Same as it is during every football season, excited about Sunday, and especially on Wednesday when you get the game plan. As the week progresses, you get more excited.
Q: How have you dealt with the frustration from Sunday?CP:
Any time you don't come away with a win, you're going to be frustrated. And some games it's more than others. Last week, it was a game where a lot of people were more frustrated because it was such a big game. It was such a big game and we really needed to win it. But you get that frustration out by talking about it; you look at it on film, figure out what's going on and figure out how to fix it. That's something that helps the frustration go away. But the only answer to flush it out is to win the next week.
Q: Is this game huge?CP:
Every game is huge in this league. And as the season goes on, the games get bigger, whether you're playing a team that's 2-6 or 6-2, it doesn't matter. Wins become more critical. You need to win, especially when you're playing a division opponent or a conference opponent. But as the season progresses, the games definitely get bigger. And when you lose, like we have the last couple of weeks, wins become more important to get.
Q: Are you sensing selfishness with some of the guys?CP:
I don't think selfishness is the word to describe it. Earlier we talked about frustration. Frustration is something a lot of guys have had in different ways. And it can definitely be fixed. Winning fixes everything, it seems. We're all bums right now, and the Bengals are bums right now. But if we beat the Chargers and get to 5-4, people will jump back on the bandwagon and talk about how we're going to go into New Orleans and beat up on the Saints. We've been frustrated, but the only way to get that bad taste out of mouth is to beat the Chargers.
Q: Is there a fine line between greed and wanting to have ball in clutch situations?CP:
It is a fine line. But I always err on having guys who want the ball, depending on whether they want the ball to win or want stats. You want guys who want the ball in their hands. When it comes down to crunch time, you don't
want guys with big wide eyes who aren't so sure. Being a quarterback, it doesn't matter what the motives are. I want guys around me who want to be touching the ball and want to have big plays coming their way when the game's on the line.
Q: Is that what you wanted from Chris Henry on the final play?CP:
Yeah. You always want maximum effort from everyone around you. When you get certain situations and there are desperate measures, where you're trying to make certain plays, you want guys to go up and give maximum effort.
Q: Have you and Henry talked about what you wanted?CP:
Yeah, we've handled what's going on and talked about it and moved on.
Q: Have you taken more of a leader role?CP:
I don't think yelling and being controlling is the way to go about your business in any job, especially on a team. You want leaders to step up and make big plays. This is a team. There is no one man more important than another.
Q: Are you more comfortable in a leadership role?CP:
I still consider myself a young player who has a lot of room to grow, including as a leader.
Q: Can you talk about your mechanics and how they're off compared to a year ago?CP:
When you go back and have to start all over, which is essentially what I had to do, from laying in bed for three weeks, then being on crutches for six weeks to slowly being able to do bag drills, to be able to jog, to be able to run a little bit harder, to be able to sprint, to be able to jump and do all things, you rebuild your mechanics from the ground up, and that's something I did. It's something I'm continuing to do. Last year, I felt when I was on the field I was just playing and reacting. I had been working so hard for the previous 20 years I'd been playing football to get there. It's something I've started over on and continued to build. It's keeping two hands on the ball, movement in the pocket, the length of the steps in your drop, and the balance between both feet in the pocket. So it's a number of different things. There are not one or two things I'm working on. It's the whole position of playing quarterback.
Q: Has that surprised you, or did you know that would be the case?CP:
The doctors told me, and the trainers told me. I was working on mechanics in March, essentially. I wasn't moving a whole lot, but I was doing different drills and working on different muscles when I'm standing back there on the back foot in the pocket, waiting on a slant to come across the outside defender. It's something I worked on from the beginning of my rehab and something I'll continue to work on this year going into next year.
Q: This week is the 10-month anniversary of the injury. Do you think people forget it's only 10 months?CP:
It really doesn't matter. People want to talk about mechanics and label something as what my problem is, what this team's problem is. Everybody's looking for something to point at. In my eyes, I'm not worried about a certain month, I'm not worried about where I am, and I'm not worried about what people think. I'm going to continue to keep working and getting better and getting to where I was in previous years and the beginning years of my career. I don't even think about the knee injury anymore. I'm not worried about that. I'm just worried about the opposing team on the schedule, and that's about it.
Q: Why is Chad Johnson's production down?CP:
I keep getting this question, and I keep saying I wish I had an answer. I wish I had a quick fix for it. He's our star player. He's our go-to guy offensively, and he's a guy people have been keying on and trying to take out of games and have done so. If there was a quick answer, we'd have already done it and his production would be up. We keep trying to find ways to get him the ball. We keep working on it.
Q: How similar is the Chargers defense to what you've seen lately?CP:
They're really not similar at all. The only similarities are they line up in a 3-4. As far as what they're doing behind it, they're a lot different than what we've seen in the past. Some of the things they do up front are also different from the way Pittsburgh and the way Baltimore plays their 3-4. So there really aren't a whole lot of similarities.
Q: Do you have a sense that defenders are coming after your lower body?CP:
I think I might recognize it more because of what's happened, but looking back at before the knee injury; I wasn't recognizing it at all. I'm sure it happened a lot. I haven't gone back and looked at last year's film and compared it game-to-game to this film, but I have recognized and realized it's been going on this year.
Q: Do you think about it on the field when a guy comes at your legs?CP:
No. I'm not focused on that. I'm focused on what's going on downfield. I'm not focused on anniversaries or a 10-month period or anything like that.
Q: How good is their defense without Shawne Merriman?CP:
It's still good. Merriman is a beast back there. His suspension couldn't have come at a better time for us, personally. But it's still a very good defense. There are still a lot of playmakers. They play well as a unit. They're very well coached and well disciplined. They're a different team with Merriman out there, but they're still a very good defense.
Q: Are you amazed by everyone studying your every move on film?CP:
Not really. This is the NFL. There's way more media outlets than there needs to be. When you have that scenario, everybody is looking for something to talk about. Whether they're right or wrong, I haven't really seen it myself. But when there's as much media out there as there is, they're going to find something to talk about.
Q: Have you tried moving Chad around in order to get him the ball?CP:
Yeah, we've tried some different things. We change some things up from week to week, and we will continue to do so and keep looking for chances to get him the ball. And people keep playing him the way they're playing him, we need to keep trying to go at T.J. and Chris (Henry), and get Chris Perry mixed in and run, and do a whole bunch of different things to get Chad open.