The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-6 and coming off two straight losses. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict got kicked out of their last game. Running back Jeremy Hill did not play because of an ankle injury. Marvin Lewis is currently at odds with both of them.
In the wake of his latest ejection, a teammate said that officials had been provoking Burfict in recent games. Via ESPN:
The Bengals player said he has heard officials cursing at Burfict on multiple occasions, and there is video that shows officials coming into contact with the linebacker three times in the past four games.
Marvin Lewis is having none of that.
“Officials have a job to do, and I’ve explained this to Vontaze, and he understands that,” Lewis said. “They have a job to do and they are going to separate players, and players are in a situation where they are there. That’s not what this is about, where the NFL should be. So, get back to the huddle and get going, and that’s the most important thing. We don’t need to jaw with anyone after the play, any of the players, so that’s important.
“It would shock me if those things occur,” Lewis continued. “I know on occasions supposedly they have, but again, that would shock me.”
Then there is Hill who, much like Martellus Bennett in Green Bay, opted for surprise season-ending surgery. Hill lost his starting carries to Joe Mixon and has just four targets out of the backfield this season. Over the weekend he was a surprise scratch and Lewis doesn’t sound like he agrees with his decision to get surgery. Via Bengals.com:
“Jeremy thinks he needs to have ankle surgery,” Lewis said in his Monday news conference. “He’s consulted a couple of physicians, both said this is something that could wait until after the season, and he just felt like it was causing too much discomfort.”
Hill will be an unrestricted free agent this winter so this sounds like the end of his time in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the Bengals are about to miss the playoffs for the second straight season. Not that it would matter because they are 0-7 under Lewis in the playoffs during his 14 previous seasons as head coach.
It’s really hard to imagine Lewis getting another season coaching the Bengals, but you just never know. Since firing their offensive coordinator Cincy has climbed all the way to 30th in points per game at 16.6. They are dead last in total yards and yards per game.