ML: “The only bit of news is that
“After reviewing the tapes, it’s evident in a lot of areas we have a lot of coaching to do. We have a lot of improvement we can still make. We need to play better up front in the protection scheme, both individually and collectively. We have to be more precise in the running game, and more precise as far as route-runners go. And our quarterback, he had some beautiful plays and some plays that he would like to have back and wish we had done a little differently. Defensively, we have to be conscious. You can’t have a game where you’re offside three times, or whatever it was. And we had two personal foul penalties. I was told that we were baited into one of them, but it doesn’t matter, we’ve got to walk away. It’s too crucial. Those things can change the game so much.
“In the kicking game, continue to be consistent. We had the fouls on the last punt return that guys have to understand. Their targets were good; they are what they are. One guy kind of fell down right as we were about to make contact, so it ended up being a foul based on the rule. But the guy did fall down, so all of the sudden the target got lowered by about a foot or 16 inches. But the effort and tackling in the kicking game was very good. Obviously we made a very poor decision to catch a punt on the one-yard line, trying to make something happen. He (PR
Regarding the struggles of the offensive line, were you able to put a finger on why exactly they struggled so much? Pass protection hadn’t been a very big problem this season, until yesterday:
ML: “No, and it won’t be going forward. We’ll get it figured out.”
How much of the struggles can be attributed to the rotating of
ML: “It’s not anything to do with it.”
You mentioned one personal foul penalty on which you thought your player was baited into committing the foul. Was that instance the head-butt in the end zone on
ML: “Yeah. You can’t see it on our tape (coaches’ film), but I guess people said on TV what occurred. But we’ve got to walk away. Certain guys end up being targets, and we have to realize that.”
ML: “He has. He kind of demonstrated those skills in practice, working against our guys. He’s done a nice job as the off-returner (on kickoffs). He got involved in a tackle yesterday on a kickoff. He’s doing a good job in all of those phases. He’s alert. I’m glad I could throw him in there and let him carry the ball there a little bit at the end of the game. It’s good whenever these young guys get a chance to go out there and play. They’re working hard to take advantage of the opportunities given.”
Have you ever been in a game like last night, where there were four turnovers in six plays?
ML: “I don’t know that I have been – maybe I have. I was watching a game just recently on television – I don’t know when – where it seemed like it was similar to that, where the tide changes in the game very quickly. It’s good to be on the causing end of those, because we need to. I keep talking that the thing that makes the biggest difference in the NFL is your turnover ratio – getting turnovers and maintaining the ball on offense. We have to keep working hard at that. We had a great job by Carlos (Dunlap) on the strip. We make a play in the backfield and get the ball off of them, then we turn it into a touchdown. When you tackle with your arms, you have a chance to get the ball off people. We’ve got to keep doing that.”
You mentioned the plays that
ML: “He’s got to go through his progressions and do his thing. That’s the tough job of that position. You take a delay (of game penalty), then next thing you know he runs in for an 11-yard touchdown – great play. He makes a great third-down throw over there to A.J. (Green). He does a lot of good things. We just have to keep going from that.”
Andy seemed to be frustrated. On the throw before the third-down pass to Green that you referred to, he missed on a screen pass and inadvertently threw the ball into the ground:
ML: “Yeah, he missed the screen. He’s got to just move away from it. Screens are plays that develop, and it’s hard to practice in practice. Either the defense figures it out and they go and get your screen guy, or you don’t get the kind of pressure or rush that you need and they’re just kind of hanging around and they’re in your way. It’s kind of hard (in practice), so when you get these live reps at them, you have to make good on them. The screens were good yesterday, and we had another we wasted when we ended up missing the throw to Brian (Leonard). But it was well-set-up, well-timed, and that’s a big play. Those are crucial plays.”
Andy Dalton is only a second-year player. Is it easy to forget that he’s still relatively new?
ML: “Everything you do, you have to continue to do it with more poise than you did it the last time. That’s all we ask any of our players all of the time: every opportunity, every chance you get, do it better than you did it the last time.”
It was a little overlooked because of all of the turnovers in the second half, but how big was the defensive stand inside the five-yard line late in the second quarter where you held them to a field goal?
ML: “The defense did a great job yesterday in sudden change. They didn’t flinch – they went in there and played, and that’s what you’ve got to do. You don’t get to script where the football gets placed when you go out there. You’ve got to go in, and you’ve got to play defense the way we’ve got to play defense. You have to make plays on the ball. We made a good goal-line stand there yesterday. We’ve got to keep doing that and have a lot of different guys contributing in that. Change in personnel, we’re in goal line, we’re out of goal line, we’re in other packages. A lot of guys responded well.”
ML: “He did a good job of getting on the right progressions and making some plays on the football. He went from his guy to the guy that was filtering clean, and it was a nice job. It was a pretty well-designed play by them. Our guys reacted well to it. It’s a play you don’t see very often that they ran. Rey comes off in good position, reads back and makes a good play on the football.”
When you brought in
ML: “High energy, played hard, had an opportunity to be a good rusher. He had good pad level and good extension and could play in the running game. He’s a good athlete. That’s what he’s proven to be. He’s been good. What you don’t know is, you don’t know the guy. When we had those guys in to work out – I think there were four guys in that day – I remember saying those were the four best-looking guys off the street that I may have ever seen. They were all 6 (foot)-4-plus and all could run and move. It was an impressive group. But his tape of what he had done in the preseason and in previous year was why we chose him over the other guys. He’s proven to take every advantage of the opportunity, and it’s been great.”
It seems like when you sign someone new like that, it usually takes that player four or five weeks to get acclimated. That did not seem to be the case with Gilberry:
ML: “Again, you could see him do good things on tape, and it transfers right here very easily.”
Why does this team play so much better on the road than they do at home?
ML: “I don’t know. I don’t know that it really matters, home or away. You’ve got to go play, wherever it is. You’d like to be perfect at home – that’s one of my goals every season, be perfect here at Paul Brown (Stadium). The home field crowd is a big advantage. It’s a disadvantage to your offense to be on the road – I know that. But I don’t know the reason why. I do know our guys do a good job of circling the wagons and know it’s just about us. That’s a good thing. But I can’t answer it.”