Wednesday’s Morning Links:
Bengals Bring Back Marvin Lewis: This is probably the biggest surprise among coaching hiring and firing since the season ended, considering that Lewis didn’t have a contract and the Bengals could simply move on to another option. While I like Lewis as a coach, I don’t think he is who they want to rebuild this team, which is exactly what needs to be done. They should have added a fresh face to the mix to reshape this roster from the bottom up. Also, from the team perspective the Bengals need to handle their personnel decisions better and put more resources into their team. Cincinnati is making a commitment to Lewis so I hope for their sake they are also making a commitment to the actual team. This could be an odd year for the Bengals as they could explore parting ways with Carson Palmer, though Lewis’ re-signing makes that less likely.
Raiders Move On From Cable: While the Raiders had their best season in years, it is no shock that Tom Cable is out of a job. Much of the credit for the Raiders offensive breakout goes to offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who is being approached by other teams for their head coaching vacancies. I believe that the Raiders made this move to retain Jackson and install him as their head coach. If that works out, then I think they made a great move. Cable not only struggled some as a coach, but he had his share of off the field issues that didn’t do anything to help the Raiders negative P.R. Jackson brings to the table a very good offensive mind, one that is capable of shaping the Raiders into a powerhouse. His work is cut out for him since he doesn’t have a 1st round pick, but I can see Jackson staying around to finish what he started with the Raiders.
49ers Tap Trent Baalke As Their G.M.: Baalke was a smart decision, since he had basically been running things most of this season, including negotiating contract extensions with a couple of their top players. He has a well-rounded background in coaching, scouting and contracts, and is seen pretty favorably around the league. Although the 49ers were perhaps the League’s most disappointing team last year, they still have plenty of championship caliber talent on their roster. I think by retaining from within, it will ensure that there isn’t a massive overhaul on this team and they can keep their quality young players together. Baalke’s hiring also could benefit the 49ers in another way as he is known to have close ties with Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh sits atop every team’s wish list, and his ties with Baalke could push the 49ers to the top. If Baalke can close the deal on Harbaugh, the 49ers could be in line for an immediate turnaround.