Back by popular demand is a heading-into-training-camp edition of my NFL Truths column:
10. Marvin Lewis' ego could be getting in the way of a terrific coaching career.
I've seen what's happening in Cincinnati happen before. A fantastic, grounded football coach is allowing his ego to run wild, and he's convinced himself that he can coach anybody, as long as the players are talented and sober on game day.
Lewis reminds me of Marty Schottenheimer during Marty's final two years in Kansas City. Desperate to win a Super Bowl and smothered by the belief he was the best coach in football, Schottenheimer turned the Chiefs' locker room into a halfway house for ex-cons, and the team absolutely imploded in 1998, earning the nickname "Bone, Thugs and Marty."
Lewis keeps preaching that "character counts," but the Cincinnati Trail Blazers are turning into a team filled with bad characters. Lewis is rationalizing everything, including Chad Johnson's playoff meltdown, the acquisition of three low-character rookies, Frostee Rucker, A.J. Nicholson and Ahmad Brooks, and troubled veterans Chris Henry and Odell Thurman.
Talk about a horrible offseason. Lewis has gone from being the toast of the NFL to being toasted on every talk show across the country. I like Lewis. And I used to really like Schottenheimer.
But Lewis' coddling of Johnson is the key indicator that the Cincinnati situation is going to get out of control this season. I see the Bengals headed back to the toilet this year and Lewis learning a very tough lesson. Bad characters count against you.
The Bengals win six games this year.