Together, Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson had one of the most consistently performing teams in the NFL over the previous four seasons.
Apart, they’re a combined 2-10 this year, and Lewis isn’t afraid to admit that it’s been hard replacing his former offensive coordinator.
“I miss the hell out of him,” the Bengals head coach said of his Browns counterpart, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He said the two talk regularly, but haven’t this week.
“When my phone rings at 5 o’clock in the morning, I know it’s only one person,” Lewis said. “It’s not Chad [Johnson] either, it’s Chad’s former coach, Hue. I watch their games every week, and text or call him. He’s coaching his tail off, as we knew he would.”
Of course, the results aren’t there, as the Browns are 0-6. But the Bengals aren’t much better at the moment, at 2-4 and scuffling in the AFC North. It’s a steep drop-off from where they’ve been, as they made the playoffs and won two division titles in the four years Lewis and Jackson were together.
The loss of Jackson might not be the only reason the Bengals are struggling this year, but it’s among them. They were seventh in the league in scoring last year and are 30th now, and Andy Dalton’s passer rating is off nearly 10 points (106.3 to 97.2).
So if Marvin’s feeling a little nostalgic this week, it’s easy to understand why.