The futility shown by the Cincinnati Bengals in their first two games was enough to get offensive coordinator Ken Zampese fired. Head coach Marvin Lewis made it clear that the players are next on the chopping block.
“We all got Kenny out of here — not Kenny, we did,” Lewis said, via Joe Kay of The Associated Press. “And they’ve got to understand that. They’re part of that. And the next time they look around, there will be different guys sitting there.”
If that’s Lewis’ attitude, then different players should be expected. We’re not going to defend Zampese. The Bengals are the first team since the 1939 Philadelphia Eagles to start a season with two home games without scoring a touchdown. That’s not good company to keep. The offensive coordinator certainly shoulders responsibility for that.
But this team’s problems go well beyond Zampese. The offensive line has been abysmal. Andy Dalton hasn’t been poised enough to stand in the pocket to make the big throws — even on the rare occasions where he’s gotten protection. It hasn’t helped that Cincinnati has been unable to establish any kind of a running game. The defense has been better, but it’s been far from perfect. The players are certainly responsible for doing their jobs. But ultimately, the man responsible for putting them in position to do that is Lewis.
There are a lot of people associated with the Bengals who should be going forward as though their jobs are on the line. If Lewis is giving this speech to his players, that’s fine. They need to hear it. He just needs to be sure that he can see a mirror when he’s delivering it, as well.