CINCINNATI -- Marvin Lewis had been mostly calm and even tempered during the Cincinnati Bengals' organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp practices the past four weeks. Very seldom did it seem he felt the need to raise his voice and put his players in their place.
That changed Monday afternoon, though, when at the end of the Bengals' penultimate OTA session of the spring, Lewis barked at his team about complacency and practice habits. He wanted his players to know that nothing will be handed to them between now and the end of training camp.
As they prepare to go on a month-long break from football, he wanted to give some cautionary advice.
"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."
Just after the Bengals concluded their final set of 11-on-11 drills, Lewis yelled at the Bengals, telling them to jog to the end zone and line up by position. There at the end of the hottest and most humid day of the Bengals' spring practice season, he had them run a few quick 50-yard sprints.
"He was just doing his thing," veteran defensive tackle Domata Peko said. "We were not letting the running backs run. He really wants the running backs to run. Let them finish."
The defenders may have had their miscues, but there were a few others. After a rather clean spring, the Bengals had problems with center-to-quarterback snaps Monday. One sailed over quarterback Andy Dalton's head, and another dribbled at his feet.
"We've just got to learn how to practice a little better together," Peko said, referring to defensive players not avoiding contact with running backs. "But it's tough to do when you're a real competitive team like we are. We always want to make sure we're on point. But those things will make the difference. He had us run a little bit, but we talked at the end of practice. We said we've got to come back [Tuesday] and finish strong. We'll do that."
Following Tuesday's closed OTA, veteran players will be permitted to leave town and take vacations or resume training regimens away from Paul Brown Stadium. Rookies have to wait until Wednesday before they are allowed to get away for several weeks.
Both rookies and veterans alike will be back July 23, ahead of the start of training camp a day later.
"I just had to do something different," Lewis said about the end-of-practice intensity. "We got a couple more days left. 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."