The Cincinnati Bengals fell to the Baltimore Ravens, 24-21, on Sunday, but head coach Marvin Lewis seems more concerned about what was happening on the Ravens sideline than his own.
“QBs don’t run forever in the NFL. Sooner or later, they get hurt, and they don’t run the same,” Lewis stated after the game, referring to Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who rushed for 117 yards on 27 rushes. Lewis is absolutely right. Running quarterbacks have not fared well in the NFL. Just ask Jackson’s Ravens teammate Robert Griffin III.
However, it’s strange to hear that coming from an opposing head coach, particularly the first to get gashed by the read-option since 2015. It comes across as frustration from a man who clearly was in over his head calling defensive plays for the first time since 2002. Somehow, even bringing in Hue Jackson didn’t help. You would think after 27 attempts, he would have something to stop them but please tell us more about how Jackson running all over you was actually bad.
This isn’t the first time Lewis has been salty in a press conference. Last year, he reminded the media that former Bengals kicker Jake Elliot was “3 of 5 since he got there” after Elliot hit a 61-yard winner for the Eagles.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was more supportive of Jackson’s effort.
“I think that’s what Lamar felt that it took today. I don’t believe it’s going to take that many carries every week,” Harbaugh stated.
The idea was to let Jackson dip his toe in the water and get comfortable commanding an NFL huddle while taking advantage of his elite playmaking ability on the ground. Jackson looked decisive at the line of scrimmage after his first few runs and did a great job avoiding huge hits. It was clear as the game went on Jackson felt more confident slinging the ball. Jackson actually averaged 2.0 yards more per completion than Andy Dalton by the end of the game.
Maybe Lewis should worry more about his own longevity in the NFL. After all, his defense is giving up a league-worst 449.4 yards per game. Not great for a head coach known for defense. So I’m willing to bet my 401k that Jackson will be in the NFL long after Lewis is gone.