Q: Were you disappointed with the way the offense played? CP:
Disappointed isn't the right word. The fantasy leaguers are the last thing on my mind going into or coming out of a game. It all got washed away, but a win is a win in this league. That's something we talked about in the locker room after the game. It's not always going to be pretty. There are going to be some ugly wins.
The media is going to blow it up and talk about how ugly it was, but a win is a win. At the end of the year, it doesn't matter how many yards you had offensively. As long as you have a 'W' that's all that matters. As hard as it is to do that in this league, as competitive as every team is, you have to be happy with a win. But in saying that, offensively we have a high standard for ourselves. When we don't go out there and move the ball and score every time, we are a little bit down, or a little beat up.
I wouldn't say 'disappointed' when we don't go out there and move the ball up and down the field like we want to. The offensive line feeds off that. They feed off Rudi (Johnson) ripping off 25 yards here, eight yards here, 12 yards here. They feed off Chad (Johnson) catching 20 yard dig routes. We weren't disappointed, but we do expect better of ourselves and more of ourselves.
Q: What was it that prevented you from being the offense that you are?CP:
A couple of miscues. I missed Chad on a touchdown pass. A lot of it was their defense, which played well. They have a solid front seven and a good, strong front four of guys. Their linebackers are fast. They scrape off blockers and come downhill very fast. In the secondary they have two ex-Pro Bowlers, two good safeties. It was a combination of us not being perfect on some plays and them playing good defensive football.
Q: Was there a first-game uncertainty?CP:
Yeah, they had a couple wrinkles for us, just like every team, just like we did. We had a couple things we hadn't shown in preseason. With them having a different coaching staff with a new head coaching staff, they had a couple of wrinkles that took us awhile to figure out. But later on we gashed them with Tab (Perry) for a 40-yard completion. You win some, you lose some and that's how this game is played.
Q: Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel called this game a mine-field game with the "lowly Browns coming to town":CP:
That's what he's hoping. Our mindset is that we don't care what happened last week, we're not worried about next week, and we're worried about this week. We are taking it one game at a time. Cleveland is on the schedule now. We don't know who's on the schedule next week. We don't know who was on it last week. We are worried about who we have to play this Sunday.
Q: How do you counter Cleveland's game plan of last year of taking away a certain aspect of the offense, which was the downfield pass?CP:
They did a good job. Defensively, with Ted Washington and Willie McGinest, they have some leadership, some veterans. With Kamerion Wimbley coming off the edge for them, they have a very solid defense. They did a good job last year and they've only gotten better since. We need to bring our 'A' game to the stadium and play great to beat this team.
Q: It seems like they tried to take away the long ball:CP:
They took a lot away. They did a lot defensively, and we were fortunate to come up with a winning drive at the end of the game. They mixed it up a little bit and did some good things to slow us down offensively. We need to find ways to attack that this week.
Q: What does Cleveland do well in the red zone and what the difficulties for the offense in general in scoring while in the red zone?CP:
We haven't studied the red zone as much as we'd like right now. When you get down there, you just have a shorter field. When you're on your own 20-yard line, the defense has to cover 90 yards. When you're on their 15-yard line, they only have to defend 25 yards. It makes it difficult. It makes windows smaller, it makes holes smaller. You don't have as much time to hold on to the ball, you're looking downfield, they can bring different pressures, and they're not covering as much field. Red zone is obviously a lot more difficult than moving the ball any other place on the field. They have good scheme. We need to do a good job of attacking that and finding things that work for us.
Q: Is T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) playing?CP:
I'm hoping. I haven't talked to him much or heard anything about it, but I'm hoping he is.
Q: Talk a little about Rudi scoring from 15-plus yards out?CP:
Rudi can do that. He's done it for the past 3 years. He's had 15-yard scoring runs and has done a good job getting in the end zone when it gets tight, and we'll continue to rely on him.
Q: What do you expect from Leigh Bodden on Chad Johnson?CP:
He's done a great job covering so far. Chad's up the challenge, I know that, he's excited about it.
Q: How much did you miss T.J.?CP:
Anytime you have a starter out, it affects you and you miss him. But the good thing is, especially receiver-wise, we have a lot of guys just waiting for their opportunity. Kelley Washington came in and played great. He blocked great all game and did a great job picking up the no-huddle stuff, and that's the third position he's played. It's tough anytime you don't have a starter in there, but we have a deep offensive team and have a lot of guys just waiting for their opportunity.
Q: Have you heard from Trent Green?CP:
I have not.
Q: Do you think Geathers' hit was a fineable offense?CP:
I don't think it is. From what I saw, it looked like Robert was kind of getting chop-blocked at the end, fell into him. I said before that Robert's not a malicious player. He doesn't take cheap shots. He's an honest football player, and I think it was an honest play. He's going in trying to get a tackle. Football is football. Bad things happen sometimes. Good things happen sometimes. Unfortunately, something bad happened for Trent. We're all praying for him and hoping he recovers. I did see something on the news (that) he'll be back in a couple of weeks, which is good. We're just glad that he's conscious again and he's coming around.
Q: Do you understand passion of Kansas City fans over the hit?CP:
No question. When it's your own player, especially being a home opener at that place with the fans the way they are, there were a lot of boos. There were a lot of fans that weren't happy with it and wanted a flag at least. But that's just having good fans. Your fans back you up, your fans support you, and they were supporting Trent.
Q: Are you expecting Bengals fans to be fired up for the opener?CP:
Before kickoff, I was looking around the stadium, and they have all these signs up that say the NFL's best fans. And I heard how loud it got. It was definitely a great atmosphere, but it gets just as loud here in our place. We don't need to brag about our fans being the best. We don't put signs up about having the No. 1 fans. I think we all understand and our fans know that they're the best and the loudest. You hear so much going into that Kansas City game about how loud it was, but I think it gets just as loud out here, if not louder than it does at Arrowhead Stadium.
Q: How much of play-calling Sunday was dictated by having confidence in the defense? CP:
We have a lot more confidence in the defense. They've taken a lot of heat in the past, and they've improved. We leaned on them a lot. It ended up being defensively-won football game, in my eyes. We didn't have to do a whole lot offensively, when you hold a team to 10 points. And we'll be leaning on them all year to play the way they did last Sunday.
Q: Would you have said that a year ago or two years ago?CP:
I wouldn't have been as excited to play. We definitely struggled offensively and defensively a couple of years ago. We've come a long way since then, and defensively we've come a long way. Last year, I was just as confident as I am this year, the way they got turnovers last year and played. And I think they're only going to get better as this year goes on.
Q: Is it important to be able to control the ball the way you did Sunday with a lead?CP:
Definitely. When you've got some bigger, veteran guys like big Sam Adams, Bryan Robinson and some of the big guys that are playing at (their) best when they're on the field the whole game ... When we go out there and have an 8, or 10-minute drive, those guys get to rest and come out there and be 100 percent and be fresh and be able to get off the ball and get to the quarterback. It shows a lot if you can control the ball, our defense will come out and get after their quarterback and offense.