BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
SEPT. 20, 2015
SAN DIEGO AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"It was a good win for us — one (in which) offense, defense and special teams all made good plays. We kept playing, and hung in there, and stayed ahead throughout the game, which was a good thing. The key elements ... We've obviously got to take care of the football better than we did today with the fumbles, particularly by our backs. We've got to do a better job that way. Defensively, we had a breakdown there at the end we can't have, especially in that situation. We've got to learn how to protect the score and protect the lead. We've just got to keep going ... It's early, it was a good football game — another good opportunity for us to learn from moving forward, and I think that's the best part of it. We've got a lot of stuff we can keep coaching and correct, and continue to reinforce, which is good."
It looked like the guys on the defensive line were very active, more so as the game went on ...
"We gave up some runs with the draw early on, which we've got to do a better job of. We settled down and started to play those a little better, and got a little better feel for it, then we were able to get them in situations where we could rush the passer, and our guys did a good job."
How important was that, so you guys didn't have to manufacture pressure?
"We started again — we had the same thing going a year ago. We've got to keep it going throughout the year. That's a big one."
How close is Geno Atkins to being where he was a couple of years ago?
"I can't measure that."
Do you feel you left some points out there?
"Oh, we left some points."
Is that more encouraging or discouraging?
"Well, it's encouraging. It's encouraging, and we've got to keep going. We did some things better this week than we did a week ago in that position, so we've just got to keep going and keep hammering at it. We missed a couple throws by inches, and we had to settle for field goals a couple times, and we miss one field goal, so there's a lot of opportunity for scoring that we let get away from us that we can keep getting at."
Was it that Giovani Bernard got hot, or Jeremy Hill's fumbles ...
"We had a little combination of both. Gio was carrying the ball, but we can't have a back fumbling the football either. Jeremy's a talented young player, and we've got to keep the football. That wasn't part of his deal last year, and we can't let it creep in."
Is this the best one-two punch at running back you've ever had?
"(Laughs) I don't know. There's a few years when I started out here we had Corey Dillon and Rudi Johnson. Corey Dillon was pretty doggone good."
Nice to see Jake Fisher get in there and make that catch with a few yards after ...
"Yeah, it was a good job by Jake, obviously finishing the play and making the play — making the catch. He's a good athlete and catches the ball well. It will help us as we go down the road, the fact that they have to make sure they account for him."
How big of a lift was it after going three-and-out to start the game to get the ball right back after the muffed punt return by Keenan Allen of San Diego?
"It was big. It just kind of gave us that momentum (we needed) and we took advantage of it and scored. A.J. (Green) made a big catch there and (it was a) big play. That's what you want to do. If there's a sudden change in the game, you want to take advantage of it and that's what we were able to do."
How big was Giovani Bernard to today's win especially considering he likely didn't expect to get that much playing time?
"Gio's always ready to go and Gio's so electric with the ball. You never know what's going to happen when he's got it. He stepped up and played real big today. He works real hard and I'm happy for him. He deserves it."
You talked a lot in the preseason about the all the different weapons that you have — did you ever expect one of those weapons to be a rookie offensive lineman in no. 74, Jake Fisher?
"That was a good play design and that was just part of it, just what we do. That was a big play at the big time in the game."
Were you expecting him to be that open or is that just the way the play is drawn up?
"That's exactly how you want it to look; I don't think we even got that good of a look (at that play) in practice. That's just a credit to the play design."
When you play a veteran quarterback like Philip Rivers, do you feel an extra responsibility to be even more precise in your play because you know what he's capable of doing during a game?
"Definitely — even if they got the ball on that last drive, you never know what's going to happen. Philip has had a ton of comebacks — I think he did it last week, too — so you never know what's going to happen. I was happy for our defense. They played big at a big time, with Vinny Rey's interception at the end of the game. It's a big team win."
How is it having wide receiver Marvin Jones back in the rotation?
"It's big. We feel like we've got a lot of different guys and Marvin fits right in. For there to be a year without football for him and then come back, he's doing some really good things for us. He's a weapon for us and it showed on the touchdown catch he had today."
You were really animated after that final touchdown today — is that something you're trying to do more of in being animated or is that typical from you?
"Yeah. It's who I am, and it's an emotional game and at that point, it was a big score for us because we had to have it there and it's just part of how I am."
You've been 2-0 before, but it makes a huge difference, no? A lot of guys in the locker room have talked about how hard it is to win in this league ...
"You look at the schedule and see how things go and you want to start fast, not just with the schedule but getting wins and our goal was to be 2-0 and that's where we're at and next week, our goal is to be 3-0."
When San Diego beat Detroit last week, all three touchdowns came on one-on-one coverage. Did they have trouble trying to double-cover you guys today?
"There were different times where they would do different things to try to take different guys away (from the play); it wasn't like they were just singled up all the time. But I think when you try to take away one guy and double him, it leaves other potential guys with one-on-one (situations). Guys made big plays."
How did you mix power running with the zone blocking — was it just a mix of everything?
"It's just our offense. We have different things that we can do. We have a good mix of everything."
Jeremy Hill looked like he was really down on himself body language wise on the sidelines ... Did you say anything to him after his fumble?
"Yeah, definitely. You never know what's going to happen in a game and it's unfortunate for him, but we can't turn the ball over, fumble the ball ... I know he's disappointed that that happened. But you've got to keep him into it because you never know what's going to happen in a game where he could come in and he could be a big player for us and help us win the game and that's what I told him. I said, 'Regardless of what happened, keep your head in it because you're going to help us win this game.'"
Marvin talked about leaving points on the table — can you talk about the opportunities you guys missed today and how that will motivate you as you move forward?
"It was a tough win for us and offensively, there's a couple throws I really wish I could have back. We had chances to score touchdowns and we had to settle for field goals. That falls on my shoulders. But we did enough today to get the win and that's all that matters."
Can you break down the touchdown throw to tight end Tyler Eifert?
"It was one of those things where the way they played it, he left a lane in the back of the end zone and I was able to throw it to — we had a couple of those today. A.J. did a really good job of getting two feet in (on his touchdown catch) and so did Tyler. There's just an area they kind of left open and Tyler made a big catch."
Is this a win that a veteran team wins as it was close but there was never a time where it felt like you guys were on the verge of losing?
"Yeah. I think the big thing is when we had the turnovers on offense, the defense picked us up and I don't think they scored off the turnovers (we had) if I'm right. But that's what we expect. It's a team game. It's not always going to be what the offense is doing; the defense is going to help out and it's the same thing where if the defense is struggling the offense is going to pick them up and that's what happened today."
What did you say to Fisher after his reception?
"Make him miss, get in the end zone, score. I mean come on!"
Eifert had nine catches last week but it took until the second quarter to get him one today. Can you talk about how you're going to have to adapt as teams pick up on what you do as an offense and who you like to target.
"That's the one thing I said to Tyler earlier this week. I said 'Everyone's going to expect you have nine catches for 100 yards every week and it's not always going to be that way.' Different guys are going to get involved and it's not always going to be Tyler; the next week it could be Mo(hammed Sanu), it could be A.J., it could be Marv(in Jones) and that's what's so good about this team — we've got a lot of different weapons."
That last play, a lot of guys in the room were talking about your interception being a big moment. Do you like those moments as a defense?
"Going against this offense with a minute or less than a minute left — it's a high-powered offense — you're looking to see what the running back and receivers are going to do. I was just doing my job on the defense because I know everyone's counting on me to do my job — go out, (jump high), catch the ball and hold on to it."
You did get up a little bit, didn't you?
"A little bit."
Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd is 6-foot-5 and you high-pointed the ball on him, and he's trying to reverse roles on you and you tucked that thing away ...
"Wow, I'm going to have to see that on tape."
You were deep, then took a tremendous drop and undercut the ball a little bit?
"All week we were practicing getting in a little deep work in against this offense while at the same time trying to get Danny (Woodhead) on the check-downs. They make it pretty hard on you with the underneath plays, and they were taking advantage of us throughout the game. We finished well out there, being able to get another turnover. It's tough to get a win against a team like this, so we're glad to get the win."
It seemed like on the interception you lost it for a second and then cradled it in your right arm. Is that how it worked?
"I just know I went and got it and somebody hit me. I knew if I caught it the game was over. I'm just glad I was able to hold on to it, man. Glad these hands could be put to use."
Did you lose your breath after you fell like that?
"I couldn't breathe for a little bit, and my backside was a little hurt — it's bruised. But I knew the game was over. I'm thankful."
When you're announced as eligible, do you read the defense to see where they're gauging you?
"Not really. I just see the formation and get lined up, and from there make our goal."
Is your goal this year a touchdown?
"We'll see what happens."
How does catching a pass compare thrill-wise?
"I was excited. It's a special opportunity for me to be here, and a blessing to be here today. If I can be used in any way as a type of a threat, I'm happy to do it."
You guys ran the ball really well today ...
"The whole line did a great job and the running backs played really hard. It's incredible."
Did you have a feeling they might try that today throwing you the ball?
"We were practicing it all week. I'm just excited to get the chance."
You were wide open and the ball's coming at you. What are you thinking?
"Catch the ball. That's about it — set it up for more opportunities in the future and see what happens."
How good did it feel to get out there and be the workhorse?
"We came out to win. At the end of the day, that's the biggest thing. I just want to win the game."
What about you personally — to get over 100 yards rushing and be the guy when you needed a pickup in the backfield ...
"When the opportunity arises, that's the biggest thing for anybody. Anybody out there with opportunities, go ahead and just do what you do."
This team now starts 2-0. Obviously it's a long season, but it's tough to get wins in this league and it's important to get wins like this one ...
"The same thing happened last year when we started off 3-0. We've just got to stay on track and don't let things like this steer us away from the right path. We are 2-0, but we've got to keep going out there playing hard."
It seems like this team is playing with a lot of confidence through the first two weeks ...
"Confidence is a huge thing for everybody. Once you have that confidence, everything else just kind of falls in place. Andy (Dalton) is doing a good job conducting us around, and we've got guys up front pushing the way for us."
How big was Giovani Bernard with what you were trying to do today?
"He was great. He breaks runs that nobody's ever seen. He fits in tight windows and we know he has that ability to finish. He makes us be on our game because we know he has that home-run ability. Having him in there is a big spark, and that's what he always does. It's nothing new. He's been doing that for awhile."
Can you speak to getting off to a 2-0 start?
"When you win you're confident. That's just flat out how it is. Obviously, going on the road and then winning the first game at home, it's great. It gives us the extra motivation to keep pushing and keep working, and going back to the drawing board and coming out next week doing the same things. It's a long season, and we know it. If we play it game-by-game, play-by-play, we're going to end up good."
You had a step, maybe two steps on the touchdown catch, but the ball came in there nice ...
"We had a great look. And I had the easy part — to just run up under it."
You had a lot of success running the ball today. What was the key?
"Having the opportunity to keep putting them in bad situations, you keep the defense guessing a little bit. I think we did a good job of that, and Gio (Bernard) did a great job of making the extra guy miss. We knew it was going to be a challenge — that they were always going to have eight down there in a box, and our running backs were going to be challenged to make that guy miss."
You've said before that missed opportunities are encouraging in that the opportunity is there and guys are in the right position, you just need to make the play. Is that your line of thinking?
"Yeah. When you miss an opportunity, it was one that you left out there. But you don't really spend a lot of time thinking about that. We're just out there doing whatever we can to win the football game. If there's 20 missed opportunities and we still win the game, we're happy. It's not easy to win in this league, and to go out there and get a win against a really good Chargers team is good."
At one point, Andy Dalton had thrown to nine different receivers. How nice is it to have that many options?
"We understand that we have a lot of good players on the offensive side of the ball, and the defensive side of the ball, but you never know who is going to break out or have a good game. It's good to have a lot of good players to give the defenses a lot of things to worry about."
On the touchdown catch, did you know pretty well where your feet were?
"I knew I was in when I looked down, but I was looking back for so long that I wasn't really sure where I was. Some of the guys made fun of me for patting my feet so many times, but I guess it's better to have too many feet in than not enough (laughs)."
Giovani Bernard had a big day today that came on a bunch of consistent chunks of yardage. What did you think of his performance?
"That's the type of back he is. He's a grinder. He's not as big as a lot of people, but he's stout. He can be an every-down back in the league."
Andy Dalton has a passer rating of more than 120 through two games. Describe his performance so far this season ...
"Andy's a great quarterback. He gets us in great position to score. He's not going to make any big mistakes. He's playing great. If we keep making plays whenever our number is called, we'll play even better. We left some points out there, but it was a good win."
Your touchdown seemed like a play where you had the height advantage and Andy Dalton put the pass in a good spot, and the defender didn't have a chance ...
"We do that every day in practice — give me a chance, and I'll go make the play. It's as simple as that."
You guys are 2-0. How do you feel through two weeks?
"We feel good. We have to keep our heads down and keep grinding. We have a lot of good teams coming up on our schedule, so it's going to be a tough stretch through the bye week. We have to keep pushing."
When your defensive line is as active as it was today, how much does that help?
"It helps us tremendously. We have to stay away from injuries. But if those guys continue to play like that, I don't see anything but bright things for us. The sky is the limit right now, especially with how well they're playing."
When you watch Philip Rivers on film, how does it compare to being out there in real time against a veteran quarterback?
"You've just got to be smart, stay poised, follow your keys, play within the defense, and just go out there and want it more than they do — more than their receivers. He does a great job of getting those guys open, but I feel like we did a great job of minimizing a lot of their plays."
Was the touchdown pass a communication issue?
"It was a communication issue."
A lot of people in the stands remember the sting of the playoff loss to the Chargers in the 2013 season. Did you guys want a shot at them?
"Yeah, we did. It was already programmed in our mind: Never forget. They came in, and they shocked us. For us to come out (today) and play well the way we did — the defense played well, the offense moved the ball down the field. We've just got to minimize the turnovers. We got two turnovers, back-to-back, on defense. That's a big positive right now."
Do you enjoy being in situations like that last drive, where you're up against a quarterback like Rivers in crunch time?
"I don't. That's when crazy things happen. Unfortunately we have to go out there and play and stay poised. That's what we did. Nobody was nervous or antsy. Everyone was calm and doing their job."
What are the positives, as far as what both you and Giovani Bernard can do — his strengths and your strengths?
"When we're both clicking, it's a good thing to watch. I'm trying to do my thing, and he's doing his thing. We complement each other well, with two polar opposite styles of running. Anytime we can both get going, it's very good for our offense. We've just got to continue to keep grinding. I'm going to keep pounding. I can't let this (the fumbles) affect me. I'm going to do my thing. I'm just going to be me. That stuff is behind me now. It is what it is. We all know what happened, and it'll get us beat in another game. I've just got to continue to get better."
Is it hard as the game goes on to stand and watch? What's going through your mind?
"Just supporting my teammates and making sure those guys are into the game, and just supporting those guys. If my number was called, I was ready to go."
Did coaches say anything to you after the second fumble?
"No, not at all. They told me to stay ready. Gio obviously did a good job of stepping in there and finishing the game for us. We needed that from him. We were able to overcome my turnovers and win the game. That's all that matters."
On facing Chargers QB Philip Rivers ...
"Coach Jay (Hayes) challenged us earlier in the week to get pressure and get him on the ground. We took it upon ourselves to go out and accept the challenge. I think we did a good job. We were in his face all day. Philip even came up to me and told me, 'You guys are on me.' So I think we did a pretty good job."
Does that motive you when a coach challenges you like that?
"It does, because at the end of the day, we're all family, and we want to do good because it makes our coach look good. When we're all doing good, everybody looks good. It definitely motivates us a little bit, but at the end of the day, it's our job to go out and make plays. Coach put us in position to do that today."
CHARGERS POSTGAME QUOTES
Initial comments ...
"Obviously, against a good opponent it's tough to go out on the road and turn the football over and commit penalties at critical times of the game. That makes it tough to win and beat a good football team. We have to do a better job in both areas there and not turn it over. With the fumble early on the punt return set up a score and then we have got to stop their best players and not let them get in the end zone. It's a long season. We're 1-1 and we'll bounce back. We've got great character on our football team and we fought to the bitter end, but it's all about winning and we didn't make enough plays. We weren't smart enough for four quarters to beat a good team."
Which mistake, looking back, was the toughest?
"They're all critical ... Fortunately, we scored a touchdown and overcame a few penalties, but it's a matter of you've got to be smart against a good football team like this. It's hard enough as it is on the road to win and you can't make the mistakes we made and beat a good football team like that."
Does the type of penalty — holding, personal fouls — make it worse?
"Those are avoidable penalties. There's going to be a holding penalty, it's going to happen in a game. Those types of penalties are dumb penalties if you ask me."
Are these the types of mistakes a young team can learn from this early in the year?
"We'll be fine. We'll move on. This game is over and we'll watch the film on the way home. Tomorrow we will move on. We have got a lot of football left. We signed up for the long haul, not one week."
Why not use timeouts at the end of the first half?
"I had a lot of confidence going into our first drive (in the second half). I decided to do what I did."
How do you think the secondary played against Cincinnati's pass catchers?
"We'll evaluate the film and each individual play. I know their main targets made some big plays for them. We've got to try and neutralize those plays. Give them credit too. That's a good football team and they have a lot of talented players. We have got to eliminate big plays."
With the game flow, Melvin Gordon didn't get a chance to finish what he started. What are you seeing from him right now?
"He's getting better every day. That's the goal of the football team, get better every day. Do whatever you can to win a game and improve. I think he's worked extremely hard. But it's 11 guys doing their job. Melvin Gordon is not the only one running the football. There are 10 guys on the field that have to do their job correctly for him to be successful at all. If he doesn't get many yards then look at the 10 guys and what they're doing. That's the big thing. It's 11 guys doing their job and then we'll be successful as an offense, it's not just one player."
When do you expect to get D.J. Fluker back?
"We're going to take the flight back and we'll see as the week goes along. We are going to play the healthiest 46 next week on the road, so we'll get some rehab with a bunch of the guys who are dinged up. That's all part of the year."
That was a very good defensive line. What did you think of Chris Hairston?
"It's hard to answer that right now. I'll look at the whole film and really watch it play-by-play. There is so many things that are going on whether it is offense, defense or special teams, or I'm talking between series. It wouldn't be fair to me to give an opinion yet because I didn't just watch him every play. I know every guy on the team could do better on a few plays."
How do you feel your young guys handled their first road situation?
"They did fine. The preparation was great. We had good meetings and we will evaluate the film to see how they did. Being on the road had nothing to do with it. We have to play better."
What did you see out of your corners?
"Like I said, we'll look at the film and evaluate every play. There is going to be some good and bad. When you're a corner, you're going to get beat from time to time and other days you will shut guys out. You're on an island out there. That's the way the game goes and they understand that."
Did you say anything to Philip Rivers after he got the record-breaker?
"I did not. I was into the situation of the game."
Philip has his trust in Malcom Floyd. That dynamic between those two sure seems strong ...
"They've played an awful lot together. Put blindfolds on the two of them and they would probably complete some balls more often than not. They know each other. Malcom is one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. Like we talked about on the first day of training camp, he's out there with the gunners on the walkthrough. He works for his success and he deserves everything he gets because he works so hard."
Your thoughts on the pressure from Geno Atkins?
"They got back there a few times. I didn't get to check to see who it was. We didn't play very well."
Was communication an issue?
You have traditionally been good on third downs. What happened today?
"They played good defense on third down and we didn't execute well. There were a handful where we were backed up and that made it tougher. We didn't capitalize when we got turnovers."
It seemed like it was a sloppy game on both sides of the ball ...
"Both teams were playing hard. We had some turnovers, they had some. We made some plays and we had a chance to win late in the game. It was a good game. We didn't play great offensively but our defense continued to give us chances."
This is the second straight game where turnovers have caused you to have to play from behind. Does that lessen the margin of error?
"Yes It certainly does. This is too small of a sample size to make a graph at this point."
Did they show you any looks that caught you off guard?
"Nothing that completely surprised us, but a few looks that were different than what we'd seen. Some of our mishaps were due to our inability to execute."
How did you feel about Melvin Gordon's day?
"He looked good. He ran well. I thought he was going to go the distance on a few of those. You keep building and keep going. The last thing we need to do is hang our heads and pout about losing a game in week two. We wish we would've won, but we're going into week three at one-and-one, but there's a lot to build on and a lot to be excited about."
You made history today becoming the Charger to have the most touchdowns in a career ...
"It's humbling to think about. It's not as sweet right now because we lost the game. Once I've had a chance to take a deep breath and look back, I'll be thankful. There's a lot of guys who contributed and had a hand in this record — there's five guys blocking in front of you and fighting like crazy to keep them off of you."
It looked like Stevie Johnson was going to bring the ball to you ...
"I didn't even think about it until Bob Wick brought the ball over and told me congratulations. At that point in the game I was more fired up about trying to find a way to win."
How do you feel about the offensive line play?
"I think they played fine. The ball has to come out of my hand. You don't want to take a couple of those sacks, but you also don't want to turn it over. I'm sure there are some plays that they'll want to clean up."
What are some things in particular that you'll want to build on after today?
"The season is a marathon. It's a long year. We're still building on things we did good in week one. We ran it well at times today. Stevie (Johnson) really looked good. Defensively we forced some turnovers and made some stops. You build on all of those things."
Is that a season long process?
"You try to keep getting better. You only have 60 minutes to decide if you got better and it's based on if you won or lost. It's hard to sit up here and say we got better this week because we lost. I think we'll be better in the next 15 weeks, which is really what matters. Which column are we putting letters in over the next 15 weeks? Today we took the loss."
Do you think you could have tightened up on offense a little?
"We could. They threw some blitz packages at us that we weren't ready for. Like Philip said, we are playing for each other for the whole season — not just these four quarters. We just have to keep that mindset. We have to keep chipping away."
What are the emotions like when the team turns the ball over?
"It's sickening to go out that way. I thought we had the momentum going into that last drive, but things happen. That's why this is the best game. There is so much drama going on — ups and downs — and you just have to deal with it to try and get the win, and sometimes the ball doesn't go your way."
How frustrating was it?
"It was frustrating, but you have to do your best to move on — just forget about it and move on."
How encouraged were you by the way you were able to run the ball today?
"It shows how competitive we are. We never give up, we never give in. We fight to the end. That's just how we are built."
It seems like you are getting better and building ...
"It gets better every game. You get more comfortable every game. The game slows down. You're so into the game, and you're just trying to make plays and score touchdowns. You don't care who scores touchdowns, but you are just trying to get in the end zone and win the game."
How long does the loss stick with you until you move onto the next one?
"It's over now. We're going to watch film and move on. You can't let a team beat you twice — two weeks in a row. We are 1-0, and that's our mentality. We're going to go out there next week, put this game behind us after we watch film, and move on."
How good was the Bengals defensive line?
"They're pretty good. We knew that coming in. They're physical. They're going to get after you every play. We're a tough football team too. That's how we're built. Like I said, we are just as tough as them, and we showed that."
What's the mindset when you get the ball back at the end of the game and Philip Rivers is the quarterback?
"We have a chance. Anytime Philip has the ball, especially in that situation, I feel like he's going to take us down the field. This time, things didn't work out the way we wanted them to. But I know, if we get in that situation again, he's going to make the best of it."
What do you guys have to work on going into next week when you have to face Adrian Peterson?
"We just have to tackle and play within our defense. The main thing is to tackle that guy. We are going to need two or three guys on him at one time."
A lot of the mistakes on offense were mental mistakes. How frustrating is that?
"It's the most aggravating part of it. Having those mental mistakes kills a game. I thought we could have done a better job in pass protection, but they have some good players too, and they are going to make their plays. We'll look at the film and get back to work on Wednesday."
What did you see from Melvin Gordon?
"I thought he did a great job. I don't know what our rushing average was, but we had 131 yards. I thought Melvin did a great job. He is continuing to learn the offense and he is getting more comfortable with it, and hopefully that means good things for us this year."
When you are going against guys that have played together for a long time, is that tough?
"It's extremely difficult. You have to have the man-up mentality. We have to be able to take care of business. Bottom line, as an offensive line, we came in here and we didn't do what we needed to do, so we have to get better."
Was it good to see Melvin Gordon break and get into the second and third level on a couple of those runs?
"Absolutely. It was good to see him get out there. I felt like he feels more comfortable running the ball. I'm excited to see where he can be. Just the experience from last week to this week, he definitely looks more comfortable out there."
How much does that motivate you to block for a guy like that?
"You definitely see that he has a lot of potential, and if you stay on your blocks, then he has big-play-potential each and every down. He was a great pick for us in the draft, he's doing exactly what we want him to do, and he is getting better each and every week, which is the most important thing."
What do you take from this game?
"Just being all on the same page. We weren't on the same page today. We have to be more firm on the inside of the pocket and the tackles have to run those guys around the edges. We just have to protect No. 17. Bottom line, if we protect No. 17 as an offensive line, then the sky is the limit."