This was originally published in The Athletic.
The Bengals fired their defensive coordinator on Monday, and replaced him with…their old offensive coordinator?
Not exactly, of course, but a busy Monday that began with news of Teryl Austin being shipped out ended with reports that Hue Jackson, fresh off of his “What Happened In Cleveland Wasn’t My Fault” media tour, is reportedly joining the staff in Cincinnati for a third go-round, this time in the kind of made-up position that gets handed to a corporate CEO’s idiot nephew who can’t stay employed elsewhere.
Before we get to Hue, though, let’s talk about Marvin’s new side-hustle. He’s assuming Austin’s defensive coordinator duties, which should be interesting. During his regular Monday press conference on the day after the defense allowed nine consecutive scoring drives in a 37-point home loss to the Saints, Lewis maintained that a schematic overhaul wasn’t in the offing, which suggests that he’ll try different approaches to reaching a group of under-performing players that includes more than a few accomplished, expensive veterans. I’m interested in seeing whether he’s equipped with methods that can reach these guys, and if he is, to what extent it will matter to a unit that keeps digging for more rock bottom.
I’m also curious to find out whether coordinating a defense is pro football’s version of riding a bike. The game is much, much different than it was when Marvin was last running defenses full-time, with much of the game’s evolution from what it was then to what it is now occurring after Lewis last (momentarily) took control of the defense from Leslie Frazier in 2004. Will he be able to jump right back into to making the calls, transitioning seamlessly enough to help turnaround the defense and stop the season’s downhill slide?
Most importantly, if the defense doesn’t get fixed, will Marvin Lewis finally be held accountable for something?
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic.
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