Monday hits: Dalton encouraged about future after talk with Lewis; Gruden, Zimmer confirm interest

Posted Jan 6, 2014

Andy Dalton wanted to hear something from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis the morning after his third straight loss in the playoffs and he heard it.

Updated: 8:50 p.m.

Andy Dalton wanted to hear something from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis the morning after his third straight loss in the playoffs and he heard it.

"He said that I'm the guy that he believes in," Dalton said early Monday afternoon as he exited the Paul Brown Stadium locker room. "He believes that I can get us over the next hump. It's good to hear from a coach and it's what I wanted to hear."

Lewis was just as steadfast after his postseason record fell to 0-5 and Dalton's went to 0-3.

"He had another very good season. He’s progressed well. We need to continue to do things to make his job just easier and easier to do," Lewis said. "And make sure to continue to be repetitive with what we do for him, and continue to let the players around him continue to get better, and they continue to get better and that’s all we have to work at.

"He’s won big games for us and he’ll continue to win big games. We ask a lot out of him, there’s no doubt about it. He just finished his third season of doing it. I believe in his abilities, I believe in his makeup, I believe in his maturity and I believe in his ability to let the last play go and move on to the next play. That’s probably one of his best attributes along with his abilities.”

» Also Monday: defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden confirmed they have set up or are setting up interviews for head coaching jobs. Gruden said he'll interview in Washington, Minnesota and Tennessee, but Zimmer wouldn't specify the teams. He did say he expects interviews later in the week. A report later Monday had Zimmer interviewing in Tennessee later this week.

Zimmer, who recently bought a 43-acre ranch in Independence, Ky., said he'll go where the jobs are. He also said, "I love these guys," and "I would have liked to have seen what we could have done" if the defense hadn't been hit with several key injuries. 

» Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green said upon exiting that he'll "step out of the box" and become a more vocal leader next season.

» Gruden said the injuries on the offensive line, particularly to his three tackles and two tight ends, had an impact on the game since so few of them practiced during the week. After watching rookie tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) in warmups, Gruden basically held him out since he only played three snaps.

"I wanted to protect him a little bit. His future is too bright," he said.

Gruden also backed Dalton, but thought he pressed once the Bengals got down, 14-10, midway through the third quarter.

"If there's one negative, Andy probably pressed a little too much and tried to do too many things out of the pocket, which is not his strength," Gruden said.


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