Wednesday, January 05, 2011

NFL Coaching Rumors: Two Teams Headed in the Same Direction

Despite a labor lockout looming, there will be no shortage of movement this off season in the NFL. Plenty of clubs are already busy making moves and turning over their coaching staffs in order to be ready for the NFL Draft in April. Two teams that made surprising coaching moves this week were the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Oakland Raiders informed head coach Tom Cable that they were not picking up the option on his contract and he would be let go. This came on the heels of Cable taking the Raiders to an 8-8 record, the best for the team in the last eight years. The option on Cable's contract was good for two years and $5 million makes one think this is nothing more than Al Davis being cheap and attempting to save money before the lockout.

While 8-8 is not an overly impressive record, it is when you consider the expectations for the Oakland Raiders heading into the season, and their overall performance over the last decade. The Raiders have been nothing short of an embarrassment to football since Jon Gruden left the team in 2003. For the Raiders to reach an 8-8 record it was nothing short of a miracle and all the accolades should be given to Tom Cable who fought hard to pull that team together and install a winning attitude.

There is no logical reason for Tom Cable to be unemployed this morning is a tragedy. While he may not be perfect in how he deals with people, he is a good coach, and provides the order the Raiders desperately need.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Cincinnati Bengals agreed to a contract extension with head coach Marvin Lewis on Tuesday. This is after the Bengals finished the season 4-12, a far cry from their dominating performance last season when Cincinnati swept the division.

The Cincinnati Bengals were a complete disaster this season. After winning the division a year ago, the Bengals failed to ever get of the gates in 2010. During his eight years in Cincinnati Marvin Lewis has compiled a 60-69 record as head coach, while winning one division title, and failing to register just one playoff victory.

As the 2010 season progressed it became clear the Bengals players were tuning their coach out. Quarterback Carson Palmer has failed to progress as a player since his knee injury in 2006. Chad Ocho Cinco is too busy worrying about his off the field ventures to take the time work on improving his skills on the field. While T.O. put up great stats at the beginning of the season, it did not take long (read the losses piled up) before he was up to his old tricks, and the Bengals were forced to deactivate him, another lost contract.

It's clear the Bengals have no direction, and their goals for the near future of completely undefined. A shakeup was needed, and it needed to occur at the top with Marvin Lewis.

These two franchises have represented the bottom of the league for the better part of the last 10 seasons, and now they appear to be heading in the same direction, although they are taking different approaches for reaching the final destination. For the Raiders they are once again dismantling what could have been something special. Cable could have made that a playoff team if given the time, to finish what he started. The Bengals appear content to stay at the bottom of the payroll, and as a result remain at the bottom of the AFC North. Ownership better hope Mike Holmgren does not return to the sidelines in Cleveland or else that division could become an even bigger nightmare.


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