Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been suspended by the NFL for three games, and head coach Marvin Lewis continues to defend his star player, according to NFL.com.
Throughout much of the regular season, the Cincinnati Bengals were among the best teams in the NFL. However, that all came crashing down during their game on Saturday.
The game was essentially sealed for the Pittsburgh Steelers when Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Adam Jones was hit with a personal foul call for arguing with a Steelers coach.
Prior to that penalty, though, Vontaze Burfict hurt his team when he was hit with an unnecessary roughness flag after a brutal hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Wild debates were sparked at countless sports bars across the country, with many non Cincinnati Bengals fans thinking that Vontaze Burfict took it a little bit too far with that tackle.
Vontaze Burfict does have a reputation for being dirty at times, so NFL fans aren’t nearly as willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as they would other players who have cleaner records.
Marvin Lewis, however, believes that Vontaze Burfict was clearly playing within the rules when he made the hard hit on Antonio Brown. He doesn’t think that it was made with malicious intent.
Marvin Lewis may lose some points within the NFL coaching fraternity for continuing to defend Vontaze Burfict. A couple of Cincinnati Bengals players are already questioning Lewis.
Even though Marvin Lewis has led the Cincinnati Bengals to seven straight NFL Playoffs, there are those that think that he is too much of a players’ coach to really win the big games.
Fortunately for Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown has no plans to replace his head coach. Lewis is expected to be back in the very same spot again next season.
Not having Vontaze Burfict for much of the first month of next season is going to hurt the Cincinnati Bengals, but Marvin Lewis is more concerned about the offensive side of the ball.
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been making the rounds and doing interviews to become the next NFL head coach. His hiring should take place very soon.
With Hue Jackson expected to leave the Cincinnati Bengals soon, Marvin Lewis is going to need to find someone to replace him. Promoting an assistant keeps the offense the same.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese has been on the coaching staff since 2003, and it might be time for Marvin Lewis to promote him to the offensive coordinator spot.
That promotion would please Andy Dalton because he is already quite familiar with Ken Zampese, as the two of them spend a lot of time together during practice and actual games.
This was the season where the Cincinnati Bengals had their best chance to prove to the NFL that Marvin Lewis can win a playoffs game, but they let it slip through their fingers.
Marvin Lewis needs to recognize that the Cincinnati Bengals might need more discipline if the team wants to avoid losing in the wildcard round for the eighth consecutive season.
Mike Brown showed a lot of loyalty to Marvin Lewis. The best way to reward that loyalty is by taking the Cincinnati Bengals much deeper in the NFL Playoffs.
[Featured Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]