On Friday morning we received some quite unexpected news, in that Brad Childress and Marvin Lewis met at Paul Brown Stadium Thursday to talk "X's and O's" before heading to Jeff Ruby's for a meal in downtown Cincinnati, where Lewis even took the time to introduce him to patrons.
If Brad Childress joins the Cincinnati Bengals it will likely be in the offensive coordinator capacity, but wait. Bob Bratkowski remains under contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, so how will this work? Bratkowski is rumored to be on thin ice, so this meeting between Childress and Lewis could have implications for Bratkowski's job status.
When questioned on Bengals.com Lewis said of the fans:
"They're clamoring for heads and I understand that, I'm not ready to give them heads and we'll see what happens. I understand the frustration. Minimal (staff changes) might make things better, more productive. How do you get up and going? You have to be prepared ... a new system, a new nomenclature is harder. If we lopped off some heads, maybe we'd get better. But maybe we wouldn't."
Lewis went on to say:
"We've been all over the board a little bit too much and I think we have to focus in on what we are and what we're going to be and how we're going to do it," Lewis said. "The most effective offensive teams in the league do things over and over again and they build upon that. More with less.
"What upsets me is I can't tell who we are. My disappointment is I can't tell you what we are. The key to offense is to be offensive and stay offensive. What we are is a big statement. It has to be all-encompassing."
After being fired from the Minnesota Vikings due to a poor 3-7 start, Childress will be looking perhaps at a position as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals with keen interest following a drop in his head coaching stock. Lewis and Childress have a good rapport after embarking on the NFL-USO Coaches Tour together last summer, so it wouldn't come as too much of a shock to see something develop here.
Childress has had success at the OC position doing some great work with Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia from 1999-2005 (although he didn't call plays) that culminated in a Super Bowl appearance in 2004 and, despite his abysmal exit, he (and Brett Favre, I know!) did take the Vikings to the NFC Championship last year, losing out by a cruel field goal in OT.
Childress in Cincinnati could be great for both sides. Bengals fans have been calling for Bob Bratkowski's removal for quite some time now, and it looks like they could finally get their wish. Marvin Lewis is exuding a demeanor of focus and knowledge of where the team needs to go and what they need to do to contend, that I have not witnessed in offseasons prior.
While one might assume that Childress will be offered a job in Cincinnati, it still needs to cross the desk of Mike Brown, who is notoriously loyal [read cheap], and may wish to give Bratkowski another shot.
Childress met with management on Friday morning, but there looked to be no impending deal late Friday afternoon, and still no word as of Saturday morning, watch this space.
I, for one, feel that Childress can add to the Bengals, despite his terrible ending in Minnesota, he may not be a great head coach, but I'm more than happy to put the Bengals offense in his hands, he'll thrive in an offensive mindset to which he is used to, and although there will be a significant amount of pressure on him still, he won't have as much on his shoulders as he did in Minnesota.
I believe he could help the Bengals find a new identity on offense and despite my initial cringe at the news, I am coming around to the idea.
Speaking on behalf of Bengals fans everywhere, anyone but Bob.