Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis joined Lance McAlister on Sports Talk on 700 WLW Wednesday evening. We posted the segment during the interview that spoke about Dre Kirkpatrick's injury. Here's the rest.
Carrying over the momentum from last year.
"I'm excited to get going, but whatever momentum was there last year, was there last year. This is a new start and you got to rekindle your own momentum. That's going to be key for us."
How difficult is that for young players to remind them "we start at zero wins this year"?
"I think it's easier with young players. I think it's the guys who really haven't accomplished a lot that do make some strides, who kind of feel like they've arrived. Where young players are constantly hungry to do more and better because they haven't done much. They really don't know and they know you really didn't get that far. They had some success and they know, 'you know what, I can do it at this level but in order to get there to the final game, I got to do it that much better.' I think that's the key more than anything. I think that's probably the difference. I think when guys haven't won, then they have a different sense when they finally do. Where these guys that have been here, they're either in their first year, second or third year and they've experienced it. So they experienced tasting it and they know that's not the final taste."
On Mike Zimmer contract extension and continuity.
"That's extremely important, to be able to continue, particularly for the organization not to worry about (phone briefly cuts out, but we're thinking it's about coaches leaving)... they'll have opportunities, hopefully if we're successful and if it doesn't work out, then those jobs are solidified."
What do you hope for in terms of growth and improvement from your offense and from Andy Dalton this year?
"The biggest thing we have to continue to do a great job of taking care of the football. That's the number one thing we did at the beginning of last season that allowed us to be successful. We have to continue to do that. We have to know how to do that in our division games. We have to learn how to do that to finish and close games, when we're trying to play in close games and win close games. And that's what we have to do. We have to finish and get that done."
"And I think along that way, which makes is easier, is make explosive plays. And that's really what we set out to really do, is do a better job of making it explosive through the running game, passing game, and a lot of different areas and special teams."
On applying common threads from previous playoff experiences this year.
"I think you hit it on your very first question. You have some players who never achieved success. This is different. These guys now have and they understand it, but they're not satisfied where they are. Sometimes guys kind of get concerned with personal success, rather than the success of the football team. We're in a good position right now. We made a lot of changes in the offseason, which I think is the other thing that was different from the past, everyone wanted to stand pat. Well this is good, this is good... Well we went out and tried to upgrade positions, tried to get better in positions, provide competition. Chained (?) some guys out. Some guys that played a lot of football here and were very popular here and had accomplished a lot of things. We had to let them leave and move on. We had to get some younger guys, we had to get some different guys."
Is this team better now than the team Lewis ended last season with?
"I think this team has the opportunity to be a better team now than what we ended the season with, but we have to go do the work. I know how that team would fight and react. This team has to establish their own identity. Whether we're a big explosive team, whether we're going to grind it out, whether we're going to play fist-down defense, down after down after down. We have to go decide that whether we're going to be as choking as we were last year on special teams, where we choked people out. We've got to do those same things."
What's Leon Hall's status for training camp on Friday?
"We'll determine that over the next day and a half. Leon's goal was to be out there the very first practice and he's right on schedule to do that."
What's the issue about a No. 2 wide receiver?
"I view it as a great thing. We have three or four or five guys. They're going to have an opportunity to play a lot of football for us. And that's a great thing. We know we have a great No. 1 wide receiver. Last year no one knew who any of the wide receivers were going to be, so we're in a pretty good position right now."
On showing up on Twitter one day?
"Only to shut it down. You can blame it on me."