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Coach Talk: Interpreting Marvin Lewis' comments heading into Week 10

The Bengals are headed for a primetime matchup against the Giants. What did Marvin Lewis have to say to the media to preview the game and more importantly, what did he mean? We try to decipher just that in this week’s Coach Talk column.

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals will have had 15 days of rest between tying the Redskins in London, and facing the Giants in New Jersey. That’s a lot of time for coach Lewis to think of things to say in his weekly press conference. So what did he say, and what did he mean in this week’s media session in advance of Monday Night Football?

Interview question: Does (Leon) Hall look the same to you?

Lewis response: Leon has done a good job for them... Against Minnesota, he played nickel, safety and dime -- three different spots on defense -- within that game.

Commentary: It’s great to hear that Hall has been able to extend his career, playing a versatile role for the Giants. Of course, with some of the Bengals’ struggles, it would also be great if he was doing that in stripes.

Interview question: How would you assess the first half of the season for Tyler Boyd?

Lewis response: His production has been above the guys he was compared with as rookies.

Commentary: Let’s do a fact check, has Boyd outplayed the wide receivers who were in his range? There were six or seven receivers who many, including the Bengals, identified as the top tier. They were: Josh Doctson, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Laquon Treadwell, Michael Thomas, Sterling Shepard, and Tyler Boyd. How have they done?

  • Thomas - 47 receptions, 596 yards, 5 touchdowns
  • Shepard - 34 receptions, 384 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Fuller - 25 receptions, 231 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Boyd - 25 receptions, 283 yards, 0 touchdowns
  • Treadwell - 1 catch, 15 yards, 0 touchdowns
  • Coleman - Missed Weeks 3-8 with injury; 13 catches, 231 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Doctson - Played 2 games before going on Injured Reserve; 2 catches, 66 yards, 0 touchdowns

So, outside of Treadwell, who is the one player on that list who the Bengals weren’t enamored with, Boyd has not had better production, aside from the guys who have missed games due to injury.

Interview question: Does the bye week reset things nicely for you?

Lewis response: I think it was a good opportunity to reset. I wish we’d reset it at 4-4, but we didn’t...

Commentary: The response is an interesting change of course, compared to last week when Lewis seemed content with the tie, and implied that he was more interested in ending the game than fighting through a full overtime for a victory. +1 for Lewis.

Interview question: What does it mean to have Wallace Gilberry back?

Lewis response: Wallace has been, since we brought him here however many years ago, one of those nuts-and-bolts guys. Hard-playing. Physical. Tough. Good for the rest of the team. Drives guys. Smart on the field. Can extend the things that you try to do during the week, and talk to (the defense) about it in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage and help the other guys around him. That’s good. He brings not only his ability to continue to make plays, but also to enhance others.

Commentary: That description is pretty much an ideal, prototype player for Lewis. There is no mention about Gilberry being a great player, a dynamic player, or an explosive player. Instead, he is a nominally productive veteran who tries hard and has a team-first mentality.