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Thursday update: Lewis happy with club's direction

Marvin Lewis

Updated: 5:30 p.m.

With wide receiver Antonio Bryant making his first Paul Brown Stadium stop as a Bengal on Thursday, head coach Marvin Lewis expressed happiness at the direction of the AFC North champs' offseason. 

"I feel good about the direction we took with our organization," Lewis said. "I think we were able to get what I perceived as our needs prior to the draft being filled with veteran players. The ones I wanted to see surely filled we've been able to go about filling it and I feel really good about that."

Along with Bryant's reported $7 million per year deal, the Bengals also re-signed defensive starters Tank Johnson and Roy Williams and tendered about $10 million to keep their own free agents. Lewis also said he's confident the Bengals can re-sign right guard Bobbie Williams.

"Bobbie wants to be back here. We want Bobbie back here. We just have to come to some kind of terms that fits both parties," Lewis said.

It's a slower go on tight end Reggie Kelly, another guy the Bengals would like back. but Lewis said that could come later.

"It's a big commitment from upstairs to do the things we've been able to do; I'm glad we've been able to do that," Lewis said. "I hope our fans feel that way because we have gone out and really got the guy that fit us the best for a long period of time. We said we wanted to put pieces around Carson to make him more effective."

Lewis wouldn't kill the buzz that still persists about the Bengals and that other wide receiver, namely Terrell Owens. The Bengals won't grab him now at these prices ($5 million for this year?), but when asked if he had signed his receiver Lewis smiled and said, "Well, we signed a receiver."

Last month at the NFL scouting combine when Lewis was asked about his lame duck contract status, he said the Bengals had approached him twice about an extension and he raised some speculation when he also said, "There were things that when I started this job in 2003 that were important to me; we can't change those. They have to stay on track and I have to make sure we're continuing to progress that way and those are the things as important to me as anything."

When asked about an update Thursday he would only say the talks between him and Bengals president Mike Brown are "personal."

A big reason why Lewis likes the current state of affairs is because he sees an open draft board at No. 21 on April 22 now that some veterans are in the fold.

"(It is) completely open. To strictly look at who are the best prospects for the Cincinnati Bengals in a draft based on that," he said.

"We're not sitting there looking at a hole at cornerback or wideout or running back or offensive line. We continue to get better, we continue to add abilities that are maybe more special or more refined than what we have currently on our team."

Lewis gave his mini state of the state look as he prepared for next week's NFL annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. He's a member of the NFL competition committee, which plans to propose to ownership next week a playoff rule that would allow both teams to get a possession in overtime if the team that gets the kickoff kicks a field goal.

Lewis, a former defensive coordinator, wouldn't vote for it. Combined with Brown's general view when it comes to rule changes that less is more, it doesn't look like a yay vote would come out of Cincinnati.

"We seem to be fine the way it is," Lewis said, recalling how the Steelers beat the Bengals in the '06 finale on the third snap after winning the coin toss.

"I think that's part of the overtime thing is, 'Play defense.' That's what I thought after (the Steelers loss). We didn't stop them. They earned it.  I feel just as strongly about that as I do anything else. Just like our game last year with Cleveland (an OT win). I feel just as strongly about us punting the football and stopping them and getting the ball back and scoring that way. I guess I believe in defense as much as I do offense."

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