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Marvin Lewis admits it


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10/16/2004 - 10-16-04, 11 a.m.


“We need a win,” the Bengals head coach said this week and, if he gets it, one of the biggest wins of his young coaching career is going to preserved in the NFL’s version of stone.

The crack troops of NFL Films continue their taping of “Six Days to Sunday,” when the cameras get on the charter to Cleveland to finish off their behind-the-scenes look at the two teams preparing for a game that airs in a CBS special next month.

And they may need to give Lewis a credit as a production assistant.

“Are you kidding? Marvin’s the best,” said producer Rob Gehring. “I think I may have heard the word, ‘No,’ once this week.”

“Every coach from top to bottom has been great and obviously that comes from Marvin,” Gehring said. “He’s communicated to them how important this is for us. There have been no surprises. To me, the biggest surprise is that they’re 1-3. Everyone here is so positive. The players are positive, the coaches are positive, the trainers are positive.”

Lewis is positive that such an invasion of privacy is good for everyone. As a leading man in the NFL Films’ training camp masterpiece “Hard Knocks,” that captured his Baltimore Ravens a few years ago, Lewis is a big fan of the production company.

“The guys from Films do such a good job. They’re used to being around,” Lewis said. “They’re here without being here. It’s kind of a unique situation even though it’s not their production. (The players) are always used to seeing them around on Sundays. They’re kind of an additional member of the team.”

Gehring’s crew has been everywhere but nowhere. In the last three practices of the week, they miked two players and two assistant coaches each day. On Monday, they miked defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski. They made it into each position room at least once for a meeting. They went into team meetings, offensive meetings, and defensive meetings, and Lewis isn’t concerned about spilling anything because he says the Bengals get the chance to edit it before the release.

“They did a good job of pretty much staying out of the way,” said linebacker Kevin Hardy, who went through the hard knocks of “Hard Knocks,” two years ago. “It hasn’t been a distraction at all.”

Hardy played in Dallas in 2002 when NFL Films documented life in training camp for HBO, but he didn’t feel the same heat of the cameras this week.

“In Dallas, they had the still cameras in a lot of places,” Hardy said. “They had them in the meeting rooms just sitting there. So you were sitting there like you had to make sure that you weren’t falling asleep or something. “Hard Knocks,’ was a little more distracting because it’s during training camp and it’s every where you go. They’ve got them in the meal room, in the weight room, everywhere.”

Hardy said the only thing really out of the ordinary this week is the boom microphones that stretch overhead during the meetings. But like Lewis said, players are used to the crew crawling around the sidelines on game day.

“Everyone was just very honest. Very candid,” Gehring said. “Some teams are very guarded, and that’s fine. But these guys understand that NFL Films is part of the NFL and that we’ll always put their best foot forward, and they trust us, and we’re doing everything we can to support that.

“We understand you can’t film everything,” he said. “There are team things that don’t belong out in public.”

Lewis is the first guy to hide his team’s secrets, but he won’t let that get in the way of letting his people get exposure as long as it doesn’t do any harm. Which is a reason why Lewis is extremely popular among staff and players.

“The guys enjoy it. It brings a spirit to things,” Lewis said. “It’s part of why guys play this game. They like the notoriety that comes from it. It’s good for them to get this kind of exposure. Not only for our players, but for our assistant coaches.”

The special is to air Saturday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m., the day before the Bengals play the Browns at Paul Brown Stadium.


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