During the course of his previous 15 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Marvin Lewis has employed different motivational strategies for his teams. One of which is an annual slogan that usually gets unveiled around training camp and is a play on words to invite his team to embrace success.
Sometimes it’s labeled as “schtick-y”, as evidenced by bringing in hard hats and shovels for the “keep shovelin’” slogan some years back, but it still seems to get embraced by the players on some level. Lewis has concocted another interesting slogan for the 2018 offseason: “Build it better.”
“That’s the theme. That’s the directive from Marvin. Change. Get better. Through the whole building,” said strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton to Bengals.com editor, Geoff Hobson.
While some may roll their eyes at Lewis’ latest marketing venture, of sorts, this one is particularly interesting. The reason it seems to bear a little more volume is based on Morton’s comments and the fact that it almost seems like a motivational tool aimed at coaches and other staff as well.
Cincinnati is coming off of two straight losing seasons in 2016-2017 after five straight postseason appearances from 2011-2015. While there hasn’t been wholesale changes within the organization, some have occurred at the assistant ranks and in the team’s slightly more aggressive free agency strategy.
“More reps, more sets,” Morton said. “The structure will change and we’ll keep the good and improve what hasn’t. They’ll see it. Even the way we move around the room will be different. We want it to be better, we want to make it more challenging within reason. There’ll be more volume (lifting). Some of the (heavy) days we’ll literally hit the ground running and get on the field right away.”
This comes on the heels of some statements made by Lewis about the necessity to “build a better football team”, while gunning for the AFC North with the perennially-formidable Pittsburgh Steelers. And, some guys, like second-year standout Carl Lawson, seem to already have been taking their own offseason workouts seriously.
While the message may or may not resonate with players (Dre Kirkpatrick didn’t seem too enamored with slogans), it does seem like a unifying message for 2018. Given how the past two seasons of gone, any kind of fire to be lit under this team, “schtick-y” or not, shouldn’t be discounted.