“It’s been a good first two days, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. We feel good about where things are. We will address some depth areas tomorrow, and continue to put guys in position to compete for spots on the roster.”
Q: Coach Zimmer talked about how you guys like bigger guys that can run:
ML: “It’s a big man’s game. You have to have speed and athleticism. That’s key. Some things we can coach, and other things you just have to have. I think we have selected guys that have the intelligence to handle the NFL and the change that happens week-to-week and within the scope of a football game.”
Q: You’ve talked about wanting to draft guys that were productive in college. It appears your first four picks were all very productive:
ML: “I think what’s big is that we got guys that all were on great football teams, so they’re used to winning. I think that’s a key element. They know what it takes to win big football games, and all these guys have played on winning teams. I think that’s big. We have guys from USC and LSU that carry themselves that way — guys that come from winning programs help to bring the younger guys along.”
Q: Have you tried to build that type of team over the last couple of years?
ML: “We’ve never changed how we try to go about things. To be successful in the NFL, you want to have successful people that come from successful programs.”
Q: Is Shipley able to give you what T.J. Houshmandzadeh did — a guy that runs good routes?
ML: “He has been outstanding in college. I’m sure he has been in the right spots and done things correctly. He has made plays over the top, he has made plays underneath, and he has returned punts and kickoffs.”
Q: Do you think he can return here?
ML: “Yes I do.”
KEVIN COYLE Defensive backs coach
Q: Is Brandon Ghee a little more of a project or a guy that can help right away?
KC: “I think he’s a combination. He’s one of the most athletic corners in the draft. He’s also one of the fastest corners in the draft, so we’re excited about having that type of player to work with. There are some things he needs to improve on. But at the same time, he’s got the tools to be a very successful player at this level. When you look at the whole picture, the guy is about 194 pounds and ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine. That is pretty impressive. He’s got good hands, good feet, and all the things you want to be a good corner. He has to play with more consistency, and we’re going to challenge him to do that right from the get-go.”
Q: Can Brandon Ghee compete for the nickel corner position?
KC: “We’re expecting that he’ll be able to compete. I feel good about the group that we have now, I’ve got to be honest with you. I think our group will be as talented as we’ve been since I’ve been here, going on 10 years now. So that’s a good thing. When you bring in a guy like this, he’s going to have his work cut out for him, and the players that are there are going to know they’re going to be challenged at practice as well. So we’ll just keep working to get better in that sense.”
Q: Ghee started a lot of games at Wake Forest:
KC: “He started 33 games at Wake Forest — the last three seasons, basically. He’s played against some good competition and been very successful. They have a heck of a program there. They’ve made that program a very competitive team in that league. As you guys know who follow college football, at one time, Wake Forest was not at the level they’re at today. They’ve got a great coaching staff. Coach Jim Grobe and the rest of the coaches there do a terrific job. Those guys come out of there well-prepared. Last year, they had a couple guys get drafted really high in the draft as well. I think it’s just a sign of the job they’re doing there. We’re excited about getting one of their players. I think he’s got a real chance to make it.”
Q: Marvin Lewis compared Ghee to Bengals CB Jonathan Joseph:
KC: “Actually, Brandon has played a lot more football than Jonathan had coming out. If you guys remember, Jonathan had only that one season at South Carolina because he had a foot injury. He probably only had a dozen starts or so at South Carolina, where Brandon has 33 starts under his belt. Athletically, when we looked at Jonathan, we felt there was something special there. As you study these guys, there are certain things that they can do with their bodies in space, when they have to move and react. Over time, you’re able to see that certain guys can do it. And some, even though they try really hard, are just going to be a little short — being able to react, put their foot in the ground, flip their hips, and do those kinds of things. We felt Jonathan could. I was very adamant about that when we were looking at him. I think (Ghee) has a lot of the same qualities. Only time will tell, but certainly we think he’s got a chance.”
Q: Ghee was invited to the NFL draft, so many thought highly enough of him that he’d be taken this early:
KC: “We just talked to him on the phone. I think he’s going to be happy to get out of New York. Yeah, he was in New York and is highly regarded. He was higher on a lot of mock drafts, whatever regard those are held with. He’s a talented guy. If you came out of the Combine, you would say he was one of the most athletic guys you saw working out. I think he’s a lot more than just a workout guy. His stock really rose through the workout process. But at the same time, you’ve got a guy that has had a solid college career in a good program and has a lot of physical tools that we’re looking for.”
Q: How will Ghee fit into the defensive backs’ meeting room?
KC: “He’s a classy young man. He comes from a great family. His dad was in the military, so he moved around a lot when he was younger. His brother played at Wake Forest and was drafted in the NFL a few years back. He comes from a really solid family background. Wake Forest is a very good school as well. He has been in a very rigorous academic program, as well as the football. So he’s a guy that’s going to fit in really well with the guys. We’ve got a great room right now — a bunch of classy guys that I’m really excited about working with. And I think he’ll fit in great.”
Q: Ghee has one career interception in 33 starts. Is that a misnomer?
KC: “No, that’s not. That’s an area we talked about that we’ve got to address and improve in. Sometimes, as you look at guys, you can go through some years where you don’t get a lot of interceptions. But over a three-year period, you would expect more. That’s probably why a guy like this is still here late in the third round. I will say this though: In the last two years, he’s forced five fumbles that turned into turnovers for them. So the interception-end of the things has definitely got to improve, and I think only time will tell there too. He’s a guy that has the ability, yet you don’t see a lot of productivity in that area.”
Q: Is the lack of interceptions due to poor coverage or dropped balls?
KC: “You don’t see a lot of dropped interceptions. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but we’ll see. As time goes, we’ll find out about that.”
Q: Does he have a lot of pass breakups?
KC: “He can cover now. He can really cover. He’s played on the slot and the nickel — he’s done those things in his career. So he has some versatility that way. So we’ll see.”
Q: Did you ever envision a scenario where you and Colt McCoy would go one right after the other?
JS: “No, I never did. I can’t believe that Colt stuck around as long as he did. I really thought he would be out of there in the second round. But I’m just really excited about the opportunity to go play in Cincinnati, and to play with
Q: You and Colt are now technically enemies because of the Cincinnati-Cleveland rivalry:
JS: “That might take a little while, but I’ll work on that (laughs). But I’m excited for Colt. I think Cleveland will be a great fit for him.”
Q: How well did you know
JS: “Me and Quan are really good friends. We hang out off the field a lot, especially our last year together. Of course, he’s got a family and he’s got three little girls, so he’s a little more busy. But me and Quan are really good friends, so I’m excited about that, also.”
Q: Did you watch the Bengals a little more last year because of Quan Cosby?
JS: “Yeah, I did. I got to see them play a little bit more. Especially when you’ve got somebody that’s one of your good buddies playing, it’s definitely a situation where you try to catch them as many times as possible. So I enjoyed getting to watch them, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Q: Aside from receiving, do you think your punt and kick return capabilities helped your draft stock?
JS: “I think so. I’ve said from the beginning that one of the best things in my situation is my punt return and kick return ability. I plan on doing as many special teams things as they will let me do, like holding for field goals and extra points, and whatever else I can do.”
Q: You held for kickoffs and extra points, too?
JS: “I held all four years.”
Q: So you held on the game-winning field goal in the Big 12 Championship Game?
JS: “Yes, sir. I did. That was a nerve-racking one, but I was holding for that one.”
Q: Can you describe your game? It seems like you are more of a slot guy who can go down the middle and make the tough catches:
JS: “I like to think of myself as a guy who can play outside, too. I played half the year at ‘X’ this year, which is the outside spot. I feel like I can win those one-on-one matchups and win on the deep balls. And then also, I can move into the slot and mix it up in there, too. I think that’s part of what makes me a successful receiver.”
Q: Did you have a lot of contact with the Bengals before the draft?
JS: “I really didn’t have much contact with them at all. But I’ve heard that’s sometimes the way it goes, and a lot of times you’ll get picked by a team you haven’t had much contact with. So I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to get up there.”
Q: There’s been a lot of talk about surrounding Carson Palmer with weapons, and now you and
JS: “I’ve been watching Carson for a long time, and I feel like he is as good of a quarterback as there is out there. Jermaine is also an unbelievable player. I’ve played against him the last couple years at OU. So to get to go to work with a couple of the best at their positions is going to be a lot of fun, and I can’t waited to get started.”
Q: Are you excited to get to play alongside
JS: “Yeah. Just to be out there on the field with those guys, I’m looking forward to getting out there and mixing it up with them. I’ve been watching them play for a good while. So it’s a special experience, and I’m excited about it.”
Q: Have you talked to Quan Cosby about playing in Cincinnati, and playing with the receivers here? What has he said?
JS: “Quan has said from the beginning that he loves it up here. He really enjoyed his experience up there last year. Like I said, I didn’t have a lot of contact with Cincinnati before the draft, but I knew, especially having a quarterback like Carson Palmer and the experience that Quan had, that it would be a good fit.”
Q: What did Quan tell you about Chad Ochocinco?
JS: “He said Chad is one of his favorite people. He said Chad is a great guy, and that he works extremely hard. That’s one thing that I’ve heard about Chad, and that Quan reiterated. He said that he’s an extremely hard worker and loves the game of football. Obviously, he’s one of the best, if not the best, receivers out there. So I’m looking forward to getting to be there and learn from him.”
Q: Are you tired of being referred to as the next Wes Welker?
JS: “That’s another player I’ve been watching for a long time. Honestly, that doesn’t bother me at all. You’re talking about a guy that’s as productive as anybody in the league. I don’t mind being compared to Wes Welker at all. I think the way that we’re different is that I probably play a lot more outside, and Wes is a pure slot guy. I feel like I can do that, but I feel like I can play on the outside, too. But I definitely don’t mind those comparisons.”
Q: One of the only knocks on you is your speed, and that you might not be able to play on the outside in the NFL. What would you say about that?
JS: “I think, for me, football speed is a little different than lining up and running the 40 out of a three-point stance. For me, I could probably run a 40 just as fast by standing up in a receiver stance. So when you get out on the football field, all the numbers go away and it equates to football speed. So I think that’s what I have going for me.”
Q: You and Colt McCoy seem joined at the hip. You went to Texas together, and now you are in the same division:
JS: “Yeah. It’s really crazy the way things have worked out. I’ve known him since we were kids, and he’s one of my really good friends. So to get drafted that close to him is kind of a crazy deal. But we’re excited for Colt, and I’m excited to go to Cincinnati, so it’s a good situation.”
Q: Cincinnati seems to be known for having good receivers, with players like Ochocinco, Chris Henry, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Carl Pickens:
JS: “Yeah. I’m looking forward to getting up there, and like I said, getting to learn from Chad and some of those other guys that have been doing it for awhile. I’ve enjoyed just getting to watch them over the last couple of years. I think it’s a great situation, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
Q: Did you return punts at Texas?
JS: “Yeah. I returned punts the last couple years. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I know Quan has also done some of that in Cincinnati.”
Q: What do you think about possibly battling for a roster spot with Quan?
JS: “Sometimes that’s part of the deal. Quan is a really good friend of mine, and I have a great deal of respect for him. He’s an unbelievable player. So I’m looking forward to being up there with him, and being up there with someone I know and am familiar with.”
Q: It must be a relief for you to have finally been picked. What was it like being the last guy in the green room at the draft?
BG: “Nervous. Anxious. But I’m glad I had my family with me – my parents and my brother. My brother was an undrafted free agent a few years ago, so we’ve been though it before. We try to stick together. Then when I got the call, I definitely got excited.”
Q: With your brother going undrafted a few years ago, and this was only the third round, did having him there with you help to put things in perspective?
BG: “Exactly. He helped put it in perspective. He was saying, ‘You’ll still get drafted, this is only the end of the third round.’ Like you said, he was undrafted. So it was just a sigh of relief when I got the phone call.”
Q: What is your brother’s name?
BG: “Patrick Ghee.”
Q: How long did he play in the league?
BG: “Two or three years. He went as a free agent to Seattle, then he went to Carolina, then the Redskins.”
Q: So you aren’t coming into this situation blind, then. You know a little bit of what the league is all about:
BG: “Yes, sir. You produce, and you stay in. You don’t produce, and you’re out. That’s all it comes down to.”
Q: Marvin Lewis and Kevin Coyle were both very complimentary of you. They said you had a great skill set, speed and good athleticism. But they also said there are a few things you need to work on. What do you think you need to work on the most?
BG: “My technique. I’m more of a free-lance corner. I kind of did what I wanted to do. I didn’t have much technique. But I do agree with them, I do have things I need to work on. I’ll have some great coaches, and there’s a great corner tandem in Cincinnati right now. So I’ll look up to the veterans and see if they can help me.”
Q: You started 33 games and only had one interception. Do you think you can equate that back to the technique issue that you talked about?
BG: “Yeah, I agree. We played a lot of man-to-man, and I didn’t face the ball. So yeah, it can probably be equated to freelancing. I had 25 pass breakups in my career, so sometimes I go around and tip the ball so we could get an interception.”
Q: Marvin Lewis compared you to
BG: “It sounds good to me. Johnathan Joseph was a first-round pick, so it can’t be too bad. I’m just happy they chose me, and now I’m a Cincinnati Bengal.”