The Bengals have also made sure the young players have accomplished veterans around them. They've rewarded former draft picks like Atkins, Dunlap, Leon Hall, Andre Smith and Rey Maualuga with second contracts, choosing to spend their money on their own players while mostly eschewing signing big-ticket free agents. Veteran free-agent additions like BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Terence Newman and James Harrison have all been added on lesser deals.
The depth has loomed large as the Bengals cope with the season-ending injuries to Hall and Atkins, and the extended absence of Maualuga.
"That's important at every single spot, how important it is in making sure you're backed up with good depth and good young guys," Lewis said. "It's important that you keep working hard at that."
Baltimore Sun reporter Matt Vensel contributed to this article.
Since John Harbaugh took over as Ravens' coach in 2008, his teams have gone 6-4 against Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals.