On Marvin Lewis’ first day as the Bengals’ head coach — Jan. 14, 2003 — John Fox was starting his second season with the Panthers. Every NFL team but the Patriots, who employed Bill Belichick, had a different coach. Sean McVay, the coach of this year’s upstart Rams, was 16.
The reason for Lewis’ 15-year Bengals career is as simple as the names of three quarterbacks: John Kitna, Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton.
“I think that helps all of us as a head coach to have a quarterback that you can go out there and win games with on Sundays,” Lewis said this week.
The Bears haven’t had one yet under Fox.
When Fox’s Bears epitaph is written, probably on Jan. 1, it will read the opposite. With the exception of Peyton Manning’s age 36-38 seasons in Denver — a recruiting coup, but certainly not a sign of quarterback development — Fox has never had an outstanding quarterback.
Lewis, like Fox, is a defensive coach by trade. His 15 years might be running out — some fans of the 5-7 Bengals want new blood — but his staying power has been a rarity in a disposable league.
Lewis identified the importance of developing a quarterback early and, years later, transitioning to another. Fox? The Panthers’ Jake Delhomme went to one Pro Bowl, and one Super Bowl, but his 81.3 career passer rating is worse than Jay Cutler’s mark this season alone. The rating is lower than any single season than Palmer, Dalton and Kitna played under Lewis — with the exception of Palmer’s rookie year. About that: Palmer redshirted in 2003, the plan the Bears had concocted for rookie Mitch Trubisky until Mike Glennon was unplayable over the first four games. Kitna’s contribution that year, then, can’t be overlooked.
By Palmer’s third year, he led the NFL in touchdowns, completion percentage and sack percentage.
Redshirting a rookie is harder to do in the modern NFL, Lewis said. He credited Bengals owner Mike Brown, son of legendary coach Paul, for having patience.
“It just speaks to Mike and where he never put pressure on me to say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to play the rookie even though he’s the first pick in the draft,’” Lewis said. “I thought it was really important for our football team to experience success early on and I think each coach has to do that based on his team. And that’s the most important thing. I know that was where I came out in ’03 when I started.
“We didn’t want it to be, ‘We didn’t win because it was Carson’s fault.’ But yet, as I watched Carson through the season and the practice reps we gave him — it was a different situation than what Mitch is in. But yet, we could see he was no question the quarterback of the future.”
Lewis proved his quarterback success was systemic. The Bengals drafted Dalton in 2011, and months later caved to Palmer’s trade demand, sending him to the Raiders for a first-round pick and a conditional second. Dalton …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun-Times – Sports