Initial comments ...
“From an injury standpoint, Alex Erickson is still going through the concussion protocol. It looks like he’s making good progress, but he still has to clear all the protocols. Glasgow (DT Ryan Glasgow), right now, will be day-to-day. We’ll have to see how he gets through the week. He had some fluid drained, and we have to see where he’s at with that. With Andre Smith, we’ll have to evaluate him through the week. He’s got an issue with his ankle, so they’ll put him in a boot today. We’ll have to see how his week goes, and take it from there. Those are the newer (injuries) from this past weekend.
We’re excited for a divisional game. This is the first time playing the Ravens for this 2019 Bengals team, so we’re excited to get back on the road and play a divisional game. It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere, and our guys are juiced and ready to go. So far, the preparation has been good today. Guys are dialed in and really taking accountability. We challenged them to really attack the meetings rooms as a position group, and the leaders have really stepped up and done that. It’s been a good start to the week.”
If OT Andre Smith is unable to play on Sunday, will G John Jerry play LOT?
“We’re looking at a couple candidates there. John Jerry and Alex Redmond will be two guys.”
Now that he’s back from suspension, what are your plans for G Alex Redmond? How do you want to use him?
“(The plan is) to try and find where he can help us on the offensive line right now. Billy Price will play left guard this week, and we’ll take a look at him there. Like we’ve said, we’ve got some good guard depth, and we’ve got some good options there. With Alex returning – as you can see with the injury situations we’re dealing with at tackle – we’ll take a look at him over there. We’re excited that we have him back in the fold because he helps us from a depth standpoint.”
How did John Jerry play in relief of Andre Smith last Sunday?
“He did a good job. We’re glad he have him, because he can help us at a lot of different positions. We have two options to evaluate at left tackle if Andre can’t go.”
Has Alex Redmond played LOT before?
“He’s played a lot of guard, but he played left tackle two days last week. What I like about Alex Redmond is his attitude. He’s dialed in, he’s physical and he’s spent a lot of extra time making sure he knows what his role is. Having missed those first four weeks of the season, he’s done a good job trying to get reacquainted to what we’re doing on offense.”
Is it asking a lot of him to learn how to play LOT?
“Yes. And he’s up for the challenge, so we’re excited for him.”
What have you seen from C Billy Price in the last few weeks to start him at LG?
"We haven’t had success on offense. It’s not one person by any stretch, but we’ll look at Billy at guard. We’ve always had a lot of confidence in him. We have a lot of confidence in Mike Jordan too, but this is something we want to look at this week. We feel like Billy has continued to earn that opportunity. As we’ve said all along, his approach has been outstanding. It’s worked itself out to where that’s where we’re at this week, and we’re excited for the opportunity Billy has there.”
Give all the injuries at OT, will the TEs start helping out more in the blocking game?
“That’s something we’ve been looking at the last couple weeks to make sure we can help all areas of our offense. The bottom line is we’ve got to score more points and move the ball. If that means getting into five-wide (a five wide receiver formation) and getting the ball out, that’s one way to look at it. (If we have to) cram people in there and give presence to the tackles in the interior, that’s another way to look it. That’s certainly one of the ways we want to keep them off guard.”
Is there an injury update on S Shawn Williams?
“Shawn will be day-to-day. I anticipate Shawn playing this weekend. Shawn is a tough guy, and he played through a lot stuff on Sunday. And you appreciate that about him. He’s a leader on that defense, and he’s fighting through a lot. We’ll take it easy on him today and tomorrow and let him work through the week, but I would anticipate him playing on Sunday.”
Does Shawn playing through injury resonate throughout the locker room?
“Yes. We’ve got guys that fight through that stuff and show that toughness and resiliency. It goes a long way.”
Are you going to emphasize red-zone efficiency this week?
"You can look at a couple specific plays. We just have to make the play when the opportunity is there. We feel like there are opportunities there, we just have to step up and make the play. Everything is involved in that. So, that’s where we’re at.”
What can you take away from the last two offensive drives against the Cardinals?
“Again, we’re just trying to find the best mixture as we go on the road. You see that in a lot of games. You see a lot of low-scoring first halves, and then all sudden there’s a big points explosion at the end. A little bit is the urgency of being down. Obviously, you’re pushing the tempo and throwing the ball more. The defense is a little more tired at that point as well, so the pass rush isn’t quite what it was in the first half. You have to find that balance of, ‘When do we want to use our tempo, when do we want to push the ball down the field and what are the right moments to do that?’ It was a long game, and we felt like we had success, but it’s something we certainly evaluate every week.”
Can you use more tempo on offense going forward?
“Every week we try and pinpoint what our balance is going to be with the tempo and the huddle calls. Do you want to utilize it, or do you want to pull back from it? That’s a conversation we usually have early in every single week.”
Are you happy with the trust QB Andy Dalton has exhibited in the young receivers?
“Yes. I thought Andy’s decision-making in the pass game was really solid. He gave guys an opportunity. From that standpoint, he hasn’t had a lot of reps with some of those guys. They’ve taken reps with Finley (QB Ryan Finley), Jake (QB Jake Dolegala) or on the scout team. They’ve been called up to duty, and Andy trusts them. He let the ball go, and those guys stepped up and made some plays for him”
What are some of the things the team has done well in the first five games?
“If you look at the last game, in the fourth quarter with what we were able to do offensively, we scored two touchdowns when we needed to. There are things you can build on. For us, that’s part of who we have to be, and who we need to be. When we need to make a play, we need to make those plays. That’s something we can build on and it gives us momentum going into this week.”
What was the difference between the two scoring drives in the fourth quarter and the rest of the drives?
“We had a couple of explosive plays in there that helped. If you can get some of those chunk plays, it makes it easier to get down (the field) and score. That definitely helped us out.”
Do you go back and watch the tape and wonder why you can’t replicate that success?
“It’s easy to say, ‘Yeah, we’ll make the big plays.’ Early on in the game, you want to have that happen. When you get those opportunities at that point in the game, we had chances and we made those plays. For us, we want to start faster. There were opportunities earlier on in the game that we touched on after the game. We were kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns, and we had opportunities to score touchdowns. It just didn’t happen. For us, we need to get that fixed.”
Was there a quicker tempo in the late scoring drives that helped the offense move the ball down the field?
“In that situation, you have to play a little more up-tempo because you’re down two scores. You want to score quickly and get the ball back. Yeah, you can say the tempo helped us, but at that point in the game, you have to play that way.”
Would you like to play with a quicker tempo more often?
“It’s one of those things where, each week, we’re going to have a plan. Going into it, if we feel like tempo is the key, then we’ll do it. If we don’t, then we won’t.”
How tough would it be to maintain a quick tempo for the entirety of a game?
“It just depends. The game plan is specific to what we’re trying to accomplish, (and dictates) if we’re trying to use tempo or not.”
What is the downside of playing with a quicker tempo?
“When you’re doing it, you need to have positive plays. That’s one thing where, if you get set back to second-and-10 or second-and-12, then you’re in a different position. You need to have positive plays on early downs. That’s the only negative thing that can come from it. Other than that, it’s a good way to play football.”
Is there a quick fix to the offense’s issues scoring in the red zone?
“It comes down to making plays. Early on, we had an opportunity where we weren’t able to connect with Auden (WR Auden Tate) on one of those first (plays in the red zone). If we’re able to connect on that one, he ends up in the end zone and there’s a touchdown. We had another opportunity down there and (Arizona) made a play and we didn’t. There are a couple things that we can fix on our end. At the end of the day, when those plays present themselves and we have an opportunity to make a play, we need to make it.”
When analyzing the team’s first five games, do you wish you would have involved the tight ends more?
“When we feel like we have those matchups, we’re definitely going to take advantage of them. There are different things, different opportunities for those guys. It comes down to how they’re playing us and what they’re trying to take away.”
Does having a young group of wide receivers take away some of what you can do on offense?
“No. Those guys have done a great job of understand this offense and understanding what we’re trying to do. When we get the game plan, those guys will be ready to go. It doesn’t limit anything we can do.”
How do you feel about HB Joe Mixon’s production so far?
“You always want to be able to run the ball. Joe did a great job last week. We had a bunch of chunk plays early in that game. Hopefully that gives us momentum going into this (game).”
What has the game preparation been like, given the team has endured a tough stretch to start the season?
“You have to prepare the same way. Each week, we have prepared like we’re going to go in and win the game. That can’t change, and that’s not changing here. With the culture that Zac (head coach Zac Taylor) has set here, nobody is going to treat this week any different just because of what the record is. Everybody is all-in on everything that we’re doing. There is going to be no change. We’re going to prepare like we’re going to win this game.”
Baltimore’s pass rush seems to be less effective than in years past. Has their scheme changed?
“Scheme-wise, it’s similar to what they’ve been doing. We still feel like their edge rushers and their guys up front are really good players. It’s hard to put a finger on one reason they don’t have as many sacks as they’ve had in years past, but they still have good players up there.”
How much of the 0-5 start can be attributed to the many new faces in the organization?
“It’s hard to say. Yes, we’re 0-5, but we very easily could be 3-2. There are a couple plays here and there that we haven’t made. Because of that, we’re sitting here 0-5. To say it’s growing pains, I don’t know. But we need to get it fixed.”
Does that make this one of the most frustrating stretches of your career?
“It definitely has been. To be close in some of these games and to not win any of them, it’s tough. We have a good team. We have pieces in place. We just need to go make it happen. That’s what it comes down to.”
What kind of boost would the offense have gotten if it would have scored a touchdown earlier in the game against Arizona?
“If we score a touchdown on one of those drives that we’re down there, and now (Arizona) is having to score a touchdown at the end of the game last week rather than kicking a field goal. That changes things and that can change the outcome of a game. You never know what play is going to make a big difference in the game. That’s why they’re all so important. If we can score early, it obviously sets us up during games to be in a different position.”
Have you noticed WR Tyler Boyd handling double teams more efficiently?
“T.B. has been great at everything he’s done. He’s one of our key players on offense. We understand that teams are going to have different ways of taking him away. He’s done a great job of still getting open. For him, he just needs to play the game. You don’t know when he’s going to get doubled. He’s going to get doubled at times. For him, he just keeps playing. He’s obviously been productive for us.”
It was surprising for him to get wide open on Boyd’s touchdown against Arizona, considering that should have been the one thing they were trying to take away. That’s a testament to his route running, right?
“Yeah. It was a great route. He got open. When we needed a play, he made it for us.”