CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis opened his Wednesday press conference like any other, addressing the Bengals next opponent, but he delivered his strongest statement of the season about 13 minutes in. Right before he walked off, he opened up about a warning message he delivered to his team this week.
"This is not magic," said Lewis. "You have to do the work. We got (Ken Zampese) out of here, not Kenny, we did. They have to understand that. They're a part of that. The next time, look around, they'll be different guys sitting there."
Just days after the Bengals fired Zampese, the offensive coordinator, they are moving in a new direction with Bill Lazor as the new leader on offense. It may not be magic on Sunday in Green Bay, but it has to be better.
The locker room heard Marvin's message, and took responsibility for what happens next.
"You still have to go out there and make it work," said Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. "I'm sure things will change and adapt over time. (Lazor) will have his twists on what we're doing, but you can't change everything in just a couple days."
The Bengals have been historically bad, scoring just nine total points in their first two games of the season, both losses. They have yet to score a touchdown in the 2017 season. The offense might not look drastically different on Sunday, but the mentality is already changing, and that could make a major difference.
"Guys are coming in and stepping up," said rookie running back Joe Mixon. "Just our mentality coming in, going through practice and things like that, we're taking a lot of things more serious in meetings and it's just a different approach. It's a restart."
Rookie wide receiver John Ross says he continues to see that it's a business.
"I'm a young guy," he said. "I can't tell you why it happened. I'm still in the playbook trying to get on the field myself. I think I can bring a lot to the table. That's why I'm still working every day to prove myself."
Only four AFC teams have won in Green Bay since Aaron Rodgers became the starting quarterback, and the Bengals are one of them. In fact, the Bengals are the only team in the NFL that Rodgers still has yet to beat. Whether or not they get it done -- or the offense looks magical under Lazor -- remains to be seen, but the the sense of urgency, and the tiny window to fix things, is evident now.
"We had a period where I felt like this was the time to do it," said Lewis. "We had an opportunity to make it right and move forward and get back in this (playoff) race."