Marvin Lewis to remain with the Bengals now?

Cincinnati Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis talks to quarterbacks Carson (L) and Jordan Palmer as they play the Baltimore Ravens’ at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on January 2, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

In rather surprising news, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Marvin Lewis is now expected to return as the Bengals’ head coach in 2011.

Schefter knows what I ate from breakfast, so I’m sure this report is on the money. If so, it’s rather shocking considering it looked like Lewis was on the outs as of yesterday.

I don’t know why Lewis would want to return to the mess that is the Cincinnati Bengals but maybe owner Mike Brown promised to make some changes. The Bengals have one of the smallest scouting staffs in the league and Lewis was reportedly frustrated by the way Brown runs the organization. But maybe he had a change of heart after meeting with Brown on Monday.

If Lewis is given a new contract, his first order of business should be to figure out what to do with quarterback Carson Palmer. If the Bengals still feel as though Palmer can get them to the playoffs and beyond, they may want to think about parting ways with Chad Ochocinco. Palmer’s best game came against the Chargers in Week 16 and he played well against Baltimore in Week 17. Both of those performances came with Ochocinco and Terrell Owens were both out with injuries.

At this point, it might be worth it to the Bengals to see what Palmer can do next year without receivers like Ochocinco, T.O. and T.J. Houshmandzadeh buzzing in his ear. One would think that the Bengals’ offense would be worse off without a player like Ochocinco, but Palmer’s last two games tell a different story.

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Maybe Titans’ owner Adams should part with both Fisher and Young

Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher watches his team take on the Houston Texans in the second half at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas on November 28, 2010. The Texans defeated the Titans 20-0. UPI/Aaron M. Sprecher

The overwhelming consensus among fans and the media is that Titans owner Bud Adams will choose between head coach Jeff Fisher or quarterback Vince Young.

One will stay, one will go.

My question is: Why not let them both walk?

Young may have a winning record as a starter but that doesn’t mean he’s a winning quarterback. This latest incident in which he threw his shoulder pads into the stands after one of Tennessee’s games this year once again proves that he lacks maturity. While there’s no doubt the guy has talent, he refuses to put in the work necessary to become a great player. Michael Vick had the same issue in Atlanta before he was hauled off to prison for two years and realized he actually had to work for what he wanted. Meanwhile, JaMarcus Russell never honed his craft and now he’s out of the league.

If Adams sides with Young, it would be a foolish decision. Word has it that even his trusted executives have told him to move on from the former third overall pick. Maybe Young would change his ways if Fisher was let go, but does Adams really want a player that will only work hard if he likes his authority figures? What kind of message is that sending to the rest of the team?

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Marvin Lewis out as Bengals’ head coach?

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) talks with head coach Marvin Lewis during the second quarter of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on November 14, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan

“Black Monday” in the NFL got started with a bang when the Browns fired Eric Mangini, but the news wire has been awfully quiet since then.

Until now, at least.

A team source tells Yahoo! Sports that Marvin Lewis will not return to the Bengals next season, even if he’s asked back. The NFL Network also reported the same thing earlier this morning, so it appears as though the story has legs.

ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Lewis is very interested in the opening at the University of Pittsburgh and he may try the college ranks for a few years. The Pitt job recently became available when Mike Haywood decided to strike the mother of one of his children.

No matter where Lewis winds up, it was time for him to get out of Cincinnati. He’s had three losing seasons in the last four years and word has it that he’s become frustrated with the way owner Mike Brown runs things. It’s well known that the Bengals have one of the smallest scouting staffs in the league and while that may work for a team like the Cowboys, it hasn’t worked for Cincinnati.

Before Lewis arrived in the “Natti,” he was a heck of a defensive coordinator for the Ravens and Redskins. If he wanted to return to that roll someplace else, he would have no shortage of opportunities (the Texans just fired their DC on Monday). That said, whether it comes from the pros or the college ranks, he should receive another offer to become a head coach. One NFL team that may be interested in his services is the 49ers. (Although they appear to be set on hiring an offensive-minded coach after the debacles that were Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary.)

Browns fire Mangini – will Holmgren target Fox to replace him?

Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini watches second quarter action against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October17, 2010. UPI/Archie Carpenter

“Black Monday” just seized its first victim.

Following the team’s 5-11 season, the Browns have decided to fire coach Eric Mangini, who had two years remaining on his contract. When the Browns hired him in December of last year, Mike Holmgren retained Mangini hoping that the success the Browns had at the end of 2010 would carry over into 2011. But Cleveland sputtered again under Mangini’s guidance.

There’s speculation that Holmgren will return to the sidelines next season to coach the Browns, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen believes that he’ll remain the team’s President. If Holmgren does become the Browns’ next coach, he’ll install the West Coast-style offense that guided the Packers to two Super Bowls and the Seahawks to one.

If he doesn’t return to the sidelines, there are rumors circulating that John Fox is at the top of Holmgren’s wish list. Fox was informed last week that the Panthers, whom he spent nine years with from 2002-2010, would not renew his contract. He compiled a 73-71 record in Carolina, going 5-3 in the playoffs and reaching the Super Bowl in 2003.

There are many fans and media members that like Fox and believe he can succeed now that he’s out of Jerry Richardson’s claws. But I’m not one of them.

As I’ve written many times before on this blog, the Panthers were the models of inconsistency under Fox throughout his tenure. Not once did the team finish with back-to-back winning records and while Fox is highly regarded as a coach who gets the most out of his players, he seemed to be lacking in the Xs and Os department. His decision-making was questionable at best, most notably in his loyalty to Jake Delhomme (who was finished years ago but still manages to trick teams into giving him money) and his desire to see receiver Steve Smith get away with everything. Fox is also known for his defenses, but Carolina’s secondary was seemingly an issue every year. (That’s not all on him of course, but he takes a lot of the blame.)

If Holmgren doesn’t want to coach, he should handpick someone young and energetic. The Browns are a young themselves and they’re only going to get younger as Holmgren builds through the draft. Fox wouldn’t be an Eric Mangini-like disaster but maybe Cleveland would be better served not going the retread route.

Which coaches will be victims of “Black Monday” in the NFL?

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin watches from the sideline during the first quarter in their NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Molly Riley (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Today is “Black Monday” in the NFL, otherwise known as it’ll-be-interesting-to-see-if-I-still-have-a-job-by-the-end-of-the-day…day.

Below is a look at the coaches who are on the hot seat and what the latest rumors are about their job status with their respective team.

Tom Coughlin, Giants
Giants fans hoping that their team would drop-kick Coughlin and hire either Bill Cowher or former defensive coordinator John Fox might not see their wish granted. CEO John Mara was adamant Sunday night that Coughlin would return as the team’s head coach in 2011. The Giants have missed the playoffs the past two seasons but under Coughlin, they’ve made the postseason four times in the last six years. I would venture to say that Coughlin has one more year left before his Super Bowl credit runs out.

Jeff Fisher, Titans
Owner Bud Adams will meet with Jeff Fisher on Monday to discuss his future with the team. This one could get tricky, as Adams loves Vince Young but Fisher would rather stick his fingers down a garbage disposal than have to suffer another year with Young in his locker room. If Adams sides with VY, then Fisher will likely walk. If Adams sticks with Fisher, then Young’s time in Tennessee is over. The NFL Network reported today that if Fisher does leave Tennessee, then he might join the broadcast booth for a year so he can weigh his options.

Eric Mangini, Browns
Mangini had one year to wow Mike Holmgren and that didn’t happen. Holmgren was hoping that the momentum the Browns built at the end of last season would carry over into 2010 under Mangini but it didn’t. The team appears to be ready to move in another direction and word is that Fox is at the top of Holmgren’s wish list. Apparently Holmgren wants to turn Cleveland into the Carolina of the North, so Browns fans should be prepared for another season of Jake Delhomme. (I’m kidding! I’m sure Fox has gotten over his Jake Delhomme obsession by now…)

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