Lewis News Conference Transcript 10/2

Posted Oct 2, 2017

Marvin Lewis news conference transcript 10/2/2017

Opening comments ...

      “After watching the tape and going through everything with everyone, the thing that the thing I was pleased with defensively yesterday was the tackling. (There were) a lot of good, open-field plays. We continued to take progressive steps with coverage and how we fit together. Both up-front and coverage was really good yesterday, and we need to continue forward on those steps. Offensively, we did a good job with continuing to do things and taking what is given (by the defense). The quarterback was being patient with things and delivering the ball where he needed to – really trying not to force things. (We were) doing different things that gave us positive plays, and that was good. (Quarterback Andy Dalton) was getting the ball in space when he had to and ran a couple of times when things broke down. If we didn’t get quite the look we wanted, he had to go and run for it a couple of times on plays that weren’t designed for him to run. On special teams, the biggest thing was that we have to keep being diligent and not have any kind of penalty that brings back our return game. We didn’t have to return any kickoffs basically, but the biggest opportunity is in the punt game, and we can’t have a negative play there, so be smarter. The elimination of penalties throughout is key for us, and we’ll continue to make progress in the other areas.”


To your point on tackling, Darqueze Dennard has looked really sharp with his tackling lately, hasn’t he?

      “He’s done a really good job in keeping in leverage and keeping the ball where it needs to fit, which we need to have in the secondary.”


What did you think of Nick Vigil’s game?

      “He played a really fine game. I could see that from the sideline yesterday (laughs). He’s one of those guys that was involved in a lot of open-field plays. He was involved a lot of times in coverage, where he was in the right spot, and forced the ball to go underneath, which is kind of an error we had made in the past. So, we had some growth and steps yesterday, which was good.”


The pass rush seemed to do a great job of getting after the quarterback yesterday, and probably should’ve had more sacks than they did. Would you agree?

      “We were active. We weren’t really able to get (Cleveland quarterback DeShone Kizer) on the ground as much, but we had a couple of times when we had (a defender) right on top of him. We just have to stay active. We missed a couple of opportunities and we have to stay coordinated all the time.”


With Vontaze Burfict back and Nick Vigil being such an active linebacker himself, what does it mean defensively to have two linebackers that can play sideline-to-sideline?

      “It helps with all the intermediate passing. You should have gains nullified. That’s important. In zone defense, you want the ball thrown in certain areas and to be able to dictate where the ball is thrown. In man-to-man (coverage), it’s the same principles in different areas. (Vigil) provides flexibility and being able to run and tackle.”


Would you agree that you guys did a good job in man-to-man coverage?

      “We did a better job, but we have some things that need to be cleaned up. It was a good job. We just have to stay consistent with it throughout. We had an opportunity at the end a couple of times to play the ball in the air, and you have to come down with the football.”


If Carlos Dunlap doesn’t tip the one ball at the line, William Jackson might have had another pick-six…



Or was it Michael Johnson who tipped it?

      “I’m not sure. I can’t remember which one.”


Tyler Kroft has always been viewed here as a versatile player. What did he prove that he can do offensively after the type of game he had?

      “He had a (good game) in Green Bay (last week), but he’s the guy in that spot. If it was Tyler Eifert, chances are the ball would go to him. But, Tyler Kroft is showing that he’s every bit as good a receiver. He’s done a good job on the line blocking. And now, when his number is called in the passing game – when the coverage dictates the ball should go to him – he’s shown that that he can be in the right spot and come up with a contested catch. It gives a quarterback confidence. ‘If that’s the way it has to go, boom. Now it’s my job to deliver it on time.’ (Quarterback Andy Dalton) and Tyler made a very good (connection), for the second touchdown particularly.”


What’d you think of Vontaze Burfict’s conditioning after his first game?

      “I don’t know, his lungs get expanded the way they do (laughs). I don’t understand it physiologically. But he got a little closer (to football shape). The weather was great for that, and it was a chance (to play). I think he’ll be ready to go.”


It looked as if the Browns were giving help to OT Joe Thomas while blocking Carl Lawson, which seems like a sign of respect for the young pass rusher…

      “We saw a few different protection schemes. Defensively, we have to see and adjust on Sundays, continue to do the things that take effect on (the pass rush) and make sure we’re in the passing lanes.”


All of the offensive linemen played, so is it fair to stay you’re still tinkering with the different spots?

      “I think we’re just playing.”


Do you like the idea of offensive linemen rotating?

      “That’s just the way it is.”


Do you feel that Andre Smith should be starting full-time?

      “We’re just going to keep going. Day to day. Week to week (laughs).”


If the offensive line continues to struggle, what are you going to do?

      “I don’t know that they necessarily (struggled). We had a ‘struggle’ play or two, but I thought they played a better football game, and they’re going to have to continue to that. Your evaluation is separate from mine (laughs).”


Do you think the line is playing better? Or, is it that Dalton is in more of a rhythm and is getting the ball out quicker?

      “It’s a combination of everything. We changed, which is what we said we were going to do. (Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor) has done a great job of that.”


Everyone rotated through defensively as well. Is the idea that if they’re there to play, why not play them?

      “We had an opportunity defensively with the lead to get some other guys in. We have some guys that came back from (injuries they had) last Wednesday who supposedly weren’t going to be able to play. So, we’re glad those guys were able to answer the bell. We’re able to get them through the game and out of the game, and that was good. (We were able) to provide an opportunity for some of the guys that come out and work hard every day, which gives them a chance to move and expand. So hopefully when they’re the next man up, they can benefit from the experience they gained. Then, we can benefit from it as a team. So, the confidence factor for the rest of the group when they’re out there is, ‘Hey, I can do this as well.’”


What is the next step with the offensive line to get the run game back on track?

      “We had some negative runs in the fourth quarter (of Sunday’s game). We also had a lot of positive runs prior to that. We had some one-yard runs, and we had some nine-or-ten-yard runs. They forced us into throwing the ball maybe a little more than we wanted to early in the game, and Andy did a great job with that. Then we had a 12-minute offense at the game. A nine-minute offense, a four-minute offense – it was a little different game there in the fourth quarter. You can blame me for restricting Bill (Lazor) a little bit. ... And it ended up with Joe (Mixon) running for a first down, which is good.”


What do you mean when you say you ‘restricted’ Bill Lazor?

      “When you restrict him, you restrict him. If I send ten guys to the line of scrimmage, it will be awfully hard to run the football.”


The offense had 30 runs and 30 passes yesterday. It’s hard to be more balanced than that, right?

      “Yesterday is yesterday. We’ve moved on.”


Going back to the rotation in the secondary, Shawn Williams and George Iloka had been on the injury report earlier in the week. Did some of the rotation on defense have to do with their injuries, or were you liking what you were seeing from some of those other guys

      “We’re going to put the best players out (on the field), and get the best play we can. Everybody has to earn their opportunities. Nobody has a written-in job. You have to keep earning your opportunity all the time. The other guys are doing a good job. When they come in the game, they come in and the play well, and you have to feel good about that.”


Does shifting and the changes of offenses bring in different personnel for you on defense? Is it keeping guys excited for their role in a game?

      “Each opponent is different. I can’t tell you how much we’re going to be in a certain group on offense or defense, until we get into the game. The best thing is that the coordinators think and decide. Sometimes you may be in 40 snaps of a certain personnel, and sometimes you may be in 10 snaps, and that’s the way it’s played out. Guys have to know that next time it may be reversed the other way. We just have to be ready all the time and play productively when your number is called in the game.”




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