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Bengals Bytes (3/28): How Marvin Lewis survived 2017

Marvin Lewis has survived one of his roughest stretches of his career, but what can we expect in 2018?

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

How Marvin Lewis survived 2017 for a 16th season with the Bengals
He is Lazarus among them here at the NFL’s annual meeting, the head coach thought to be DOA when last season’s final whistle blew. But not only is Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis back, he is strolling through these meetings with that familiar, distinct air of confidence and pragmatism that have marked his 15 Bengals seasons. Get ready for 16.

Cincinnati Bengals 2018: Defensive changes abound for new staff
In two weeks, Marvin Lewis will welcome players back to Paul Brown Stadium for his 16th season as Bengals’ head coach. There’s an interesting dichotomy in that Tuesday he sat at the league meetings at the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes and preached change. Through his words, this promises to be one of the most drastic changes this franchise has seen since his arrival in 2003 and reboot in 2011.

Bengals defensive scheme to look different in 2018
The Cincinnati Bengals are making the biggest overhaul in coaches and players in years. Easily the biggest amount of change under head coach Marvin Lewis. Coaching changes have been made on both sides of the ball including offense and defensive coordinators as Bill Lazor was upgraded from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator after week two of the 2017 season. Teryl Austin has been brought in from Detroit to take over the defensive side as well.

2018 NFL Draft needs: Roster holes Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Browns still need to address
With the draft just a few short weeks away, it's time to update our list of what each team still needs after the initial wave of free agency. You'll be able to find the needs for all AFC North teams below.

Catch rule that haunted Bengals changed by NFL
A look at a day of NFL rule changes from the league meetings in Orlando. Owners unanimously approved implementation of a new, simpler catch rule at the annual league meetings on Tuesday, 32-0.

TDBH: Bengals bring back No. 9 defense intact
The happiest man in Cincinnati tonight just may be Bengals defensive coordinator Mark Duffner. He walks into his house from a recruiting trip to Hampton to discover he'll have the same group that finishes fourth in sacks, sets a club-record with 48 sacks, and breaks the Bengals into the league’s top ten defense for the first time in a dozen years. The thinking is the NFL’s No. 9 defense will be better simply because of no turnover. "Most teams are letting their guys go," Duffner says. "It can only help that we know what we've got. These guys have grown up and matured in this defense and I think that says a lot for the organization. Artrell (Hawkins) and Reinard (Wilson) were productive players in this defense last year and we wanted to keep all the components together. They bring the attitude we're going to be better than last year."

NFL owners don't drop catch revise
It gets lost in the post-season disasters of Dez Bryant and Jesse James. But the Bengals have their own devastating story in the smoldering pile of the catch rule that the NFL owners unanimously voted to revise Tuesday during the annual meeting. Basically now, if it looks like a catch, it is a catch. No longer is a catch ruled an incompletion by defying eyes and logic. If there’s a slight movement of the ball or if a player clearly possesses the ball before hitting the ground, it is still a catch. Now in a sudden surge of nostalgia, you simply need to have control of the ball, get two feet down or another body part in-bounds, or make a “football move,” by taking a third step or extending the ball.

Lewis transforming Xs and Os: 'We have to. We weren't good enough'
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis showed up at Tuesday’s media breakfast and casually took his nameplate centerpiece out of view. For a better view of the table? Or so the media couldn’t find him? “Both,” said Lewis with the chuckle that sounds like it’s going to be the only thing that’s about the same in his 16th season at Paul Brown Stadium. All signs continue to point to the Bengals’ biggest scheme overhaul on both sides of the ball since Forrest Gregg became head coach at the dawn of the 1980s.

AFC North Bytes

Former Ravens WR Derrick Mason indicted on Domestic Assault charge
Back in October of 2017, former Ravens WR Derrick Mason was arrested for allegedly attacking a women he had been dating. The initial charge for Mason was felony aggravated assault involving strangulation.

Mike Tomlin doesn't like TD celebrations: 'It's not a good look for young people'
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he doesn’t like the end-zone celebrations that permeate the NFL and would prefer they not be allowed. Tomlin said he understands the celebrations were permitted last season for the entertainment of the fans but thinks they set a bad example.

Random Bytes

Every NFL Team's Biggest Need This Late in Free Agency
This has been one wild offseason. Not that NFL free agency isn't usually quite the ride. But it's been even wackier in 2018 than it is normally. A number of big names got even bigger paychecks, a few stars got huge contracts after getting the boot...and the league turned up a new highest-paid player.

John Mara Says Odell Beckham Jr. Is Not on Trading Block Amid Rumors
The New York Giants are not actively trying to trade wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., co-owner John Mara said Tuesday. "He's not on the block," Mara said, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. "Is that going to stop clubs from possibly calling us? No. But he's not on the block. We're not shopping him around."

Patriots Rumors: Johnny Manziel Spoke with Team Before, After Texas A&M Pro Day | Bleacher Report
Officials from the New England Patriots spoke with free-agent quarterback Johnny Manziel before and after Texas A&M's pro day Tuesday, the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian reported. Manziel threw to Aggies receivers during the event, which came less than a week after the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner took part in the University of San Diego's pro day.'s Eric D. Williams reported the Patriots were one of 13 NFL teams at the Toreros' pro day Thursday.