Giving Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis credit isn't always popular these days. Many blame him for most of the issues related to the Bengals, some of them are completely justified (like letting Chad get away with what he gets away with, or timeout usage or losing little red flags).
But rebuilding a team is something Lewis has always done well. After finishing the 2002 season with a 2-14 record, Lewis began a rebuilding process after he was hired that resulted in back-to-back 8-8 seasons. Big deal, some of you say. But experiencing that 2002 season and all of the season prior to that, having back-to-back non-losing seasons was an incredible feeling. Then the Bengals went 11-5 in 2005 and made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. In time the Bengals began to depress again, reverting back to 8-8 in 2006, 7-9 in 2007 and 4-12 in 2008. Much blame was thrown at him and calls for his firing were increasingly loud.
Yet, Marvin Lewis initiated another rebuilding project that forced the offense to change philosophies to match their division opponents in the AFC North. A running style with a quick passing game and the league's fourth ranked defense led to another playoff appearance by the Bengals. True. They laid a duck and subsequently went 4-12 last season. Yet, twice major revisions, ranging from personnel to philosophy, were implemented after major disappointments in 2002 and 2008.
The Bengals are looking to rebuild (not rebound just yet). Not so much like they did after the 2008 season; more like how they rebuilt after the 2002 season with a new quarterback. Lewis joined ESPN 101 in St. Louis to talk about just that. When asked about how Lewis is able to keep "equilibrium" through all of the "tumultuous" times in Cincinnati, Lewis said:
"Well I think the thing you got to know is I said at the conclusion of last season in my last 2 or 3 games that if I made a decision to come back here as the head coach it would be a new beginning and I’m getting a chance to do something not a lot of guys do and that’s start from scratch again and it’s really played out that way. It’s played out that way personnel. It’s played out that way with part of our coaching staff and we are in a new beginning. I’m getting to do that with knowing the in’s-and-out’s of this position and where things are and how things are put together. We’re a much better football now then when I took over in 2003. The leadership on this football team. There is a dedication. Everybody knows where the bread is buttered and what we need to do to get on top of the division, so we are excited about that. I think that’s the exciting part. Whenever we get back to resume work here it’s going to be a lot of fun."