- Jay Morrison Staff Writer
Saying he was excited to have another opportunity to coach the Cincinnati Bengals after signing a two-year contract extension, Marvin Lewis held a 40-minute press conference Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium.
Here are the highlights from what he said:
1. There will be changes on the coaching staff, including the departure of offensive line coach Paul Alexander after 23 years with the organization. Lewis also confirmed that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will interview with the Oakland Raiders but did not rule out his return.
“That will be done very expediently,” Lewis said. “Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to get Paul back.”
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But Lewis added that the Bengals will not wait to see what happens with Guenther before looking for his possible replacement.
“We’re not going to wait,” he said. “Things are going to happen fast. You move on. That’s part of this business.”
Lewis declined to speculate on what he would be looking for in a new coordinator or whether the Bengals would remain a 4-3 defense.
Lewis was flanked at the podium by offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who joined the Bengals staff as quarterbacks coach in 2016. The Bengals announced Wednesday that Lazor will return as offensive coordinator, and Lewis said special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, who arrived with him in 2003, also will be back and “possibly take on some other things from me as well as we move forward.”
2. Lewis was asked if he believes team owner and president Mike Brown is committed to winning a championship despite retaining a coach who has failed to win a playoff game in 15 years while guiding the team to back-to-back losing seasons in 2016 and 2017.
“No doubt in my mind that Mike Brown, that’s his goal is to be world champions,” Lewis said. “We spent the last two days spending time, three or four times through those days, talking about what we felt were the things where we needed to get better. That’s the only thing the man thinks about is having a championship organization.
“I’m excited to be here in front of you today. I thank the organization for this opportunity to come back here and to, frankly, get back to work at what I set out to do back in ‘03.”
3. The negotiations between Lewis and Brown were not about either side winning. Lewis said not to expect any major changes, such as an indoor practice facility or anything along those lines.
“All that stuff is nebulous, whether that wins or not,” Lewis said. “Believe me, that’s got nothing to do with winning. Winning and losing is done out there in those classrooms and meeting rooms, the field, practice and out there in games on Sunday.
“I don’t think I went into it thinking I was trying to win anything,” he added. “This is a partnership, and I’ve been entrusted to do a job. And they believe in me. I think they had to come out of the meetings with me and felt like No. 1, I wanted to do the job. And No. 2, I would get the job done for them.”
4. Quarterback Andy Dalton has to be more consistent and the offense more physical to get the Bengals back to the playoffs.
“We have to get back to being a vertical threat team,” Lewis said. “We have to begin the football season being able to run the football. That’s got to be more consistent. We have to be more physical every opportunity we can so that we can control the football game that way.
“We have an amazing group of threats at wide receiver, and we’ve got to be able to capitalize on that,” he continued. “We’ve got 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, which means we’ve got to keep him from getting jostled around. And when he does, he’s got to be able to move and make throws on the move, like we’ve all seen him do.”
5. Lewis said he is committed to his players, his coaches and the fans of Cincinnati, and he hopes the ones disenchanted with the back-to-back losing seasons and his two-year extension will stay the course.
“Whether it was Monday’s meeting with the players, meeting again Tuesday with the coaches, they drive me,” he said. “A lot of people depend on me, and I appreciate that. And I’m not going to leave them hanging. I’m going to work my tail off for them. And frankly, I’m gong to work my tail off for the city of Cincinnati to win a championship.
“The fans deserve that,” he added. “Don’t quit. Stay the course. Hang in there. We’ve got to go to work. That’s the only way to do it. There’s not trick words. We’ll do it by getting our players better. We’ll add better players. We’ll coach our players, we’ll grow our players better. And we’ll go out and demonstrate better on the field. That’s what we’ve got to do, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to do that.”
›› COMMENTARY: Are we starting to see a new Marvin Lewis?