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Coach Talk: Interpreting Marvin Lewis' comments on Tyler Eifert and Vontaze Burfict

Marvin Lewis held a press conference following the Bengals’ loss to Denver. What did he say, and more importantly, what did he really mean? We try to decipher the differences.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are coming off their second straight loss, and Marvin Lewis talked about it in his press conference on Monday. So, as we do each week, we’re trying to bring some clarity to what he said... and what he meant.

Interview question: Did you have to make a roster move today to activate Vontaze Burfict?

Lewis comments: No. We have an exemption until Thursday.

Commentary: Unfortunately the important follow-up question was not asked. The big question, which went unasked is, “who will lose their roster spot?”

Interview question: But now he (Burfict) only has about two walk-throughs to get ready for the game, whereas last year he had a week of practice...

Lewis comments: No, he did not. Last time, he showed up on Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday he was in Los Angeles seeing a doctor. He had half a practice. He got off the plane, came to practice.

Commentary: When getting pressed by the media for dropping a second straight game, it’s got to be a good feeling to put a journalist in his or her place. Sometimes the lack of research before people ask Lewis questions is amazing – they grill him for not executing well, so it is funny when the tables are turned on them.

Lewis comments: …this is about the Miami Dolphins, not about Vontaze…This is a football team that is excited. They got a win yesterday. Offensively, Ryan Tannehill is a good athlete, a very accurate passer, strong passer, good athlete and can run...(Jarvis) Landry is playing very well…Parker and Stills…Jordan Cameron is an excellent athlete at tight end. You flip it over defensively –Suh, Mario Williams, Wake. They have very good guys up front. Good rushers. Alonso, the linebacker, is a really good athlete...The safety, No. 20, is a very good player back there. So there are a lot of good players on this football team.

Commentary: Years ago when the second George Bush was running for president, he got criticized after one of the debates for not mentioning foreign heads of state by name. As a result, in every subsequent discussion, he went out of his way to mention who was the leader of this or that country, showing he had learned everybody’s name. Now in another election year, Lewis has apparently picked up this trick from former president Bush. He manages to name nine players in a single answer. He attempted to get a 10th player, but could only manage to remember his number. Overall, this is a good job by Lewis of throwing out as many names as he could muster!

Interview question: Vinny Rey was replacing Vontaze, but can they be on the field at the same time?

Lewis comments: Yes. They can.

Commentary: Lewis is thrown a curveball with a story problem, and deftly solves it. If you missed the implied question, it is “A team runs a 4-3 defense with three linebackers, and one of the linebacker spots is used up by Burfict, will there still be a linebacker spot for Rey?” Lewis gets the answer correct with “Yes”, because there are still two linebacker spots of the three open, after Burfict steps on the field. I’m guessing Lewis could do well on the Wonderlic test.

Interview question: How close is Tyler Eifert?

Lewis comments: He’s close.

Commentary: Apparently the reporters were playing a game of hide and seek with Eifert before the interview. It seems a bit unfair that they asked Lewis for a clue, but apparently Eifert was hiding pretty well.

Interview question: What does he (Eifert) need to do to progress? Will he play Sunday?

Lewis comments: We’ll make a decision when the time comes.

Commentary: Apparently the interviewer is expecting EIfert to be traded to a team who plays this Sunday.