Bengals owner Mike Brown confident Marvin Lewis can ‘right our ship’


Perhaps nothing illustrates Cincinnati Bengals owner and president Mike Brown’s aversion to change better than the annual pre-training camp luncheon, where the menu is one of the few things around Paul Brown Stadium that predates Marvin Lewis.

As Lewis prepared to dip into his 16th bowl of mock turtle soup, Brown attempted to explain why he remains confident enough in his coach to award him a two-year extension despite back-to-back losing seasons and no playoff victories since arriving in Cincinnati in 2003.

“I know the call was controversial,” Brown said. “I’m sticking with it. I believe still that it’s the right thing. It’s a very sturdy relationship. We’ve been through a lot together. We’re comfortable with each other. I have confidence in him. I think we can right our ship this year and go forward the way we want.”

›› RELATED: 5 position group battles to watch in training camp

Lewis, who is 125-119-3 in 15 seasons, enters his 16th season as the second longest tenured coach in the league behind Bill Belichick.

His 240 games coached rank 24th in NFL history. And if Lewis finishes his current two-year deal, he will move into at least a tie with Mike Holmgren for 16th with 272.

Asked if he’s proud of such a long run, Lewis said he feels fortunate.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Like our Cincinnati Bengals News Now Facebook page

“I think a lot of people talk about it quite a bit,” he said. “I know coaches do because everyone aspires to do that. Most importantly I’ve been blessed to have — from Jon Kitna to Carson (Palmer) to Andy (Dalton) — these quarterbacks that allow you to do that.

“They’re the lifeblood of your football team, how they play and how they carry the football team that gives you as the head coach the opportunity,” Lewis added. “Because when you’re changing quarterbacks all the time, you’re probably changing head coaches as well.”

While Brown and Lewis found a way to get on the same page and avoid a coaching change in January, they had noticeably varying outlooks on the 2018 season in terms of all the changes taking place outside of the biggest offices in the building.

›› MORE: Bengals to honor 1988 Super Bowl team

With Bill Lazor (offense) and Teryl Austin (defense) heading into their first full season as Bengals coordinators, the players spent the offseason learning new systems on both sides of the ball.

“We have had a dramatic change with our team,” Brown said. “It isn’t fully understood. We have changed our whole offensive system. We have changed our defensive system. Usually, that is associated with hiring a new coach. We did it a little bit differently. We brought in new coordinators and let them have their chance at it. This will make us look different.

“It will be a challenge to digest for our players,” he continued. “It usually takes a little time. I will be holding my breath some as we start out with it. There will certainly be a few ups and downs with it. It should produce real change with the football team and we are trying to have.”

›› PFF pessimistic about Bengals O-line progress

Lewis downplayed the changes, especially on offense.

“Football’s football,” he said. “Everybody keeps saying about a playbook. That’s just lines on a paper. What we need to do is consistent with what I’ve tried to do since I’ve been here. We have to control the football by running the football and then making explosive plays and don’t turn the ball over. That hasn’t changed.”

But both men are hoping the end result produces significant change.

“My goal is the goal that every team, every player, every coach, every fan has,” Brown said. “I want us to win the Super Bowl. I’m realistic. I know there are 32 teams that all want to win the Super Bowl. If you have a horse race and come in somewhere other than first place, well, how acceptable is that? Not totally acceptable.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Youth may serve young Bengals defense well vs. Panthers
Youth may serve young Bengals defense well vs. Panthers

The youth of the Cincinnati Bengals defense might actually be a benefit this week when they are faced with the task of stopping an offense unlike most NFL teams. Cincinnati (2-0) travels to play the Carolina Panthers (1-1) on Sunday, and Carolina brings an offense that looks more like what a lot of the young guys faced recently in college – ...
Unbeaten Northmont at Wayne in GWOC showdown
Unbeaten Northmont at Wayne in GWOC showdown

Every high school football team is fixated on that special opponent. Doesn’t matter if it’s Week 1 or Week 10, that game is a constant presence. “Honestly, this is what we hoped and prayed for,” Northmont coach Tony Broering said about a Week 5 showdown at Wayne on Friday. “We’ve targeted this all year. …...
Ohio State football: With Urban Meyer back, who calls offensive plays?
Ohio State football: With Urban Meyer back, who calls offensive plays?

Urban Meyer’s return to full coaching duties this week for Ohio State football revives a favorite pastime around Columbus: Speculating about who will call the plays the rest of the season. Armchair quarterbacks have loved this game for at least as long as there have been armchairs and quarterbacks for one simple reason: Everyone wants to know...
Prep football: Fenwick-Alter rivalry continues with GCLC North showdown
Prep football: Fenwick-Alter rivalry continues with GCLC North showdown

It didn’t take long for Dan Haverkamp to start hearing about the significance of Fenwick High School’s football rivalry with Alter. “I think probably within my first hour in the building, I had somebody come up to me and say, ‘Hey, beat Alter,’ ” said Haverkamp, in his first season at the Falcons’ helm. &ldquo...
Undefeated Springfield 4-0 first time since North and South merged
Undefeated Springfield 4-0 first time since North and South merged

Unbeaten Springfield (4-0) landed the knockout that reverberated through Greater Western Ohio Conference football last week. How else to explain a historical 49-6 blitz of host Centerville? Following three straight relatively close defeats of Lancaster, Fairfield and Hudson by a combined 13 points, the Wildcats were at their quick-strike best in shredding...
More Stories