SEPTEMBER 16, 2012
“It was a good start to the game, and a good finish. Guys made big plays when we needed plays to be made, and that is a step in the right direction. We have to keep building upon that. Offensively we did some good things, but we did not play well enough on third down. Defensively, we allowed some plays to get them (Cleveland) back in the game in the fourth quarter.
“It has been a tense week (after a loss to Baltimore). It is good to get this one behind us and be able to get back to work, relax a little bit and play. We came out and executed a lot of what we talked about, but there are also things to build upon.”
Can you teach the sort of play that
“Last night Coach (Jay) Gruden told the offense he wanted to have a scramble play. He wanted to have a big play on the quarterback scramble because we were going to have to move away from the rush a little bit, and we needed to make a play, an unscripted type of play, and sure enough we did. Adam (Jones) and
What about the games where you have your “backup” defensive players stepping up:
“We’ve got some guys playing that we didn’t necessarily know would be playing when we got started, but they are and we’re going to have to coach them and make them better. Everybody is going to have to play better. When you’ve got young guys getting in and playing for the first time other guys have to play better around them. Defensively I think that’s what we have to focus on right now.”
With Joe Haden, the Browns best defensive player, out of the game, and Sheldon Brown, their most experienced defensive player not playing at all, did you say let’s go after them and see what they’ve got?
“We go with our game plan. You react to what they are doing defensively and go from there.”
They sacked you six times, what would you say caused that?
“I’m sure it was a combination of everything. We need to protect better.”
You said it was an intense week. Were your guys shaken by the loss to Baltimore?
“I think everybody was. When you lose a game and you go in and expect to win. It’s the opening game and you’ve been pointing to this game. It’s Monday Night Football.”
I think you guys thought all along that (Armon) Binns, (Andrew) Hawkins, and (Brandon) Tate would all do something today:
“We’re really almost going to have to put 18 (
Any word on
“No. I don’t know the severity of that at all.”
Nice to have a lot of targets out there today, wasn’t it?
“It is. I’ve been saying all along that we’ve got a lot of talented receivers. It’s great to get in the game and great for these guys to make the plays that they did.”
Talk about that play to Andrew Hawkins from your vantage point. Coach (Marvin Lewis) was saying you guys were talking about scramble drills this week, and it paid off on that play:
“Yeah, we did. We’ve talked about it last night. We talked about making plays when I’m on the move, and guys moving around. Hawk did a great job just finishing his route and them coming out and breaking away from his defender. That’s what we’ve got to do. When we were on the run with the scramble drill, we worked it to perfection today.”
A lot of guys in the locker room weren’t surprised by those moves (Hawkins). You guys have seen them before in practice:
“Hawk is so talented when he’s got the ball in his hands and when he’s got some space. For him, it’s just getting him the ball — find ways to get him in that space. That shows what kind of plays he can make and shows what kind of runs he can make after the catch.”
From your vantage point, how much did you see and when did you know he was going to cut back and score?
“I saw the whole thing happen. Once he turned up to the sideline, I thought he was going to get a couple more (yards) and then maybe get out of bounds or get tackled, but then he cut back across the field and made a couples guys miss. It’s huge. It’s fun to watch, and it’s a big play for us. We needed it.”
How good is if for the team’s mindset to come in and get a win after Week 1?
“It’s huge. For us, it was a disappointing loss in week one, and for us to come back and get that first win, especially being at home and especially against a division opponent, it was big for us. We knew we had to do whatever it took to win the game, and that’s what we did today.”
Marvin (Lewis) described it as tense week. What was the week like?
“I think it got stressed a little bit. After a loss you want to get back on the field and get back playing quickly. Fortunately for us that happened. We had a short week. You want to get that first win. It was a tense week, but you know, we were able to get it done. It’s what we had to do; come out and get a win today. And we did it.”
What adjustments did you make at halftime, because in the second half you really tore them apart:
“We knew what they were doing and we had a certain plan coming in. All we had to do was come out and execute, and we did. There weren’t as many confusing looks in the second half as well. We had some great play calls when we did know what they were doing as well. Overall, it was a great win for us.”
Tell me about third down today. You had two touchdowns on third down on the day:
“We had to make some big plays today. We have the talent at receiver and the talent in the backfield, it just comes down to execution. You never know when a third down is going to happen in the game, so you have to be ready.”
It was like north to south going from Baltimore last week to this week, wasn’t it?
“It was two different styles defensively for sure. We handled it well today though. We knew there weren’t going to be that many confusing looks and it all came down to coming out and making plays.”
There was real balance in the play selection today:
“That’s what we wanted to do and it was our game plan to do that. When you have the chance to run the ball you do it. When we got looks like they were going run we passed it. We executed the plan today well.”
You lost last week, and you won this week. That’s a good feeling isn’t it?
“That’s exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out and get a win. It was close at the end with the onside kick, but we found a way to win. That’s the definition of this football team.”
You are 3-0 against the Browns with every one of them being within a touchdown or less. That’s the AFC North isn’t it?
“That’s exactly what it is. Good defenses and good offenses both. You have to find a way to win and score one more than they do each week.”
Was it good to get your first win?
“Definitely. It was a short week, and it felt good to get back out there and get a win in front of our home crowd.”
Everyone chipped in today:
“Yes. We fought every down. Some days will be my day and some days will be other’s. Whenever my number is called, I’m going to step up and make a play.”
Does 34 points feel good?
“Yeah. The offense looked good. When Andy (Dalton) is clicking, it’s over.”
Cleveland took away the big plays and made you a possession receiver:
“They crowded my side a lot and didn’t let me beat them over the top. I had to run short routes and make big plays open up. I’m willing to do anything.”
How good does it feel not to be 0-2?
“It feels great. Especially coming back on a short week. We still had that loss in our system, but you can’t let that carry over into the second week.”
This team has a lot of dangerous receivers:
“Yeah. It makes it fun. Guys stay fresh. We’re all hungry to get out there.”
How close are all the wide receivers?
“We’re all close. We love playing together, and we push each other to go out there and make plays to win games.”
You got hit pretty hard over the middle:
“It was a bang-bang play. I went up to get the ball, and the linebacker got me underneath the chin. It was a good play by him. You just have to get up and bounce back. It’s football, man.”
The wide receivers were all blocking for each other:
“You have to be a complete receiver. We have to put out effort at all times, even when the ball isn’t in our hands. It felt good to help Hawk (Andrew Hawkins) get in there for his first touchdown.”
How good does it feel to get that first win?
“It was huge. We were amped up. We had to get this division win and get some momentum as we head into the rest of the season.”
Your thoughts on today’s game?
“I think about things we can control — coming out here for our home opener and trying to execute the three phases of our game plan the best we can. I came up short at times, but I think we did a pretty good job. Maybe not based on the score — but we came in with a good mindset and left it all on the field. Our goal was to get the win, and we did.”
How important was this victory?
“It’s was big. It’s never good to start 0-2. It’s not good for the players, coaches, or the people upstairs. We came out and everyone did a good job contributing to the win. We’ll come in tomorrow, look at film and try to get better. There’s a lot of football to be played still and I hope, as a team, we can continue to climb and move forward.”
You guys have given up close to 70 points in the first two weeks. Where do you think the defense stands at this point?
“We’re a little shaky. Like I said, there’s a lot of football left to be played. We’re very hard on ourselves. We don’t like giving up that many points to any team. It’s the NFL — every team is good, despite their record. All we can do is keep practicing and trying to get better week in week out — every day.”
What were you thinking as that ball came spiraling down at you?
“I really wasn’t thinking. I was just focused on catching the ball. Once I caught the ball, I really couldn’t tell you what happened until I go back and watch the film. I’m so blessed with those guys out there blocking for me and I was able to turn the corner. I just try to do my best when my number is called and make the play to help my team.”
You seem to have a pretty hot hand in the return game:
“It’s going to be fun this season. It’s just Week 2, though. I have to make sure my body stays healthy and I keep practicing hard to help my team. If I can do that I think everything else will work out.”
You still sound like you have a little sickness going on:
“I feel around 70 percent. I had to get an IV before the game and stuff. Last night was the worst as far as it goes. They gave me some medicine last night that helped a little but though. I give the guys blocking for me all of the credit though. I have a great amount of trust in those guys and my coaches and they have stuck with me for awhile.”
“(Tight end) Alex Smith has a concussion. (Defensive tackle) Billy Winn left the game with a concussion as well and (defensive lineman) Juqua Parker has a foot sprain. We don’t know where we stand with any of those injuries at this point and I think those were reported to you upstairs (in the press box).
“I think when I look at this game, once again, the Browns played extremely hard. I think that’s fair to say. I’m proud of my guys. I thought they did a hell of a job of playing hard. Now, they gave up some big plays, and in the end that was the difference. Somehow I think the penalties caught up (to us). Then we had one turnover, we had the fumble, you know; fortunately in that situation, we got the ball back and they didn’t get any points off of it. We recovered from that and then we actually did score points off a turnover. There were some things that were good but again, I think you have to temper your comments on what’s good when you lose the game — especially a hard fought division game on the road. With that, I’ll take your questions.”
Last week, DB Sheldon Brown was not on the injury report. Why did he not play?
“Yeah, we had Buster (Skrine) in there. That’s all I say. Sheldon’s fine; we played Buster.”
How impressed were you with Brandon Weeden’s performance today?
“Brandon did some things better, and as a coach looking at it, there are still some areas where he can improve, I thought. But he’s learning some things about how a checkdown can help you. We were trying to throw the ball down the field and he checked the ball down to (running back) Trent Richardson and we got in the end zone. So, he’s learning some things and I think he made some progress today, as a quarterback in the NFL. But we still didn’t do enough (as a team) to win. That’s where I’ll stop there.”
In the first half, shortly after Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis went for it on fourth down shortly at midfield you were at the 44-yard line and elected not to go:
“(It was) my choice. My choice. Because I thought punting the ball there was the right thing. I’m not Marvin Lewis, and it worked for him as did punting the ball worked for us. Fair enough — we can go through it. In fact, let’s take out the play-by-play and let’s all just go through these decisions. I’d be happy to do that.”
Can you talk about the punt return they had for a touchdown in the first quarter?
“Yeah I think I counted it on the replay — give or take one or two , I think we had six missed tackles. Anybody see anything different? That’s just what I saw on the field. (There was) nothing wrong with the (coverage) scheme, nothing wrong with the punt, just gotta get the guy on the ground. As we know, when those things tip over, it’s easy to go back (and look) at the game and say yeah, that was the difference. But there was a lot of football to be played after that, let’s make no mistake. A lot of football.”
Is that the RB Trent Richardson you expected to see when you talked about the improvement from Week 1 to Week 2?
“(He was) a lot better than last week — I think you guys all agree? He’s a competitive guy as you can see now. He played the whole game. (If) you notice, I kept Obie up, we had (Chris) Ogbonnaya on third downs and I think he caught seven balls. He had a real impact on the game as well.”
You had CB Joe Haden for the first game and didn’t have him, obviously when you talk about some of the big plays:
“Yeah, that’s an obvious thing to point to but Joe could have had an ankle injury (and not played this week, too). I don’t want to use that as an excuse.”
Just the fact that he wasn’t there:
“Oh no, I’m with you but you want all your guys there. That’s fair to say. But when they’re not, of course, the guys that play behind them have to do a good job.”
Your thoughts on Buster Skrine’s play?
“He battled. He battled, against a very fine receiver at times. I think it’s safe to say that (Bengals wide receiver) A.J. (Green) is going to get his plays. I thought (Bengals wide receiver Andrew) Hawkins did a nice job. They’ve got some very talented skill players that, let’s give them a little credit now. They created some big plays.
“To the players’ credit, they did a good job of getting the ball back. We needed two scores (at the end of the game), so we needed to make a play to score one way or the other and to get the onside kick, we would have been in position to score again. That’s why I took the points there which I thought was the right thing to do.”
What did you see on that play to Bengals TE
“I thought he bobbled it. Anybody see it? What did you guys think?”
It was tough to call:
“At that point, you have to challenge that because that’s a significant game situation. If it goes our way, the views that we saw said he bobbled it going out of bounds and all that business, you have to because then it’s fourth down and they’re punting the ball. I’ve got one time out left and we’re on the other side of the two minute warning.”
You haven’t seen the play since?
How about Browns LB D’Qwell Jackson getting his second interception in as many games this season?
“Yeah, yeah I think he had another good game. I think he had three sacks, (too). He’s as advertised. You’ve been hearing me talk about him for 18 months and I didn’t even know him for the first 6, so he’s a great leader. He’s an aspiring player and he’s finding a way to be productive.”
Is there always some concern with rookie quarterbacks and how they’re going to respond after games like the one he had last week vs. Philadelphia? And if you weren’t concerned, why not?
“I guess I wasn’t concerned because I believe in our process in getting ready to play. And I’ve seen really good quarterbacks have bad games at all stages of their career and I’ve seen guys bounce back. I watched the way he prepared this week and I think he really learned a lot last week about — and I wouldn’t say it’s all preparation — how this thing works. This ‘thing,’ getting ready to play a game and you have to go through it, you know.
“Some of these guys go through it — and I’m not saying he didn’t prepare well (last week) — but I do think he prepared better this week; that’s something for him to build on. Some of these guys playing college football, let’s face it in some of these big time programs, they can get off the bus and win six games as we know. As we know, everything here (on this level) gets challenged from the receivers to the running backs to every word I say. Everything in this league is challenged and that’s just the way it works. I think there’s a way to prepare and these guys have to learn it. You just have to learn it.”
Is there something to be said for trying to simulate a regular season game that just can’t be done for a rookie QB or RB?
“That’s fair, so you just try to get them as prepared as you can and put them out there. No panic, no anxiety — you just go play.
“I’m proud of these guys. They fight their fanny off. Some of these guys — heck, some of them don’t even shave yet. There are some very young faces out there and they fight and they play. I want them to have the success that winning brings, which I think we’re going to have very soon.”
The coverage on the last (Bengals) touchdown, DB Trevin Wade had him — is that just a product of Dalton having the ball long enough and just extending the play. What’s Wade’s culpability there?
“That’s my fault. I think what happened there is it’s a very dangerous situation when you’re playing the zone. We were pretty much in zone coverage and we got great pressure on Dalton and he was out of the pocket and then there are rules about where these guys scramble and where they go and whether they’re going to attack the quarterback or stay in the zone. He did a good job of finding a guy in the zone and what we need to do is tackle. Just get him on the ground. Ok, they made a play, they got a chunk of yards, now get him on the ground. I think that’s the important coaching point there. Sometimes, that happens because we made a couple plays scrambling around. Now, you don’t want to make a bad situation worse by missing your tackles.”
Where there points in the game were you were watching Richardson thinking ‘This is what I was imagining the offense looking like with these guys?’
“Yeah, I mean they both (Richardson and Weeden) had pretty good production. There were a couple plays I didn’t recognize that ended up being good plays. I was talking with (offensive coordinator) Brad (Childress) and I said ‘I didn’t recognize that play but good job.’ Guys just find a way.”
What was your overall message to a young team after falling to 0-2 today?
“The big thing I told them was the difference between average, good and great is there habits. I think they developed some good habits and they have to keep going in that direction. If we keep our habits good and keep preparing, we’re going to be there (where we want to be) soon and I think that’s the important thing.
“It’s all about the process. This game’s over now and we’re already into our new process, you know. They were singing the National Anthem and I told one of the guys, one of the players next to me — I didn’t even look at him — and I said ‘Game day never gets old.’ And really it doesn’t. Now that game day’s over, the process is where we’ve got to get back into it and we just do. That’s why we circle the wagons and although you guys write beautiful stuff, we don’t read it, we don’t listen to it — we just forge ahead. I think that’s the message.”
You had a much better game today compared to Week 1. It looks like the work you’ve put in really helped:
“Absolutely; I wish I had a dollar for every hour I put in this week. I busted my tail and really dissected what we do. I felt pretty confident out there. I think, for the most part, it was a lot better than last week, but there is still a sour taste. You’ve got to make a play here and there. That’s what I was talking to Andy Dalton about after the game. This league is about one play, two plays here, and that’s usually the deciding factor. It was better. We still, as a team, have a long way to go, but we’re definitely taking steps in the right direction. We fought our tails off today.”
What did you think of RB Trent Richardson’s performance today?
“He’s special; he’s a special player. He’s a difference maker, and today he showed that. We asked a lot of him today, not only in the running game, but he caught some balls out of the backfield and did some things there. I kind of saw the play where he scored on the little checkdown, and I’m ready to see it on tape because, from my angle, it was one of the most explosive plays — unbelievable plays — that I’ve seen in a while. He played great. I was really excited about the way he played. It feels good; we’re getting there. We’re closer, but it would still feel a lot better if we could get a little W.”
Did you feel like you were playing catch-up all game?
“Yeah, on the scoreboard it kind of seemed that way, but that wasn’t really our mentality, if that makes sense. Our mentality was, ‘Just answer.’ They made the big play early and we answered. That was kind of the mentality we took. For the most part, we did — we got away with some touchdowns, we weren’t kicking field goals and we were also able to hang in there. Down there in the last minute, we had an onside kick to try to get the ball back. So we put ourselves in position. Andy (Dalton) played great. Their offense played great, and that’s a good football team.”
How much easier was your job today because of the running game?
“It definitely takes a lot of pressure off me. It’s not just me; it’s every quarterback across the league. Anytime you can pound the football in there and keep those guys in the box ... We were able to throw the ball over the middle a little bit, within the linebackers. It helps when you’re running the football like that. Guys made plays in the passing game — big-time catches — and Trent (Richardson) and (Chris Ogbonnaya) and all the backs played great.”
What was the biggest lesson you took from last week that helped you the most this week?
“There are a lot of things; do my part and not let this team down. Last week I was extremely upset with the way I played. And I told you guys this during the week, I felt like I let the defense down. I think they played their tails off. I did everything in my power to not do that this week. Like I said, I busted my tail in the film room studying. I was up late, really watching a lot of film watching what they do. We have something to build off of. That’s the positive; we’ve got something to build off of. We’ve just got to find a way here and there to make one more play.”
Was there any anxiety between last week and this week to be able to put that game behind you?
“I knew I’d be able to put it behind me. Like I told you guys again, I’ve got that little 24-hour rule. It was behind me. It never even crept in, but I think, obviously, last week was not the way I wanted it to go. A true competitor — a guy that’s mentally tough — will come back and bounce back and correct the mistakes he made last week. For the most part, I think I did that. Like I said, I look back at a couple plays — finger-tip throws — just one play that goes our way and it could be the deciding factor. We’ll watch it. We’ll continue to get better. We took a step forward offensively. We need to find a way to get those Ws.”
The Browns defense pressured Andy Dalton in to six sacks and a lot of pressure throws. Heading in to Cincinnati, did you feel totals like that would result in a win?
“The penalties hurt us, as did poor execution of the defense. There are things that we need to focus on and take care of the little things during the week. We have to figure out how to get over the hump. When we do those things, we will be all right.”
Is it frustrating to have the defense play well and still not win?
“That’s football. You’re always going to have something happen on the other side of the ball. You have to figure out how to put a whole game together in all phases to make something happen. When you do that, you win.”
How did you play today?
“In all, I thought I played well. I’ve still got to come and play better next week.”
Did you feel like the Bengals were testing you?
“Yes. They were definitely throwing the ball my way.”
What happened on the play in the first quarter when you were called for the personal foul (unnecessary roughness)?
“I still don’t understand that rule. I talked to the referee who called the penalty afterwards. My understanding is that you are allowed to jam a guy within five yards (of the line of scrimmage). I was clearly within the five yards. There’s nothing I can do. (The official) called it.”
Did the official explain the call at all?
“He explained it. We agreed to disagree. I’ve been doing this for seven years now and have never had a problem with it. It is what it is. I try to play within the lines. He called it. I have to line up and play the next down.”
The Bengals obviously decided to go after the secondary today. How did you try to help the unit?
“They ran a lot of quick games. There weren’t a lot of five-step drops or throwing the ball down the field a whole lot. It was ‘take what the defense was giving.’ There were a lot of five-yard hitch routes — short routes — and boots. I thought we played fairly well, for the most part. We just gave up too many points.”
The Browns sacked Andy Dalton six times. You had three of those sacks. Were you surprised the Browns were able to put that much pressure on Dalton and he was still able to make so many plays?
“Yes. You try to figure out the game plan and how the offense is attacking the defense. They ran a pretty vanilla offense. Dalton was able to escape and get away from the pressure. You have to give those guys credit.”
Was this a more complete package of your abilities this afternoon?
“I wouldn’t call it a complete (package), but it was more of what I can do. It’s coming along just fine.”
Was today’s showing more of what you expect this offense to be?
“We did a good job, but I think we can do an even better job. When we start winning, it’s going to be much better.”
How did the Bengals punt return for touchdown affect the Browns offense?
“I don’t think if affected the game plan. I think we went on with our game plan. We should have put the defense and special teams in better positions. We shouldn’t have had to make them punt. We have to blame that on ourselves.”
Were you aware of how many guys you made miss tackles on your touchdown catch?
“It’s just a blessing. I’m just blessed with a certain talent that God gave me. I don’t know how I did it. It just happened.”
Were Bengals LB
“Yes. I used them as motivation. I talked to him after the game. He said, ‘I respect your game.’ We’re playing football. It doesn’t matter what you say.”
How did it feel to score your first NFL touchdown?
“It felt good. It would have felt even better if we would have won. It’s a big deal when you finally get to touch the end zone.”