Marvin Lewis sat down with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com this week for a pretty good interview in which Hobson asks some legitimate questions of the Bengals head coach. I picked out some of my favorite quotes from the interview today and will comment on each. I think what surprises me most is the amount of times Marvin uses the injuries issue to defend himself here. Have a look.
Hobson – “hat is the difference between this season and the previous four seasons when you contended until December or won the division? ”
Marvin – ” With the injuries we’ve had we struggled early on in special teams with new guys and new fits and where they belong. Particularly every day or every week there were new guys in new spots. For the first three or four weeks of the season we went through that. Now we’ve kind of settled in and gotten our sea legs underneath us a little bit that way and fit back to where we need to be. We’ve made a lot of progress in special teams. We’ve had the same guys with the same responsibilities for a while.”
– Our thoughts – This is only a portion of Marvin’s answer, but I actually agree with this about special teams, it is however the first of many comments on injuries.
Hobson – “The third-down play on both sides of the ball have been the key. You’ve been without some key players. The complementary players on offense and the young corners on defense haven’t seemed to work out. “
Marvin – “It’s made it so that we’re not as efficient as we need to be, no question about it. Once you’re into the season, you don’t look at it like it’s because of this, or because of that, or whatever. It’s collectively as a group. What you’ve got to do is try to work the right players into the right time in the right spots and then lean on them to make the plays. And that’s not quite happened.”
– Our thoughts – This is the kind of coach-speak we are used to from Marvin. Talking in general terms that make little to no sense. He might as well just say, “we need to play better” and leave it at that.
Hobson – “What are the positives so far? “
Marvin – “We have to keep working and just do what we’re doing and keep doing it better”
– Our Thoughts – Really Marvin? Really?
Hobson – “You talked about some of the positives. You have to put T.J Houshmandzadeh on that list. “
Marvin – ” I think T.J. has really fought hard. He entered the season with a little bit of a sore knee and now since the bye when he’s been able to practice he’s seen his numbers go up, which has been a big positive of how important practice time on Wednesday and Thursday can be for a guy in being in sync with the quarterback. I’m hopeful that he can continue to overcome his soreness and keep doing the things he’s been doing. He’s been consistent. We’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the ball and we’ve got to keep blocking better at wide receiver so that our backs get some better chances at longer runs.”
– Our Thoughts – Total agreement, one of the few bright spots this year.
Hobson – “You made a commitment to draft defense and that’s a pretty solid decision because that’s how the teams in your division have done it. But the drafts haven’t panned out.”
Marvin – “It has panned out.”
Hobson – “Not well, though.”
Marvin – “It is what it is. You can’t control guys that get injured. They’re going to be fine, good players. Fortunately for the guys that we drafted over the four of five drafts we’ve had, those guys are playing for us if they’re not injured. And that’s a thing we can’t control.
It’s a violent game and you need violent people. When you can say that you’re going to draft seven or eight guys in a year and you have five, six or seven of them playing productive football and of those 40 guys, 35 of them are still playing productively in the NFL, that’s a pretty good job. That part of it I think I’ve been happy with.”
– Our thoughts – It HAS panned out!!!! In what way has being the worst defense in the league panned out!?! The bolded text speaks for itself, WTF? Also, injuries excuse part 2.
Hobson – “But you haven’t really turned it around defensively.” (not a big risk here Geoff, but I’m glad you did not give up)
Marvin – “We haven’t turned it around defensively, but there are two guys that are playing on defense that were playing here five years ago. That’s the other part of it. Regardless of that, there are still just two guys so you’re talking about nine different guys that have always been different through injury and so forth. There is no team in our division that has that many players that haven’t played for three or four years together. Unfortunately that’s the situation we’ve been stuck with because of injury.”
– Our thoughts – Injuries Marvin? Is that your excuse? Maybe no depth at LB should be addressed. Or taking questionable character guys in the draft like Odell Thurman? Or maybe signing has been defensive free agents like Ed Hartwell in the offseason?
Hobson – “How do you come down on all the buzz that you need a general manager? That ‘Marvin wants a GM?”
Marvin – (watch him dodge this again) “That’s got nothing to do with how we play football. Do we run, tackle and do the things right that matter in a football game? That just gives people something else to talk about. Obviously people, when you don’t win as many games as you want to and ought to, there has to be another reason. That really has nothing to do with it.”
– Our thoughts – Knew we would not get a straight answer here, but geez, it has “nothing to do with it’? Really Marvin? Cheers to Hobson for his follow up.
Hobson – “Obviously it’s a big part of what you do. … You do have say in personnel.”
Marvin – “Again, that’s got nothing to do with where we are right now in this season. It’s really not a relevant question.”
– Our thoughts – Wha? GM’s don’t do anything during the season? The team makes no personnel moves during the season? What?
Ok, i have had enough, they go on to talk more about injuries, shocking I know and a few other things here if you want to torture yourself.