CINCINNATI -- During the final moments of Monday's OTA practice, the ninth of 10 during the offseason program, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis gathered his team near the end zone goal line at Paul Brown Stadium.
Only seconds later, his voiced lifted above all others, with words easily audible halfway across the field. They weren't kind. They weren't glowing. They were immediately followed by multiple wind sprints.
Lewis witnessed a practice the moved along far too slow and sloppy for his liking considering the progress he felt the team made during its three-day minicamp the previous week.
It may be June, it may be 82 days away from the opener, but it's never too early to deliver an important message in Lewis' mind.
"I think that we want to remind them we don't want to be complacent at any point," Lewis said. "We can't be complacent, we can't be average, we have to make sure we keep working. We keep doing the little things correct and moving forward with them. We can't go sideways at any point."
A crop of 20 rookies and cast of new veteran pieces witnessed one of their first tone-setters from Lewis on the practice field. They don't come often as Lewis spends most practices quietly watching in the distance, entering the mix to help drills along and push tempo.
This speech and the intensity behind it proved a point that when this team returns for training camp July 24, they need to understand how he manages.
"I just had to do something different," Lewis said. "I expect things to run smoothly over the next couple of days and we are going to remind them of that. We are not going to hit a peak last week and start going downward, we want to keep going upward."