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Colts at Bengals Postgame Quotes


SEPT. 1, 2016



Head coach

Initial comments ...

        "I didn't like the finish, but as far as going out and accomplishing the goals tonight, I feel good about that. We had an opportunity to really get guys playing time, and make good strong evaluations. Guys had opportunity to show what they can do, and so that's great, and that's what you want. We're ready to move forward now. It's been what you wanted in the preseason, and now we have a chance to get full strength and get back to playing for the regular season."

Thoughts on your two young linebackers Trevor Roach and Nick Vigil? I think Trevor had 10 tackles in the first half and Nick with the interception ...

        "Obviously Nick is everything we expected he would be, and I think Trevor just keeps battling, which is good. He's playing his way into an opportunity to stay here, which is great. He's showing good things. We'll see on the tape — making tackles and how I made the tackles is still different — hopefully it'll be great."

When you guys were watching Vigil, I know you guys were high on him right away. What did you like about him when you saw him on tape?

        "As a linebacker in college he did everything you'd expect a guy to do. He'd play in there, do a nice job versus the run, he was a good tackler, a guy that understood the passing game, passing lanes, and he can run. He's just going to continue to grow bigger and stronger."

The discipline that they showed with only one penalty—is that more important now?

        "It'll be important for everybody. Last game I think we had 11, which was way too many. Tonight, it was a better job. We didn't have a pre-snap penalty, and that's a good thing. Obviously with the young receivers in there as well, making sure you get lined up and handle the formations, so that's key."

Did anybody get hurt?

        "I don't know. I haven't heard. And if I knew, I wouldn't tell you anyway (laughs)."



You made a lot of plays on third down on the touchdown drive ...

        "There are a lot of guys around me helping with that also. Coach Zampese called a couple nice plays and got us in good situations. On the touchdown play, they brought the blitz to cover zero, and I had a good option to throw the under real quick, and he (Alonzo Russell) broke a tackle and scored."

First accepted penalty of the game came late in the game, so it was a pretty clean game tonight ...

        "I think, for the most part, with a lot of young guys, everybody did a good job. Everyone was focused. Everybody was ready to play and gave a 100 percent effort. Everybody's trying hard and you can't ask for anything more than that."

The last couple games of the preseason, the screen package has been really good for you guys ...

        "Definitely. If that's an option the defense is willing to give us, we have to take advantage of it. That's the nice part about this offense — being able to spread the ball around and take advantage of different looks that defenses are giving us. It helps us as an offense, as a whole."


Wide receiver

On the touchdown drive you had, you had a nice catch ...

        "Keith scrambled out of the pocket there, and he found me."

Talk about the first punt you fielded and the nice return you had ...

        "I knew he was going to boom it — he's a heck of a punter. We had seen it on film. I got a chance to return it, and the guys up front did a (good) job as usual, and I was able to make it a nice return."

Russell Alonzo made a nice touchdown catch on zero coverage, making a great play on that ...

        "Yeah, it was awesome to see. He turned around, caught the ball, broke a tackle and got in the end zone. That's cool to see hard work pay off for guys like that."


Offensive tackle

When you look back at the different ways you've struggled in the postseason, is there a theme at all with self-inflicted wounds or due to injuries?

        "I don't think you can put your finger on one thing. There have been some mistakes that we've made, penalty-wise. One game we were decimated by injuries at that point in the year. Not to make excuses, but each year it feels like it has been one of those things. Hopefully, we can get the perfect storm and be rolling at the right time this year."


Wide receiver

Describe your mindset going into the game tonight. Were you thinking your job is on the line and that you had to show something?

        "All of us rookies, we're a very close group and know it might be our last opportunity together. Maybe it might not be with this team, but at the same time, this is our opportunity to show what we can do — represent us, and where we came from. I feel like we did a good job out there, and I'm really proud of the whole Bengals organization."

The touchdown catch was great, but talk about the leaping catch that was out of bounds ...

        "I had seen the safety come over and knew it was coming. It's a football game, and you've got to take your shots — you know what I'm saying? I'm glad the quarterback threw the ball the way he did. It's his job to throw the ball, and my job to go get it. It was a great pass."

Teams have to cut the roster to 53 players on Saturday at 4 p.m. How nerve-racking will the next couple of days be?

        "It's going to be nerve-wracking, just for simple fact I've always wanted this my whole life. I feel like I did everything I could with the opportunity I had. If I can look at myself at the end of the day and say I did what I was supposed to do and gave it the best I had, that's all I can do."



Talk about the play of the young wide receivers throughout camp and the preseason heading into the start of the season next week in New York ...

        "I think everyone is doing a good job. They're learning really well, they ask a lot of questions and they're trying really hard. That's all you can ask for, being young guys, and we're seeing it day in and day out."



This wasn't just a regular football game for you, was it?

        "I had a great time. It was fun, and I was just glad to be out there with all of my teammates."

As a backup, you can get used to playing in spurts. Was it nice to get out and play in a full game?

        "Yeah, that was tough getting tired out there and doing (some) special teams and all of defense. It was tough."

Do you feel good about what you've done in the preseason?

        "It's tough to tell, because I got hurt, and that hurts (me), so we'll see what happens."

Have you been keeping track of the roster and your chances?

        "Yeah, you always try and figure it out, but you just never know. You just can't worry about, it or else it will eat you alive."


Offensive tackle

What did you think about the backup offensive line play tonight?

        "It's hard to tell in the game who stood out, but I thought they played well. Last week we probably didn't feel as if we played as well as we could have in the second half, but this week we bounced back and played pretty well."

Was the low amount of flags on offense a sign that the young guys were getting more reps in practice this week?

        "Yeah, getting more reps for them and focusing on who were playing were some of those things. Sometimes in these first three games, you don't really know what group is going to be in there when you go in, so it's just different when you don't know the guys you're playing. I think this week we had a decent idea and prepared that way. Anytime we can eliminate the penalties it's good."


Defensive end

How did it feel to get the amount of in-game reps you had tonight?

        "Anytime you can get game reps, it's helpful. It helps you get experience. The best experience is in-game experience. There's no better experience than that. It also allows you to get a lot of stuff on tape in all types of different situations, so you can evaluate yourself."

As a unit, how do you feel the front four played tonight?

        "I feel like as a unit we played physical. We had some positive parts, and some parts where we could have rushed better. We got to go in and watch the tape — that's when we can go in and see how we truly played."


SEPT. 1, 2016



Head coach

Initial comments ...

        "OK, really only one injury to report. Tevin Mitchel went out early with the ham. It's unfortunate that we just get him back, then he aggravated the hamstring again. I don't know the severity of it and we will get an MRI on that tomorrow and see where we are.

        "Always good to get that win. Proud of those young guys. I told these guys in there this was a really good group of draft choices, college free agents, and travel guys. They all love football and they are good teammates and they work hard every day, and it was great for them to go out there and finish this ball game with that two-minute drive and get a game-winning score. Stephen (Morris) played really well. And Scott (Tolzien) played well. He was 11- of-12. We had some chances early in the first half, and turnovers got us again. We need to clean that up. We need to finish in the red zone. Something that's going to be consistent. We will work on that.

        "The defense was really good in the first half and had some things in the second half. Overall, really, really proud of the guys, and it was good to see these young guys in particular to step up and make some big plays. We obviously have some tough decisions to make in the next 48 hours. Everybody knows that we need to be down to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday, so we'll get back to Indy quickly, and look at everything."

So it feels like some of your young defenders have been up and down this preseason, as we've seen some steps forward with (Antonio) Morrison and (Earl) Okine ...

        "Yeah, again that's a good group out there, and Antonio (Cromartie) is going to be a really good player. There's some real good look with their pass-rush capabilities, and everything we've had with these cover guys. Those guys competed. Chris Milton came up with a huge play at the end to steal. Lee Hightower came back and played 15-16 snaps, that was his pitch count. Trevor Bates played some inside linebacker. I don't know if anybody caught that. He's one of those guys who has position flexibility. We'll go back and look at the tape, and we got some tough decisions to make."

You mentioned earlier that you were getting a full grasp of what team you guys were with the number of injuries. Has this been your toughest training camp in evaluating your roster?

        "Yeah, simply because of those injuries. Our number one corner, with Vontae (Davis) out, and Pat (Robinson) is our number two, and he's been out. Jalil (Brown) has been out. You can go on down the line, especially with Tevin out. And with the chance to evaluate him, he tweaks his hamstring again. We've had some line issues. There's nothing that we can do about it. We have to get healthy, and healthy in a hurry. Because the 11th is going to be here before we know it. It makes it difficult to get to that 53. We got some guys that we are hopeful that we get back."

We are 10 days out from Detroit, do you know what you guys are going to look like, especially on defense?

        "Yes and no. Obviously when they are healthy, I know what they are going to look like. I know how they are going to play. I know their DNA, whether they are injured or not. You know that we are going to play for 60 minutes. We've got a tough football team. We got to get some guys back, and back on the offensive line, specifically the corner positions. These 48 hours are going to be critical from a health standpoint, and making some tough calls."

How well has Stephen Morris played in this preseason, and will you have three quarterbacks?

        "Great question. With the way he has played, it's a discussion that's obviously worthy. He's played extremely well and gotten so much better from OTAs to training camp. He's been outstanding. He's made a ton of improvement. Brian Schottenheimer has done a real good job with those guys. Stephen reported back to training camp with a different mindset and a kind of sense of urgency for him. He grew up a lot, and it has paid off."



When was the last time you were up here?

        "College. It's been a while for sure."

You seemed pretty comfortable out there tonight. What has helped you play so well?

        "I just think maturity and growth. Having been in the system for OTAs in the spring and having the ability to be in the quarterback room with 12 (Andrew Luck) and Scotty (Tolzien), I couldn't have asked for anything more."

What will the next 36 hours be like for you?

        "I'll be by my phone, just waiting to see what happens and go from there. Go into the facility tomorrow, get a good lift, get a good workout in, and go from there."

What do you think your chances are to make the roster as the third QB?

        "I have absolutely no idea. I have to leave the decision up to (quarterbacks coach) Brian (Schottenheimer) and (head) Coach (Chuck) Pagano, and really just go from there. All I can ask for is that I played my heart out, and go from there."

You've played pretty well. We have to feel like you've shown, not just this team, but a lot of teams ...

        "Yeah, I think I played well. There are things to grow off of — obviously, throwing a stupid interception when you've got three (points). You've just got to learn from it, do better next time, and just try to make smarter plays."

You led the team down to a game-winning drive, even though the game didn't count. In that situation, that has to feel pretty good ...

        "That game counted. That game counted. It's good film to put out, leading the team down to a good two-minute drive. It wasn't just me — guys made plays. (MeKale) McKay made a hell of a catch down the sideline; I don't even know how he stayed in bounds. Guys made plays for me, and I just did my job to try to help this team win."


Wide receiver

How do you think you did?

        "I always think that I can do better. There's room for improvement."

How will you approach Friday and Saturday?

        "It's out of my hands. I can control what I can control. It's in God's hands. Hopefully I'll be here next week."

Do you think you did as much as you could?

        "The coach said I did a great job on special teams and on offense. Like I said, it's out of my hands."


Running back

Do you think you did enough to make this roster?

        "I do what I can. I had to take advantage of the opportunities and reps that I got. I tried to leave it all on the field and see how the chips fall. The only thing I can do is play my best."

I think there were four running backs out there today. Did you feel a little pressure out there or were you pushing each other?

        "We're definitely going to push each other. 'Pressure' probably isn't the word to use — say the 'hunger' or the 'anxiousness.' We were all excited to get our opportunity. We are definitely going to push each other and coach each other. Players coach players, and we feed off each other."

How do the next two days look for you?

        "The next two days will be very interesting for everyone in this building, for the most part. I'll continue to wake up and go to meetings go to practice and find ways to get better."



How do you think things went today?

        "We came out with a win, so that's good."

How good was it to get out there and make some plays?

        "That's why I play the game. It feels good to get a win and to play with these young guys. It feels good to be out there with them."

How do you think your development has gone this preseason?

        "I have been getting better each day. I'm getting a lot better in practice. I'm getting comfortable in the schemes and things like that. I've got great veterans teaching me a lot of things. I'm real thankful for that, and I've got a great coach."



Do you feel like you maximized your opportunity tonight?

        "To a certain extent. There are a few things that I have to clean up, but all in all we got the win, and that's what it's all about."

What do you think is going to happen in the next 48 hours?

        "I'm confident in what I put on film and what I've done. I think I showed a good work ethic. We'll see where it goes."

How have you seen yourself develop?

        "I've gotten a lot better each day. I would like to say that I didn't make the same mistake twice. Just growing and learning the players and how they play, and how I fit with the defense."

Any regrets?

        "No regrets."

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