Andy Dalton news conference transcript

Are you ready for another AFC North game in such a short turnaround?

            "We have no choice. It's a quick turnaround, but there is going to be a lot of preparation this week. We just have to be ready for it."

Is it easier to do this because it's a divisional opponent, as you are familiar with the coaching staff and their players?

            "I think the importance of this game means even more, another division game. We know the opponent we are going up against. For us, we just have to make sure that were ready to go."

Has your approach changed this week compared to a Sunday game?

            "Everything just speeds up. You have to do more early on in the week, to make up for the time that is lost. You try to get into a good routine of what you are going to be doing, just so you stay ready and get as much as you can in. Look at the certain routes you are going to throw, certain film you're going to watch, just making sure you are on top of everything, because the week is short."

How tough is it to get ready emotionally?

            "I wouldn't say it's tough emotionally, especially because it's a division game. There is extra importance on that. We have had the right mentality this whole year, we just have to keep up what we've been doing."

Is it starting to pay dividends how you were able to take care of your body during the bye?

            "Yeah, definitely. I think the way the schedule has been, it's been working for us so far. The big payoff will be later in the season, and a short week like this. Guys being able to stay healthy and get ready to go. The change in schedule has been really good for us. I think it will definitely show this week."

The payoff you get is a mini-bye week with ten days before the next game Monday night. That works out pretty well doesn't it?

            "Yeah, as soon as we came back from the bye it's like we have a two game season. Then, we have a little break before we get the rest of the season going. We have a short week this week and an extra-long week after that."

What goes through your mind when you think about the game last year against the Browns on Thursday night?

            "Well, it obviously wasn't my best game. I have to put that behind me. I think it was a one-time thing. You can't let anything like that creep into your head, because we are in a much better place than we were last year. You have to do whatever it takes to play the best game that we can play. I think it will be compared to last year, just because it was a Thursday night game against Cleveland. But, we are in a much better place this year."

How much have you grown beyond last year's game and raised the bar personally?

            "The biggest thing is being consistent. You want to play the best you can every week. Obviously there's going to be some times when it's not going to be as good as you want it to be, but for us this year, we've still found ways to win. That's what it comes down to. It may not have gone exactly how we wanted it to yesterday for the first part of the game. Then at the end of the fourth quarter, we put a good drive together that won the game. I think it's just the resiliency. When you need it most, that's when you've got to be at your best and we've done that this year."

Your ability to move on from a bad play or series or game, is that part of your makeup?

            "I think so. I think you look at what I've done throughout my career, if I've had an interception or a bad game, I feel I've been able to turn it around that next week, or that next series, or that next play, to try to overcome that. I learned early on playing football that you can't get too high, you can't get too low. You've got to stay even-keel the whole time. That's been ingrained in me since I started playing this game, and so I think that's just the mentality I've had."

Did somebody help you with that?

            "I had a really good high school coach  who taught that to me. Football was part of it, but he wanted to teach you life lessons, and that was one of the big life lessons; not only do you want to be that way in football but also in life."

This team has an inner calmness. Does that come from the players, or coaches, or both?

            "I think it's everybody. There's times when you can get into a game, especially on the road, where we were down by one point for a lot of that game and you could make it feel like you're down by three scores because you're on the road, the crowd gets into it. But you can't worry about that. You've got to realize you still have a chance to win the game, you still have a chance to do everything that we're trying to do. I think obviously Marvin's preaching that, the coaching staff is preaching that, and the players are just believing it and it's been working out well for us."

You came back twice at Baltimore, overcame 17-point deficit vs Seahawks, now Pittsburgh. Do those comebacks create a confidence that you will do it again?

            "I think so. I think just the way that this season has played out, there's times we've had to come back and we've been able to do it, and all that does is build confidence. If you prove that you can do it, then there won't be any doubt that you can do it again. I think that's just kind of the mindset that we have. Regardless of what's going on, we're going to win the game, and we've done that."

All the fourth-quarter comebacks, the 23 road wins, do you get to enjoy it?

            "I mean, we just need to keep winning. I think that's the biggest thing. Yeah, it's cool to get a fourth-quarter comeback, to have all the road wins that we've had, but I get it just because I'm the quarterback. A.J. (Green) came in with me, you're not saying he's got 23 road wins. So that's part of it. It's obviously nice, but we just have to keep winning."

Are you aware next road win will give you the most by any quarterback since 1970 for his first five seasons?

            "(Geoff) Hobson has done a really good job of letting me know where I'm at (laugh), so I am aware of that one."

How does this stretch compare to TCU?

            "It's similar. My junior year we went undefeated in the regular season and we lost the bowl game. My senior year we went undefeated the whole year and won the bowl game. I've been part of some really good teams in college. To do it at the NFL, it's pretty special because there are not a lot of teams that have been 7-0 before. Obviously, this is the first time in franchise history we have been 7-0. The best part about being 7-0 is we have a chance to be 8-0."

You put in the work to win, and want to feel good. What's the balance to enjoy but not let it bleed into next one?

            "We've put in a lot of work. We know that you have to play it one game at a time. It's so cliché, but it's so true. That's been the focus. For me I enjoy it because I go to dinner and everybody is so excited about what's going on. After the game I am getting text messages from people and they are talking about their neighbors walking up and down the street saying 'Who Dey'. It's the excitement of the city. That's where you kind of get to enjoy it because it's not just affecting this team and this organization. It's affecting the city. Everybody is really buying in and believing. It's fun to see that."

What is it about Cleveland's defense that makes it tough?

            "First off, they have got some good players. That's part of it. Then they have a scheme where they move guys around. They do a good job with their blitzes. They make plays. That's part of it. For us, we have to be at our best. We have to understand what we are going up against. We have to win the one-on-one battles and put our best game together.

Do they play like the Bills a little bit?

            "It's similar because of the coaching tree. They have come from the same background. You get all the different blitzes they throw at you."

What does it mean to have (Vontaze) Burfict and his personality back on the field?

            "It's great. I'm happy for Vontaze to get back playing again. I know for him he was ready to go. And it didn't take long for him to get back in the game. It took him one play to make a tackle. It's big to have him back from a mentality standpoint, and the kind of player he is."

Has that the most up in the bit you've seen (A.J.) Green during the course of a game?

            "A.J., you get him going early and he's going to have a big game. The way things have gone for him, we kept getting him the ball and he kept making plays. The attitude when he had the ball in his hands was big. That's not the only time we've seen it. I don't know if y'all saw the Baltimore game or not, he was pretty good in that one, too."

How he responded to (Mike) Mitchell, have you seen him that amped up from personality standpoint?

"Yeah, I have. We just have to keep that going."

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