Former Bengal Chad Johnson doesn’t blame Marvin Lewis for struggles

He also defends Mike Nugent and Browns coach Hue Jackson

Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson said prior to Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles that Marvin Lewis isn’t to blame for the team’s recent struggles.

Johnson, visiting as part of the Bengals’ legends event, attributed Cincinnati’s 3-7-1 record to the normal ups and downs of the game. He was one of about a dozen former Bengals to be recognized in a pre-game presentation as part of the NFL’s legends programs to honor and support past players.

“That’s life in general,” said Johnson, who played for the Bengals from 2000 to 2010 and still leads the franchise in all-time receptions (751) and receiving yards (10,783). “It’s all about ups and downs, anything you do — life, football, it doesn’t matter. The work place, there are going to be good times and bad times. It’s all about weathering the storm. We’ll have our day again when everything will be back to normal.”

BENGALS NEWS NOW: Like our Facebook page to join the conversation

Johnson said he still keeps in touch with Lewis and his former wide receivers coach Hue Jackson, who is in his first year as Browns head coach. He described those relationships as “different … than most players and coaches.”

Seeing both struggle this year has been difficult, Johnson said. The injury-plagued Browns are still looking for their first win, but Johnson said neither Jackson nor Lewis are at fault for the lack of production by their teams.

“One of the things I hate as a player is I hate when they put the oneness on the coaches,” Johnson said. “Everything falls back on the coaches. There is a game plan, and there are players that are supposed to execute the game plan. It’s up to them to execute. Stop putting it back on the coaches. I put it on 11 on each side of the ball, not Marvin. I hate when everything falls back on the coaches. And Hue’s reason, you talk about injuries, that’s injury-bug heaven over there. That’s not totally not fair. You have a new team, no chemistry, nobody is having a chance to jell and everybody gets hurt. He gets a pass right away, I mean from me.”

Johnson also defended Bengals kicker Mike Nugent, who had missed four extra points in the previous four games going into Sunday, including going 0-for-3 over the past two.

The former receiver had offered his kicking services via Twitter on Nov. 20, saying, “I’m available and enjoy pressure situations,” during a terrible day for NFL kickers, but clearly was joking. He kicked an extra point during a 2009 preseason game against the Patriots.

“There is nothing wrong with Nugent,” Johnson said. “Small minor details — his technique, it’s … like taking your eye off the ball and it drops. It’s the same thing. A few details, fix your technique, he will be fine.”

About the Author