For the second time in three seasons, the Bengals ended a “home” game against an NFC opponent with a tie. And, as with the 2014 tie against the Carolina Panthers, missed kicks by Mike Nugent helped prevent the Bengals from securing a victory. So, what did Marvin Lewis have to say following the most recent tie, and what did he mean? Let’s take a look and analyze Lewis’ thoughts.
Press conference question: I know you always say a team ‘earns its record,’ but do you get the sense that this team is better than a 3-4-1 team, a veteran team that played a tough first-half schedule?
Marvin Lewis’ comments: That’s what we are right now, 3-4-1. We have an opportunity to improve upon that, but we have to do the things we put in front of us each week per the opposition to do that, and do it consistently each and every time out. We have 13 days to get things right for the next one.
Commentary: Typically every prisoner is innocent, and every team is better than their record, if you ask them. Interestingly Lewis doesn’t succumb to this line of reasoning, but follows the Dennis Green school of ‘they are what we thought they were.’
Press conference question: Is some of this on the adjustment of new coaches? Does the time off come at a good spot?
Marvin Lewis’ comments: That’s an excuse. New coaches were a positive back in April and March, and are still a positive...That’s important.
Commentary: Yes it is an excuse, but it seems to be a relevant one as the team has roughly the same players, yet has fallen from an 8-0 start in 2015 to a 3-4-1 start in 2016, with the biggest turnover taking place in the coaching ranks. And if it is on the coaches, including a first-time offensive coordinator, it doesn’t seem to be a “positive”, as Lewis spins it.
Press conference question: Most of this roster lived through the grind of 2012, when you came back from 3-5 …
Marvin Lewis’ comments: Actually I think it’s only 10 or 12 guys. We’ve had three classes of rookies since then, and a lot of them are still here. We do have some guys that were on that 2012 team, but not many. Andy they won’t remember that anyway...
Commentary: Getting past Lewis’ point that his players aren’t smart enough to remember back four years ago, this question and answer presents us a great opportunity for OVER/UNDER. Marvin Lewis sets the number of players on the current roster, who were also on the 2012 roster, at 10 to 12. The interviewer seemingly would take the OVER, and would be correct, as the answer is 21, if my counting is correct:
Andy Dalton, Cedric Peerman, A.J. Green, Kevin Huber, Mike Nugent, Vontaze Burfict, Rey Maualuga, Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Domata Peko, Adam Jones, Pat Sims, Dre Kirkpatrick, Clint Boling, Kevin Zeitler, Vincent Rey, Clark Harris, George Iloka, Brandon Thompson, Andrew Whitworth.
Press conference question: Are you in favor of switching to college overtime rules?
Marvin Lewis’ comments: I wouldn’t be. I just think it’s hokey (in the college game). We play enough football. Our guys on defense played 94 plays this last game. We don’t want to continue to keep playing.
Commentary: In the other major sports, baseball and basketball, you play until you have a winner - even if it is an 18 inning, six hour marathon, or a multiple overtime game. And at the end of those games you have a winner, and a loser. It is odd that Lewis finds it more important that the players put in their time and get off the field, regardless if it’s a win, loss, or tie. Fans might wish that their coach was more dedicated to trying to get a win instead of settling for a tie. But inviolate job security apparently breeds complacency.
Press conference question: Do you like the rule the way it is?
Marvin Lewis’ comments: Yes. Actually, I like the rule the way it used to be, when the first team who scored won the game.
Commentary: So he likes it the way it is. And, he likes it the way it was. I can’t help but think of Lewis as the little girl from the Old El Paso commercial who says, “Why not both?”
Press conference question: Are Brandon Thompson, Cedric Peerman and William Jackson III close to returning?
Marvin Lewis’ comments: All three of those guys are very close. Let’s not talk about it every day.
Commentary: It is interesting that in most of these interviews, Lewis comments how injured people, are ‘very close’ - injured people who the interviewers don’t see. I’m not sure if it’s just a Halloween prank, or legit, but whereas Cole Sear saw dead people, Lewis seems to be one who would say, “I see injured people”. Of course, Lewis tells the reporters to stop asking him about the injuries. Who’s surprised about that? Not us. We’ll see when we see is the Bengal way.