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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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.)

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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Will this be Lewis’ last year in Cincinnati?

Chick Ludwig of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote an interesting piece today about head coach Marvin Lewis’ future with the Bengals. With Lewis’ contract expiring at the end of the year, Ludwig predicts that the head coach will be gone after the 2010 season.

But Ludwig’s reasoning is perplexing. He writes that since Pro Football Hall of Fame legend Paul Brown only coached the Bengals for eight seasons, that his son (and owner) Mike Brown won’t allow Lewis to coach behind that time span. (Lewis is heading into his eighth year with the Bengals.)

If that’s true, then the Bengals are more screwed up organizationally than I originally thought. The idea makes sense on the surface, but allowing a good coach’s contract to expire because you don’t want to see his tenure go longer than your dad’s is ridiculous. I realize Lewis has yet to win a playoff game in Cincinnati, but considering the situations that the front office puts him in sometimes in regards to personnel, I think he’s done a decent job. He will likely have suitors ready and willing to hire him if he isn’t re-signed by the Bengals, which is a testament to him as a coach.

I just don’t understand the thought process of not re-signing a coach other than he simply couldn’t get the job done on the field. If they decide not to retain him because they don’t like the direction that the team is heading in or feel as though things are getting stagnant that’s fine, but don’t let him walk because of the number of years he has been there.

Of course, these are the Bengals that we’re talking about here. Everyone likes to bash Al Davis for making stupid decisions, but Mike Brown is right behind him in that category. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Bengals do allow Lewis to walk for reasons outside of his win/loss record.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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