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Marvin Lewis: Bengals Will 'Start from Scratch' After Contract Extension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2018

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during a news conference following an announcement that he will remain in his position for an additional two seasons, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

The Cincinnati Bengals went 7-9 in 2017 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season, and head coach Marvin Lewis is ready to "start from scratch" moving forward.

"You're going to have to start from scratch regardless, so you might as well start from scratch with someone you understand, you know," he said Wednesday while meeting with the media, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "Everybody can always look at what's negative from it, but the only way we can go about it and do it positive is to get back to work and go about it."

The AP noted the comments came a day after the Bengals agreed to a two-year contract extension with Lewis even though he hasn't won a playoff game in 15 seasons at the helm.

The idea of starting from scratch may have seemed strange juxtaposed against the idea of keeping Lewis as the head coach and Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator, but the AP did point out there will be some changes.

Assistant head coach and offensive line coach Paul Alexander was let go following 23 seasons, and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is expected to interview with the Oakland Raiders.

Still, the return of Lewis comes as a headlining surprise, considering ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Dec. 17 the head coach was planning on leaving his position following the 2017 campaign.

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"I tell people when you go to a car lot, you know what you're looking for and they're not going to sway you one way or another, that's what you're going to do," Lewis said when explaining the continuity on Wednesday. "I believe that about [NFL owners]."

Winning a playoff game would go a long way toward swaying Cincinnati fans on Lewis. He is 0-7 in the postseason and lost five straight opening-round games from 2011 through 2015. The AP noted the franchise's postseason-winless streak that dates back to the 1990 campaign is the sixth-longest in NFL history.

One thing that will have to change as the Bengals start from scratch is the offensive production after they finished dead last in the league in total yards and 26th in points in 2017. There is at least some reason for optimism with rookie running back Joe Mixon and the presence of wide receiver A.J. Green as one of the best playmakers in the league.

If improvements don't come, Lewis' stretch of futility will continue in 2018.

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