Bengals: Teryl Austin Reportedly Fired, Marvin Lewis to Assume Role of Defensive Coordinator
Bengals Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin was fired Monday in the wake of another blowout loss.
Cincinnati became the first team in the Super Bowl era to surrender more than 500 yards in three consecutive weeks, losing 51-14 to the New Orleans Saints. That equaled Cincinnati's largest margin of defeat since Marvin Lewis became head coach in 2003.
Lewis will assume the role of defensive coordinator as the Bengals prepare for Sunday's game against the Ravens. It won't be an easy fix for Lewis. The Bengals are ranked last in the NFL in defense (454.6 yards per game), on pace to set an NFL record for most yards allowed during a season. That record was set by the 2012 Saints, who surrendered 440.1 yards per game.
Lewis was one of the NFL's top defensive coordinators before becoming a head coach. He was the Ravens' defensive coordinator for six seasons (1996-2001), including the Ravens' first Super Bowl winning team in 2000. Austin is also an ex-Ravens coach, serving as defensive backs coach for three seasons (2011-13) under Head Coach John Harbaugh before leaving to become the Detroit Lions' defensive coordinator.
The Bengals (5-4) and Ravens (4-5) are both fighting for an AFC playoff spot, and the Bengals defeated Baltimore, 34-23, in Week 2. Knowing the importance of Sunday's game, Lewis has reportedly decided a more hands-on approach was needed to turn things around.
Steelers: Le'Veon Bell Expected to Sit Out Entire Season
The Steelers (6-2-1) are leading the division and preparing to play the rest of the season without star running back Le'Veon Bell. According to ESPN, Bell is not expected to join the team by 4 p.m. Tuesday, the deadline by which he must report to be eligible to play in 2018.
Bell has held out the entire season in a contract dispute, but the Steelers have won five straight and running back James Conner has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of the last five games. Led by Conner, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and wide receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster the Steelers' offense has moved on without Bell. We may not see him again until next season, with a different team.
Browns: Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb give Cleveland Reason for Optimism
The Browns have a bye this week after their best game of the season, Sunday's 28-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield completed his first 13 passes, and rookie running back Nick Chubb had the longest run (92 yards) in team history. Chubb rushed 20 times for 176 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Mayfield was a first-round pick and Chubb was a second-rounder. That gives the Browns (3-6-1) two young offensive pieces to build around, and they have already won more games this season than the last two years combined.
It was the first win for interim head coach Gregg Williams, who took over after Hue Jackson and former offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired earlier this month. The Browns still have plenty of important decisions to make, such as choosing their next head coach. However, the Browns may have finally found their franchise quarterback in Mayfield, and their high draft picks in recent seasons have begun to pay dividends.