Q: On playing at Kansas City: CP:
It's a chance to go and play in one of the great places to play, Arrowhead Stadium. It's going to be exciting, and it's going to be fun.
Q: How did Trent Green help you?CP:
He was encouraging. He called me a lot. He always had some helpful insight. He talked to coach (Ken) Zampese a couple of times about some drills that I could be doing, things that he did. He just encouraged me to keep working hard and that nobody can set limits on your rehab, and that nobody can tell you when you're ready. You're going to be ready when you're ready. Work as hard as you possibly can, and try to get to that date. He was a very encouraging guy and somebody that I looked up to for a long time for how he has played in this league and how he came back from the same injury.
Q: Did you know him before he called? CP:
Q: Did he ever say anything to the effect that he wanted to see you out there on September 10?CP:
He was just encouraging and positive. He's a competitor himself. Like a lot of quarterbacks in this league, you want to play against a team when they're healthy and all their starters are in. And he's up to the challenge and a competitor in that way.
Q: How surprising was it that a guy you'd never met would do that? CP:
It's awesome. It's something that has stuck with me, knowing that I went through that situation, and he and a couple of guys helped me out. It made me realize I need to be doing the same thing for other guys who get hurt or guys like Roethlisberger who gets in an accident. It just helps you being a young quarterback in this league and looking up to guys like (Green) who have been around a long time, 12 to 14 years. He's a veteran and definitely a leader.
Q: What about the knee? CP:
The knee is a non-issue.
Q: Snaps are the other issue:CP:
I feel ready to play. I've gotten a lot of reps in the preseason and training camp.
Q: Will it be different this time?CP:
They've been one of the top teams in this league for a long time, a playoff team. Everybody knows what they can do offensively and the way they run the
ball. We left that stadium with a bad taste in our mouth. Fortunately it wasn't a game that really affected us in the postseason, and we knew that going into it. These guys are going to give us their best shot, and in order for us to beat them, we're going to have to play our best football. We have a little bit of a dirty taste in our mouth and know what it felt like to walk off that field getting our butts whipped last time.
Q: Is this the week you celebrate the recovery?CP:
To be honest, I really haven't thought about it. I'm not celebrating anything. I'm just getting ready to play a football game.
Q: Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play:CP:
It's definitely in the top five places to beat an opponent in. It's a bowl stadium, so the noise just echoes throughout the stadium. There's not an open
end to it where the noise can release. They have phenomenal fans that are into the game. With all the communication we do offensively and defensively, we're going to need to be at our best. It's going to be fun. We love as an offense trying to make people quiet.
Q: Are the fans' goals of the Bengals winning the Super Bowl unrealistic? CP:
Going through practice, in every one, we've gotten better. Every preseason game we made strides. This city won't be satisfied unless we're in the Super Bowl and that's the same feeling we have in this locker room.
Q: Kansas City's offensive line has slumped. Where does that rank your offensive line?CP:
I think we slide right into the spot where they were. They've been banged up. Will Shields retired. Everyone probably considered them the top or one of the the top, and now our offensive line, now that they've had a couple of
guys go down, slide right into that spot.
Q: Talk a little about their cornerbacks:CP:
They're both ex-Pro Bowlers and have been around a while. They both have been at the top of the league (Patrick Surtain and Ty Law).
Q: Is it too early to say that this is a more mature team than last year?CP:
We have the additions of Sam Adams, who's been to a Super Bowl, and Dexter Jackson, who has also been to a Super Bowl. Defensively we have some guys who have been there, done that, been successful and understand what it takes. Offensively, we have had guys like Willie (Anderson), and Richie (Braham) who have been around a long time and seen a lot. They understand that they are the leaders of this team, the elders. We are a much more mature, and experienced team.
Q: Do you sense an eagerness to get things started this week?CP:
In week one, every coach is saying 'start fast.' Everyone wants to get out to a 1-0 start. We are no exception to that. We want to get out and get that first win underneath our belt and move on.
Q: What did a fast start mean for this team last year?CP:
I think it propelled us all the way until the end of the season. Getting out to 4-0 early, and then 7-2 at one point, that just gave us everything we needed to move on through the rest of the year and win our division. If anything, you gain a lot of confidence from getting out to a fast early start.
Q: Has Chad (Johnson) been any different this year?CP:
I think with another year under his belt, he's a little more experienced, a little more mature.
Q: Is this what you anticipated four years ago, getting all this attention and high expectations?CP:
Coming into the NFL from college football, you don't know what to expect. You expect a lot of hype, seeing people dance in the end zone, seeing the money that people make, and all the things you're allowed to do compared to college. You have high expectations, and I haven't been let down at all. Everything that I've experienced with this organization and this league is what you expect the NFL to be all about.
Q: Do you view your offense as possibly the best in football?CP:
I don't think so. Not yet. We want to be there and we expect to be there. There is still Kansas City's offense, and there is still Indianapolis' offense. There are a lot of teams that run the ball extremely well or pass the ball extremely well. We view ourselves to be and expect ourselves to hopefully be the best all around offense, as far as running, and passing the ball. We have the weapons and the coaching to get us into the right situations and right system. Now it's up to us to execute. Hopefully at the end of the year we can be one of the top offenses.
Q: Is your conditioning to the point where you can run the no-huddle like you did last year?CP:
Yes. I've been working extremely hard trying to get my cardiovascular back up and get back into football shape. I am there now.
Q: Has your timing been rekindled with your receivers?CP:
Q: Do you think Chad (Johnson) has worked on channeling his emotion this offseason?CP:
Yes. I think that's one of the things that make Chad who he is and the receiver that he is. He's got so much energy and he wants the ball so bad. He wants to make big plays in critical points of games. You don't want to channel that completely out. That energy and emotion is what makes him one of the best receivers in the league. There are certain points where his emotions get the best of him. That's something that he has worked hard at, and recognized that he's needed to change. Hopefully he's there.
Q: Is it too early to tell?CP:
You won't know until you get in a critical point in the season or in a game. From everything I've seen so far, he's done a great job of handling that. I think he's going to stay on himself.
Q: Have you ever pulled him aside and talked to him about it?CP:
Q: On the uncharacteristic drop in the last preseason game, is that why you went right back to him?CP:
Chad's not a guy to fumble or drop balls. It rarely happens and when it does, I tell him he owes me one and now you've got to make a great play for me. He made a great catch running down the sideline, staying in bounds, and getting hit. I think that is one of the tests for a great football player is how you respond. After a fumble or a dropped ball, there is only one way to respond and that's making a great play, and he did.
Q: What does Chris Henry bring to the offense, and how much are you going to miss Chris Perry on third downs?CP:
Chris Henry is just a playmaker. He's got the speed to stretch the defenses. He's 6-5 and towers over cornerbacks. I think he's the missing link on this offense. When people are trying to take Chad away, you can't leave Chris and T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) on the other side alone one on one because Chris will beat you. We're expecting him to grow this year. We have extremely high expectations for him and he has really high expectations for himself.
As far as Chris Perry, he is a dynamic back who can do so many things offensively with blocking, and getting out of the backfield and catching balls. The other guys are going to have to step up. Kenny Watson has got a big role this week like he does every week, special teams and offensively. We're going to lean on him now.