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Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts postgame quotes



Head Coach Marvin Lewis  

Opening Statement:

"Obviously the game today is a lot of fun for a lot of these guys, it means a lot. When preseason when you play these games you have young guys who have an opportunity to go out there and play and compete and put good stuff on tape. I thought that was a great effort today doing that. A lot of guys with a lot of snaps and that's what you need going in as you make decisions and so forth. Some of the guys that will be key backups for us got to play quite a bit tonight, and not only did they learn the football playing part, but also the conditioning and cardiovascular part of playing in the NFL. Covering kicks, turning around having to play defense, offense, etc. and what it takes. So a lot of positives things. The negatives are obviously we can't have fumbles. We had a lot fumbles tonight. We have to protect the ball better even AJ (McCarron) in the pocket once, we have to do a better job of that. Positives on the other side is we made some turnovers on defense and created a couple of interceptions, which we hadn't had off tip balls and those are good things. So all in all we have to feel pretty good about it and we have to trim it down now this weekend."   

How good do you feel about the defense after seeing tonight?

"Well I think the thing that was good was their ability to play in the red zone today and not panic. Not everything was perfect, but when the Colts got down there a couple of times we were able to come away with positive plays. That's a good thing that you don't kind of keep hanging your head and allow the score to happen because we had enough resolved to make some things happen down there and get the ball back which is key." 

We spent a lot of time talking about Chris Carter and kind of fitting for him to have the sack-fumble which sets up the game winner?

"Yeah, obviously this is a big thing for Chris. He's battling to make the football team and he's taking advantage of each opportunity." 

Do you like the fact that Margus Hunt, Will Clark and Pat Sims were able to play extended snaps?

"Right, well as I said, that's a key element of this is if you're going to play NFL football is being able to stay out there play after play. Margus for not having any snaps with us all spring and getting an opportunity to play a lot these last two preseason games particularly where we have extended him pretty good which is good."  

Also lot of snaps for Devon Still tonight. What have you felt about him and his progress?

"Well again I can't tell you how he played tonight (laughs). I can't judge inside run and what's going on in there and the replay didn't show much from the end zone or from the side, but it is all in all, he's battling."

Brandon Tate just seems like a guy that does what he's supposed to do.

"Well, he keeps taking advantage of every opportunity. It's big. Made the big catch and run today on the zero coverage and set up a score. He just keeps doing things well. Just keep coming and be more consistent in every area. Obviously he's been a valuable member of our football team now and will be again this season." 

What were you most pleased with as far as AJ McCarron?

"I thought the poise element, literally. The protection isn't always exactly what we want and yet he's kind of staying poised to it and poised through it. We gave him kind of the one-minute series to try and let him play in that situation a little bit out of huddle. But I just told him, 'Just stay within it. We're not trying to score a touchdown this drive. We can get one later.' I like his demeanor on the field, and I'm very pleased with that. We're really, I'm very comfortable with where he's at right now. He's just got to keep learning and getting better and kind of take what the defense gives him as much as he can." 

Were you okay with injuries? 

"Well, I think we got some bumps and bruises, which we're trying to avoid. I think we came away with some and we'll know more later." 

Tight End Tyler Eifert

You've learned the pace and length of the season because you've been through it.

"Yeah, it's a grind. It's not easy. It's the job that we chose so we're just going to take it one week at a time and things will fall into place and pan out. Just make sure everyone stays on top of what they need to do."

Is there one or two things that you would say you're much better at then when you came into the league?

"Yeah, I think just understanding when you're blocking you're not just going to be able to move someone five yards off the ball just firing out. You have to learn what the defensive players' job is and use their momentum against them. A lot of those little things."

Quarterback AJ McCarron

You caught them in zero coverage a couple times and really took advantage.

"I think in the second half overall they slowed the blitz down just because in the first half we kept hitting them on big plays. We gained a lot of yards when they did bring the blitz and that's the only way you can beat teams like that and get them out of blitzing. O-line did an excellent job and I'm just proud of them."

Didn't run the ball that effectively. You didn't throw any picks, but you had a couple of fumbles and sacks but it looks like you're standing and everything is good.

"Yeah, I'm fine. You're always going to be sore. It's part of the game. Body feels great. Just excited to watch the film and get started for next weekend and watch AD (Andy Dalton) do his thing in Oakland."



Head Coach Chuck Pagano

Opening Statement:

"Alright, injury-wise (Daniel) Boom Herron went out with a shoulder. We'll know more obviously tomorrow. Vick Ballard went out with a hamstring, he'll be evaluated tonight and tomorrow. Sheldon Price went out with a concussion. He'll have to go through the concussion protocol as we all know. Then (Junior) Sylvestre went out with an ankle there late. I'm proud of the guys, I thought they played hard. We were on the short end of the stick. We wanted to win the football game, that didn't happen, but the young guys went out there and they played their tails off. It wasn't pretty, but they fought and they gave great effort and had a chance to evaluate a lot of guys. Now the toughest part of the season, there are two tough parts, the first cut to 75 and now we've got to let go of 22 really good football players and better people. So we'll navigate our way through that. I think we have to be to that number on Saturday by four o'clock so we have a lot of work to do."

What did you think about the defensive performance tonight?

"I thought the defense played well. Forcing field goals. I think they did okay versus the run. They had some stops, had a fourth down stop. Forced a couple turnovers, had the ball out. Clayton Geathers I think had a big hit and forced a turnover, got a little pressure on the quarterback so I thought they played well."

You started David Parry at nose tackle tonight, is he the starter moving forward?

"We've been playing Chappie (Josh Chapman) the whole time and just decided to give David the start, that's all."

Did Josh Robinson pass through the concussion protocol?

"He passed a portion of it, but on a short week, there wasn't enough days to get him to game time unfortunately."

And you're optimistic he'll be ready to go?

"He'll be ready to go by the time we get back to practice."

It's got to be tough to see Vick Ballard get injured again.

"It's sick. I'm sick about it. He was doing a nice job too, he ripped off a couple of good little runs. We all know the type of runner he is when he's healthy. It's just unfortunate. I hope it's not a long-term deal with that so we'll wait and see and evaluate him."

Before he got hurt it looked like you were trying to give him a long, hard look tonight, he had a lot of touches.

"Yeah, and I think everybody understands, and even Vick wanting to get out there and play coming off the back-to-back season-ending injuries and then having the one hamstring up in camp and missing some time and then being able to come back and then tweaking the left one before the Bears game. But now having an opportunity to get healthy and get out there, it's just unfortunate. Again, we know what type of back he is. We know he can gain yards and he's a really good third down back, he's a great pass protector, so we'll just have to see how it goes."

Can you give an update on Art Jones?

"Art is going to require some type of repair on the ankle. Time table yet, I don't have an idea how long that's going to be."

How important was it to get Nate Irving out there?

"It was good. The docs cleared him for some game action obviously and we wanted to get him between eight and 10 snaps so it was great to see Nate get out there. It was great for Nate from a confidence standpoint. He was moving around pretty good. I don't know, I think he ran up there and had a pressure or something on one play I can remember. But he was chomping at the bit. We got his snaps in and then he came off and he wanted to play more. We just erred on the side of caution with it and kept him out. It was good to get him back in there."

How tough are the next 36 hours with making the roster cuts?

"It's the worst part of this job to be honest with you. Even if it's a short period of time, when you bring guys in April 21st, you start your offseason program until now. You've got a bunch of guys that have sacrificed a lot and worked extremely hard to build relationships, not only with coaches, but players and teammates. So it's very, very difficult."

Junior Sylvestre had the injury tonight but he has come on strong and you have another guy at that position, Amarlo Herrera, who has played well at times as well. There's only so much depth you can keep at that position. What kind of decision do you have to make there?

"It's going to be tough. They've both showed signs at different points throughout training camp and in preseason games. They both have had some moments there where they've shined so it's going to be a tough, tough deal."

How do the injuries to Herron and Ballard complicate your decision at running back?

"It doesn't make it easy. It was going to be complicated with everybody healthy and now it complicates it even more. We'll figure something out, we have to, we don't have a choice."

With Ballard it seems like you guys really want him to give you a reason to keep him. We know what he's done in the past, but with the hamstring, does it make it difficult with how you move forward with him?

"I just think it's tough because he hadn't played in two years and right when you get going he tweaks one during camp and stuff. So I think we're all aware that when you're not out there playing football for two straight years you can't simulate what he's doing on game day, you can't simulate the things that happen in practice until you're actually back on the field playing. So it's unfortunate, but we'll deal with it, and see what tomorrow brings."

You said it's heartbreaking, but is it also inspiring when you see guys like Vick and other guys that are out there leaving it all on the field knowing this may be their last shot?

"No question about it, no question about it. He's a tough, tough football player and he's a great person. What he's done for this organization, what he did in 2012 and then fighting through the adversity that he's fought through for the last two years and then to get himself ready to go and lay it all on the line tonight and give himself an opportunity. Unfortunately what happened, happened, but very inspiring. Especially for the other ballplayers that aren't dealing with the same set of circumstances. Here's a guy that you should look at and say, 'You know what, I'm pretty damn fortunate. I should probably do what this kid is doing and take his mindset day-in, day-out.'"

Running Back Vick Ballard

Did you feel like you got into a little bit of a rhythm out there? Because you were out there for a bulk of the carries it seemed like in the first couple of series.

"Yeah, the first series I touched the ball almost every single play. I was happy to be back in there because I've been away a long time. I was pretty happy with my performance."

Regardless of what happens, how proud are you of the way you've come back after two season-ending injuries?

"It's okay, but I want to keep going."

Wide Receiver Duron Carter

Talk about your effort tonight. How do you feel about wrapping this up at the end of the preseason?

"Pretty well. I feel like I put some good things on the field.  As always, there are things that you can work on. As always, there are things that you can get better at. I feel like I should have made a few more plays, but I'm pretty happy with my performance."

Do you sweat it out over the next few days or do you feel pretty confident?

"You got to pray. You never know what the guys in the upper deck are thinking, so really just all you got to do is play your hardest, play your best and hopefully God willing you'll be on the team."

Do you feel like you got every opportunity to show what you can do?

"Yeah, definitely. I thank coach Coach (Chuck) Pagano and Coach Pep Hamilton throwing me in there, trusting me with the ball and everything. You're getting a lot of stuff. They called for me, designed for me, trying to get us down for the win. I know we didn't get it, but it was good experience."

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

What do you try and get out of a quarter and a half in a game like this?

"Personally? (Yeah.) I think you approach it just like you approach everything. You approach it like you would approach practice, try to grade out perfectly. I think the plan actually was to just have a good rhythm, get the running game going, have a bunch of completions."

Do you feel for a guy like Vick Ballard who is battling injuries? 

"If you talk about our team, about our locker room, the guys that everybody respects, Vick Ballard is a guy that everybody absolutely respects. You won't find one guy that doesn't really love the guy and respect the guy and also respect what he's gone through. We actually had a plan for our first 15 we scripted out. We know what it was going to be. Somewhere along the way, I don't know if it was because Vick was going to get that start, just turned it into a 9-on-7 running fest because of hands off. Selfishly I was a little disappointed because I knew the pass plays that were kind of up. He was great. He got the first one, and he did real nice with it. Then we just kept feeding him. Which is what happens with a runner, he does well, you just keep feeding him. I don't know what his stats were, but he was averaging a bunch of yards. It probably hurt his stats going with the short-yardage plays, third-and-1, second-and-2, second-and-1. He was doing great when I was in there. Everybody was fired up to see him." 

What's these next 48 hours like for a player? 

"As a player, as a player wife, or player girlfriend, player's kids, this is the hardest time for sure. It's a part of the business, but it never gets easier. These are guys that we've been with since March and April, and even some guys we've been with for years. I throw myself in that situation every year. You know, roster spots really aren't guaranteed. So it's a tough time of year for everybody." 

What's it like to see guys out there laying it all on the line knowing it's their last tape before final cuts? 

"Yeah, it is your last piece of tape. The only thing I'll say is the NFL community is a small fraternity of people that all know each other. Your tape is your tape. Everyone has friends and everyone talks after this time: scouts, coaches, players. You get a call from a guy, happens to me all the time, it might just be because I'm old, 'Hey, tell me about this guy. You released him. What kind of guy is he? How'd he do in camp? Is he smart? Does he play well? Would you really want him on your team?' I can't tell you how many times that's come up. You see a guy, maybe it's a strength for us, it's a weakness for somebody else and a guy gets an opportunity. I look at Jack Doyle as a great example of that. Jack Doyle got cut from the Tennessee Titans, couldn't make their roster, comes to us. I get a 100 text messages from people there saying, 'Hey, this guy, he's a great guy. He's a hard worker. He's not flashy, but he can be a good pro.' He's come up here and been nothing short of exceptional for us. He's been a team captain multiple times. He'll be a Colt for a long time I'm sure. I think everyone has got a story like that. I have a story. Jack Doyle has a story. I'm sure Vick Ballard is going to have a great story someday with the injuries that he's gone through and all the adversity that we all face along our journey. That's how it is." 

Is it fair to say that it was the first time you've played with that combination of offensive players in the preseason and offseason? 

"I think the combination has probably been different every single game to be honest. (Even in practice) It's a good lesson. It's okay to have mix-ups, to have guys sit out. It's always hard. Andre Johnson this year had scheduled rest days. It puts a little bit on you. Now all of a sudden everyone's got to think about, 'Okay, you're moving to this side. You're moving to that side. Someone else is moving inside.' It's a good exercise. It's good to have it. I think the referees did it this time in the game. They pulled out a referee for a portion in the fourth quarter and practiced with a six-man crew. These are the kinds of things that preseason is for. This is what you practice. We do it all the time. There's times where Clyde (Christensen) will pull Andrew (Luck) out and Andrew will run with the twos and I'll run with the ones. It doesn't happen as much as I would like it to happen, but that happens (laughs). It's an exercise for Andrew. It makes his job harder and makes him better. It's just part of it." 

Inside Linebacker Nate Irving

Not everybody who comes off an ACL injury plays in the preseason. Was it important for you to get some reps even though it was the fourth preseason game?

"Yes it was. I didn't want to be out in the first game and have what happened today in the first game. When I went out there today I almost had an anxiety attack, like couldn't breathe and I couldn't remember anything and it was just run to the ball for the first few plays. But then as I started to settle down, everything started coming back."

Are you telling me you felt like a rookie tonight?

"I did. I felt like coming straight out of college. Go get in the game and I was like, 'Wow,' heart beating. I couldn't breathe and it was crazy, but it was fun. I needed that."

Are you ready now? Are you ready for Week 1?

"By the time we get to Buffalo I will be ready. There are some things that, I talked to my coach, some things obviously that I have to do to put myself in the position to help the team like they need me to help the team. I think by the time Buffalo gets here I will have that done."

What do you feel like you can bring to this defense when you are 100 percent?

"Playmaking ability, some leadership, some toughness. Just wanting to go out there and kick some butt."

Running Back Tyler Varga

We talk about 32 teams in the league as well. That tape, everybody is going to see that, your name is out there for sure.

"Yeah, like I said, I just try and go out there. I love the game of football and it's just a blessing to have the opportunity to be out there on the field with some incredible guys."

What do you think the next couple days will be like for you?

"Well, I can tell you first of all, tomorrow I am going to be in the facility at nine o'clock. I am going to be optimistic about this whole thing, get a little bit of Buffalo tape in, hit the training room a little bit and go from there."

Do you feel like you got enough chances to show what you can do?

"Yeah, you ask any player, especially any running back and they will say that I'm always happy to get more touches or many chances. But I think I got a fair shot today, and like I said, I hope I impressed them."

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