Training camp is upon us, and with it comes the 16th season of a Marvin Lewis-led Bengals team.
The franchise has seen some of its best years under Lewis, but they’re coming off back-to-back losing seasons for just the second time under his watch. The first time happened in 2007-08, which actually was followed up by an AFC North-winning squad in 2009.
This team certainly has all of the ingredients for a winning season, and the hope is this is the year Lewis finally breaks through and helps this franchise end its playoff drought.
That journey begins Thursday when the first day of training camp begins. Ahead of that, Lewis spoke with Bengals.com. There, Lewis admitted this offseason saw the biggest overhaul of his tenure in the Queen City.
“We had areas of need to get addressed in the offseason and I thought the people did a great job addressing those areas I felt were the biggest and that was big,” said Lewis. “We have to right the ship.
“If we won the games we had the lead in the fourth quarter, Green Bay, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, we’re having a different conversation. But you have to play.”
Those changes included a new quarterbacks coach (Alex Van Pelt), offensive line coach (Frank Pollack), defensive coordinator (Teryl Austin), left tackle (Cordy Glenn) and center (Billy Price).
Needless to say, this team made a lot of upgrades heading into next season, especially for an offense that finished near the bottom of most major categories. Had the offense even been average in 2017, we’re probably talking about a nine or 10-win team coming into this season, but alas, they went 7-9 and nearly cost Lewis his job.
Lewis talked about what went down when the 2017 season ended and his contract was up. Many thought he was a goner, but Lewis and owner Mike Brown reached an agreement on a new two-year deal.
Lewis also indicated retirement was never an option, and he doesn’t know when it will be, even though he is now 59 and turning 60 in late September. He also thinks this could be the team that has a postseason breakthrough.
“I want to coach, and to me, the best opportunity for me to have an opportunity to take a team to the world championship is right here right now,” he said.
While many disagree with keeping Lewis, you can’t deny the fact that Lewis has just five losing seasons in his 15-year coaching career vs seven winning seasons. The hope is this coming season will not only be one of double-digit wins yet again, but also one that ends in the Super Bowl.
“You coach in the National Football League to become world champions, and with this team, we have the ability to do that.”