OCTOBER 30, 2011
MARVIN LEWIS PRESS CONFERENCE (with Cincinnati media)
ML: “With coming off the bye and the work we got in on Monday, we’ve had good start to the Seahawks week. I think they are very similar to Jacksonville, playing a lot better as a team than possibly their record indicates. We know they lost the game in Cleveland last weekend, but they are playing very, very sound and disciplined on defense. Very stout on defense. They play very well, and are very well coached there.
“Offensively, they are going through transition at quarterback, and they had some injuries to some guys last week in the starting group. Quarterback, running back, tight end offensive line – so it’s probably not what you expect, particularly when you lose your back (Marshawn Lynch) in the warm-ups. It’s a little different situation.
“So we know that this is a well-coached team and we are going to have to play very well in order to win.
“They have an excellent returner in Leon Washington, both as a punt returner and a kickoff returner. So we are going to have to do a great job on (special) teams, a great job of ball placement on special teams and staying clean, staying on our feet, getting off blocks and making tackles.”
What makes Washington such a dangerous returner?
ML: “He’s a physical-type runner, with explosive speed. A good balance guy. As J.A. (running backs coach Jim Anderson) calls it, he has ‘contact balance.’ You see people get an arm on him, and he is able to right himself and get his shoulders pointed back down the field. When he gets an opening and a crack, he is fast enough to outrun people. He’s very similar to the guy who played for so long in Kansas City (Dante Hall) -- big, strong runner and compact, strong lower body.”
Physically, is Washington a different type of guy than Devin Hester or Joshua Cribbs?
ML: “Both those guys, Cribbs especially, have strong lower bodies. That is what makes him special, too. Hester has everything. But Cribbs has that same strength in his lower body.”
Does Washington look like he’s fully recovered from the injury he suffered two seasons ago with the New York Jets?
ML: “Yeah, he’s fully recovered (from a broken right fibula). He is a threat in the return game, so we’ve got to do a good job; we’ve got to do a great job.”
How different are the Seahawks at home with the crowd noise behind them than they are on the road?
ML: “They do a good job defensively getting off on the football. They do a great job on their pressures, they are going to hug and get the extra guy, so we’ve got to do a good job of manning up. This is going to be an AFC Central-type of game, looking at how they play on defense. Big Red Bryant will be on the tight end side and (Chris) Clemons on the other side. And their interior guys are playing very well. Their tackles are playing well. They are athletic at linebacker. Their corners are big guys. They lost one last week (Walter Thurmond), but they will put (Richard) Sherman in there, I guess. They are big guys, 6-3, 6-2 – big corners, with big, long arms. Their safeties might be two best young safeties in the NFL.”
The Seahawks are young on the offensive line:
ML: “They are a little younger up front, but they got explosiveness at wideout and Marshawn Lynch is a fine, fine runner. (Justin) Forsett and Washington, they’ve got three fine backs. They’ve got good athleticism and the ability to catch and run at tight end. Again, it is a team that we are going to have to play good football against.”
What does Tarvaris Jackson add to that offense?
ML: “He knows the offense. It was a carryover from Minnesota, and he kind of came with the coordinator (Darrell Bevell). So that is helpful. They know each other, he knows what they want to get done. He is timely with the ball. He can avoid pressure, but he kind of runs to throw if he has to. He is kind of one of those, yet he is athletic enough to move and run if he has to extend the series. We are going to have to do a good job. Whitehurst played last week and he did the same thing: he moved, he ran, he got first downs.”
Pete Carroll really flipped that roster over. The team had 284 transactions last year:
ML: “How ever many you are allowed to have, they had (laughs).”
He’s continued that this season:
ML: “Yes, they have. He’s constantly bringing guys in and out and constantly making it competitive to make you have to perform. It is professional sports, so they are taking advantage of it and moving guys. They moved a guy again yesterday, so they have an open spot again now. They will probably add somebody today, I am sure.”
When he coached at USC, did you notice something different about his players as you evaluated them?
ML: “Pete’s got a great way about him. He’s not uptight. He makes people comfortable around him. It was great as a coach to go there and visit and evaluate their players, because he was going to be very helpful to you about their players. And he coached them, like NFL-type players. They played NFL-type defenses, they did things that way. Their linebacker coach is Ken Norton Jr., who has done an excellent job. You can see it with the guys they have there now playing. That’s what made Aaron Curry a little bit expendable. Pete just has that way about him where he makes people comfortable and gets guys to play well. They play with enthusiasm and with energy. We are going to have to outwork them in that way.”
There has been a trend in the NFL this season of teams struggling coming off of a bye week. Why?
ML: “I don’t know. Knock on wood, we’re trying not to be one. You’ve got to focus, you’ve got to get the continuity back. You’ve just got to go play, that’s what it’s about. It’s about going out there, getting going and making plays. You set up your plans as play callers and everything, but it all comes down going and executing and getting after it. I’m going to get after it today, just like I did on Monday.”
You said they play with enthusiasm and energy, but that’s kind of the calling card of this team as well, isn’t it? You guys will have to match their enthusiasm and energy:
ML: “I think that’s important.”
Do you think
ML: “We’ll see. He’s progressing well. We keep him protected from himself. That’s been our thing. The cast and now the boot is more just for protection from himself. The injury is a sprained ankle, but yet we’ve got to know the patient (laughs). We’re trying to keep him protected from himself.”
From watching the first part of practice on Monday, it seemed like you tried to make it more up-tempo than usual. Why?
ML: “I don’t want to be that stat (of teams struggling coming off a bye week). I want to be on the other side of that stat (laughs).”
This team in particular seems to respond well to you. Does that allow you to be a little harder on them?
ML: “We’re not going to relax and ease back into mediocrity. I’m not going to allow them to do that. There’s a certain standard that’s expected and we’re going to try to hold and exceed that as much as we can.”
ML: “We’re taking volunteers who want to be his roommate (in Seattle), because you probably won’t get much sleep with the guy bouncing off the walls all night. But he did what’s expected (during his rehab), and he’s excited to be back out there. I suspect he probably hasn’t slept much the past couple of days, and he won’t sleep much this week. He’s excited to get an opportunity to play. But as I keep telling him, it’s about a week earlier than we expected him to come back, so just hang on. ‘You’ve got to have good practices, and any rep you have in practice, let’s make sure it’s good. We’re not just going to put you out there because you think you’re ready. You’ve got to show me.’ I still see better than I hear. He’s going to have to do things right and see where he can fit in, and if he can. There’s no reason to activate him unless he’s going to be on the 46 (active game day roster).”
ML: “Dontay is getting back into football, now. I think this is his fourth week back. He missed a lot, so he’s had to play a lot of catch-up.”
ML: “No. At some point we’ll bring him off (the Physically Unable to Perform list), but not this week.”
ANDY DALTON PRESS CONFERENCE (with Cincinnati media)
What have you seen on film of Seattle’s defense?
AD: “They’re really fast, and you always see guys running hard to the ball. I think that’s why they’ve been so tough against the run. Coach said they’re No. 1 in yards per carry (on defense). They’re obviously doing a lot of good things.”
How will things change on this offense with
AD: “I don’t know if it’s going to change much. Obviously they’re two different style backs, but Bernard is capable of doing a lot of good things. We’ve got to get him in some space and let him run with it.”
Did Seattle show interest in you during the draft process last spring?
AD: “They did. I met with them at the Senior Bowl and maybe one other time. I had talked with them a couple of times. They did show some interest.”
Did you think there was a chance they would take you?
AD: “I thought I had a chance of going there, especially at the end of the first round. I knew there was definitely some potential there, but it didn’t work out.”
What did you do over the bye week with your time off?
AD: “We hung out here (in Cincinnati) and then we went back to Dallas for the weekend. We enjoyed some time and relaxed a little bit.”
Did you have time to sit and think about what you had done the first six weeks, along with what comes up next?
AD: “Yeah, I’ve definitely thought of that. We just have to keep going. We’re 4-2 now and we’ve got to keep the momentum going and keep the focus on the next game.”
What do think you’ve done well these first six weeks?
AD: “I haven’t made too many mistakes. I’ve done my part to keep the team in the game. That’s the biggest thing; we’ve been in every game and had a chance to win in the fourth quarter, and we have to keep that up.”
You had a stretch of poor play earlier this season, during the San Francisco game and the first half of the Buffalo game. How do you fight through something like that?
AD: “You never want to play bad, but it’s just doing little things right. I made some bad mistakes early on in those games, but I feel like I’m starting to get in a rhythm and I feel comfortable out there.”
How do can you improve your red zone-efficiency?
AD: “We just have to be more efficient. We have to stay out of second-and-long, third-and-long. We have to be more efficient on first down.”
How much of Jay Gruden’s offense is there still to be developed? Is there still room for growth?
AD: “We have a lot of potential. If we just keep doing the right things and keep doing the things we’ve been doing, we’ve got a chance to get a lot better and show what we’re capable of doing.”
Are you a Texas Rangers fan?
AD: “I am a Rangers fan.”
Since you were in Dallas, did you have a chance to go to any of the World Series games during the bye week?
AD: “I didn’t go. I definitely watched them, though.”
Are the Rangers going to close out the series tonight?
AD: “I hope so. We’ll see what happens.”
What is different about playing on the west coast? Is there a different routine or are there different adjustments you have to make?
AD: “I think the biggest thing is the time difference. You have to have a little more focus. We’re going a day earlier this week and I think this is going to help with that.”
Last time you played out west was when your Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. You must have good memories of playing out there:
AD: “I definitely had a fun experience the last time I was out there.”
What is your biggest memory of that game?
AD: “I think just the way we were able to end it. That last drive, we needed a first down to win the game and we were able to get it. Taking that knee and seeing everybody celebrate is definitely something that will stay with me.”
Seattle is known for having a lot of crowd noise. How will that factor in and how big is it to have poise?
AD: “It’s big. Everybody has to be keyed into my voice and keyed into the things that we’re doing because they are going to be loud. We just have to focus a little more.”
Do you have a silent snap count in place to counteract the noise?
AD: “We have that and we’ll be prepared for the noise.”
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL CONFERENCE CALL (with Cincinnati media)
Update on Tarvaris Jackson?
PC: “We won’t know. We’re going to go through the week, and he’ll get practice time. We have to prepare Charlie (Whitehurst) first. But during the course of the week we’ll find out more, and we’ll probably take the decision up to game time.”
Update on Marshawn Lynch?
PC: “His back locked up just as we were leaving the locker room and he couldn’t play. He’s better today. We’ll just take it through the week and do the right things to get him available to us. We think he has a chance to play this weekend.”
Have you ever had a situation like that where a player gets injured right before kickoff?
PC: “Not that late. Sometimes in pregame a guy gets an ankle twisted or something. But this was on the way out. He just turned to us and said, ‘Hey, I can’t go.’ We tried to get him warmed up during the game, and in the second half he felt like he had a chance, but it was too late.”
You have a young offensive line with a lot of high draft picks. How are they advancing?
PC: “I don’t think you can get a line any younger than us. We’re excited for the level that these guys will achieve someday as a group. We’re working at it. It’s a work in progress. (Offensive line coach) Tom Cable has been doing everything he can to get our guys set up. We love their physical nature, their ability level, all of that stuff. It’s just very, very difficult, and it was all enhanced by the lack of an offseason. Not having that really accentuated the process. It may be through the middle of the season, maybe the last third of the season before they really get comfortable. But we’re better, and we continue to get better. We’re excited about that.”
These two teams are going through similar changes at QB. Both lost their franchise QB this season and are starting new with someone else. What was the decision-making process for you guys that made you decide to part ways with Matt Hasselbeck?
PC: “We tried to sign Matt prior to the lockout, but we couldn’t get it done then. After that time passed, we did everything we could to try to figure out what our options were. As we looked at it, we looked at how we could fill our roster and what we could do and how much money we would have available. All of those things came into play. We got really excited about the chance to get Tarvaris Jackson, knowing that we might not get any offseason at all, and knowing that he had worked with (offensive coordinator) Darrell Bevell (in Minnesota) for five years and would have a real leg up on understanding what’s going on in a short amount of time. We thought that would be an advantage. So we played all those variables out and made the decision, and that’s the direction it went.”
What specifically do you like about Tarvaris Jackson and how he fits into the system?
PC: “He’s a very smart player and a very tough competitor. He’s got a great arm. He knows the system because of his background with the coordinator. He’s got the athletic ability to make things happen with his feet, which he’s already done. So he has a lot of elements. And he’s young and coming up. He hadn’t really had the support of the starting role; he had been kind of in and out in Minnesota. We knew we could give him that opportunity and thought we could bring out the best in him. Unfortunately the offensive line process has held us back some, but as soon as we got going Tarvaris really showed that he could make the plays we want to make and that he could lead this team. Unfortunately he got banged up.”
Do you think Tarvaris Jackson can be your QB of the future in the years to come?
PC: “Yeah, we thought he had that chance when we evaluated him. He’s a young man and just getting going, and hopefully he would be able to do that. That’s why we made the choice to not go into the draft and try to pick a guy for the long-range future at that time, and that we would be able to rebuild the offensive line by doing what we did.”
How much did you evaluate
PC: “He’s a great player. We really liked him. We went into tremendous depth and had no question that he was going to play and be good. I’m not surprised at all (by his early success). I’m excited for him. He’s a great kid and he’s jumped onto the scene in such great fashion. He’s really been a guy, more than a lot of guys, who can carry over right from his college game and show the same kind of style and assets and strengths that he had in a great winning program at TCU.”
Did you guys ever approach the Bengals about trading for Carson Palmer?
PC: “We were in the conversation. We asked about it early on. I have great regard for Carson. I wanted to know what their stance was and wanted to make sure that we were at least on top of what the opportunities would be, but there was no opportunity at the time. So we were on it. I thought that could be a possibility. Again, with the background that I have with Carson and my thoughts about him, it was something that we were definitely considering.”
Was it something that you kept pushing with the Bengals?
PC: “We just tried to keep a sense of what was going on until we made our decision as to the direction we were going in. We wanted to be abreast of the opportunities if it was there. Mike (Bengals president Mike Brown) just left it to where there was no opportunity at that time.”
Were you surprised they ended up trading him?
PC: “No. As far as the trade deadline, they made a great move to get that done. They’ll (the Bengals) have much better insight going into the draft knowing what’s going on. The more time the better when assessing their positions. They have a fantastic spot that they’re in now with those picks. It works out to be a one and a two, or a one and a one. It’s incredibly beneficial for the range of the program.”
But you stuck with Tarvaris Jackson:
PC: “Right. And we always try to keep abreast. We want to know everything that’s going on, so we would inquire and find out what was happening, what their thinking was, and if they’d ever change. Mike was pretty emphatic about that (his position of not trading Palmer) to everybody.”
Would have been willing to pay the price that Oakland paid – a first-round pick and a second-rounder that could turn into a first?
PC: “I don’t think so. We’re a program that’s on the rise with a bunch of young guys. We have a very, very young football team, and that would have gone against our long-term projections to go that far to get it done. That would not have been the decision we would have made.”
Your defense is doing a great job against the run:
PC: “Last year, when we had the same makeup of guys up-front, we played really good defense. Then we got really banged up the fifth or sixth game of the year and lost our stride. The key factors were Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant and Chris Clemons – those guys were the guys that were there last year and they got us going. They played together up front. They’ve really given us a chance to be good in the front seven. They’ve been consistent so far this year. We’re allowing pretty low numbers in terms of average yards-per-rush. That’s where we start our whole philosophy – up front. Those guys have been coming through for us. The linebackers have done a nice job, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue that as we move into the middle of the season.”
How has former-Bengal Clinton McDonald done for you so far?
PC: “He’s done a very good job for us. He’s rotated in there for us and done well. He’s a great kid and he helped us when we needed him. He jumped in here and has given us a good boost.”
There are four players on the Bengals roster that you coached in college at USC – DE
PC: “Those guys are good football players. I know Rey has been banged up a little bit, and I haven’t seen Keith – I guess he’s been banged up for a long time. But it’s always fun to watch our guys. All those guys are very close to my heart. We did a lot of stuff together, won a lot of games, had a lot of fun. I always keep an eye on our former players.”
The top four defenses in the league are all AFC North teams. Is there anything you see with Cincinnati’s defense that’s caught your eye as a reason they’re ranked so highly?
PC: “Yeah, they’re really good (laughs). He’s (Marvin Lewis) got them playing. They play really hard, they have a very good scheme, they have enough experience to do a lot of stuff and make it difficult on the opponent. They’re aggressive. The experience on the back end in the secondary allows them to do a lot of variations of coverages and things that they want to do. They just play very hard and consistently. The whole team is playing like that. I think Marvin’s doing a fantastic job across the board. The defense, because of the No. 1 ranking, is standing out, but the whole team is playing good.”
It’s a rarity to have starting corners who are so above 6-2. It must be like having extra linebackers out there:
PC: “Yeah. These guys are unusually long. It’s exciting for us. I love the style of play that you can play at the line of scrimmage with tall corners. They can handle it all. Brandon Browner has had a great start to his NFL career. He’s not a rookie in the true sense of it because he played in Canada for four or five years. And Richard Sherman, who will play this week, is new to the position, but he’s been a guy that we’ve been impressed with. We’re excited about his upside.”
Marvin Lewis mentioned today in his news conference that you guys may have the best pair of young safeties in the NFL:
PC: “It’s a good pair. We’re really excited about Earl Thomas. He has been a factor since the day he stepped on the field here. He’s grown a tremendous amount. Last year, just as a pup, he made a lot of mistakes, but he made a lot of big plays. He’s really cut down on mistakes now. He gives you great range of play. He reminds me a bunch of what Troy Polamalu has done for Pittsburgh. He’s a young Troy. He’s as fast, he’s the same size and has the same aggressiveness. He has a chance to be a great player in the league, and if he could sustain it over a long period of time like Troy, it would be really cool.
“The other guy, Cam Chancellor, is a really big guy – 232 pounds. He hits like a ton of bricks and he’s really got good sense for the football. We’re excited about these guys. They’re just young, like much of our team. We’re so young. You look across the board, you’re going to have two second-year guys and two first-year guys in the secondary starting this ballgame. You can’t a whole lot younger than that. But there is a lot of upside and we’re excited about it.”
What’s it been like trying to build this team? We counted, and between last year and this year, you’ve had around 300 roster moves:
PC: “Last year was way different than this year. Everything we’ve done this year is to add players because of loss from injuries. Last year we just went through as many transitions as we needed to in order to find out as much information on who is out there and who is available, and we wanted to do everything we could to help us at every turn. We’re happy with the style of guys that we’ve put on this roster, and the competitive nature of these kids. We’re excited about the future of them. If you say it that way, it sounds like we’re still doing it. We’re not nearly as active as we were last year. We had 270 moves or something last year. We’re not in that mode anymore.”
You’re young in the secondary and on parts of the offensive line. The Bengals are young at wide receiver and quarterback. There will be a lot of youth out there on Sunday:
PC: “There’s a lot of young guys playing in this game, that’s for sure. You take our offensive line, their receiving crew and quarterback and all of that, it’s a young man’s game if you look at it our way. Hopefully we can build with this – them too – and make it be a team that can last for a long time and be on top.”
It’s like a college all-star game:
PC: “(Laughs) A little bit.”
BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS CONFERENCE CALL (with Seattle media)
On QB Andy Dalton’s progress:
ML: “He’s doing very well. He continues to play within himself, [which is] what we kind of expected. Each and every week he does the things that you want him to do – taking care of the football and giving us an opportunity to win the football game.”
On what was it about Andy Dalton that made them select him with the thought that he could become a franchise quarterback:
ML: “I think just all of the time that we spent with Andy. We felt like his maturity, his experience with playing, the way he’s handled every situation he’s ever been in, how he carried himself, how he learned football – he went right into college and became the starter as a freshman. The game has not been too big for him.”
On how they have turned this season around from last year:
ML: “Well, we’ve turned it around with guys making football plays, so it’s been good. We’ve changed a lot of guys out. We had another great case of addition by subtraction and we added guys that were very, very talented with our first two picks who have made huge contributions and upgraded us in both areas. We changed offensively. We have a new coordinator and new way we’re doing things the way I envisioned it. Our defense has come in and done the things we’ve asked of them knowing that we were going to play a young quarterback, that we had to play very, very good on defense and then on special teams. I think every group has thus far continued to respond. We’ve got a long ways to go, we’re not where we need to be, but I think each and every day they take it as another opportunity for us just to get a little bit better.”
On if A.J Green’s production is more than they expected:
ML: “No, this is what we really expected. We felt like he was the one or two players in the draft that could make a difference and if we got an opportunity to pick him we would stay there and pick him.”
On the success of the Bengals defense:
ML: “Mike [Zimmer] has done an excellent job. We replaced Jonathan [Joseph] with
On what he sees from Seattle’s offense and defense:
ML: “Well, I think they’re a better football than what last week’s game indicates on offense. I think they’ve got a lot of talented players and we know the outcome wasn’t what they wanted last week. I know Marshawn Lynch is a fine player. Leon Washington and [Justin] Forsett are excellent backs. They’ve got some young, but athletically talented wide receivers there and the same at the tight end spot. So they’re not producing I’m sure at what everybody would like to see them do there and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen this week – it can break loose a week from now. Defensively, they’re a well coached group. They play football kind of like we play over here in our division, the AFC North. They’re strong, they’re tough, they play physical up front, they’re very sound, you see how things fit together very, very well, they’re athletic, they cover big at the secondary spots and those two young safeties [Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor] are as good a young safety as there are in the NFL. Impressive group.”
On if he has seen cornerbacks with the size of Seattle’s cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman:
ML: “Kansas City used to have those kinds of guys back when Marty Schottenheimer was the head coach. They had Albert Lewis for a while then they had James Hasty and guys like that. So there’s been guys like that that have been big like that – I can think of another kid from LSU that’s big. So there have been guys like that that have played and you use your athleticism and your length and you’ve got to get up there and bump guys, which they do.”
On if he sees a trend moving away from shorter cornerbacks to bigger types of cornerbacks:
ML: “I don’t know. I think you’re going to continue to look for guys that can run and cover and I think that’s important. There’s ways to put your defense together – some people want to put their chips on guys up front to rush, other people put their chips on guys that can cover. So it’s just a matter of how you want to put it together, but I do think the big, athletic guys are coming out because there’s been a shift from running backs in college football to wide receivers and I think that’s been the interesting dynamic. So you’ve got to have a switch and you’ve got to get some guys over on the other side that have a chance to hold up against these big guys coming out at wide receiver.”
On having the unique opportunity to see what he has seen as a head coach in the NFL:
ML: “I have. I’ve got a unique opportunity. I got a chance to start again in the same place and you don’t get that very often. A lot of the ground is covered and we can cover new ground and not waste time about different things. I told the football team that before I ended the season last year, that if I were standing before them to start the new year there would be a new look to this football team. And I’ve heard a lot of their messages and we’ve made those changes and we’ve moved forward and we feel good about it.”
On Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator and Andy Dalton’s development:
ML: “I think the thing that I was looking for is we were interested in trying to find a way to mesh our run and pass game together. To me, I think that’s the hardest part to defend when you take a look at opposing offenses is team’s that do a great job of packaging the runs and the passes together and all the things that come off of it as they set up their plan. I think that was important, number one. Secondly, that you felt comfortable utilizing young players. In Jay’s vision the offense unfolds through the quarterback and I think that has been really helpful. That was another real positive.”
BENGALS WR A.J. GREEN CONFERENCE CALL (with Seattle media)
On if anyone’s told him that rookies aren’t supposed to be playing as well as he and Andy Dalton currently are doing:
AG: “Yeah, I hear a lot of people saying that.”
On what he thinks is the key to the rapport and production that he and Dalton have had:
AG: “Just going out there and making every day count. Just going out there and playing as hard as we can and just trying to get better each week.”
On if he’s had a chance to watch film of the Seahawks defense:
AG: “Yeah, we looked at them on film yesterday and I looked at them on film this morning. They’re a pretty sound defense.”
On what stands out about Seattle’s defense:
AG: “They play fast. They’ve got some long corners at the corner position and some great interior linemen that can really run and linebackers that can really make plays.”
On if it’s strange seeing how big Brandon Browner is for a cornerback:
AG: “Yeah, I know. I’ve never faced a 6-4 corner. (He’s) like another receiver out there. It’s going to be a challenge but I’m up to it.”
On what has impressed him about Andy Dalton’s game:
AG: “Just his poise in the pocket and the way he conducts himself on and off the field, the way he goes out there and works every day and he’s never rattled. He’s poised out there no matter what’s going on.”
On if that’s how Dalton was when he came in or if Green has noticed Dalton growing with the role:
AG: “He’s been the same way since he got here.”
On what’s been the biggest change going from college to NFL:
AG: “Just learning the depth of the playbook and staying on top of my plays.”
On the competition in the NFL and how in college everyone’s open and in the NFL, no one’s open:
AG: “Oh yeah, definitely. You’ve just got to perfect your craft every day and you can’t take any plays off. You’ve got to be precise in and out of your breaks because one false step could end up being a pick-six. You have to be precise and just know your assignments.”
On the long completions that they’ve been able to convert:
AG: “I think he (Dalton) just feels confident in me that if there’s one-on-one that I can go make the plays and that starts off in practice, giving him the confidence just to lob it up there and see if I can make the play. All this starts in practice.”
On if there’s a trust there with Dalton that he may not look open but can still make the catch:
AG: “Oh yeah, definitely. In the NFL, like you said, you’re never open so a lot of times you’ve got to go make a play on your own.”
On if they talk much about their three-game winning streak:
AG: “No, that’s just something that comes with it. We’re just taking each game at a time and see what happens.”
On the lifestyle change from college and classes to the NFL:
AG: “It’s different. It’s better because you don’t have class and you can put all your focus in your job and that’s playing football so you get a lot of one on one time when you can actually look at yourself and see what you’re doing and study your playbook and look at the film. So you have a lot of down time to work on yourself.”
On if it’s more intense than he expected with how much time they spend in the meeting room:
AG: “Yeah, I feel like it. You’re here from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., so that’s a long time, it’s like a regular job. But this is your job so I don’t have a problem with it.”
On it being his job but still being a lot of fun:
AG: “Yeah, definitely.”
On the discussion pre-draft about him and Julio Jones and who was the best receiver and if they’ve kept in contact:
AG: “We still talk and I feel like we’re both great receivers and we’re both having a great rookie year so far.”