INDIANAPOLIS - During Friday morning's media availability at the NFL scouting combine Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis reiterated he's pinning much of his hopes of a turnaround on a renovated offense spearheaded by new permanent coordinator Bill Lazor.
His ability to put the offense together. I felt really comfortable with that. Excited about," Lewis said on why he tuned to Lazor after his interim role in 2017. "And to be able to have him do it from the onset."
Lewis indicated the team is sticking with the West Coast shell that Jay Gruden brought to the franchise in 2011, but there are going to be differences with the major one how the running game fits with the passing game.
Lewis also said:
- He'd like to see a deal for free-agent center Russell Bodine. Bodine has started every game of his four seasons and those 64 starts are the fourth most in Bengals history by a player at the beginning of his career. He's behind the first center in club history, Bob Johnson (94), as well as quarterback Andy Dalton (77) and tight end Dan Ross (65).
"I think Russell would like to continue in Cincinnati. It's just a matter of hopefully both sides coming to an agreement that's in the middle," Lewis said. "When it gets to a certain point we're going to have to do parallel paths. That's the important part. He's done a real good job for us, for me for four years. He's a tough player. He's played every game since he became a Cincinnati Bengal. That speaks to his toughness and his durability."
- He also wants to re-sign tight end Tyler Eifert, but admits the injuries are a challenge. His back has yet to be cleared by the team, but they'd still like him back.
"There's going to be risk taken on both sides hopefully something can be done to keep Tyler in Cincinnati," Lewis said. I think that's important to him and hopefully it can get done. There are going to be challenges. He's been productive when he's been on the field and sometimes a guy can't control when he gets injured.
"He dealt with an ankle injury that was legitimate. Everybody saw what happened. He dealt with an elbow when he was playing football and when you play football, things happen. Hopefully all the things he's dealt with in his back are corrected."
- The interest in former Panther safety Kurt Coleman, a nine-year vet, is very real. His 21 career interceptions and locker room sway are the lures.
"In watching him on tape he fit to the schematics the way we wanted to see. We felt really good about his ability to help us to continue to upgrade the defense," Lewis said. "Having players such as Kurt Coleman if we're able to add him to the mix, he's been very proficient in turning the ball over."
This gallery features photos of current Bengals players at past NFL Combines (AP Photos)