Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Quick Take On Marvin and Dalton and Rey

Marvin Lewis says publicly his quarterback and his middle linebacker need to take control of their respective units.  As Marvin put it, sometimes they need to be more of a, well, it's a nickname we often hear for guys named Richard.  I would think that is a reasonable thing to expect out of the traditional leadership positions of the offense and the defense.  But it doesn't always work out that way.  It is ideal, but not necessary to a winning football team.  Kenny Anderson is an example of a successful quarterback who didn't need to call out teammates.  But the successor to Anderson, the mega-opinionated Boomer Esiason, was quite the opposite. (By the way, I'm not calling Boomer a, uh, a Richard.  But he took control, called out teammates, and was a joy for the media to cover)  Marvin may absolutely, positively feel that Andy Dalton and Rey Maualuga have to become better leaders for this football team to succeed. But if that is the case why didn't he feel that way about Carson Palmer?  We all watched Carson walk around like a robot for 8 seasons and I never recall once Marvin Lewis questioning Carson as a leader.  But was Palmer a leader?  If he was it was a very well-kept secret at Paul Brown Stadium.  Meanwhile Chad OchoJohnsoncinco was allowed to act more like "Who-Dey" the mascot than a "professional" football player.  Maybe Lewis has learned from all of that.  Maybe Lewis is looking to kick-start a team with a season teetering on the brink of another season like 2010, and so many others before it.  Maybe Lewis is shifting responsibility for the teams woes to the players since the performance on the field seems to be getting worse with each game.  The apparent regression of this team opens the door for criticism of the coaching.  That is why a cynic would find it awfully convenient for Lewis to start naming names at this time.  But it wasn't like Marvin came into his weekly news conference with an agenda to shift blame.  It was one of the final things he said in his news conference after being somewhat pressed on the Bengals lack of progress on offense.  So this cynic is going to believe Marvin is genuine in his statement that Dalton and Maualuga can help their teammates by developing a harsher edge when needed.  I guess you can learn to be more harsh but it is somewhat rare to develop it without teammates seeing right through the phoniness.  That is going to take one heck of a coaching job and will require Marvin to sometimes be a Richard.