Monday, November 22, 2010

Mike Brown's Coaching Problem, and Jimmie!

The signs point to Marvin Lewis leaving, one way or the other.  So when does it happen?  With Sunday's smaller than usual crowd leading to a local blackout, and expensive luxury suites coming up for renewal, Mike Brown and the Bengals management team face a crisis.  Renewals will no doubt go down after a season like this, unless Mike can create some buzz with a big-time hire.  But I don't think Mike's going to get one of the big names to come here under the current structure of the organization.  And no offense to Mike Zimmer, a wonderful guy and by all accounts an excellent defensive coordinator, but I don't think elevating Zimmer to head coach in the off-season is going to sell tickets and suites.  So Mike may have to move up the timetable and hand the keys to Zimmer soon.  If Zimmer has a good December and wins a few games, maybe the masses will start to say "In Zimmer We Trust".  Maybe they buy enough tickets and suites to keep the cash running through the Bengals pipelines.  If Zimmer fails, then Mike will have to hire someone after the season, and the list of qualified head coaches that will take the bengals bait begin and end with this: desperate.  Mike will have to go with a guy on the rebound, or a college coach looking to make a splash in the NFL.   The latter option might sell the tickets, but in no way does it ensure success.  But under the current management structure, will there ever be success?

There was once a time in the 70's when the Big Red Machine was trailing the Dodgers by a couple of games in early Spetember.  Pete Rose was asked about catching the Dodgers in the division race, and Pete said something to the effect of  "The Dodgers don't know it yet, but they're chasing us."   The Reds went on to win the division.  What does this have to do with anything in this day and age?  I feel it was the exact same situation in NASCAR with Jimmie Johnson.  Denny Hamlin looked like a guy who knew he was meat after last weekend's race.  Sure, he still led the points standings, but Jimmie had the edge.  Hamlin looked like a mental mess and Jimmie looked like a guy who knew he and his team would cruise home with the win.  Five championships in a row.  In this day of tight racing, similar teams, a precision and talent up and down the starting grid, Jimmie's fifth in a row is a huge accomplishment.  It makes him and his team at Hendrick Motorsports one of the top dynasties of all time!

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