Lewis Weighs In On Smith, Self, Franchise Tag

Marvin Lewis says that talks continue with agents for cornerback Johnathan Joseph and running back Cedric Benson, who are impending free agents. The coach also weighed in on lineman Andre Smith, who needs a strong injury recovery.

Coach Marvin Lewis said that talks are continuing with the agents for cornerback Johnathan Joseph and running back Cedric Benson. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents.

When asked why the Bengals didn't use the franchise tag on either one, Lewis did not see the value in that.

"In our estimation and looking at the value of the tags and where we were, it's not the right time to put a tag on somebody," Lewis said. "It has nothing to do with the CBA. It's not about the club, it's about the player."

Lewis, speaking at The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did say that offensive tackle Andre Smith continues to make progress from his broken foot, but that Lewis wishes the progress would be quicker.

"I thought he got pushed sideways this year because he injured the foot again and he was out there playing on an injured foot the year he was playing," said Lewis of Smith. "Hopefully we got the foot right and he can be ready this offseason so that he can get a strong start to the season."

On another topic, Lewis said about last season:

"As I said, I don't think I did a very good job. It's my fault. We obviously brought in a new player in Terrell (Owens) to help us move ahead, move forward on offense. (But we) didn't win games in that stretch (10-game losing streak). We had opportunities to close games out whether defensively (or) to score touchdowns on offense, we turned balls over. I didn't do a good enough job, I didn't get our guys in position to win the football game, and I think when you're playing NFL football, your best players have to win the game by making big plays."

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