Marvin Lewis News Conference
July 29, 2016
Paul Brown Stadium
"It's been fun to get back to this time of football season and to open up training camp and get going. We've got to have a productive day now. We began yesterday and are looking forward to our first practices here out on the practice fields soon. I've been pleased with our return and how we came back. I thought we had a really good April, May, June, and now we need to have a better July, August that leads to a better fall. It's good to be back and back to work."
Has the culture you've established here helped guys get through the time off in the right way?
"I think their expectations of their futures, their career, is what it's all about, and what it takes to play at a high level and accomplish their goals, our goals collectively and their goals individually."
How has this stability the last five years helped you?
"Well, a lot of the things that maybe I used to worry about, they no longer exist. I think that's a good thing. I think we go about our business pretty effortlessly in a lot of ways, without trauma or drama. And that's a relief for everyone. We're able to focus on football and what this should be and what it should be all about."
What did you worry about?
"I can't tell you. We don't have enough time to talk about all that." (Laughs)
Give me one …
"No. We don't want to go backwards, right? Press on."
You have a lot of new coaches. Are you looking to them for some fresh air, new perspectives?
"I think it's an aid in the offense, defense and the things you're doing to bring some support, some ideas to the coordinators. I think to the overall picture of how you do it, that kind of talk and communication. I really think the guys have don a good job, particularly the position coaches of the group, that are the lead coaches, of grabbing hold of their groups right away. It's going to be different and raising the level that way is important."
Do the extended offseasons of recent years change how you approach the early days of camp?
"The important thing for us is to make sure now that we monitor everything we do scientifically, to make sure that we understand. We want to ease into a certain workload. I can tell you the workload we've had the last two years in training camp every single day. We want to make sure we don't have day one and day two be the highest of those. We want to keep everybody out there going. Most of your soft tissue injuries occur in the first two, three days. So we've got to do a good job for that. That's going to be important. It's going to be hot, humid, and we've got to do a good job for that and recognizing that and understand that as coaches. Everybody's excited, everybody getting ready to go, the players want to compete, but we've got to – I've got to – do a good job of monitoring that and the coaches as we go."
Is there an expectation for Andy Dalton at this point to push the younger guys faster than he would a few years ago?
"Yeah, there's no question Andy is able to bring the younger guys along more quickly. He knows what's expected. He knows where they need to be and how to get there. I think his voice is such that it makes it happen. He's been able to do that right away. Now it's important that we continue to refine it and get better at it. We are going to start applying it to opponents pretty quick."
Is there pressure on the younger, unproven receivers, and a thinner margin for error for the young guys to not make mistakes?
"I think that is part of the scenario all the time. Anybody that comes in new to a position, whoever it was, even the guys who are no longer here, had to get to the right spots all the time, and they weren't 100 percent. That's the challenge; that everybody is on the same page as quick as possible and you go out and execute what you are playing all the time."
How did you come up with the "Pound the Rock" saying, and how does it apply to this team?
"Once the last season ended and I began thinking about 2016, it was just that we had to stay the course, keep pounding. We had to continue to be physical, we had to continue to be relentless. I showed them clips of different movies where they use that analogy. It really hit home for me -- offensively, defensively, special teams, in everything we do. Coaching, the implementation of the plan, formulating of the plan in every way.
"That's the thing I felt it fit. I confer a lot with Chip Morton and Jeff Friday on those kind of things, because when you are down there in the weight room, you are kind of the pulse of the football team, because guys spend their down time there even when they are not in their working time. Those guys come up with a lot of things. I was pressing that one on them that way."
What movies did you show them clips of?
"I'm not very good at remembering what the movies are. I think there is one Clint Eastwood movie. I can't remember the name of it. Easy Rider? Pale Rider? Pale Rider, that's what it is."
With today's science, is it tough for younger guys to know there's only a little time to prove themselves to the coaches?
"I have tried to impress on the young guys right away, they are going to make the football team on how they play in these four preseason games. We are going to teach them when to do it, how to do it, why to do it out here on the practice field with our own guys. But our focus out here with our own guys is to get better and stay healthy. One-two. We go play the preseason games, now you need to win against the opponent, against the guys with the different color helmets on. That's when you show the coaches how you can apply what we taught you and how you can play live football against those opponents. That's what's important when we play these four preseason games."
How challenging is it to ride the line between giving players the appropriate amount of rest and reps?
"It is challenging. Some guys can get non-football reps and still be ready. They will get themselves ready physically and mentally. The most important thing is getting our guys to the gate healthy on Sept. 11 against the Jets. We don't have an issue any other way, never have. The way we practice and do things; we get prepared for the season. Its important."
Because of the preseason games, have you moved more towards giving less reps to the veterans?
"The fun of the preseason and excitement of it for everyone is to see people play. You see guys who you don't know about, either they're new from a different team, the draft, or didn't have as much opportunity to play as much last year. Now they get the opportunity to go out there and play football and show what they can do. The process has always been the same. Our quarterback doesn't need 'x' amount of reps to get ready. He needs the efficiency of being right and doing things all the time. If you're going in trying to protect the quarterback, then that's a different scenario, and we're not in that situation."
You've been around a while as a coach. You go back to a different day. How tough has it been to go through the process of adapting to all of the new sciences?
"I hear that, but I don't think we've changed a great deal. I can quantify it better. I know what your eyes tell you generally, but I do think I'm able to relay it to the rest of the staff a little better. I don't think we've changed much as they think we've changed. That's great. Any placebo that works is always good."
How much is the success of an offense from the coordinator, or just having the same players?
"It's the quarterback and the players all the time. Good players make smart coaches. Players win and coaches lose, don't ever forget that." (Laughs).
Is pounding the rock the same as chopping the wood?
"They're pretty close. (Laughs.) We had to find a different way to say it. Doing the little things right. They all mean the same thing ultimately. We've used them all. We come back to the same thing; its about work, competing, and outworking the guy across from you for 60 minutes. We've developed some really good core values here, and we want to continue to press upon those as we move forward. Our guys walk in the door and they understand that. That's good for when a new guy walks in and sees that. They have to get in step right away or they stand out."
Where is the shovel from 2003?
"It's still around. (Laughs.) It's still the same. It hasn't changed. That's the way this football team has been built. I've said it many times. With those guys up front, back in the 'shovel' days, they took hold of the football team. The greatest part of that is that our best players became our workman-type guys; the no nonsense guys. That puts everybody else in step and right along with it. That's been the best transition we've made."