Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
September 17, 2014
You have two touchdown passes over 70 yards this season where you've made checks at the line. Are you seeing the field as well as you ever have?
"Yeah, I pride myself on some of the protection stuff that we do. I feel like I've done a good job of seeing things. The way the protection's been, we've been able to set it where for the most part we've had everybody blocked. That's helped with why we don't have any sacks right now. We've got to continue doing that. I feel like I'm seeing things really well right now, and been getting us in good position where we're in the best possible protection for us."
Is that important against Ray Horton with what he does?
"Absolutely. They do a good job with all the different stuff, with different looks, whether it be four-down, three-down, all the different stuff that they do. So we've got to be sharp mentally to be able to handle what they're going to throw at us. It just comes with the preparation throughout the week."
They lead the league in fewest yards passing allowed. Is that part because Dallas ran well on them? The personnel they have?
"I think it's a little bit of both. There's different times. You look at last week, and Dallas ran the ball well, they didn't have to throw it as much. That helps with them leading the league. But also they're pretty good in the back end. Like you said, it's a combination of both of those things."
You've had to settle for field goals. Is that a matter of things being off just a little bit?
"For the most part, I think it's the execution of us handling the play. I know the first drive last week, I missed a couple that could have either scored us touchdowns or got us down there. We've got to find ways to keep moving the chains when we're down there, and especially when we get into the red zone, we've got to score touchdowns. We were able to do that a couple times last week, but we've got to do that more of the time."
How much is missing Marvin Jones, A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert a factor in that?
"It's tough when you lose three of your main targets, but the next guy has got to step up. That's not the only reason we weren't executing. There were different times that we had different things drawn up where we could have scored touchdowns, but we just didn't hit them or didn't execute them as well as we need to."
How convenient is the bye week?
"It's going to be good for us. Hopefully we'll be able to get guys back healthy. When you first see the schedule, and you see the bye week at week four, it is what it is. I think it will be good for us, and we'll be able to get guys back and hopefully healthy again for the last part of the season."
What kind of confidence do you have in Ryan Hewitt?
"We've got a lot of confidence in him. As soon as he got here, it never seemed too big for him. He's got a Stanford education, he's a smart guy. He's able to pick up on things pretty well."
How amazed are you with some of the plays Giovani Bernard has made?
"You've been kind of able to see what he's able to do ever since he got here. Shoot, last year against Miami, he's running all the way around the field, doing a bunch of stuff, making guys miss. He's an explosive player. Just to get the ball in his hands when he's got some space around him, he's making guys miss, making big runs. This is the kind of talent, the kind of back that you want, the guy that you can throw a three-yard pass to, or throw it at the line of scrimmage, and he's going for 40."
If you're playing Madden, is he the guy you want?
"He's definitely one of them for sure, making guys miss. I haven't played Madden a whole lot, but I'd definitely take him."
Gio said he heard you call to him on one play Sunday ...
"At that point, I saw that the guy he was blocking was on the ground, so he was kind of just standing there like, 'What do I do?' I'm glad he listened to me."
On that shovel pass, did you see him out of the back of your head?
"It was kind of the play we had called. It was different because they blitzed the corner off the edge. I had to move left, and the way I was positioned, I couldn't turn and throw it, so I just shoveled it to him and he made a big play."
Is that another form of extending and creating plays?
"It doesn't always go exactly the way you have it planned. We wouldn't have been able to throw the ball down the field on that one, but we didn't get the look. Sometimes it happens that way. You have to make plays when things break down. That was a big one for us."
Are you watching Cleveland tape from last year because Ray Horton was their coordinator last year? Does that help?
"It does. We see how he did certain things against us. We'll definitely take a look at that and see what he did."
What does Horton seem to do well?
"They give different looks with blitz packages and different things to try and it get where they can run free to the quarterback. We just have to be sharp on all that kind of stuff and see things well."
Horton is a hybrid 3-4, 4-3 guy, but he doesn't exactly have his personnel yet. Do you find Tennessee caught in a little transition time where it's not quite the greatest fit for what Ray wants to do across the board?
"He's done a good job implementing what he's going to be doing there, and there are some things where there will be four-down looks. He's got his base 3-4 personality in there. It is his first year, so I'm sure as time goes on he's going to try to get more of the guys that he wants in there."
So he's not doing as much he did in Cleveland?
"It's only been two games. You can go back and look at all the stuff they did in Cleveland. You've got whole year to look at it, where now they've just had a couple of games. We'll be prepared for all the different stuff they're going to throw at us."
You guys are 2-0 for first time since 2006, and you've had all these injuries and not everything has gone right, but you're playing great football. Does it give you some insight into how good this team can be in the long run?
"Injuries happen in the game of football, and guys have to step up. You have to really develop depth, and this has been a good chance for us to find out what guys are, and who can help us win games. We have to keep finding ways to win games, because at the end of the day all that matters is if you win by one."
That being said, no sacks and no turnovers in the first two games, how important has that been?
"It's huge to not have negative plays, especially in the passing game, and then to not give the (other) team the ball. It's been a thing we've really prided ourselves on. That's one of our top goals toward winning the game, and then no sacks, so we've done a good job of that obviously, and we've got to keep that going."
Have you seen the stat on how rare that is? You are only the second team in 54 years to do that. The only other team was the Chargers in '06 and they went 14-2...
"We're going for three this week. Hopefully we can get that record."
To add on to the injury situation as well, most of the quarterbacks say it takes a couple of weeks for your muscles to really get involved, and you're aching the first couple of weeks, and I'm wondering if that's how you feel...
"Especially for a quarterback. You go for however long and you're not getting hit at all, and then you get hit a couple of times, and you're going to be pretty sore, because you're not used to it. Fortunately for me, I didn't hit that much last week, so I feel pretty good right now."
How well has Russell Bodine handled the center position?
"It's been good. He's playing with guys that have played for a while, so they're able to help him out with calls and different things. He's done a great job. It hasn't been too big for him, and at the end of the day, he's playing football, and we've been getting in the right spot, and the communication's been big. We've expected a lot out of him coming in, and starting as a rookie, he's answered it and played well."
With the no sacks, how much of it is on the protection from the line, how much is that your decision making with the emphasis on getting the ball out quicker?
"I think it's both. Knowing the protection, knowing where we're going, knowing when we're going to be hot and not holding onto the ball too long, and not trying to do too much. You take all those factors. It's a big part of the way that the line's been playing. They've done a good job giving me pockets where I can throw and step into throws. My hat's off to them. It's only the second time this has happened in how many ever years, and we're going for three games with no sacks and no turnovers."
You talk about losing three of your main weapons. How significant is it with Jeremy Hill adding on to what Gio did last week, to be able to use those guys in multiple ways?
"As the season goes on, Jeremy will get more touches and get more comfortable out there, and you'll see that package grow. He did well stepping in. He had some big runs, scored his first touchdown. That's the reason we drafted him and why he's here."
How are you rewarding your line for keeping you off the ground?
"They'll get some stuff. Walking off the field last week with Whit and Andre, they were like 'You've got to throw us a bone every now and then.' They'll be getting something."
News about tickets hasn't been good this week. Any thoughts about what can be done to get the fans down to the stadium this weekend?
"Hopefully everybody here in Cincinnati is excited about what we're doing and wants to come out and support us. I think everybody in Cincinnati needs to realize that there is a big advantage when the crowd is into it when the other team's offense is on the field, and they have to handle the crowd noise and different stuff. We want that advantage, and we're playing this game not only for ourselves and for this team, but also for the fans here in Cincinnati. A lot of people take a lot of pride in this team, and we take a lot of pride in this city, so we want all the support we can get, and hopefully we can get as many tickets sold as we can."