Lewis: Bengals are a different team after coaching changes

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

While Mike Zimmer gave his first presser after being introduced in Minnesota, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis says that this is a different team.

Despite the perceptions about him, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has a very engaging, if not quiet, personality. Many unfiltered creations in people's minds about Zimmer are not unlike a curse-filled explanation why the whole product line of Care Bears deserves to be incinerated in a fire-fulled chamber of filthy hate.

In truth, Zimmer leaves a lasting impression on players, an imprint, to the point of absolute loyalty and even installing a sense of father-son relationships on many. Adam Jones joked about leaving for Minnesota. Terence Newman, a player for Zimmer back in Dallas, offered a prideful tweet. And many spoke endlessly, and freely, about their love for their former defensive coordinator.

Now he's a head coach with the Minnesota Vikings, showing a similar image that was freely broadcasted in Cincinnati.

"When he’s in the office, and you talk to people around him, he’s the nicest person in the world – very smart, very football-minded person," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I don’t know why other teams passed on him having an opportunity to be a head coach, but I’m sure glad they did. It was the right timing, and I think, the right fit for us."

Zimmer conducted his first major press conference as the team's head coach, save for the introduction presser in Minnesota last month, and most reviews were positive. One of the topics covered during Friday's session was the Vikings personnel, referencing Cincinnati's teams as an example of what he'll be able to accomplish.

"If you look back on those teams I had in Cincinnati when I first got there, I think everybody would say, 'They played pretty good together, they were a good defensive football team,'" Zimmer said Friday via ESPN. "So to me, that's really what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to take 53 guys now, and make them a good football team. And whatever that is to do it ... doesn't matter to me. It just matters about winning, playing the game the right way and making fans proud of how we play, and making the people in Minnesota excited to watch us play."

Zimmer and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis have talked multiple times since his departure, including a few quiet moments prior to the furry of press conferences during Friday's sessions in Indianapolis.

"I’ve talked to him a few times. Mike’s been through this process so he understands it, but we have had an opportunity to talk quite a few times," Lewis said via the Enquirer. "He’s anxious to do football and at some point he’s going to get a chance to. I keep encouraging him that that’s going to happen, but right now he’s doing all the other things he’s got to get done."

For the Bengals, it's time to move on with their newest defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. And Lewis holds no illusions about the team's future. They're not going to be the same.

"Everything is going to look different because we're not going to be the same," Lewis said via ESPN. "We're going to be different, we're going to be new, and the organization is committed to doing that and I think that's important."

Win a playoff game and every offseason story will turn into nothing more than background noise.

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