Marvin Lewis will only talk about Sunday.
If the Marvin Lewis Era is down to its last three games, you wouldn't know it. He checked in with the media after Friday's walk-through and shrugged off any questions about a future with a contract.
"My future is Sunday. Just win the game," Lewis said. "You get paid to do a job."
Even though Lewis talks to Bengals president Mike Brown every day, he has apparently not yet had "The Talk." It will be recalled the last time Lewis was in this situation during the 4-12 season in 2010, he had the epiphany that he wanted to stay during a run the Thursday morning before the last game. Asked if he's had such a moment yet he said, "I'm not going to tell you."
"At some point we'll have a conversation," Lewis said of meeting with Brown.
His staff is also waiting.
"They're good coaches. They'll be fine," Lewis said.
LEWIS CUTS BALONEY: Another game, another player on injured reserve. For the second straight week a Bengal starter saw his season end and replaced by a practice squad player. Friday it was middle linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) replaced by rookie Brandon Bell, on the squad all year after signing a free-agent deal out of Penn State.
With starting outside linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil already out, that leaves backup veteran Vincent Rey left with three rookies in Bell, Jordan Evans, and Hardy Nickerson. Look for Nickerson to start in the middle with Evans and Rey flanking him, which has to be of major concern since youthful mistakes were at the core of allowing 482 yards last Sunday to the NFL's last-ranked offense.
"It just wasn't the linebackers," Lewis said. "No area was left unscathed."
Lewis was unhappy with one of the post-game explanations of the blowout. A lack of energy.
"That's baloney," Lewis said. "We had top speeds in practice. We had 20 mile-per-hour practice guys (on the GPS) on Thursday as we normally do. Like this week. It's a mental copout. They didn't come up with that themselves. Somebody stuck those words in their mouths. It not going to be me. Lack of execution. I can put those words in their mouths."
Lewis knows A.J. Green and Andy Dalton can't have another performance like last Sunday on the road against the NFL's No. 3 defense. Dalton completed less than half his passes at 14 of 29 and Green had a couple of drops and a fumble.
"We've got to catch the ball down the field. We've got to make accurate throws down the field. They have to go win the game. They have to keep us in the game. That's why they are who they are."
INJURY REPORT: Starting running back Joe Mixon (concussion) and starting safety Shawn Williams (hamstring) were listed as questionable after going full Friday. Also out besides the backers is starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion). Plus, even though he went full Friday, back-up guard/center T. J. Johnson (pectoral) was listed as doubtful. Everyone else is good to go.
Ced gets another say
Record sack race underway
Carl Lawson is one of the many guys happy to see voluble and valued veteran left end Carlo Dunlap surface for this week's mandatory minicamp. Lawson, who usually sets up at right end on passing downs, nearly broke Dunlap's rookie sack record last season and he likes the competition. And on Tuesday he offered a challenge to a guy he calls "like an older brother to me."
Scrutiny is mandatory for offense
Just the presence of the very large Cordy Glenn at left tackle at Tuesday's start of mandatory minicamp is evidence of the effort to shore up the offense since he arrived via trade for a first-rounder. But the hopes of a little-used role player also reflect how this offense may be changed by as much philosophy as looks. Remember Ryan Hewitt, the forgotten fullback?