Definitely. They're a championship team. A team a lot of people have respected for a long time. We've respected them, admired the way they play, and admire the way they stick together as a team and come back. For me personally, I have a chance to watch Tom Brady and compete against him. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Q: They run different defensive fronts:CP:
Definitely. They change things up from week to week. They do a great job of scheming against other teams' offenses. Coach Belichick is famous for that. They've shown a ton of different things so far this year and in the past. They threw a wrinkle in before the Super Bowl against Philadelphia. Whether they use three, four, or five down linemen against us depends on what their plan of attack is against us. All we can do is prepare for everything and hope we cover all of our bases.
Q: They couldn't stop you in 2004. Does that give you confidence?CP:
That was a couple years back. It's a new defense with new guys, new faces, and new numbers. They have a couple guys still around. But what you've done in the past is over with. We're worried about what we're going to do this year. They said we were stopping ourselves with mistakes. They still beat us because they won the game. We turned the ball over. We're not looking back on anything in the past. I remember that year it was a big deal that we beat them in the preseason. That's in the past and this is a new team. They're going to have a bunch of new looks for us and we have to be ready for them.
Q: Are they still the measuring stick in NFL?CP:
I think so a little bit. But as much turnover as there is in this league, the measuring stick right now is the Pittsburgh Steelers. There's so much turnover and change from year to year that I think the defending Super Bowl champs are the measuring stick. But they're a great organization and have done a lot of great
things. They're still a phenomenal football team with a lot of leadership and a lot of veterans who've won a lot of games.
Q: What impresses you about Tom Brady?CP:
Obviously the way he manages games and controls a game is one of his strengths. Another big strength of his that I admire is the way he stands in the pocket and moves around and doesn't look to run. He's always waiting and then getting rid of the ball. He's got amazing presence for what's going on around him as he's looking downfield. He's always knowing if someone's behind him, or coming downhill at him. He knows how to move and how to find somebody who's
gotten open. I think it's mainly his pocket presence and game management.
Q: How is your chemistry with Eric Ghiaciuc?CP:
It's going good. That was our second game, and this will be our third game playing together. I'm confident in him and I think he's confident in me. There's going to be miscues. There were a couple of miscues here and there. But there are miscues with 10-year veteran centers. I think he's done a really good job. To play against a Pro Bowl nose guard like Casey Hampton and do well will give him some confidence in this game. He's going to see Richard Seymour and a bunch of guys up front who are good players. I have all the confidence I need in him, and he'll do a good job this week.
Q: Whose defense is harder to prepare for, Bill Belichick or Dick LeBeau?CP:
That's a tossup. Both of those guys do a great job of taking something away. That's what we're expecting. A lot of people automatically assume it's Chad Johnson. You just don't know. They change it up so well. It could be Chad Johnson or it could be Rudi Johnson. It could be T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Both of them are veteran coaches. I can't say one of them is better than the other. They're two of the best in the league at what they do.
Q: Is Marvin doing here what Bill Belichick did there in building a team for the long haul?CP:
No question. It's been something that's fun to see and I'm fortunate to be part of. A guy like Rudi Johnson who's a late draft pick and a guy who was making league minimum, all of a sudden breaks organization records and has a phenomenal year and they keep him around. TJ Houshmandzadeh, a seventh-round draft pick, had close to 1000 yards going into the last year of his contract and we keep him around. There are a lot of guys – Levi Jones, Willie Anderson -that if you prove yourself to this organization, they're going to respect that and take care of you and keep you around. That's something the Patriots have done with the three Super Bowl wins and the dynasty everybody talks about. It's something that our organization has done a good job following and other organizations are jumping onboard and doing that.
Q: Is it becoming the Bengal way to get the role players here?CP:
We've got a lot of guys that understand their role on this team. The guy that always comes to my head first is always Reggie Kelly. He's a great player, a great pass catcher, and a great run blocker. He's good at everything he does but he doesn't get a lot of recognition. He doesn't get a lot of balls. He doesn't get a lot of touchdowns. But he understands his role on the team and he's fine with that. He understands he's not going to be the guy catching a ton of balls and going to the Pro Bowl. He understands he's a workhorse who's behind the team doing his job.
Q: Have you talked to Chad after the 1-catch game and say you're still looking for him?CP:
Yeah, I think he understands that. He was saying something after the game about how he's getting frustrated because of how good he is. That's not his role on the team at all, to be a decoy. He's a guy we're always trying to get the ball to, even when he's double or triple covered. But like I said after the game, he
has done a good job of controlling his emotions. Some games he's going to catch a bunch of balls, some days he's not going to catch a bunch of balls. I think he's matured a lot and will continue to do so. He's an emotional guy. He needs confidence from other guys around him. He needs a high-five or a pat on the back for good job blocking today but next week is going to be different. Next week we're going to get you the ball. That's something I think everybody on this team realizes, and he does, too.
Q: As a role model, how disturbing are these off-field incidents?CP:
To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about the situation. I caught something on the news and heard a couple guys talking about it. But I don't have any comment on it. I'm not informed well enough to know exactly what happened. I can't comment on that.
Q: Are there enough leaders in the clubhouse to guide the young guys?CP:
Definitely. There are plenty of leaders in this clubhouse to overcome one or two mishaps with guys. We have a lot of guys who've been on other teams, and on other championship teams. We have a lot of guys who've been here a long time – Richie Braham, Willie Anderson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Chad Johnson – who've seen what didn't work and now they're starting to see what works. I think we've got a couple guys who've gotten mixed up and made bad decisions. In no way will that affect the rest of this team or any other individual players.
Q: How do you keep it from affecting the team or other players?CP:
This isn't a team issue. It's not something that's happening with the majority of our team. We've had a couple guys who've had one or two or more run-ins with the law. It's not something that affects the entire team in that way. A couple guys have made a couple of mistakes and they've been talked to and dealt with by some of the veterans. You don't worry about it. You worry about yourself and doing your job. If someone else is affecting your job, something needs to be said. But I don't see this being a problem for this team.
Q: Is it frustrating having to talk about this?CP:
Yeah it is. It comes down to decision-making. Coach Lewis is fed up with harping on Odell Thurman about doing the right thing at the right time and not being at the wrong place at the wrong time. At some point, I think Marvin's done with it. I saw him clear out his locker. I think everybody saw that and realized at some point you're not going to get a second chance, a third chance, or a fourth chance.
Q: Have you tried to talk to Chris Henry?CP:
I've talked to him. I think a lot of people have talked to him. He's just a guy who's been in the wrong place at the wrong time a couple times. This is another incident of that. I just hope he learns his lesson, moves on and continues to make plays on the field.
Q: How do you explain the 10 sacks in the past two games?CP:
I'd say out of 10 sacks at least half the sacks are my fault. I need to do a better job of realizing there's nothing here, and there's nothing more that can be made of this play. We did a great job last year and we've had a couple issues here and there but it's nothing that is worrying us or our offensive line. Some games you get sacked more than others. There have been games I haven't gotten hit. Some of those games are tough games. There are other games I get hit on every throw and we end up winning. It's not something I'm worried about. It is a higher number than we're used to around here, but I'd say at least half of the sacks are my fault. I need to do a better job of realizing they've got us on that play and throw it away or go down early.