Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis opened up about a few topics Friday when meeting with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here are some of the more worthwhile topics that were covered:
1. In the midst of a week of evaluating potential draft picks, Lewis had good things to say about last year’s rookies.
“We had a very productive, young class last year. They played a lot of football and made really great strides.
“To see their growth in year two and continue to help us make winning plays and close out football games and be better on defense, on third down, be better on defense in the fourth quarter and all the things that make you a better football team.”
2. That includes John Ross.
The first-round pick from Washington never got established last season, and some comments from Lewis led to speculation the coach had issues with him.
“One of the things that drew me to John was his ability to play football. He was on tape playing on defense. He was doing things on offense. ... That's what's exciting about him and his figure. Unfortunately he had basically a redshirt year.”
3. He confirmed they have some things to sort out at quarterback.
“As we go into this offseason we'll see what happens, but obviously finding a No. 2 with Jeff Driskel and not knowing with Jeff's unfortunate injury there at the end, it set us back a little bit.
(He broke his non-throwing arm in practice.)
“Hopefully he will, through the next month, six weeks, prove to be healthy and ready to go when we can begin. But at this point we're going to have to, as we say, run on parallel paths and get something done.”
That could include the draft.
4. The offense won’t change as much as it did when they went from Bob Bratkowski to Jay Gruden in 2011.
“We had a big change in schematics when we hired Jay. We are going to stay within the same. When you adjust some things in the running game and how we put it together is going to be an overhaul of things. Which is going to be good.”
5. Of course, the offensive line will be a big part of that.
He seemed to want to put to rest any notion new offensive line coach Frank Pollack is some sort of offensive line whisperer.
“You know, this is not magic. OK? Our players have to play better. We're going to coach them hard and they're going to play better. We've got a fine, fine coach and we're very fortunate. We're excited about it from that standpoint, but this is not magic…
“We're going to get some new guys, but I think we have good enough players at spots. But we're going to also add to that. We're going to address the offensive line to continually add players.”
6. He looks for new QBs coach Alex Van Pelt to help Andy Dalton a lot.
“The appeal of bringing in another offensive mind that has had the opportunity to be a part of concepts and so forth… For him to have I input and be an asset to (offensive coordinator Bill Lazor) and the rest of our offensive staff is really important for his knowledge and so forth. And his technical knowledge of helping Andy continue to ascend as a quarterback. I think that was really important. I’m really excited about that.
“There are some things that were part of their routine in Green Bay that will fit us well. That will fit Andy well. We have one of the most intelligent quarterbacks that plays in the National Football League. That does a lot at the line of scrimmage. That does a lot on Monday and Tuesday in studying the opponent.”
7. Lewis repeated another variation of a common theme: This team just has to get stuff done on the field that it hasn’t over the last two years.
“We have to roll up our sleeves and go to work. We make hope. We don't wish it. We have to make hope and we have to do the work. We have very skilled players and a skilled football team and guys who work extremely hard. We have to overcome some of these things we're talking about and continue to lay good plays upon good plays. We have to get back and win the football games in our division and then build from there.”