6-15-05, 3:50 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
As the Bengals prepare for this weekend's mandatory minicamp, head coach Marvin Lewis is pointing the finger directly at coaches and systems rather than players when asked if they have closed the gap on the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North.
"Execution and coaching," Lewis said this week in a conversation with Bengals.com. "You're not going to close the gap with people. You close the gap in how you do it. That's a copout saying you do it with people. You do it with how you do it, when you do it, and how good you are at it."
And the one system everyone is going to looking at during the five practices is the new look defense of first-year coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. Not to mention the defense's rookie starters and club's top two draft picks in linebackers David Pollack and Odell Thurman.
Lewis, the man who has coached Pro Bowl line backers such as Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Ray Lewis, and Peter Boulware, is getting a bit nostalgic as he breaks down film in his office with the two rookies. Greene, a sack specialist who is still a Lewis confidant, has agreed to come to Cincinnati and work with Pollack a little bit on mentor-consulting basis.
"In Odell, there are certain traits, just like with Ray Lewis there were certain traits," Marvin Lewis said of his young middle linebacker. "The magnetism of a Greg Lloyd. The ability to overcome obstacles and play football at a very, very high level. That's very similar to Greg. As you go forward and you look at guys, from Lloyd to (Peter) Boulware to Pollack, Kevin Greene, all of those guys. You're looking for the same kind of individuals."
Lewis also hit some other topics: