Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
September 10, 2014
What did you think about watching Atlanta's defense?
"They are really good up front. They've got some big guys in the middle. I think their whole thing is kind of the deception stuff. They hold rotations late, they try to disguise coverages really well. We've got to be ready for all that kind of stuff. They played well, they had a big win for them at home. Went into overtime. They did a lot of good things."
Can you take anything from the joint practices you had with them last year?
"Yeah, we still have the tape, so you still see some of the things they were doing and remember some of the guys you went against. It was over a year ago, but you can still take some stuff from it."
Without Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert, can you speak to the challenge for the offense?
"Guys have to step up this time, just like it was on Sunday. As soon as Tyler went down, we did some different things with different guys. We were able to be pretty productive with it, so guys have to step up and make plays. We've got the guys on this team to do that."
Are red zone offense issues just a Week 1 thing?
"I'm sure there are teams that were pretty good in the red zone, too. I think it's pretty hard to say it's just because it's Week 1. We've got to find a way to keep the chains moving and get the ball in the end zone. We weren't able to do that. We got stopped short a couple times. We hurt ourselves on some of them. We have to find ways to overcome that, and pick up first downs and have a chance to score once we get down there."
Do you know Matt Ryan very well?
"I know him just a little bit. I've met him just a couple times. I have definitely followed his career. He's had a really good career."
He had a really good day Sunday...
"Yeah, he did. He's really efficient. He threw for a bunch of yards. He had a high completion percentage. That's what you want from your quarterback."
The game you had Sunday was exactly what Hue been talking about as far as being efficient ...
"Absolutely. I left some completions out there. There's some completions that I could have hit. Some that could have helped us on third downs. That's what we wanted to do, play error-free, don't want to turn the ball over and hit big plays when we get them."
What did you learn about this team in Week 1?
"We played together as a whole, not just on separate phases of the game. Not just the defensive guys, we played together as a team. We relied on each other. Offensively, for us to go down and get stopped several times, and Mike (Nugent) came in and kicked five field goals, that's big because we are still getting points.
On defense, obviously, we had the late pass that (Joe) Flacco hit to Steve Smith. Then we came back and hit a big one. Everybody was relying on each other and we played together as a team. That's what you need to see, especially early on."
The diversity of your scheme frustrated them. Does that make feel good about what you are doing?
"Yeah. There were some things they hadn't seen before from us. That just all comes down to game plan and different things we are doing. You try to find different ways to get the advantage."
You're coming back to Paul Brown Stadium this year after going 8-0 in regular season last year. Do you have a different edge and mindset about playing at home?
"Yeah. It's one of our goals we put an emphasis on--especially last year--we wanted to go undefeated at home. We have that same expectation. We want to be at our best especially when we are playing here, because it's easier to play here than it is to play on the road when everybody is against you. We hope the fans all come out and show support, are loud and give us an advantage."
Winning a division game on the road after going 0-3 last year has to be a good feeling...
"It is. Now 16 teams are 1-0 and 16 teams are 0-1. To get that first one, especially it being a division team on the road, it was big for us."
What's the edge for the offense in playing at home?
"The communication is a whole lot easier. You don't have to deal with the crowd noise. The way guys communicate, it's just easier. You try to get everybody on the same page, and when you don't have the crowd noise as an issue, it makes it easier."
What jumps out at you schematically. looking at the Falcons defense?
"I think up front they do a good job. Their safeties are really downhill, they play the run really well. So we've got to know where they are, got to find ways to get guys matched up on them, get them blocked and hopefully create some big lanes in the run game."
Will they have Desmond Trufant shadow A.J., or will he stay in one spot?
"I don't know. Sometimes he's in one spot, and others I think he's kind of moving around a little bit. Just kind of depends on how the game goes."
Andy and Jordan's Hub opened at Children's Hospital yesterday. Can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
"There's a family room in Cincinnati's Children's Hospital that we put a hub in. It's got games, iPads, computers, different things for these kids to come down, and get out of their room, and have a sense of normalcy and play around with those things. It's in a really good spot not only for the kids, but for the families as well. It's centrally located where everybody is going to be able to benefit from it. There had been talks of doing it for a while and finally we got the right spot and everything worked out. We're excited that it's there."
How much do you attribute the red zone difficulties last week to crowd noise and communication?
"It wasn't necessarily the communication of everything, it was just the execution. We've got to do what we can to get the extra couple of yards or find the completions that's going to get us the first downs. But I wouldn't necessarily say it was because of the communication."
The crowd was quiet in Baltimore after you got off to the lead...
"I've definitely played when it's louder there (Laughs). I think getting off to the good start and getting the early lead helped."
Do you have any thoughts on FCC possibly changing the blackout rules?
"You mean the fans can't wear black, is that what you're saying? (Laughs) The blackout rules -- I don't know. Obviously, everyone wants the fans to be at the games. I think it's a way to get people to come, and obviously it's a punishment for everyone locally that's not coming to the games. I don't really have an opinion on it. Obviously everybody here, we want to sell out every week and have that advantage. When we have sellout crowds and we get the fans into it, it really is an advantage. Obviously you want to sell out every week."
Have you seen A.J. more animated than he was on Sunday, and how many more amazing things can you see out of him?
"Hopefully we see a lot more amazing things out of him. That's what we expect. But A.J.'s really comfortable. I think it just comes with being in the same place for a while, being around a lot of the same coaches, same players. When you can get a guy like that to be really comfortable, having a lot of fun, doing it and making big plays, there's not much more that you want from that. Like I say, he's having a lot of fun--if you want to say it's animated--but he's really coming into his own. I think that's one big thing that Hue said, he wants our personalities to show. And I think his is really showing."
That was quite a move he made at the end of that TD catch...
"It was all right, I mean... (Laughs) No, it was a really good play. Tipping the ball up, coming down with it, making the safety get all turned around, walking into the end zone. I thought it was pretty cool."
Does A.J. ever do anything that surprises you?
"I don't know. I feel like he can do so much. So the type of plays that he makes, it doesn't surprise me that he makes them, because I know how talented he is and I know the things he can do. We'll be in a walkthrough, and I'll be throwing balls, and he'll be trying to catch them behind his back and different things. He's really good."
Can you talk more on his comfort level?
"I think it's just being around for a while. It's not new to him anymore. We have a lot of the same guys that were here when we first got here. Most of the coaches are the same. And so I think it's just the comfort level of being here and being around. I wouldn't say there's one reason why he's the way he is. But it's fun to see."