He may not always handle the media quite the same way, but Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis has a reputation for being a straight shooting coach with his players.
Speaking during the final days of training camp played publicly in front of fans, Lewis agreed with an assessment that assistant coach Vance Joseph, quite possibly a future NFL head coach, operates in the same manner.
That's a plus when you have a self-styled BS meter reader on the team like Adam Jones.
Lewis was talking this week about Joseph, the Bengals' defensive backs coach. The Bengals did not permit Joseph to interview for the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator position during the offseason. Joseph remains on Lewis' staff because of his advanced skill set.
“He’s really technically a sound coach," Lewis said. "He is a very good teacher, and he’s able to grab these guys' attention, sometimes the hard-to-grab guys’ attention, because he’s diligent with that. I think he’s able to point out the positives to them, to reinforce what he’s trying to get them to do, consistently. And with that comes the consistency were all looking for.”
When it was suggested that Jones called Joseph a "no-BS" type of coach, Lewis said: "When you put coaches in place, you want guys to be experts at what they do, and what they teach. There’s a lot of different ways to teach things, and how we teach things and how we teach in our schematics is different than how they teach down the road in Tampa Bay. Our players have to embrace it that way. We don’t want anyone that’s going to come in and BS them about what we’re doing or why we’re doing it that way. Because, when it’s broke, you have to have the ability to go in and fix it.”
When asked how effective are his players in gauging that sort of BS, Lewis said. "I think players are excellent at it."
He pointed out that players, especially sensitive types such as Jones, are highly attuned to inconsistencies in tutelage and training.
"What happens is, if you told me to do it this way, and I do it that way, and it’s not right, they want an explanation," Lewis said. "You can’t do that very often."
Then he made a comparison.
"It’s like the fallacy of coaches teaching illegal tackling," said Lewis. "No coach wants a 15-yard penalty. Their guy gets penalized, their guy and team gets fined. We’re coaching them to do it right, and do it within the scope of the rules, all the time. The player relies on that."
And, why is that?
"We’re trying to keep their money in their pockets," said the coach, ever wary of the double-edged sword that is a young man with millions of dollars in salary.
Lewis, Joseph and Jones, in their differing ways, help the Bengals cut through all that, achieving a no-BS zone, while also building a culture of consistency, with a common goal.
"He (Joseph) wants those guys to play at a very high level," Lewis said. "And it’s to their best interest to play at a high level."