, when I was especially down. When you look for support, it’s always got to come from the one higher up. For the one higher up to say the things he said, it really hurt. I don’t see myself really feeling (that).”

Luckily for Ochocinco, that probably won’t be a problem. Considering it doesn’t make much sense for the Bengals to pick up a $6 million option on a 32-year-old WR whose play diminished alarmingly last season, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll stay in Cincinnati. That way, he can go mope somewhere else.

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Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:32 pm

Hot Routes 1.5.10: The mic is hot!

Posted by Josh Katzowitz
  • If football fanatics like Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden think a football game is running a bit long, chances are it’s taking forever. Check out this video from the Orange Bowl when the MNF team discuss how long the game took.
  • Looks like some of the Jets players are going to need a refresher course on the NFL playoff overtime rules system.
  • It sounds like Giants coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t hate the media quite as much as he used to hate us. With an appearance by CBSSports.com’s own Pete Prisco.
  • Matt Millen feels good for John Elway. And he has some advice for how to navigate the world of an NFL team’s front office.
  • How brutal is this? UFL players, according to Pro Football Talk, are still waiting to receive their final paycheck of the year. If you’ll recall the UFL championship game was played at the end of November.

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Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:06 am

The (many) problems of the Bengals

M. Lewis got a contract extension. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Bengals, it seems, had a chance to make some fans happy today, to bring a little light to the disappointment they’ve felt all season long – and in reality, for most of the past two decades – and to give them a chance to feel good again. And maybe give them enough confidence to buy tickets for next year.

OK, that’s probably not true. After another disappointing season – and a number of blackouts and empty luxury boxes toward the end of the year – it would have been a tough play to make the Bengals fan base smile.

But the chance was there. Even if owner Mike Brown wanted to keep Marvin Lewis – who owns a 60-67-1 record in his eight seasons as head coach – Brown could have soothed the sore feelings that have overrun the banks of the Ohio River.

He could have done so in three ways:

1) He could have announced he was hiring a GM and enhancing his player personnel staff.

2) He could have announced he was building an indoor practice facility.

3) He could have made sure he and his coach, at the news conference announcing Lewis’ return, didn’t come off so aloof and condescending.

Alas, none of that happened. Why would they? Despite the fact the Bengals have been to the playoffs only twice since Mike Brown took over as team owner in 1991, nothing ever changes in Cincinnati. Yet, the Brown family makes enormous amounts of money (we assume this, anyway) while putting a team that’s gone a combined 115-204 in the past 20 seasons on the field.

Here’s what really happened at the presser:

1) Brown is the GM, and he feels like he and his staff have done a good job with free agents and draft picks. Said Brown at the presser:

“The scouting thing is another criticism that rises up when we don’t do well. If you look at the last 10 years, we rank 10th for the number of games played by players we drafted. I don’t apologize for our scouting. It’s an easy target. But if you look at the real facts, you’ll see it different.”

Yeah, but if those players aren’t any good, that statistic makes absolutely no sense. Honestly, I’m not sure the statistic makes much sense either way.

2) All Brown said was that he was thinking about it.

Said Brown: “Marvin has a desire to have a practice facility. I have a desire, but not as keen. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a desire to do it. The timing is important. Right now, we’re faced with major issues in the National Football League. Those are at the front of our agenda. When we get through that, then we’ll have to consider this issue.

“Some of this is perception. We worked in the cold weather. We played in the cold weather. It didn’t seem to hurt us any to practice in the cold weather. We played pretty well in it. But that’s the way it is trending. The fact we have been left behind with what others are doing, whether that makes them better than us because they have an indoor facility is a question. But it’s coming.”

I understand: Paul Brown, Mike’s father, was old-school. No water at practice. Practice in zero degree weather. Like segregation in football, that’s not the way it’s done anymore. The time has come to evolve.

Still, it's good to know Brown is somewhat keen about the issue (though not as much as others).

3) Lewis has a habit of treating reporters with condescension. At times, he’s charming and funny. Most of the time, he’s paranoid and unhelpful. Maybe the fans like that. Or maybe the fans are tired of the act.

Like when TV anchor Brad Johansen, a respected member of the media and the team’s radio play-by-play announcer started off a question with something like, “Maybe I missed this, but how long is the new deal?”

And Lewis, with a snap and a smug smile said: “We didn’t say that, Brad.”

Later, Johansen tried again. Said Brown: “You keep asking, and the answer isn’t going to change. No.”

Why be snarky? Why be an ass about it?

Especially when the Bengals OFFICIAL website wrote that it was a two-year deal.

Listen, I’ve talked with Mike Brown off the record, and I think he’s a nice man. And he’s awfully loyal to his employees, for better or for worse. But for him to act like he cares whether the team wins is an insult to the fans who give him their money. Because if he cared, he would change. But he’s content. So he doesn’t.

I’m sure he’d rather win than lose. But above all else, he’d rather have the money than spend it on a scouting department and an indoor facility. Hey, it’s his right. He’s the owner of the team.

But at some point, the fans will stop buying tickets and merchandise and that money will begin to run dry.

And then, maybe just maybe we’ll see how much Brown thinks the team should change. You know, if he happens to be keen on the idea.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com