When Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis looks at teams like the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints or the raw athletic talent in Philadelphia, he sees the eventual team that the current Cincinnati Bengals could become. Dare we call it envious? Why not, most people related to other teams are envious of squads like the Packers and Saints and the talent featured in Philadelphia. When asked about how the team looks right now, Lewis says hints that the current foundation being built might lead to that.
"We are just scratching the surface, but I think we’ve got a foundation laid that is really strong. I really do. I am very happy with where we are."
One shouldn’t translate Lewis’ comment as complacency though. If anything Lewis feels good about the team’s current path, their journey and eventual transformation into not only beating good teams, but becoming an AFC powerhouse with the additional acquisition of more athletic talent.
"It’s what I envisioned; I hoped…we would be more like the Green Bays or the New Orleans or the Phillys of the league. When you can run the football it opens up these big passing lanes. As we add more space athletes to the offense, we will be better and better."
With guys like A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham spearheading an offense that welcomes new friends to the dinner table next year, it’s hard not to be encouraged by this team’s foundation, who have largely shattered the low preseason expectations this year. That being said something has to be decided with Jerome Simpson and the team’s overall rushing offense, two areas that have largely disappointed more than impressed.
Now it’s not a point of ours to say who belongs or who doesn’t. Jerome Simpson, Cedric Benson, Andre Caldwell are all playing the final seasons of their respective contracts.
Cincinnati could bring everyone back, but it seems highly unlikely. Jerome Simpson’s federal drug investigation remains unresolved and his overall production has been spotty at best. Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that a mutual parting of the ways is expected with Benson. Of those three, Andre Caldwell would be the most likely to return, giving the team insurance in terms of depth if the Bengals are unable to acquire the talent they want during the offseason.
One might ask, "what else is Lewis expected to say" other than undying praise for the future of his football team? Simply put Lewis has not historically offered unwarranted praise, or idle suggestions towards a hopeful future, rather than the generics most coaches offer when asked about the future.
And from what we’ve seen this year, that foundation really is there.