Updated: 4:25 p.m.
Marvin Lewis knows his offense needs a major change in the face of a season that yielded 34 turnovers while averaging the 11th fewest points in the NFL. But he's not so sure a drastic overaul is the best way to go when he's not certain when he'll see his team again because of the expiring collective bargaining agreement.
Welcome to the dilemma for the Bengals head coach.
Former Vikings head coach Brad Childress would bring the major change Lewis seeks. Not only that, he's generated productive play from a variety of quarterbacks. But his scheme is so different from what current offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski runs that the move would be classified in the "drastic overhaul" department. And, he's only called plays for one year, his first in Minnesota in 2006. His departure last November was fueled, in part, by clashes with quarterback Brett Favre over the offense.
Sources said Childress met with Lewis over Xs and Os at Paul Brown Stadium Thursday night and then over dinner. Childress met with management Friday morning, but there looked to be no impending deal late Friday afternoon.
It was a reunion of the two's USO trip to a war zone this past Fourth of July with Eagles coach Andy Reid and Broncos head coach John Fox. Childress, 54, was fired back on Nov. 22 after leading the Vikes to a 39-35 record in five seasons that included back-to-back NFC North titles in 2008 and 2009.
While Reid called the plays in his West Coast scheme, Childress developed Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in his first six seasons from 1999-2005. Childress also worked under Reid at Northern Arizona.
When Bratkowski was hired in 2001 by head coach Dick LeBeau, the man he replaced as coordinator, Ken Anderson, was reassigned to coach quarterbacks. How Lewis would shake up the staff if he hires Childress or someone else is unclear. If the Bengals sign him, the Vikings would make up the difference of the salary he had in Minnesota under a deal that ran through 2013.
Bratkowski, thought to be under contract, is a highly-regarded receivers coach. But the Bengals already have a receivers coach in Mike Sheppard.