Skip to main content

Mike Brown-Marvin Lewis transcript

Opening comments:BROWN: "Thank you for being here on short notice. The Bengals have entered into an extension of Marvin's contract. We had good discussions over the last two days and I think we cleared a lot of air, things that needed to be better understood by each side. There will be some changes made as we go forward. There will be changes made with playing personnel. There will be changes considered with coaches. We'll examine how they all fit and make decisions after we've had an opportunity to consider that more.

"I think this gives us our best shot going forward, to be the team we want to be. We've had a difficult year. We know the dissatisfaction. We're unhappy with ourselves. People are unhappy with us. We are not far off. We are close to being the kind of team we can be. I think continuity will give us the best shot at becoming that team. We have a good relationship, Marvin and I. We work together well. It isn't an easy relationship, but it's a good one, and people don't have full understanding of how that is. It can be good. It has been good in the past with the results on the field. I think it will be good in the future."

LEWIS: "I'm excited about the ability to continue and take the team where I want to take it. As Mike said, none of us are very happy. It's been a season where he and I look at each other every morning, and neither one of us are happy about where we are, but yet Monday, Tuesday we get it back going, and know we have to push forward and do better. I really came to the realization this morning that this is what I want to do. We've been diligent all day in talking about what direction is important to us and what Mike wants to see as we go forward as an organization. I'm excited where we are.

"As I told our players yesterday, we have a core of guys who have endured a very difficult season because of my inability to get our good players to make plays to win games. That's my fault. I did not do a good enough job to put them in position to make the plays to win the games. When you lose close games like we did, we didn't make those plays. When we're successful I get too much credit, but when we lose I know it's my fault. I get all the blame, and I want it. It is my fault, and I've got to do a better job. I'm excited about it to go forward.

"The other thing to me is that I feel like it's a new beginning. It's a start-over, way different than we were in 2003 when we began this. There are some things that I think are important to Mike and I both, that we're very sure about now. As I work with him and we keep putting the pieces in place to make this a football team that not only goes to the playoffs, but wins that last game and is eventually World Champions, that's what our goal is. Nobody wants it more than the two guys sitting up here, and the rest of his family, and the coaches and players. I'm excited about it going forward."

On if Lewis now has more control over personnel decisions:LEWIS: "I don't know where that comes from, because I don't know if I've sat down here and ever said that (that he less than unsatisfied with control over personnel). People keep putting that out there. I have a lot of input in our personnel. It's Mike's ultimate say-so. He's the owner, he's the general manager, and it's my job when we disagree to show him why this is the way I think. As he will tell you, most times he sides with me. It's my job to educate him on why it's the way I see it. I understand that. I actually relish that opportunity. As I've said many times, it's one-stop shopping. There's no middleman I have to go through. He and I talk and discuss each and every morning or afternoon or whenever it occurs, and that's the way it is."

On what better understanding needed to happen between the two to have this deal done:BROWN: "We talked about a range of things. Oddly, some of the things that are out there in the public are not things that are issues between us. Personnel is an issue in the sense that we want to be better and we want to play the right guys. We want to get the right guys up and out there as soon as we can. How we do things on a coaching level is an issue. There are some things that we both think need to be addressed, and will be as we go forward. There are different ways to address them. We can get change internally or we can get it externally, but we are going to have change."

On what types of changes are planned:BROWN: "It has to do with how we set ourselves up to play the game, what we do when we are playing an opponent. That's the real nitty-gritty of what matters. As far as Marvin's role on personnel, I would venture he as a strong a voice in personnel as any coach in the National Football League. I can only think of an example or two at most when we may have done something differently than Marvin would have preferred, and in those cases I am not sure they were all that important decisions. It's a misunderstanding to disguise it differently. People don't know because they aren't there seeing how we interact, but that is how we interact."

On if there are any changes planned to the coaching staff:BROWN: "We're going to address that as we go forward. I don't think it's timely to get into it here today, but we both believe things have to be done differently."

On if they're in agreement on what needs to be done with the coaching staff:BROWN: "It's something that we're going to work together on as we go through the next few weeks."

On if there are plans to make any changes to the scouting and personnel departments:BROWN: "The scouting thing is another criticism that rises up when we don't do well. If you look at our record on scouting over the last 10 years, we rank 10th for the number of games played by players we drafted. I think we sank to 11th on the number of players who are in the league that we drafted, and we would be higher than that except for injuries that were serious that players like (David) Pollack suffered, or Chris Perry, or what happened with (Odell) Thurman, or what happened to Chris Henry. We had a number of those. It was disproportionate. I don't apologize for our scouting. It's an easy target, but if you look at the real facts, I think you'll see it differently."

On if the team plans to coach the Senior Bowl:BROWN: "If they ask us, we'll consider. They generally make that announcement down there. The teams don't make that announcement."

On where the team stands on building an indoor practice facility:BROWN: "Marvin has a desire to have a practice facility. I have a desire, but probably not as keen. That doesn't mean I don't have a desire to do it. The timing is important. Right now, we're faced with major issues in the National Football League, and those are at the front of our agenda. When we get through that, then we'll have time to consider this issue. It's one of the important issues that we have in mind. I would make the comment that some of this is perception. We worked in the cold weather. We played in the cold weather. It didn't seem to hurt us any to practice in the cold weather. We played pretty well in it. But I do know that it's the way it's trending. It's the fact that we have been left behind what others are doing. Whether that makes them better than us because they have an indoor practice facility is a question, but it's coming."

On the importance of having a coaching staff in place, given the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:BROWN: "I think it's important. I would hate to be in the position of a team that had a new coaching staff, and the players showed up two weeks before the first regular season game. I've been there when that happens, so I know it can happen. It's a factor and something I'm conscious of, but it wasn't the principal factor in what we did. Yes, we face some heavy weather here. Things have to be resolved with the (NFL) Players Association. We all want them resolved. They do. We do. The fans do. Everybody does. If they aren't, we have to be prepared to do what we have to do."

On the timetable for possible coaching changes:BROWN: "I think it'll be fairly soon."

On if there was any specific factor in discussions that shaped Lewis' decision to return:LEWIS: "After the season, we always have a lot to discuss. Obviously this year we had a little more. When you consider all things looking forward, I think this is the right spot for me to be. I'm not happy with where we are. It's not finished. I came here to do a certain thing, and we're not done. I just felt that way. Each year when the players walk out of this building, and just speaking from them and hearing from them all night, we have the nucleus of the right guys. We need to add to it and we will. We had a new outpouring and hatching of these young kids this year. In some cases, (it was) too late, but yet we did, and I think that's a refreshing experience for me. I know it was for Mike. It gives you a new life. I know it was for Carson (Palmer), and I think it showed us a lot.

"Defensively; the young guys continue to go play. I met with the first and second-year guys yesterday in the room, and that's almost half of our team. That's something, and it speaks to the youth of the NFL, particularly where we are. It's an exciting point. It's a point that I didn't wish we had to go through, not knowing whether we're going to be working at the end of March or April. I wish we didn't have go through that, because you want to get back to work. I want the playoffs to be over and the Super Bowl champion to be crowned, so we all start 0-0 and we get back at it."

On the length of the contract:LEWIS: "We didn't say that."

On what goals Lewis gained in the negotiations:LEWIS: "I feel good about things. I'm very satisfied about where we are, and that's all I'll say to it. I wouldn't be sitting here if I wasn't satisfied with where we are moving forward."

On whether they have a common ground in philosophies:LEWIS: "We decided that we're going to input the Wishbone (laughs)."

On specifics regarding the team's goals moving forward:LEWIS: "We're going to be better. I don't think we want to go any further than that here today. I think that gets to be personal and private. I know publicly, everyone wants this big splash, but I will tell you we will be better."

On if the parameters of an extension proposed last year needed to be changed:LEWIS: "It really wasn't anything that way. Probably last year at the bye week was the first time we spoke about the extension, and then after the season, and then this fall a couple of times. As I told you guys many times, it's a difficult thing for me to discuss weekly or daily. I'm not comfortable with it. We got to the end of the season, and that's when it was discussed."

On Lewis having sounded more optimistic in recent statements about continuing in Cincinnati: LEWIS: "I didn't want a cloud hanging over our players. And believe me, everyone was trying to put that over our players -- that "is this going to be your (Lewis') last game?' -- and I never felt that. I never felt that from Mike. Mike and I talk daily about our guys, our injured guys, our guys where they are in their careers, our feelings about this or that guy moving forward, and everything that way. It's not my place to go out publically and speak for him, but I didn't get that indication that we were coming down to the last weeks of my career here."

On whether every current assistant coach is under contract for 2011:LEWIS: "Not yet."

On whether Lewis is getting more say in coaching staff decisions now:LEWIS: "I've had more say."

On the length of Lewis' contract:BROWN: "You keep asking, and I don't think the answer's going to change. It's as long as any other coach, or longer. It's long enough to protect him in his position. I would say this: I think we're going to have a better year next year, and it might get longer than that real fast."

On when they will make potential coaching changes:BROWN: "We'll do it in our way, at our pace, after consideration and discussion. It isn't something we have in mind talking about in detail here today."

LEWIS: "It wasn't my place to sit down and talk with anybody the last two days, because I think everyone else has more time here than I did."

On what has changed since his arrival in 2003:LEWIS: "I think that every time I come down here and say something, it's what we've decided to do, and that's what we've decided – there's no wavering on it. It doesn't matter who proposed it or how it was proposed. I think that's the important part. Once Mike tells me it's going to be green or blue, that's what it's going to be and I go forward with it. What we decide on and however we do it, that's what has to be from an organization standpoint. Certainly, when I go in front of our coaches and our team, that's what it's going to be. When we make a play call, that's the way the play is called. Every play is designed to be successful. I think it's no different with anything that way."

BROWN: "I want to emphasize that there is very little difference between us, ever. We talk things out. We have hard conversations sometimes. Sometimes they can even be a little brittle, but we work through them and come to conclusions. Sometimes I wish it were the other way more often than not when we have to compromise. It isn't as though I'm dictating and Marvin's a puppet – that is not the way it works. He does have real control – not influence, control – over his area, and that should be understood. That's not a bad thing, it's a good thing. I see it that way. He wants it that way, and that's the way it is."

On how their relationship changed over the past year in negotiations:BROWN: "You're switching gears here. You're going from what we do on an operating basis to the contractual discussion that we've had between us. One is what we do with our other employees here, how we handle them. The relationship between the two of us is what we worked out together, and it wasn't a bad process. At times it was a difficult one, but we got it worked out to our satisfaction, both of us. I don't think not a bad thing – I think that's a good thing."

On possible personnel department changes:BROWN: "We get criticized for that because we run a lighter crew than some teams do, but I don't know if we do badly there. We picked up Reggie Nelson this year – that's a pretty good acquisition. The year before, we picked up (Brian) Leonard and he helped us a lot. We have people up there who are attuned to this stuff. (Director of Player Personnel) Duke Tobin is on top of it very, very thoroughly. Today, with the communications you have, you can talk to people anytime, anywhere in this country, and we do. You don't have to have a guy sitting in an office doing just that. You can carry this information with you as you travel and then communicate when it's necessary, and that's what we do. I don't think it works badly – I think it works all right."

On Lewis being back for his ninth season, becoming the longest tenured coach in club history:BROWN: "Obviously, unless I felt right about the situation and what he could do with our team, that wouldn't have happened. We have a team that's very close, and I think continuity will help us. We'll add some people. We'll make some changes, and I think we'll get this think quickly back to where we want it to be."

On how the Bengals can move from this point to return to regular sellouts at home: BROWN: "You do it one way: you go out on the field and win ballgames, and when you do that, they come. That's what we have to do. We can spiel all we want – maybe that will help some, but there's only one real answer, and that's to win on the field. And that's what we plan to do."

On the level of change foreseen for the coaching staff:BROWN: "We're going to make some changes with what we do. Either the people will do things differently, or there will be other people doing them. That's all we're prepared to say here today, no matter how many times it's asked or in what way it's asked."

On when player personnel decisions will be made:BROWN: "They will be made. The first thing was getting the arrangement with Marvin put to bed, and it is. The next thing is dealing with the coaches, and then we'll get into the personnel decisions that have to be made. We'll be a little different team. We were a little different at the end this year, and we have some good young guys, guys that showed very well. Our two defensive ends (Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson) looked to be real keepers in this league, and so do our two young wideouts (Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson). Suddenly, we were getting some young people that were showing up. We were moving the ball and sacking the quarterback. We were doing some good things. It's overshadowed because of the record, but we see it and we know it. We know what it means for the future."

On whether the team would an invitation to coach the Senior Bowl:LEWIS: "I've always expressed my desire to Mike that if we're not going to be coaching in the playoffs, we might as well go to work and get to know some of the new prospects as well as we can. I think it's been helpful the two times we've had an opportunity to do it, and I've had a couple other opportunities to do it on other staffs. I think it's always a plus, and it gives you a good insight into the players – to their temperament, how they learn, what kind of guys they are, how they compete – and I think it's been helpful."

On if coaching the Senior Bowl is helpful for the coaching staff in testing new ideas:LEWIS: "I think you're a little limited in what you can do there, particularly defensively. Offensively, I guess you can do a little bit more. You're trying to evaluate the players, so it's very fundamental."

On how much his salary played into him signing this deal:LEWIS: "Not really anything."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.