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There are a lot of issues to work through
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The Bengals resolved their biggest offseason question when they gave coach Marvin Lewis a two-year extension through 2019 on Tuesday http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-austin-seibert-jersey , providing him yet another chance – a 16th, actually – to try to get a playoff win.

The contract extension came after two days of discussions between Lewis and owner Mike Brown about how the franchise has to change.

It’s unclear if Brown – a traditionalist who likes to stay with the familiar, including head coaches – will cede much control to Lewis.

Lewis has been the head coach for the past 15 seasons – the second-longest active tenure in the NFL to New England’s Bill Belichick – and was the key to changing Cincinnati from a down-and-out team to respectability.

He hasn’t been able to take it to that next step – win a playoff game. Lewis is 0-7 in the playoffs, the worst coaching mark in NFL history. He wanted to make sure that he and Brown were on the same page about making changes coming off a 7-9 season that ended with their stadium half-empty.

Players realized that a coaching change could ripple through everything.

”You’re going to be going with a new head coach, it could be a completely new staff … there’s just a lot of uncertainty with that,” quarterback Andy Dalton said. ”I think that’s the biggest thing is just the unknown.”

Instead, Brown decided to stay with what’s familiar. And now, there are some big offseason challenges.

WHO’S COORDINATING? Lewis’ assistants are up for contract renewals, too. The biggest question is who will be the offensive coordinator next season. Dalton and the offense were best when Hue Jackson was the coordinator in 2015 – Dalton led the AFC in passer rating. Jackson went to Cleveland, and the offense became less creative and less productive under Ken Zampese, who was fired after an 0-2 start this season. Replacement Bill Lazor was confined by Zampese’s system, but got more out of it. Still, the Bengals finished last in the NFL in offense for only the second time in club history. They need a coordinator who can redesign and rejuvenate the offense.

WHAT ABOUT THE O-LINE? The Bengals knew that the offensive line was going to be a work in progress with two inexperienced tackles. It was far worse than they’d hoped, unable to protect Dalton or open holes for a running game that was the worst in club history. The offensive line is the first focus of the offseason.

DALTON’S BACKUP: The Bengals have been fortunate at quarterback, with Dalton avoiding significant injury over his career. The one time he got hurt – a broken thumb near the end of the 2015 season – AJ McCarron took over and led the team into the playoffs Trysten Hill Jersey , giving them a sense of comfort should Dalton go down.

McCarron’s contract is up, and there’s a dispute over whether he’s a restricted free agent – which gives the club some control – or unrestricted, which means he can go wherever he wants. McCarron wants to start somewhere, and he knows that it won’t be in Cincinnati. A ruling on his status will come down mid-February and set everything in motion.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT BURFICT? The Bengals’ most valuable defensive player was again one of its least dependable because of suspension, ejection and injuries.

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s no-holds-barred style of play got him another three-game suspension, an in-game ejection, and a series of injuries, limiting him to 10 games. He finished with only 1+ sacks. In 2016, he missed five games because of suspension and injury. He’s not going to change his style of play, which means the defense is never sure how much it can count on him week to week.

THE FANS: Attendance dropped significantly at Paul Brown Stadium, which was half-empty for the final game. The Bengals aren’t going to sell tickets until fans are convinced that significant changes are on the way. How do the Bengals get them back while bringing back Lewis?



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tom Coughlin gushed about Nick Foles for several minutes and then had one request for his new Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback.“I hope every game in 2019 is like the Oakland game of 2013,” said Coughlin, the franchise’s top executive.That’s the game in which Foles threw for 406 yards, with seven touchdown passes http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-connor-mcgovern-jersey , no interceptions and a perfect (158.3) quarterback rating.Foles nodded his head, smiled and turned to look at coach Doug Marrone.No pressure, Nick.The Jaguars formally introduced Foles on Thursday, hours after he signed a four-year, $88 million contract that includes $50.125 million guaranteed.Foles welcomed being a starter again, embraced his new home, and gave Jacksonville the belief it has a franchise quarterback for the first time since Mark Brunell led the team to two AFC championship games (1997, 2000).“This is a real good day,” Coughlin said. “This signing signals change and a new start for the Jacksonville Jaguars.”It also signals the end of the Blake Bortles era.Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell both said they have no regrets about giving Bortles a three-year, $58 million contract just 13 months ago. The deal included $26.5 million guaranteed and will cost the Jags $16.5 million in dead money in 2019. Jacksonville released Bortles on Wednesday, parting with him after five up-and-down seasons.“It was the right thing to do,” Coughlin said. “The guy took us to the AFC championship game (in 2018). There wouldn’t have been anybody that would have disputed the fact that he deserved the opportunity. … So what we did at that point in time is try to fortify our team around him. Obviously, we wish it was better, but I have no regrets about that.”Because of the financial commitment to Bortles, the Jags had to cut five veterans — including former Pro Bowl defenders Tashaun Gipson and Malik Jackson — to create enough salary cap space to sign Foles.Foles will count roughly $12 million against the cap in 2019 Tony Pollard Jersey , leaving Jacksonville about $12 million to spend frugally on a remaining free agent or two.“We have limited funds, so we’re obviously studying everything,” Coughlin said. “We’d like to think there’s a bargain or two out there that we can advantage of. That’s basically where we are.”The Jaguars need a right tackle and at least two tight ends to help Foles.Coughlin also made it clear the team has no plans to deviate from its run-first approach.“I think that Nick won’t have any trouble handing the ball off,” Coughlin said. “We believe in balance. I think it’s the factor which allows and helps the quarterback — to be able to run the ball, to be able to keep defenses off-balance, to not know whether you’re going to run or throw. … But what we truly believe is this quarterback, this young man, gives us the best chance to win.”Foles led the Eagles to four playoff victories over the last two seasons, including the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960. He earned 2018 Super Bowl MVP honors and made himself the league’s premier quarterback commodity.Foles will reunite with former Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who was hired in January to be Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator.“Coach DeFilippo over here is someone that I’ve been on the biggest stage with,” Foles said. “We have gone through so much together. We know each other’s personalities. He knows how I like to play the game, what my tendencies are. We know how to work together, so that is something that is great.”Foles also will wear No. 7 for the first time since high school.He wanted it in college at Michigan State, but Brian Hoyer had it. He transferred to Arizona, where Willie Tuitama had it. Philadelphia drafted him in 2012 Noah Fant Jersey , but Mike Vick had it. Foles signed with the St. Louis Rams, who retired it in honor of Bob Waterfield. He signed with Kansas City, but Aaron Murray had it. He could have donned No. 7 during his return to the Eagles, but opted to stick with No. 9.“This was the first opportunity where I could go back to my roots: my high school and my childhood and I was just playing free like that and wear my No. 7,” he said.Now, he just has to perform like he did against the Raiders in 2013.“This is where I want to finish my career and this is ultimately where we are going to put down roots,” Foles said. “I don’t know if it is ever something I’m going to be able to sit back and realize, ‘Wow, that really happened.’ It’s been a wild ride, but we are so grateful for everything that happened, and we are looking forward to it continuing on.”


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