2005 Bengals Draft Press Conference - Round 7

*Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive line coach Jay Hayes met the media following Cincinnati's seventh-round selection of Jonathan Fanene. The transcript follows: *

HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS

Initial comments:

"I'll talk a little bit first about Jonathan Fanene and then wrap things up. Jonathan played defensive end at the University of Utah and played tackle in his previous years. He's a very strong guy but hasn't played a whole lot of football.

I think he grew up in American Samoa. He actually did not go to the combine. He was a guy that Duke Tobin saw during his travels at one of his school calls. We felt like one area where we could put some competition at would be at our defensive end spot. I think this guy has the ability to swing and be a dual player and move inside, possibly on third down. So we were able to address that here in the seventh round."


Final comments on 2005 draft:

"We're very pleased with how the last two days have unfolded. I think we not only improved our football team with athleticism, but with youth. I commend our scouting staff and coaching staff on how closely their grades were of when guys went off the board during the rounds. I told Mike Brown this morning that they needed to be commended for the job they've done. It isn't easy. I was really pleased."

Q: Is there anything that you wanted to address but weren't able to?

"There at the end, we tried to address the defensive ends in the last three rounds and we kept coming a couple of picks short. We looked at safeties down the line, but we really felt that it would take certain things to upgrade where we are. We'll have the opportunity to sign some undrafted free agents during the next few days and we may be able to find a gem that way. But I thought for us, defensively, those were the two areas that we kept trying address, and with Jonathan Fanene, we were able to do that."

Q: Do you think you're a little thin at the safety position?

"I don't think we're thin by any means. We retained the guys that we had, and I think that's a good thing. We'll just move forward. Hopefully our guys continue to stay healthy, continue to grow, and play better. We had one guy who played extremely well last year, and we had some other guys who need to pick up the pace and play better. 

We added Anthony Mitchell midway through last year and we seemed to play better. I expect Anthony to come in this year and compete for a starting job with the other guys that are there.

We have a couple other guys in Terrell Roberts and Reggie Myles who have played cornerback who feel like they can help us by moving into the safety position. Keiwan Ratliff would be another guy we could look at to play safety, depending on how things shake out. We want to put the best 11 players on the field for each situation."


Q: Have you thought about moving any of your linebackers to safety?

"I don't think we have any linebackers with the ability to play safety very well."

Q: With 24 hours now to reflect on your first two picks (David Pollack and Odell Thurman), how do you feel about the selections?

"I would put (West Virginia WR) Chris Henry in there too. We're excited. I think you all felt the magnetism of (Pollack) in the news conference today. His football presence is going to make us a better football team, and you need that. The sky is the limit for him. 

Odell has the same kind of presence when he steps in the room. He's going to look you in the eye and give you a hard day's work each and every day, and I think those things uplift us.

I think that Chris has great ability and wants to be held in high esteem. We're really excited about all three guys we were able to draft yesterday, and they're excited about being here. The neat thing for us is to get three guys with that kind of ability going forward."


Q: You now have about nine wide receivers:

"We'll we keep six, so that means competition, and that's a good thing. I think (UCLA WR) Tab Perry was by far the best football player available when we made that pick. He has the ability to help in the return game and fly downfield to cover kicks. He and Chris have chances right away to come in and unseat guys that have been doing those things for us. 

If you don't get better, you're going backwards. I really feel like we helped ourselves. I sat in with the offensive coaches the other day while they were looking at some of the offensive prospects in the draft, and I sat with them and watched tape on Tab. He does some very impressive things.

He's a physical kid, he's played in an offense that throws the football, he's worked inside and outside, and he's blocked, so I'm excited about what he brings to the table. Ironically he was a player our coaches felt really good about when they started watching tape. I'm excited about him."


Q: The talk since the end of last season has been improving the defense. Does the addition of both Pollack and Thurman make the difference?

"I think that guys tackling will really help. You have to get off blocks and make tackles. Those two guys will make plays. They'll end up where we want them to end up, and someone's going to need to come up and make an unblocked tackle. If you don't do that, then you're going to lose. It happens in our division every single week. 

In the last two years, only twice has that not been the case in our division, and the team that won each of those games won the turnover margin. So make no mistake about it, whether you're on offense or on defense, you better be the one winning that battle."


Q: Did this draft help you to improve when it comes to winning those battles?

"We hope it will. That was our goal. I think we did that."

DEFENSIVE LINE COACH JAY HAYES

Q: Can he also play tackle?

"Yes. He played tackle his first year at Utah and this past year he moved out to end."

Q: What do you like about this guy?

"He's very athletic. Very fluid. Very flexible. He was a high school quarterback. He played for Samoa Samoa, who actually was a player here with the Bengals. He's played a lot of different positions and went to junior college. He's kind of grown into the position."
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