When the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Buffalo on Sunday, they will be facing a quarterback in Thad Lewis who will be making his second career start.
Even though the Bengals have beaten the last five Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks they have faced (Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady), they have struggled against the lesser-know, lesser-experienced guys, as was the case two weeks ago in Cleveland against Brian Hoyer.
With the lack of experience comes a lack of film, so it’s hard to generate a scouting report, but linebacker Vinny Rey was a teammate of Lewis’ at Duke for four years, and he was more than willing to share his thoughts about his friend for this week’s Bengals High Five:
So what can you tell us about your former teammate Thad Lewis?
That guy’s a competitor, No. 1. I give him that. He’s a competitor. I just remember being at Duke and he had just like a no-lose mentality. He’s going to fight until the end. Thad was a pocket passer. He was able to read from the pocket, and it’s weird because he’s around my height, just about 6 feet, but he was able to do it. They list him at 6-2. I’ll give him 6-1 maybe, but not 6-2. He’s 220 (pounds). He’s pretty solid.
Is he one of these brainiac guys who will beat you with his smarts?
Yeah, he’s a quick thinker. He’s going to try to make plays from the pocket and if he can’t, he’ll try to make a play himself, but he’ll always keep his eyes downfield.
So he doesn’t want to run it but he will if he has to?
Yeah, from what I remember, and from what college was like. He might be a totally different player now. I mean, just from working on his game for the last, going on four years now. I do know one thing, though. Just from being here and playing against very good quarterbacks. The more everyone does their job on defense, the more we play as a team, the more of a chance we have to win. We just have to win every snap. He’s a tough player. We probably don’t have much tape on him, and there’s probably not much tape out there on him, but I know he’s a tough guy. I’m very excited for him.
Have you talked to him since you guys left Duke?
We talked a good amount. I haven’t talked to him since I found out he was the starter, but we’ve been following each other with how our careers have been going, just because there’s not many guys from Duke in the NFL right now. The last time we talked was Friday after their game against Cleveland.
Are there any games you remember where he just willed you guys to the end?
Yes, I do. My senior year, we were playing against N.C. State and at the time, it was the quarterback for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson, who was there. He was having a great game, so subsequently we weren’t playing so well. He was beating us. But Thad kept coming back and completing some nice passes. I think he had close to 500 yards passing that game (459). That was one game where he just kept fighting to the end. It was like touchdown for touchdown and we eventually won (49-28 after scoring 21 unanswered points to end the game).