1-20-03, 7:55 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Marvin Lewis' well-advertised high energy has been on display at a furious pace this past weekend and could culminate Tuesday in the announcement of his coaching staff.
With his recorded greeting already on the Bengals' switchboard, their new head coach spent Monday trying to put the finishing touches on the biggest coaching overhaul in club history that has already claimed five coaches with at least four years here.
The latest to leave, quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, confirmed his move to Jacksonville Monday, officially ending an association that began in 1971. Reports out of Green Bay have Bengals defensive coordinator Mark Duffner being considered for the linebackers job.
"Thirty-two years in one place in this business isn't too bad," said Anderson of 16 years as a player, 10 as quarterbacks coach, and six as a broadcaster. "I think we all knew after the season that (a big change) had to happen. I don't think anybody is really surprised."
Lewis also spent Monday huddling with linebacker Takeo Spikes for about 90 minutes in his office in what he called "a great
meeting. Why would it be anything else?" Spikes, who last week questioned his own desire to stay a Bengal despite Lewis' hire, said little after the summit.
"It was a chance where he could sit down and talk to me and find out where I'm coming from without getting an impression by just reading the paper," Spikes said. "And I could sit down and find about him. That's all it was."
But Spikes' Cincinnati career is clearly still up in the air as evidenced by the fact he cleaned out much of his locker Monday and carried out the contents to free agency in a large garbage bag.
Anderson, 53, was also cleaning things out after a term that saw him coach 10 quarterbacks since he was hired in 1993. It's hard leaving his adult home, but harder not having a job.
"It's tough when it's not of your choosing," Anderson said. "I'm looking forward to another opportunity and I thank the Brown family for giving me opportunities here as a player and coach."
Anderson had been viewed as one of the assistant coaches who might make the move to personnel and beef up the scouting department. But Anderson said the topic never came up with Bengals President Mike Brown and he indicated he prefers coaching: "It's what I do."
Bengals quarterback Akili Smith thinks Anderson is a good match for Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell.
"I think Kenny is more suited to veteran quarterbacks," said Smith, who said he didn't always see eye-to-eye with him in his first couple of seasons in the league. "I'm fine with Kenny. I think he'll do well and I hope he does well. I just think he's a veteran's kind of guy."
Although Lewis is the new head coach and Rams passing game assistant Ken Zampese is reportedly going to replace Anderson, Smith still thinks his time has run its course in Cincinnati because offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski remains.
"I like Brat a lot. I've got a lot of respect for him," Smith said. "But I'm sure (Jon) Kitna is still going to be his quarterback, so that leaves no room for me. But I really don't know what they're thinking. If it's going to be a competition, that's great, but I don't know if it's going to be."
Smith, heading into his fifth season after being the third pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, knows the Bengals are mulling taking USC quarterback Carson Palmer with the No. 1 pick.
"I don't see how you can have two first-round quarterbacks on the same team," Smith said. "I would think I would be gone."
Lewis clearly hasn't had time to hash through the quarterback situation or any other position. If the Bengals do decide to release Smith after June 1, they figure to take about a $1.8 million hit on the salary cap.
"Marvin Lewis, Carson Palmer and I all have the same agent," said Smith with a laugh in reference to David Dunn. "I don't know if we can all be on the same team."
Another coach not expected to be back, tight ends coach John Garrett, could make the move to personnel. He broke into the NFL as a scout with Tampa Bay and the Bengals have enough confidence in him that they sent him to a Texas game during the season to look at quarterback Chris Simms.