Andy Dalton News Conference
We'll start off on a positive — What do you remember about the last time you played in New England?
"I don't know if that's a positive (laughs). They came out and they played really well. We didn't do enough to win. We know the kind of atmosphere we're going into, so we know what to expect there. So we've got to come and play our best."
How different is it preparing for a Bill Belichick defense compared to anybody else?
"When you look at them on tape, they do a lot of different things. Each team they play, they may do something different. So you have to figure out the different looks they have. You have to prepare for all of it. That's the biggest thing. Because they're not the same way every single week, they've got different looks that they'll give. You have to be ready for all of that."
Are they as difficult as anybody to find different tendencies that actually play out on Sunday?
"They do a good job of scheming up to what they want to do to stop your best guys. That's why they're a tough team to prepare for, just because you don't know what you're going to get."
You mentioned that you know the atmosphere you're going into this time. Is it any different than any of the other places you play? What stands out about that place?
"On the road is on the road. All I was saying is that we know the atmosphere. We've got a lot of guys that were here (in 2014) and played in that game. We know what to expect when we go there and the atmosphere we're going to get."
Adam Jones said on Sunday that it's time for a gut check. What does that mean? Do you feel like that's something that's necessary for this team right now?
"What's important for us is to do whatever we can to get a win on Sunday. Any time you lose a game, you've got to find a way to get it switched and prepare the best you can to be the best on Sunday. That's where we are right now."
Have you had any conversations with your offensive line about how it's different compared to last year, with the 17 sacks that have been allowed so far?
"We've had conversations and different things. The bottom line is that everybody's got to play better. I've got to play better. I've got to get the ball out of my hands quicker. There are a lot of things that we could do to fix it up. There's an importance on it, and we know that."
Even though they came with the score already 28-0 on Sunday, were there any positives or momentum that came from the two red-zone scores late in the game against Dallas?
"Yeah. Even though the score was what it was, we felt like we were still getting the same looks and same stuff from their defense. So for us to drive down and score and put points on the board was good. Everybody's talked about the red zone, and how we haven't played very well in there. So it's good to get down there and score touchdowns, rather than kick field goals. So there are definitely some positives to take away from the tape."
Sunday was the biggest game Brandon LaFell has had here numbers-wise. Is that chemistry still evolving, or is it something you feel is starting to click?
"Things have been good with Brandon since he's been here. He had a lot of opportunity in that game. We're very, very confident with what he's been able to do and what he's doing for us. He's a guy you can trust and rely on to make plays for you."
You mentioned last week that Dallas is always sound defensively and is always where they need to be. Looking to this week, is there anybody better at that concept than Bill Belichick's defenses?
"This is another team that's like that. They're coached well, they know what spots they need to be in and where they need to be. That's why they've been really good for a long time."
With the losing record and loss on Sunday, do you feel like it's on you to rally the troops?
"Definitely. I'm a big part of that. Being a leader on this team, you have to do whatever you can to make sure everybody's playing the best they can play. And just getting guys going — that's the biggest thing. We've got to focus on us right now. If we do that, we'll put ourselves in a good position."
A lot has been made this week about Brandon LaFell being an ex-Patriot and possibly helping the Bengals defense with any tendencies they have. Every NFL team has former players playing against their old teams every week. How much does that really help?
"It obviously can help some, if you know certain things about either offenses or defenses and different stuff that goes on. But it's hard to tell, because I feel like we don't have a whole lot of turnover here, with guys coming from a lot of different teams. But I'm sure Brandon does know some stuff."
So maybe it's more the tendencies of certain players?
"Yeah. It may be what this guy is like, or what they're good at. Different things like that."
What about Tom Brady's game do you most admire?
"He's so efficient. He gets the ball out of his hands quick. He gets his guys the ball. Guys make plays for him. You can tell he's got full control over everything they're doing on offense. He's so good because he gets all the guys to play for him, regardless of who's in there. He's won with a lot of different guys out there. That's why he's one of the best."
Having gone through a layoff of your own, albeit for different reasons, did it surprise you how well he played coming off the couch for four weeks?
"I don't think anybody is surprised with the way he played. He prepares so well, I know that. So it doesn't surprise me that he came out and played the way he did."
Marvin Lewis News Conference
* *"With the opponent this week, the Patriots, you have to get off to a fast start, playing on the road. This season they've done an excellent job in the first quarter, so it's important we get off to a fast start on the road. It helps with the crowd. With Tom Brady back last week they were very efficient in combining the run, the pass, and doing what he does best. They've had zero interceptions as an offense this season. They've put the ball on the ground a few times, but haven't lost it much. Creating field position and the things it takes to win on the road are really important this week."
What did you like about Brandon LaFell when you were scouting him?
"He plays receiver physically, with his body. He's a guy who continues to improve as he goes. Any time he gets an opportunity, he makes good on them. He's a true pro, which is important. You saw him make catches using his body position, separation, and control last week."
Was the fact that he came from so many winning pedigrees a factor?
"It's important to get good people, yes."
Are there ways that Bill Belichick has influenced your own style?
"Patience. When I came to the league, it was Bill's second year in Cleveland, with me in Pittsburgh and the Cleveland-Pittsburgh thing, and always competing against them. I noticed his steady hand and patience with building a football team. He has his kind of people; physical and big-bodied. Later on, he ended up in New England as the coordinator when I was given my first opportunity to be coordinator in '96. I remember we played the Patriots, and it was one of those shootouts. I think the only person who looked worse than me in the stadium after the game was Bill, because neither one of us had great days as coordinators.
"He learned a lot. I got an opportunity over time to spend time talking with him about different things. I see football similarly to the way he does, and you appreciate that about him. He's a real football person that way; very genuine. You appreciate that when you have a chance, whether in meetings or on the road, or spending time talking about things. You like his ability to adjust the football team, to get them to understand what's important at the moment, and not worry about last week or next week. That's very important, and you learn that as you follow him. One year when we were up there I went up to work a football camp and he brought me over and said, 'Let's go coach the DBs.' You enjoy that part of Bill."
Do you think players will place an extra emphasis on this game, given your recent struggles?
"I think there's an emphasis regardless. They're not used to being 2-3 at this point. It is where we are right now. We knew from the start it was going to be a grinding football season. We knew that in April when the schedule was released. We are what we are right now. We're right in the thick of things and just have to keep pounding and keep grinding."
Do the Patriots represent a special opponent, as a team that is the class of the conference?
"Yes. This is a team that we know is a good football team."
What do the challenges of playing against the two tight ends set present?
"Both players are good line-of-scrimmage players and good receivers. They have been accomplished as receivers in the league. Martellus (Bennett) has new life, and you can see it in how he's playing. You like that about him. (Rob) Gronkowski is obviously an exceptional football player."
Is one week worth of film of Tom Brady enough to get an idea of things?
"There's 11 people on the field, and you only put four off the line off scrimmage, and seven have to be on it. There's certain places they are going to be. They aren't going to invent any new formations they haven't used over the past five to six seasons."
How much of Belichick is Tom Brady these days?
"There is a comfort level they both have with the things they do on offense. That's really important. Brady came back, and they do the things they do. It was a little different when they had the rookie QB, but when Jimmy Garoppolo was playing, they were the Patriots offense."
Do they do complementary football in all three phases as well as anyone?
"They do a good job. They have experienced players throughout the defense and offense. They have good leadership that way. They are exceptional on special teams with Matthew Slater, and they've done well with the punter and kicker."
Do you have a reaction to the criticism of you by Stephen A. Smith of ESPN?
"(Laughs). Well, that's not even worth a response."