A transcript of the Wednesday Marvin Lewis and
MARVIN LEWIS PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
ML: “Well I don’t know that you knew what contributions some of the young guys would make. I think we feel pretty good about a few guys, and I think other guys will be making contributions down the line in the season when called upon. Through the preseason, we got a really long look at those guys, and that was good. We feel good about that. Obviously we have two veteran free agent players that joined us in Adam (Jones) and Terrell (Owens), and we feel really good about what they bring to the table, and how they prepare now. Those are the things you don’t know about guys – how will they prepare at this level, their ability to retain (information), adjust, and do those things.”
Q: Can you explain how you’ve seen the chemistry develop between Carson (Palmer) and Terrell (Owens)?
ML: “I think Carson has done a very good job of trying to immerse Terrell in the offense very quickly, almost to a fault at times. Carson has done a great job with that, and Terrell has worked extremely hard. Terrell’s a very good learner, and he spends a lot of extra time trying to learn. He knows he needs to be at the right spots and so forth, so it’s a good thing.”
Q: With all the new weapons you added to improve the passing game, is this still a run-first offense?
ML: “It’s still going to be a physical offense – whatever we have to do, we’ll do. We’ll still need to be physical as a football team.”
Q: Talk a little bit about the Patriots, both offensively and defensively:
ML: “They’re obviously a gifted football team, starting with the quarterback (Tom Brady). They’re a little bit of a different team the last time we faced them in the regular season (in 2007), but offensively, they haven’t changed a great deal as far as personnel, still with Tom Brady and a lot of the guys in the offensive front group (line), Randy Moss. (Wes) Welker’s been there three years with them. They’ve got some new guys – (Brandon) Tate, who they’ve added to the outside, who they basically redshirted last year. They’ve really got some offensive weapons – a good stable of backs, they’re kind of interchangeable for them right now. They do a good job running the football, and a good job on third down. They added Alge (Crumpler) at tight end, and then the two young guys (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) through the draft.
“On defense, it’s kind of a reconstructed group there. There’s a lot of youth, and a lot of guys we spent time evaluating for the draft. That group has changed, other than big Vince (Wilfork) in the middle. They’ve changed guys around from the last time we played them. And in the kicking game, they’re very strong. They’ve done a great job with returns this preseason, and they have two very good specialists (kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Zoltan Mesko).”
Q: A coach like (Bill) Belichick loves to be flexible. Do you expect them to try to throw the whole playbook in with a young group?
ML: “Well they’re going to do the things they’ve been working on, and we know that. They’re going to do some things that they feel are good to work against us offensively and defensively, and we’ve got to beat that. We’ve got to focus on that. In the first game, there’s going to be some unexpected things, some looks that are different than what we’ve worked on, and hopefully we’ll show some looks that they haven’t worked on, and we’ll go that way. That’s what opening games are. There’s been a lot of time and task on this one, and you’ve got to go from there.”
Q: Talk about your defensive line – how you feel about them, and if you hope you’ll get a little more of a pass rush this year:
ML: “We return a lot of the same guys. We’ve added two young guys (
Q: What has Jordan (Palmer) done to show you he deserves to move up to the number two role?
ML: “I think he’s got a good command of the offense. He’s done a good job of getting the ball down the field when needed. We’ll just continue to groom him and work with him.”
Q: How different is the Patriots offense with Wes Welker in there?
ML: They had number 80, (Troy) Brown and guys like that that played those positions for them in the past and done a nice job. Wes is a tremendous football player. He does a great job both catching the football and running after the catch, and works well against leverage and so forth, so he’s a productive player.”
Q: How does Fred Taylor look with that running game?
ML: “As I said earlier, I think the backs are all good runners, productive guys throughout their careers in the National Football League.”
CARSON PALMER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
CP: “Well, I think preseason's a tough situation to gauge what you think you have or what you are. It's so early on. You're not really game-planning, other teams aren't game-planning. I really wouldn't base much on what happens in the preseason and try to figure out who we are on those five weeks. But the way we work, the way we prepare, the professionalism of the group we have -- we have the right forming of a good team. There's still a long way to go before we're a good team or a great team, but we've done the right things, we've made the right steps, the guys that needed to improve improved. We've improved as groups in offense, defense and special teams, so we're feeling confident, we're feeling good about where we are right now and excited about opening weekend.”
Q: How has the chemistry between you and T.O. improved over the last five weeks?”
CP: “It's gotten better every day. He runs routes differently than everybody else because of his stride length, because of his size. So he takes a little bit of getting used to. But he's always where he needs to be, he's always at the right depth, he has a natural timing in his head of when to come out of breaks if his route gets adjusted for whatever reason. So it's taken me time to catch up to him. I think we're at a great place right now. We've gotten better every day and we've talked about it every day. We've had great communication throughout this whole process.”
Q: What have you learned about (Jermaine) Gresham and (Jordan) Shipley?
CP: “They're both at the very beginning of it. They both have a long way to go, but a ton of potential. In Shipley's case, he came from being 'the guy' in college, playing X, playing Z, and now he's playing some slot. So it's a big adjustment for him, adjusting to hot routes. Jermaine didn't play any football last year, so he's still got some time to catch up and just get used to playing in a real game because you can't really compare a preseason game to a National Football League regular season game, so it's going to take him a minute. But I love the potential in both players, love the attitude, love the work ethic, and love what they bring to the team. They're rookies, they still have a ways to go, but they have the right mindset and the right focus for where they are in their careers right now.”
Q: Is this still a run-first offense? Do you think it has to be a run-first offense?
CP: “I keep saying, we're going to do what we do best. That's the recipe for our division, that's the recipe for this team, the way our defense plays. We have a great running back and a great offensive line. They can get holes open for Cedric, and we have great backups for Cedric, too. So we're going to be a tough, grinding football team and I think we have some guys that can get open in the play-action game and get open downfield to make the running game that much better.”
Q: What are your impressions of the Patriots defense right now?
CP: “With their coaching staff, they're always going to be in the right place at the right time. They're always going to be very disciplined. They're always going to have a great scheme, a great game plan to take away one or two of your favorite things to do. But being banged up a little bit and being young, you can't really factor that in. You've got to know you're playing against a Bill Belichick team and a Bill Belichick defense. They're going to have some new wrinkles, they're going to have some things that they do very well and things that frustrate you, and you've got to fight the frustration and move on. He is known for taking something away, but our offense has changed too, since the end of last season.
Q: He (Belichick) has had awhile to prepare for this game:
CP: “I don't know if he's necessarily preparing for us in January, but he doesn't need that much time to prepare for a team. But like I said, they'll be very disciplined, You won't find guys out of place and making a bunch of mental mistakes. They're going to be where they're supposed to be. We've had some time to prepare for them also. We're excited about the opportunity. It's a great test for our team, offensively and defensively -- going into their place. They're always good, year-in and year-out. So it's a good test to see where we are.”
Q: Do you feel farther ahead coming out of this preseason than a year ago, when you had the ankle injury in preseason?
CP: “I think that definitely hinders you a little bit, not getting all the work you want to get in. But I think I'm farther ahead just because I've had a whole other year. You've got to take every opportunity, every week, every month, every season and improve and know your offense, know yourself better than you did the year before, the week before. So I definitely would have loved to have played in every preseason game the previous year, but I don't think that's the reason I know the offense better now. I know the offense better now because I've had OTAs, minicamp, training camp, preseason games and just a chance in the offseason to really study us and study myself and try to improve in that way.”
Q: What do you admire about Tom Brady?
CP: “He doesn't have a weakness to his game. He does a number of things very well, but I think one of the things that has made him most successful is the way he can move in the pocket and sense rushes without staring at the rush. Feel the rush and keep his eyes downfield and make one step here, one step there and still deliver the ball, maybe not on time but in the right place.”
Q: Is there any more significance to the opening game than maybe the third or fourth?
CP: “I don’t think in the final outcome of things. Look at what happened to us last year in opening weekend. It didn’t affect our season or ruin our season the way we lost that game. I think we should be excited about Week 1 -- the opportunity, a new season, a fresh start. Opening day is just a great day on the calendar. We are playing in a great atmosphere. I don’t think you can take Week 1 and what happens on Week 1 and let it affect your season. But I think there is significance that is the start of things and is a fresh start and clean slate, and we are going to be fired up and ready to play.”
Q: Some teams might have had a quitting mindset after that tough loss to open last year:
CP: “One game in the grand scheme of things, of a 16 or 17-week season, doesn’t make or break you. I know I wouldn’t let guys throw their hats in and say that’s it, whether I was a rookie or a 15-year vet. I don’t think that in any way depicted our season or was a game we thought about in Week 3, Week 5, Week 12, Week 15. That was a game we let get by, and that was it, we moved on.”
Q: Jordan (Palmer) is now at No. 2. What does that mean for you personally, working together?
CP: “I don’t think that is going to change anything between us, whether he is the two or the three. He does a number of things for me on game day and during the week. It is great having somebody that will keep things in check for you. Jordan will tell me like it is. He doesn’t sugarcoat things. He tells me when I am wrong and doesn’t tell me when I am right. I think that’s what’s most important and helps me be successful more than anything -- somebody who keeps it real with you and tells it how it is. He helps me out tremendously, from different things I haven’t watched during the week. Things I haven’t watched on game day -- just a number of different areas.”
Q: Do you wonder where criticism of you and the team comes from?
CP: “It kind of comes from everywhere. That doesn’t bother me or affect me. I really don’t worry too much about that or think about it. During training camp I was focused on every practice and every preseason game. Now we are focused on the Patriots. I will let my play speak for itself and move on.”
Q: What was the biggest thing you learned in studying yourself?
CP: “I can’t say one specific thing. Mainly, the biggest area of improvement has been footwork -- setting myself up at the center of the pocket instead of moving around side to side a little bit, and giving myself the most amount of room between guards and center. I think if there is one thing I really focused on and spent the most time, on it was definitely footwork.”
Q: Did you watch anybody else?
CP: “I watched a ton of different guys - different quarterbacks, but mainly different offenses.”
Q: Did you watch Tom Brady?
CP: “I saw a lot of him, a lot of Drew Brees, newer Peyton Manning, older Peyton Manning. So a lot of different guys.”
Q: So what is the newer Carson?
CP: “I think what I was talking about, footwork. It will look different. Some of the things I am doing with my feet are different. The way I am setting into drops and getting myself prepared to throw a certain direction is a little bit different than what I have done in the past. Hopefully it will pay off for me.”
Q: What are your thoughts on (former USC player) Reggie (Bush) losing the Heisman Trophy?
CP: “I really haven’t heard much about it. I heard there is a chance it would be taken away, a chance it would be given up. It is just unfortunate. The whole situation has been unfortunate for him, for the university, for his family. It is just a tough situation to go through and in the end we will see what happens, but I don’t think anything is decided as of today.”
Q: What are your thoughts on T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) being back in the division?
CP: “It’s not good for us. I know the player that T.J. is. This team knows the player T.J. is. They (the Ravens) know what he is because he has beaten them, I don’t know how many times, but a lot of times. He made big plays, made significant plays to win games. It’s going to be tough. They were a good team without T.J. Now having to face him twice makes that game that more difficult because he is such an elite player and such a playmaker.”
Q: Is there a sense of more excitement this year?
CP: “I get really excited every year and very optimistic every year. Every year gets more and more exciting. I don’t know if that is because I realize that every year I have fewer years left and I need to take advantage of it, or maybe I feel like we are going to be better than the previous year. It is safe to say I am more excited this year than I was last, but I can say that every year in my career.”
Also Wednesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held a conference call with the Cincinnati media. The following is a transcript of Belichick's conference call:
Q: What will the first two weeks (against the Bengals and Jets) tell you about your team?
BB: “The only team we’re thinking about right now is Cincinnati. They’re a real good football team. They had a good year last year. They’ve added some firepower and some guys at the skill positions this year and got a couple people back from injuries, guys that missed part of last year. They’re well-coached. They’re sound. They give you a lot of problems scheme-wise in all three phases of the game. We know how good of a football team they are, and they look like they’re better than they were last year. So, it’s a big challenge for us this week.”
Q: How do you feel about your team going into this week?
BB: “We’ll find out. I think opening day is always an interesting and exciting day. A lot of unusual things happen in the first game of the year. You kind of never know what’s going to happen. We’re excited to get started, but at the same time we know what kind of challenge we’re facing with the Bengals.”
Q: What does it mean to get Wes Welker back in the mix?
BB: “Well, it’s always good to have all your players out there. Wes has worked extremely hard after his injury in Houston last year. He’s had a good offseason and he’s able to participate in most all of training camp. And he’s done well. Nobody works harder than Wes, and he’s done a magnificent job of getting himself back into playing condition and rehabbing the injury and getting back on the field.”
Q: Is he 100 percent?
BB: “We’ll put out the injury report this afternoon after practice. We’ll see how everybody’s doing and we’ll let you know then.”
Q: What do you think of
BB: “I think the Bengals have an excellent group of wide receivers. T.O., Chad. (Andre) Caldwell and of course (Jordan) Shipley, that kid that they added, along with (Jerome) Simpson and (Quan) Cosby. It’s a deep group and it’s a very talented group. All those guys look pretty impressive. Shipley’s done a good job for them on third down. T.O.’s made some big plays down the field and we know Chad is capable of that. They’ve got an excellent quarterback in Palmer and a good receiving corps and they added a tight end. I think it’s a very good passing game, a good group of receivers that’s deep, talented, and can do a lot of different things. They can hurt you running after the catch, with deep balls, and possession passes on third down. They do a pretty good job of blocking in the running game, which they’re asked to do a lot. So, it’s a good solid group.”
Q: You’ll have two young corners match up against them (Devin McCourty and Darius Butler)?
BB: “They’ll be our starters, yes.”
Q: What kind of test will this be for those two?
BB: “I think it will be a big test for everybody. It will be a big test for our whole team. This is a good offensive football team that runs the ball well. They throw it well. They’re well-balanced. They have a good quarterback, a good scheme and a lot of good players. I think we’ll get tested across the board. I don’t think it’s just going to be any one thing. The Bengals, they do a good job moving the ball and attacking you on all fronts.”
Q: You've brought in some new faces at tight end. What do they bring to the table?
BB: “It’s been a very competitive group. We added three new players there. Alge Crumpler’s a very experienced player who’s had a great career at Atlanta and Tennessee. Then we drafted the other two players – (Rob) Gronkowski and (Aaron) Hernandez. All together that group has mixed pretty well. They seem to work together well. Alge’s provided a lot of leadership for our entire team, but particularly in that position. He’s very experienced and very professional. And we feel like the other two players, Rob and Aaron, are both talented guys that keep getting better. So we’ll see how it all comes together.”
Q: Do Gronkowski and Hernandez offer different looks?
BB: “Well, I think each player’s skills are different from the other’s. Everybody’s got their own unique style of play. But in the end, I think that all three players can do the things they need to do to be effective at their position. We’ll see how things go with Rob and Aaron when the regular season starts. They’ve had their moments in preseason and in training camp. We’ll see how it goes once the real bullets start flying this week.”
Q: Can you put into perspective what it’s like to have a quarterback like Tom Brady on your team, and for him to be so productive for so long?
BB: “Well, there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady. He means a lot to our football team. I’ve enjoyed coaching him. He works hard. He tries to do the things that will help our team win and he’s done that on a consistent basis – week after week, year after year. I have a lot of respect for that. He’s been productive. But most importantly he works to lead our team to victory, and that’s really what it comes down to at that position is winning games and doing the right things to help your team win. And he’s been very good at that.”