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Thread: Marvin Lewis talks free agency, knows Andy Dalton must improve

  1. #1

    Marvin Lewis talks free agency, knows Andy Dalton must improve

    Marvin Lewis talks free agency, knows Andy Dalton must improve

    1:21 PM ET

    • Katherine TerrellESPN Staff Writer



    The Cincinnati Bengals are maintaining the status quo with coach Marvin Lewis signing a two-year contract, but Lewis suggested he realizes some things do need to change as he returns for a 16th season.

    Paul Alexander out, Bill Lazor in
    Offensive line coach Paul Alexander, who has been with the Bengals since 1994, had an unusually long tenure in a league where moving is common. However, the past two seasons have made it clear the offensive line needs an overhaul. Andy Dalton has been sacked 80 times in the past two years alone, and the run game also has struggled. It was clear this was a needed change, and perhaps something Lewis pushed for in his meetings with Bengals owner Mike Brown.

    The Bengals will bring back offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, despite finishing last in offense this season. It could be argued that Lazor was working in the confines of Ken Zampese's offense after taking over for him in Week 3. Clearly, the team believes in him enough to give him a second chance.

    Owner Mike Brown was a no-show







    Brown rarely speaks to the media, and he continued that habit during the Wednesday news conference to announce Lewis' return. Brown usually talks to reporters at the owners' meetings in the spring and again right before the season. Brown did address reporters in a joint news conference in 2010 after he and Lewis came to an extension following a losing season in which Lewis had been a lame-duck coach.

    However, he didn't show up at this one, leaving Lewis to answer questions by himself. Brown likely isn't blind to a disgruntled fan base that has stopped going to games in droves and has been restless for change, but he also likely thinks that winning will cure the problem.

    Lewis dismissed potential facility upgrades

    Lewis was asked if he requested anything of Brown during their talks, specifically staff changes or facility upgrades. The Bengals remain the northernmost team without an indoor practice facility. Lewis said those are things that don't keep teams from winning.

    "All that stuff is nebulous — whether that [results in] wins or not," Lewis said. "I’ve coached three teams — actually, all four teams — in this division, and believe me, that has nothing to do with winning. Winning and losing is done out there in those classrooms, meeting rooms, the field, practice, and out there in games. The rest of that stuff can help, and we do everything we can to aide our players in that way, and I feel good about that — the things that we do, and will continue to do, and get better with and make sure we do change, because everything changes all of the time with these athletes."

    Lewis hinted at more activity in free agency

    The Bengals rarely sign big-name free agents and are rarely very active in the free-agent market. It's possible the team might change that philosophy somewhat.

    Lewis didn't outright say they would be more active but did say he wanted to make sure to add players who could help the team win. He also said he thought the reputation the Bengals have for not spending money on players isn't true.

    "We do like to grow guys from the ground up, which is important because you [can] instill in them correct habits — you’re not trying to break habits — [but] I do think that we all understand that, when we have a hole, we have another avenue to fill that hole with a better player, it it’s [a good fit], through free agency," he said.

    Two-year contract was important to Lewis

    Lewis has been given a one-year extension almost every offseason for several years and went into last offseason with no contract. He said it was important this time to get a two-year contract. That would relieve him of lame-duck status and perhaps quiet some talks that he's leaving at the end of next season.

    “It’s very important," he said. "We’re going to go out and have some change on this staff, and I think it’s very important for a coach, if he is currently employed, that he has the chance to be here for at least two football seasons.”

    Lewis knows Dalton needs to be better

    Dalton hasn't looked the same since Hue Jackson left after the 2015 season. It's likely that's partially Dalton, partially coaching and partially the offensive line. Lewis said he understands the need to get back to being a vertical-threat team and getting Dalton back to top form.


    "We have an amazing group of threats at wide receiver, and we have to capitalize on that," Lewis said. "We have to get our quarterback to be the guy that we expect him to be day in and day out and lead the football team that way. That means we have to keep him from getting jostled around, and when he does, he has to be able to move and make throws on the move like we’ve all seen him do."

    Lewis hopeful to have defensive coordinator Paul Guenther back


    Lewis said defensive coordinator Paul Guenther could interview with the Raiders for a position, and while they would like to have him back in Cincinnati, they're not holding the spot open if it takes too long.

    “We’re not going to wait," Lewis said. "Things are going to happen fast or you move on. That’s part of this business.”

    Lewis also didn't commit to the idea of staying a 4-3 defense, leaving things open for change if a new defensive coordinator does come in.
    “We have the ability to do what we want to do," Lewis said.


    http://www.espn.com/blog/cincinnati-...n-must-improve




  2. #2
    I was happy to see Lewis dismiss any talk about a practice facility. I've always thought it was a silly rant that had nothing to do with winning or losing and everything to do with typical Bengal fan's inferiority complex.

    Interesting remarks by both Lewis and Lazor in regards to getting more out of Dalton. Lazor talked about getting Dalton to play past his own limitations, which sounded at first like fighting words, but he quickly started talking about improving the offensive line to reduce examples of happy feet. Lewis did the same by pointing at Dalton before talking about reducing the number of times he gets "jostled around."

    The biggest news might be the remarks about doing more in free agency. Lewis still doesn't talk about using FA to build a team, but he does acknowledge how it can be used to fill holes and fix draft mistakes. The Bengals failure to do the latter has doomed many a season under Lewis.

  3. #3
    I do know I will go into this FA period more curious than usual. IF there has been some sort of change in some fashion in approach, we should see them being at least more active early in bringing in bigger name free agents to at least talk to than they usually do.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    I was happy to see Lewis dismiss any talk about a practice facility. I've always thought it was a silly rant that had nothing to do with winning or losing and everything to do with typical Bengal fan's inferiority complex.

    Interesting remarks by both Lewis and Lazor in regards to getting more out of Dalton. Lazor talked about getting Dalton to play past his own limitations, which sounded at first like fighting words, but he quickly started talking about improving the offensive line to reduce examples of happy feet. Lewis did the same by pointing at Dalton before talking about reducing the number of times he gets "jostled around."

    The biggest news might be the remarks about doing more in free agency. Lewis still doesn't talk about using FA to build a team, but he does acknowledge how it can be used to fill holes and fix draft mistakes. The Bengals failure to do the latter has doomed many a season under Lewis.
    Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I hate that they are out in the open with at least a half dozen of the big buildings downtown having a view of the practice field. We know in big games and the playoffs teams do sneaky **** to try to get an advantage, including sneaking into indoor practices. Think of how easy it would be to record practice from any of the 1000s of offices that overlook the practice field to see what trick plays, 2-point plays, etc. they are working on.

    Entirely possible that taping practices doesn't happen, but who knows. To me, that has always been the bigger deal than the comfort stuff, the bus ride to UC, etc.

  5. In other words, Marv moved his mouth and didn't say anything new.
    Andy must improve. He must not.
    Got it.

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