INDIANAPOLIS -- Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is going into the final year of his contract with two new coordinators and three new assistants. For some coaches, that would cause some angst, but Lewis seems energized.
"I've got a new enthusiasm now working with new coaches. It's exciting," Lewis said. "We had to refresh and recharge. I got shocked back in my system losing the coaches right away and had to work at that. We were able to put that together as good as we could as quick as we could."
With Hue Jackson (offense) and Paul Guenther (defense) being promoted, Lewis has continued to stress that the overall schemes will not change. While a lot of attention has been paid to the coordinators, the more underrated hiring might be Vance Joseph as co-defensive backs coach. Lewis said Joseph will deal with the cornerbacks and Mark Carrier the safeties.
Lewis said he has discussed an extension with owner Mike Brown, but those talks are in the early stages due to most of the coaching staff needing to be re-signed. When Lewis signed his recent extension in 2012, it happened during the first week of training camp.
In 2010, Lewis coached the entire season under lame-duck status before agreeing to a two-year deal to return two days after the season concluded. During the past three seasons, Lewis has led the Bengals to the playoffs, but they have lost in the first round each time.
Besides Lewis, the other possible extension on the mind of Bengals fans is quarterback Andy Dalton, who has been solid in the regular season but awful in the playoffs. Those discussions remain in the early stages as well.
There remains the possibility that both sides could elect to play out the final year and the Bengals could elect to apply the franchise tag. The one thing that does not waver is Lewis' support of Dalton.
Asked if he is convinced that Dalton is his guy, Lewis said, "I don't know how much more convinced and confident I could be with that. He is our quarterback. He represents us. He's the leader of our football team. He's ascended into that. He's done a great job doing that. We continue to back him, but we have to do better things around him and not put him in a bad position."