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It’s been a busy post-season finale week in the Queen City, and there’s a lot to talk about: 

  • After what Joe Reedy and others are calling one of the worst press conferences in sports history, Mike Brown relinquished virtually nothing of substance and Marvin Lewis towed the company line with regard to personnel decisions, scouting, indoor facilities, and potential changes.  To summarize it for those of you who may have missed it, Brown feels Lewis has all the personnel power he needs—as much as other coaches have—and Lewis didn’t argue. Brown argued that his team’s scouting process and staffing are sound, and pointed to results he feels proves the point.  He did concede that an indoor facility is on the radar, but not in the immediate future.  They did vaguely talk about “changes” that needed to be made organizationally, but would not divulge details relative to players, coaches, or philosophy.  Overall, I think its generally positive that Lewis is back, particularly considering the CBA that is up in the air right now, but aside from that an angry fan base got very little to cool them down.


  • Everyone has been awaiting word that Bob Bratkowski’s head is on the block, but so far there’s been no mention of him as part of any “changes” inside the building. The one coaching staff change that has been announced is that linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald has been told he will not be retained.  He has been given permission to seek other opportunities. This likely means that Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis haven’t been pleased with the play of the linebacking corps, and perhaps more importantly, that there’s a coach from one of the fired staffs that they’d rather have.  The Panthers, 49ers, and Broncos are all in coaching searches right now.  Don’t be surprised if they have their eye on someone from one of those staffs.


  • Lewis got his wish, and for the third time in his tenure in Cincinnati the Bengals will be coaching the North at the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile.  The game will be played January 29th.  Lewis has an affinity for the scouting opportunities coaching the game provides, giving the team inside access to many of the country’s top draft-eligible seniors. It’s also a job fair for unemployed coaches, so the team may be interviewing assistant coaching candidates as well as players during that week as well. By the way, not that it matters, but the Bengals staff is 0-2 coaching the game.


  • Tiger Johnson, Paul Brown’s hand-picked replacement and one of only two coaches in team history to end their tenures with winning records, died on January 7th.  He was 84.  Johnson was well-respected within the Bengals family, having compiled an 18-15 mark as the head man and served as an assistant coach on Sam Wyche’s Bengals staff during the 1980’s.


  • Apparently, Marshawn Lynch’s “beast mode” run last week was inspired at least in part by the Bengals.  PFT reported that the Seahawks found some helpful hints in game planning against the Saints by analyzing the successes the Bengals had against them in the run game. On the one hand, its nice to know that despite their 4-12 mark, the coaching staff was smart enough (or lucky enough) to find something other staffs found useful. Of course, the Bengals couldn’t beat the Saints with such a great game plan, but hey…


  • And lastly, the Bengals announced that the contract they have with Safety Cary Harris of the practice squad was voided by the league.  Apparently the contract was improper requiring re-write, but the team instead chose to release Harris to free agency. I have to wonder how much the team actually had to pay for Harris’ services, and how much money they save through the voiding of the contract.  Did the team effectively get a very cheap audition for the kid?  And was this a failure by the team’s front office to write an acceptable contract or a shrewd move by Scrooge Mcbrown and his evil minions?

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