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Bengals’ Lewis continues to support Dalton

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The Sports Xchange

CINCINNATI — As training camp opened for the Cincinnati Bengals, coach Marvin Lewis continued with a theme that began during organized team activities: He supports embattled quarterback Andy Dalton and loves what offensive coordinator Hue Jackson continues to do to help make Dalton a better player and, most important, a better leader.

Lewis said, “I think Andy Dalton has made tremendous strides for us this offseason as the leader of the team. In general, I think Hue has been very, very forward in asking him to do more to become more of a leader, and I think Andy has embraced that. I see it in the interaction with the players. I see it in the interaction with us as coaches.”

When it comes to pure football, Lewis also likes what Jackson is doing.

The offensive coordinator said, “We’re going to open Pandora’s box more. We tickled it a little bit last year. We’re going to open it up a little bit more this year and be who I think we can be. But I tell you what, the defenses are so good, the defensive players are so good and they disguise all the time, why can’t we? It’s a chess match, and whoever is not afraid to pull the trigger, pull the trigger. And I’m not afraid, so let’s go.”

As for what he sees in Dalton, Lewis said, “It’s confidence in his abilities. It’s his confidence in the things we do on offense. He gets better each and every time he goes out there. He’s always been a very accurate passer, but his anticipation continues to grow and get better. As he goes, he spurs the rest of the team on. They have to play up to his standard, and he has a very high standard that way. And that’s very helpful to us.”

The elephant in the room, of course, is the Bengals’ 0-4 playoff record with Dalton under center.

Said Lewis, “I’m not concerned with Andy as much as everybody else is. I understand that we haven’t won a playoff game, and that falls at his feet, and mine, too, and the rest of the offensive staff and players, as well. But he’s done everything — and I mean this — he’s invested everything that he can into preparing himself to be the best he can be for this season. And I’m totally behind him 100 percent, and I think he’s going to have a great year — not a good year, a great year.”

Lewis only partially joked that he probably was asked 890 questions about Dalton, and he added, “But that’s the job. You also have to answer the 891st.”

Of course, if Dalton has that great year,”Lewis might follow through with a comment he made regarding having someone else coach the Bengals if they win the Super Bowl.

Said Lewis, “I want to hand (owner) Mike (Brown) the trophy, then just walk away.

“We’re good enough, but we have to play good enough.”

Meanwhile, in a session with the media, Brown also talked about the franchise not having a Lombardi Trophy. Asked if he would wear a Super Bowl ring, Brown joked, “I don’t wear rings, they’re dangerous. If you jump up to dunk the ball, you can catch one on the rim.”

However, he admitted, “It would mean a lot. I haven’t managed that, and it doesn’t please me that that’s the fact. It’s one of the things that I have on my resume; it’s unfinished work, if you will. It would make a nice entry on my gravestone.”


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