Marvin Lewis only said a few words when I asked him about Vontaze Burfict's performance following his four-game suspension.
“He’s not playing as well as he has in the past," Lewis said. He shot down two follow-ups, saying "I don’t want to talk about Vontaze. It’s not relevant.”
You can watch the exchange below:
Some have ripped Lewis for what he said. I don't have a problem with it. Lewis doesn't have to discuss a topic. He said he didn't want to talk about Burfict. I asked another question any way. I have no issue with the way Lewis handled the situation.
I thought the words he did say were telling. Lewis admitted that Burfict wasn't playing well. It doesn't take a football coach or a film junkie to see that number 55 has struggled since his return from suspension. Burfict is a shell of the player he once was, which is hard to believe considering he's only 28-years-old. He had four missed tackles on Sunday and was out of position on multiple plays. This was discussed in detail on Tuesday's Locked on Bengals podcast.
Lewis has defended Burfict over and over and over. It's harder to do if he's no longer the elite player he once was. What else could Lewis have said? That the linebacker he's stuck his neck out for wasn't good anymore? That their franchise linebacker and the man who was supposed to help this defense regain its' form isn't helping?
Lewis isn't popular in this town and I understand why, but he's stuck between a rock in a hard place. The Bengals need Burfict to be the player he once was and he might not be that guy anymore. That's a harsh reality to face, especially for Lewis, who may be forced to play Vinny Rey, Hardy Nickerson and Jordan Evans at linebacker this week.
Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens appeared on Bleacher Report's 'Simms and Lefkoe.' Johnson claims he was a better wide receiver than Owens.
"He had the better cards dealt to him and took advantage of those opportunities," Johnson said. "I was in Cincinnati. You played for the 49ers. You played for the Philadelphia Eagles. These are awesome organizations. I was in the sh** bowl according to everyone else and made the most of my opportunity."
Johnson was a big reason why the Bengals turned things around in the mid-2000's. There was a time when Ochocinco might've been the best wide receiver on the planet. He was unreal from 2003-2007. Johnson is my favorite Bengals player ever, but Owens was on another level. The entire video is worth your time. You can watch it below.
I discussed Lewis' comments about Burfict on Wednesday's Locked on Bengals podcast. I also chatted with Dre Kirkpatrick and previewed Sunday's game against the Buccaneers with our Locked on Bucs insider. Listen and subscribe below.
Five thoughts on the Bengals' loss to the Chiefs.
Tony Pike and I talk Bengals.
Joe Goodberry and I talk Bengals.
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Email Me: JamesRapien@ESPN1530.com
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