For nearly 20 minutes Thursday, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and his new defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther, hammered home what they felt was an important point: that Guenther is his own man.
Although he worked the last several seasons, most specifically the last two, with former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer -- a defensive wizard of sorts who left the Bengals earlier this week to become the Minnesota Vikings' head coach -- Guenther doesn't want the world to believe that he will be a clone of his old coaching colleague. The path the Bengals take on defense from here on out will be the one Guenther chooses.
That said, even though Lewis, a former defensive coordinator, still is calling the biggest shots in the Bengals' locker room, don't expect him to interfere or start calling plays on Guenther's behalf. According to both coaches, this is Guenther's show from now on.
But that doesn't mean that Lewis won't offer his 42-year-old coordinator a little advice. In fact, during Guenther's introductory news conference Thursday, Lewis did. The best advice he could give him was football's equivalent of the combination of K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid), and don't panic.
"I'm going to tell him what Tony Dungy told me: 'Sometimes, they might make a yard,'" Lewis said. "Move on. Make a tackle, move on. That's the best piece of advice Tony Dungy gave me in February 1997."
That's not all the advice Lewis was willing to share for both Guenther and a first-time head coach in Zimmer. Those words are exactly where we start with this edition of the Friday Morning Stripes:
As part of its coverage of Guenther's promotion from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, the Cincinnati Enquirer has this collection of notes which begin with Lewis' charge to both Guenther and Zimmer.
Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson writes about the commonalities Guenther and Zimmer may have, but, as was mentioned above, he points out that Guenther wants to go his own direction with leading the Bengals' defense. Expect the defense to look slightly different and maybe to do slightly more than it did under Zimmer, he said.
Keeping with the theme of it being Guenther's defense now, Fox Sports Ohio's Kevin Goheen writes about the new Guenther era and how his time is now.
One non-Guenther item here. According to the Associated Press, former Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene could soon become the youngest cabinet member of American Samoa's territorial government. Earlier this week, the 31-year-old who spent seven seasons playing in Cincinnati, was appointed to head American Samoa's Department of Youth and Women's Affairs. His nomination is subject to the approval of the territorial legislature.