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Coach Talk: Marvin Lewis at it again with rookie minicamp press conference

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With the rookie minicamp press conference, Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis gives us another chance to look at what he said and see what he meant.

Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Camp Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s been awhile since Marvin Lewis has granted the media and fans with his own version of “coach speak”. But, after rookie minicamp last weekend, Marvin Lewis’ press conference gave us a chance to once again dive into his words, and the underlying sentiments behind them.

So, let’s see what Lewis was asked, how he responded and what he really meant... in our minds, at least.

  • Question: From all the years you have been coaching, has there been any player who has stood out in these rookie minicamps?
  • Lewis’ Answer: I’ve been fortunate to have two or three that have done it. One played for about 15 years and won a couple of Super Bowls.
  • The interpretation: In the next question it comes out that Lewis is referring to Ray Lewis as one of the two or three players who impressed in rookie minicamp. He also identifies Vontaze Burfict as another. The Bengals have drafted 16 linebackers in Lewis’ tenure as the Bengals’ head coach – yet the two players who impressed the most (let alone the linebackers who impressed him the most) were both players who he didn’t draft (one was a Raven and the other was an undrafted player for the Bengals). If I ever wanted proof that Lewis is not adept at drafting linebackers, he pretty much just confirmed it for me.

  • Question: Did anybody in particular stand out today?
  • Lewis’ Answer: ... Mason (Schreck)...did a nice job today as a receiver — to me, he was in position to make some plays catching the ball one-on-one...I was pleased with what the linebacker group did — Carl (Lawson), Jordan (Evans) and young (Hardy) Nickerson, the way they moved around. It was good. (Also) Jordan Willis, the defensive end...
  • The interpretation: Several key points. First, notice he doesn’t say that Schreck made any catches, only that he was in position to make some catches – ugh. Secondly, he clearly defines Lawson as a (SAM) linebacker vs Willis as a defensive end. That pretty much seals how the Bengals view these two players, at least at the start of their offseason work.

  • Question: So where does Lawson look as far as being in a couple of the squads?
  • Lewis’ Answer:He’s a linebacker. He’s playing SAM linebacker. He had a good first day.
  • The interpretation: Lewis doesn’t really answer the question, but immediately focuses on pointing out that Lawson is a linebacker. Apparently Lewis wants everybody to know that Lawson is a linebacker. Oh, in case it’s not clear enough from Lewis’ comments – Lawson is a linebacker.

  • Question: Are there rules as to what John Ross can do and can’t do if he hasn’t graduated yet?
  • Lewis’ Answer: No, there are no rules. It’s just that the American Football Coaches Association would like the young guys to stay in school...It doesn’t affect many schools, just the quarters schools...We used to have same thing with UC and Ohio State until they switched to the semester system.
  • The interpretation: The biggest takeaway isn’t so much what Lewis said, or what he meant to say. Rather it’s that Ross cannot participate in practice with the Bengals again until he graduates from college, which will be on June 10, 2017. Ross also isn’t medically cleared to fully practice and isn’t expected to be before that point anyway as he recovers from March shoulder surgery.

  • Question: Former Bengals kicker Shayne Graham was out there today. Was he working with Jake Elliott and Jonathan Brown?
  • Lewis’ Answer: No, he’s not. Shayne’s coaching now.
  • The interpretation: Lewis might as well say, “Coach the kickers? Kickers aren’t real players. They don’t need coaches.” Side note: Graham was shadowing Darrin Simmons and helping out the coaches during rookie minicamp.

  • Question: Would you ever approve of John racing against (Billy Hamilton) him?
  • Lewis’ Answer: John’s not a circus act or anything...I don’t think either one of them needs to risk their careers in some kind of race.
  • The interpretation: We drafted a fragile wide receiver with an injury history. We’re afraid if he runs 40 yards in a straight line he could get hit with a career-ending injury. We’re just glad we drafted him to play football, and not a sport where he could get hit or knocked down.