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NY Jets Head Coach Profile: Former Bengals HC Marvin Lewis

Allen Settle
Jan 13, 2021, 5:16 AM EST
NY Jets, Marvin Lewis (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Marvin Lewis (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Could the NY Jets consider hiring former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis this offseason?

Now that the 2020 NFL regular season has officially concluded, the NY Jets have two monumental decisions on the horizon. Each of these has the potential to affect the direction of the franchise for the next decade.

The team has a major decision to make about their quarterback Sam Darnold and the No. 2 overall pick. Additionally, the franchise must name a successor to former head coach Adam Gase.

The process for the latter of these decisions is already underway. The team has completed interviews with several professional and colligate candidates.

One of these reported options, former Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, has drawn one of the most mixed reactions from the Jets’ fanbase.

Would Lewis be a sensible pick as the next leader of the Jets? Here are the pros and cons of the pairing.

Pros of the NY Jets hiring Marvin Lewis

The 62-year-old former Cincinnati coach has a plethora of head coaching experience at the NFL level. Unlike the rookie head coach options, Lewis would immediately bring a veteran presence.

Some younger options may require time to develop their voice and leadership style. But Lewis comes without a learning curve.

The longtime Bengals coach was hired in 2003. He held his position until the two parties split ways in 2018. This 16-year tenure is an uncommonly long stint for an NFL coach.

The two parties were able to achieve a respectable level of success together during that span. Even more impressively, Lewis was also able to achieve success with an average Andy Dalton as his starting quarterback.

Lewis would also bring a level of stability to New York. The veteran holds a 131-122-3 lifetime record as a head coach. Many Jets fans would sign up for a winning record over the next decade-plus.

Over the past 16 seasons, Gang Green has cycled through Adam Gase, Todd Bowles, Rex Ryan, and Eric Mangini at their top position. Lewis would give the franchise a solution to their recent coaching carousel.

One could argue that one of the biggest hurdles that Darnold has experienced during his tenure in New York is the fact that he has been forced to play under multiple systems and leaders. The former Bengals coach would help ensure this is not the case in the new era of Jets’ football.

Cons of the NY Jets hiring Marvin Lewis

The biggest blemish on Lewis’ resume is his poor postseason performances. While he was able to lead his roster to an impressive seven playoff appearances in 16 seasons, the Bengals posted a pitiful 0-7 record in those games.

The first step in New York’s rebuild is to build a team that is capable of contending for the postseason. Lewis would be a good candidate to work toward this goal.

However, there will also be the inevitable step of building a depth chart that is capable of advancing toward a Super Bowl. Can Lewis shake his playoff demons in New York? This is a critical question for the Jets to consider.

The Jets are in desperate need of a coach that can lift the franchise from laughingstock to serious contender. Lewis would seem to have the skills and history to establish a high floor. However, he also has a reputation for having a low ceiling.

If the goal is simply to emerge from the bottom of the league standings, Lewis could be the right man for the job. If the goal is to soar to higher levels, the team might be better off exploring other options.

The Verdict

Ultimately, the Jets head coaching conclusion comes down to the decision of their future quarterback. If the team does indeed double down on Darnold as its starter, the notion of Lewis as head coach makes a great deal of sense.

If he was able to find success with a similarly limited Dalton, he could be uniquely qualified to do the same with the struggling former top pick.

However, should New York take a top rookie QB, the team would benefit tremendously from an offensive-minded, innovative, leader to help his development.

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Lewis, whose background is in defensive coaching, would be far less ideal.

Coaching Score: 6 out of 10

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