AP photo by Al Behrman
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith (71) in action during training camp.
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis had some nice things to say about former Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith at a news conference Wednesday.
The news conference was to announce Lewis’ contract extension, but according to a transcript posted at Bengals.com, the coach fielded a variety of questions, including two about Smith, a fourth-year pro who is the Bengals’ starting right tackle.
Question: How much has Andre Smith matured and developed over the last couple of seasons?
Lewis: “Last year Andre really grew into the player we drafted and expected to have. Unfortunately it got delayed and sideways (during his rookie season) for different reasons with the holdout and an immediate injury and so forth. He really has taken a lot of steps in maturity.
“You just saw the personality come out of a guy that was picked where he was picked in the draft. The total man – all the qualities of a first-round pick, particularly a high first-round pick – they began to emerge throughout last year. He’s kind of picked up where he’s left off. He’s had a really good, productive offseason. That’s a great positive step for him.”
Question: When he was drafted, most people thought of him as more of a run-blocker, but he excelled last season in pass blocking:
Lewis: “We felt he was a very good all-around player, obviously, to pick him where we did. I don’t know who ‘most people’ were. Obviously they had a very pro-style offense there at Alabama, running the ball out of the I-formation yet throwing it and doing things. He was very well coached there with Joe Pendry as offensive line coach. There was a lot of positive to Andre when Andre got out and came here.”
That second answer is significant, because Lewis wasn’t always so happy with the Alabama coaches. In a SI.com article from July 29, 2010, sports writer Peter King wrote: “Lewis is not happy with Andre Smith, the second-year tackle from Alabama. He doesn’t think Alabama shot him straight with its pre-draft info (the kid’s work ethic leaves a lot to be desired) and Smith was not diligent enough in the offseason rehabbing a foot injury. ”
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