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Andy Dalton Press Conference Transcript - 12/18

Posted Dec 18, 2013

"There’s a lot in front of us. There’s a lot we can accomplish these last two weeks."

The Minnesota Vikings defense seems to have a lot better players than the numbers they’re putting up:
AD: “You can’t look at the numbers with a team like this. They’ve got some talented players. So, it’s going to be another test for us. They have done some good things, have played well recently. We know we are going to get their best.”

What do they do best defensively?
AD: “They are really good up front. That’s where they make their mark. With the guys they have rushing the passer, they do a really good job. We’ve got to be ready for it. We’ve got to do what we can to slow those guys down. We’ve got to protect well, and open some lanes to run the ball.”

How has Marvin Jones evolved and gotten better throughout the season?
AD: “I just think he’s got a better understanding of everything we are doing. Every week you can see improvement, you can see he’s seeing different ways teams are going to play him, and different ways guys are playing him, and he’s adjusting well. The more he’s out there playing, the better he’s going to feel out there. You can see that with the way he’s progressed throughout the season.”

Has your confidence in him grown with that?
AD: “Yeah, he’s done a good job. He’s been in the right spot and made some big plays for us. The more he does that, the more confidence we have in each other. It just kind of shows the production he’s had this year.”

Is it a natural progression with the health of him and the other receivers this year?
AD: “It’s been the same guys in there the whole year which has been nice. Last year it was different all the time. For them, it’s just the experience. A lot of those guys were rookies last year, it’s just the more you play them, the more comfortable they are going to feel.”

How much did getting down so quickly on Sunday take you out of what you wanted to do?
AD: “That’s part of it. You get down quick like that you want to try to work your way back into it. For us, it didn’t happen soon enough. We started to do some better things in the second half. Came close but it wasn’t enough.”

You guys had some brutal field position. How much does that change the extent of the playbook?
AD: “We were backed up quite a bit. At that point you are just trying to get first downs, trying to do whatever you can trying to move the chains trying to flip the field position. We weren’t able to do that early on.”

Slow starts have been a common theme. Is there more emphasis on that this week?
AD: “We want to start fast. That’s the goal every week. There will be a big emphasis on it this week.”

With two home games left, what do you have left to prove as a team?
AD: “There’s a lot in front of us. There’s a lot we can accomplish these last two weeks. We want to be playing our best. This is the time of year you need to be playing your best for you to get to where you want to go and where this team wants to go. We got two big home games. It’s good to have these two at home. Good to have the home-field advantage and show what this team is made of.”

What has allowed you to use the home field advantage?
AD: “For whatever reason, it should be easier to play at home just because you are used to the surroundings and you’ve got everybody cheering for you. You don’t have to worry about the crowd noise and things like that. This year we have used it to our advantage. We have done a good job playing here. We got to keep that going.”

Does momentum and confidence build at home knowing you control your own destiny?
AD: “It does. We are in the position we want to be. We are still in lead of the division right now. We have two home games left and a lot to prove, so we are in a good spot.”

It seems like you guys take two steps forward then two steps back. Is this team different now after everything you’ve gone through?
AD: “I think this team is because there are so many guys back from last year, and the experience of what we have gone through is definitely going to help us. There is a lot that can go on in these last two weeks. Nothing is determined yet. We just have to go out and control what we can control. We have to go out and win these last two games and everything else will take care of itself.”

With the two-game lead down to one, are you starting to feel a little more urgency now?
AD: “Yeah, everything aside we have two home games, and one of our goals going into the year was to win every game at home. So, this is big. We are 6-0 at home. We’ve got two more we’ve got to get done for us to accomplish that goal. Big last couple weeks. There is a lot to be determined the last couple weeks. If we handle our business that’s all that matters.”

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