This year's NFL postseason has had a focus on the finale of the career of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. In many interviews with the future Hall of Famer, he credits current Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis for a good portion of the success he's had. After all, Marvin was partly responsible for the drafting of Ray in 1996 and groomed him into one of the best players in the history of the NFL. It was his these six seasons as Baltimore's defensive coordinator that Marvin Lewis had the only semblance of good play and continuity at arguably the most important position on that unit.
Since arriving in Cincinnati during the 2003 offseason, Lewis has had a revolving door of veterans and rookies to fill the position. While there have been adequate performances during some of the best ten seasons, there have been zero Pro Bowlers and none that have manned the position for more than two consecutive seasons. Lewis and Co. have literally exhausted every avenue in an attempt to fill this position, be it the draft, free agency and even diving into the supplemental draft.
In case you missed it, here is the list of the players who started the middle linebacker spot in Lewis' tenure: Kevin Hardy, Landon Johnson, Odell Thurman, Caleb Miller, Brian Simmons, Lemar Marshall, Ahmad Brooks, Anthony Sclegel, Dhani Jones and Rey Maualuga. Ten names over ten years. The best seasons were turned in by Thurman in 2005, Jones in 2009 and some could argue Maualuga's in 2012, though he was wildly inconsistent. Most of the bigger names on this list were "has-been's" by the time they arrived in Cincinnati.
Bengals Search For A Middle Linebacker
Cincy Jungle | Jan 21