Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 8, 2014
"Carolina got off to a good start to their season the first two ball games, then lost two, and last week came back and played as aggressively as they played the first couple weeks. They got behind, but came back and played great defense and took the ball away, which was key to their wins. It was key to them earlier this year, and it's obviously an important part of the game.
:When you look at Cam Newton on tape, you see a guy who's been playing very efficiently, only one interception, and their offense has done a really good job. Their offense and the throwing game is very timing-oriented, and he's doing a great job of that. Kelvin Benjamin has really come in and given them a big lift at wideout. He's really done a great job for them. (Greg) Olsen is a great receiver as a tight end. They've been mixing and matching the backs a little bit due to injury. Their running game is not what they're used to, but they're doing a great job throwing the ball air right now.
"Defensively, that front seven is very well put together. Their secondary is beginning to play together. They've got guys from different clubs, but all have been productive players in the league, and they're kind of meshing them all together right now."
You've got a new player, Khairi Fortt in here now. Are you surprised to see a fourth-round draft pick available on the waiver wire?
What does he bring to you guys?
"He's a young linebacker. He's got good athleticism. He's got a chance to grow up into being the stature and the body type of an NFL linebacker, which is key."
Did you look at him scouting for the draft?
"Yeah. He's a transfer from Penn State. He went out to Cal, and he didn't begin the year as a starting player at Cal, but at the end of the year he was playing all the time. He's got the skills and things you're looking for. Play with a good temperament, and things happened, and obviously New Orleans cut the cord, and so we've got a new player."
Do you have a new practice squad center?
"Yeah, Jeff Baca is a center, guard, tackle. He played all the spots at UCLA. He was with Minnesota last year, and he played both center and guard."
Just snakebit, Sean Porter?
"Yeah, obviously to pass a physical and get through the hoop to get here to begin with, you're pretty much clean out of college. It's just a bad run of things. Three different injuries here, with the shoulder last year, the hamstring this year, and now the ACL. They've all been things that have been basically non-contact. That's the shame of it. He's got to just weather the storm."
Especially for you guys because he was a fourth-round pick and you don't really know what he is yet at this point...
"When I've watched him, I know he's got the ability to be a productive player. He's just got to overcome these physical setbacks."
What stands out to you when you watch their defense?
"How physical and aggressive the front seven is. They get off on the football. They do a great job schematically. They've done a great job of fitting things together that their guys do very well. They do a great job in passing lanes. They've got a good feel for the opponent week in and week out. It's impressive on tape to watch. They're very well coached on defense."
What impresses you most about Cam Newton?
"His accuracy throwing the football. You know his athleticism, and his ability to run and do the things he does all the time. He's got great accuracy on the ball. This is really our first time to look at him through regular season, since our study in the offseason, to really get ready to play him in a regular season game. We played them before in preseason, but this is really our first chance to look back and study him. He's really playing well."
How comparable are Luke Kuechly and Vontaze Burfict in terms of their style and how they approach the game?
"I know Luke from afar. I know Luke from spending an hour with him here, and watching him grow up here in Cincinnati, and spending time with him here when he visited. Luke's a great player, and I thought he was one of the best prospects, if not the best linebacker prospect I had ever seen coming out in the draft. I thought he could do everything. He's not disappointed me."
When you see him on tape are there any similarities there with Vontaze?
"They're both very sudden, and they're both good tacklers. They both can make plays on the football in the passing game, and they're very similar that way. They both lead their team."
The other linebacker, Thomas Davis, can get overshadowed by Luke, but he can run around, too, can't he?
"He's got great athleticism, great ability. He was in between being a safety and a linebacker, but the one thing he's always been able to do is play. He's always been able to play."
How has their offensive line started to gel?
"I think they've done some impressive things. It's like any offensive line, you want to get the lead and play. Or at least a close game and play. You don't want to have to play from behind. We all look different when we're playing from behind."
What does having a bigger receiver like Kelvin Benjamin do for that offense?
"You get a bigger range target. You're not fitting the ball into small spots, you're fitting the ball into big spots. He's emerged maybe a little quicker than I imagined, and it's been impressive."
Is it just his ability to make a play?
"His ability to make a play, but his ability to run, and run routes, and navigate an NFL defense, and NFL defensive coverage, and so forth. It's impressive."
What about their kicking game? Their specialists seem to be effective....
"They've done a good job. It's a well put-together team. The kid C.J. Brown from Ohio State has been their returner, and they use him on special things on offense, so you have to be conscious and aware of where he is at all time. They have a big, strong leg as their kicker, so similar to what we're going to play over the next 3-4 weeks. We face very similar groups."
With a third pick in 2011, did you take a long look at Cam?
"We had the fourth pick, and yes we did. You don't forget when you have to pick that high. You get a lot of kicks in your head to earn that spot, so you never forget where those spots are."
Obviously you spent a lot of time with Cam. What stood out about his personality?
"He had it. Just as pretty as he is every day, that's the way he lights up the room every time he walks in. He walked in the student union at Auburn, and he lit it up like that. He lit it up on the practice field. He lit it up in the stadium when we were there a couple of times with him watching him. He lit it up when he walked in this building, and when we took him out in public. He lights it up. He's got it. It's on display every week."
Has he evolved into more of a straight passer than a guy who will get out of the pocket?
"I don't know what his physical stuff was earlier in the year; he was coming back from ankle surgery that happened a little later in the process, and the ribs I guess. Last week they had the designed runs back in the game plan, something that was part of their game plan in the past when we broke them down in the offseason. He's obviously feeling better, since they're putting those things back in for him. He's not having to rely on his feet like he was early on. He understands, and he's getting it done. He's a big guy who can stand in there, and throw it with the best of them. The impressive thing with him is just watching that ball come off his hand."
Is the need to respond this early overblown, or is that something you really preach?
"Well, the need to respond is because we're 3-1, and we want to be 4-1 so there's no time like now, because it's the next opportunity up."
Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 8, 2014
What do you see when you watch tape of Luke Kuechly?
"He's one of the best linebackers in the game, real instinctive, smart guy, plays hard, physical. He's everything you want in a linebacker. You've go to know where he is, you've got to find ways to get up on him, block him, because he's a really good player, and he can be a difference-maker in the game."
What defense does Carolina remind you of?
"They're a four-down team, so it's more similar to what our defense does. We've been going against so many 3-4 teams, so we're kind of going back to certain things that are similar to what our defense does. They play hard. They do a good job rushing the passer and making plays. They'll be a good challenge for us."
They led the league in sacks last year and have 12 this year, even without Greg Hardy. Their GM thinks you can't have enough pass rushers ...
"Right, and so we've got to be ready for it. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback, but our offensive line has done a good job of stopping guys this year. We've only given up one sack. It's a big testament to them in the way they've been playing. We'll have a good plan going in, we'll be ready to go."
Did last week remind you how important Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones are to this offense?
"Obviously when you don't have guys that are playing a lot and starters, it's unfortunate. But that's why you establish depth, and try to find guys that can help you. You can go and say 'Well, we didn't have this guy, we didn't have that guy.' But at the end of the day, we got beat. We'd love to have those guys, but that's the way this thing goes, the way this game is. Guys are going to get hurt, and other guys are going to have to step in and play."
They've got another linebacker in the shadow of Kuechly, Thomas Davis, that can run around. Is their front seven as good as you've played?
"Yeah, he might get overshadowed a little bit by what Kuechly's done since he's been in the league. But you definitely notice him on tape, too. Those guys play well together. It's not just one guy on the defense. Everybody knows about Luke, but there are other guys on that defense that are making plays."
They have two veteran safeties that are kind of dangerous. How would you characterize them?
"They've been around for a long time, they understand the game and what they're trying to do. They're good players, and their defense has been good. Their defense was good last year, their defense is good again this year. It's all about the scheme, and certain things that they do, and how we're doing to handle it. Like I said, we've got a good plan in place. We feel like we'll match up well."
They've given up a lot of yards in the running game. What do you see there, is it mistakes, schemes?
"They're getting guys blocked, and giving backs lanes to run in, and backs are doing a good job of making guys miss and making big runs. I'm sure they know how they've been against the run, so they're going to be prepared for it. When we get those chances to get up on guys and get those backs lanes, that's when you get the big runs."
Can you take anything away from the fact that Pittsburgh and Baltimore both handled them?
"You go and watch the game, and see what they did well, and try to use that to your advantage, and to find different things that will put you in a good position to have successful plays and score points. But it's another week regardless what happened in the past against those two teams. They're still coming to play here, and for us it's a home game that we expect to win, and go in and be playing our best."
You and Cam Newton came out of the draft in the same year. Do you cross paths much with him?
"We've been around each other just a little bit, certain things. He's a guy I followed in college my senior year, his junior year, and then since we've been in the NFL. He's had a lot of success, he's done a lot of really good things, and he's a really good player."