Brown looks to the Pittsburghs and New Englands of the world and is convinced systems make defenses great more than one or two great individual players.
"There aren't many King Kongs," Brown said. "Get good people, you work at it and together they become something special. A prime example of this is Pittsburgh, maybe New England. When you're talking about the Steelers defense, what you talk about is the whole and not just one or two players. I'm not sure it's any different than that with New England."
Brown looks at linebacker Robert Geathers, and corners Joseph and Hall and thinks the Bengals have planted seeds. He praised defensive end Justin Smith for his tenacity, effort and production and said he would like to find a way to keep him when the franchise tag expires after the season.
"I think we have a start for it. Yet some of it is on the sidelines. We dearly want to see some of our guys back in there," he said. "I can't tell you when that's going to be. I know this: If they get back on the field, it will help.
"Geathers is a good player. Justin Smith is a good player. The two corners are talented. (Deltha) O'Neal is playing very well at his spot on the corner. We have some plusses."
During the interview, Brown continually pointed to the positives he sees on the club, ranging from Palmer and the wide receiving duo of Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh that he says is as good as any in the NFL.
"If productivity counts, he measures up pretty well in the group," said Brown of Houshmandzadeh's place in Bengals history. "Who's that guy from Pittsburgh? No. 86? He's our (Hines) Ward. He's reliable. He plays tough when it counts."
Brown can never say enough about Palmer.
"Carson is the leader of the football team. He's extraordinary in that role," Brown said. "He leads in a very positive way. Players, everyone around here, look up to him and respect him. ... He's not only respected, but he's liked because he's good people. I would tell you he's also a great player.
"I see him making tremendous plays. The last weekend, they get to criticize him for only completing three quarters of his passes. And a couple way down the field, one was three inches too long and the other was three inches too short. If those had been in there, maybe things would have turned out better and no one would be here talking to me."
Brown, who covets continuity in his coaching staff, wouldn't talk about the plans he and Lewis have for next season. But he does realize the coaches have been working under the difficult circumstance of injury.
"Every year we talk about everything. That includes what's served for lunch and who works here and why," he said. "That's a season-ending thing to talk about. I'm not going to open that Pandora's Box.
"You can be a great coach just like you can be a great cook, but without the rabbits, it's hard to make rabbit stew and that's a little bit what we're in."
Brown says his team is indebted to the fans and "we want to please them. That's what this is all about; pleasing the fans. ... I understand the frustrations."
Brown says the resolve is to turn around 2007, and as if to underline the same page he is on with Lewis, he echoed what his coach said after last Sunday's loss to the Steelers.
"I don't think we're outmanned," Brown said. "I think we have some good people and we still feel like we can do well. We have to prove it. But thank goodness we have the chance to prove it."