Time is relentless. It shouldn't seem so long ago when Marvin Lewis was known as the brightest defensive mind in the game. It shouldn't surprise us so much to remember that it was he who developed some of the greatest defensive players of his era, but true nonetheless. These days, he is just a head coach and is even progressing beyond that title as we speak. Many observers-this one included-have decided that Marvin is now more general manager than coach. As he has grown professionally, so has the scope of his duties and he is now the trusted confidant and the esteemed right-hand man of his owner, Mike Brown. No one outside of the Brown family has earned the ear of the man on top as successfully as Lewis has. No one has thrived professionally within Paul Brown Stadium the way Marvin has.

Yet as much as he has established himself as a football program director, a talent evaluator and team administrator, his success with the Bengals has not translated on reaching the pinnacle of the football field itself. Like everything that is human, career paths and personal outlooks are inherently unique. While some coaching philosophies remain tried and true for nearly everyone, the more nuanced details of an individual team's success hinge largely on the preferences of the men in charge. Some coaches need that one specific type of player in order to succeed. In San Francisco, Bill Walsh needed running backs and tight ends that were better pass-catchers than their peers to effectively run the West-Coast offense. For Bill Parcells, he needed a kick returner who would catch every punt to protect field position. Bill Cowher always looked for a power runner to plow its way into the playoffs. The question is: does Marvin Lewis have a keystone position that he has yet to adequately fill?

If the answer is yes, then a seek-and-destroyer type of middle linebacker seems like the missing ingredient.