Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis called in to the Bengals Line show on Tuesday night and made his first public comments since signing a two-year extension to stay with the team through the 2019 season.
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Here is the transcript of what Lewis had to say while speaking with Lance McAllister and Dave Lapham:
Q: Take us through the last 24 hours, what happened between the presser and today’s announcement….
A: Mike (Brown) and I and his family have had a lot of time to visit and so forth and just come to an alignment of everything, what my job is about. My job is to get this team to be world champions, and I haven’t got it done. And I’m excited about the opportunity moving forward. It’s got to be from start to finish this year, just like we got started in ‘03. We start with probably a better football team than we did (then), but we’ve got to go about it with the same kind of energy and vitality and so forth, and the mental approach that we did when we began. That’s going to be very important. We have to improve and get better and our goal is to be world champions.
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Q: All the assistants are in limbo. Is that the next step to get your staff intact?
A: Yeah. We’ll work hard the next day or so to get our coaches re-signed. Obviously there will be some movement, which always happens this time of year. And certainly for our guys. We’ve got a lot of good coaches that may have opportunities elsewhere. But we’ll be very expedient in that process and put a great staff back together.
Q: When you reflect and look in the mirror, what might you think about differently?
A: We’re talking off the cuff. Really the analysis of football has to be done when you sit down and look at the things that we have to do better. You do that by evaluating your video and what you do. If you look at numbers, obviously we weren’t satisfied with what we did this year offensively. We made improvements as the year went on, but we weren’t able to be the dynamic passing team that we’ve been in the past. We made improvements in the running game. So we have to look at the little things, the details of what we’re doing, particularly in the passing game and get better. We have an outstanding quarterback, a tremendous group of wide receivers, we had the emergence of Tyler Kroft this year and C.J. Uzomah, who picked up the slack when Tyler Eifert was out. We’ve got to continue to build on that, as well as the runners, Gio (Bernard), Joe (Mixon), etc., that we have on this football team. And then defensively, I think the main emphasis is we have to be better on third down. We went through a stretch on third down on defense where we were giving up almost 50 percent of conversions. And we had a lot of defensive penalties on third down. So those are things we can improve on. And when you improve on defense on third down, you know what, you play lights out defense. And we can do that. We have the people to be able to do that.
Q: I’m assuming you didn’t interview anywhere else and he didn’t interview any other candidates, did you guys feel confident something could be hashed out right from the jump?
A: We actually spoke at some point on Monday. I don’t remember when it was. I addressed the football team and did the things we normally do to close up the year and then we went from there. We both came out of there feeling good about it. I went home last evening feeling good about things, and we spoke again this morning and then again this afternoon and we came to the conclusion where we are.