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Dalton, Lewis News Conference Transcripts 10/22

Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 22, 2014

How easy or difficult is it to put a performance like Sunday behind you?
    "Regardless of how easy or hard, you've go to move past it. We know that's not the type of team we are. We're putting it behind us. We're not focused on what we did last week, we're focused on this week. We've got a good task at hand."

What specifically do you focus on improving this week?
    "If you look at the way we played, we can get better in a lot of areas. You've got to be able to run the ball, you've got to beat one-on-one coverage, we've got to get guys open, we've go to complete balls. There's a ton of stuff you can look at last week's game and say 'Well, we've got to do this better, we've go to do this better.' We've just got to get back to the way that we know we can play."

Does Baltimore's defense look any different from the first game?
    "I wouldn't say they're a whole lot different. They're really sound, they're smart, they play well. We've got to be ready for everything just like we were the first week of the season. They've won a lot of games so far, so we've got to do what we can to slow them down, and do what we can to win this one."

How much do you need another downfield threat right now?
    "I wouldn't necessarily say we need another downfield threat. We just need guys to go make the plays. We've got plenty of guys that are capable. So when their number's called, we've got to go make them. That's what we're trying to do now. We're trying to build depth, we're trying to get guys ready to go. So hopefully everybody shows up on Sunday."

There were a lot of dropped passes on Sunday. How do you fix that?
    "It just has to be a point of emphasis. At the end of the day, our guys have to make a play. It's something we talk about, something we stress. I don't necessarily think guys will be on the Jugs machine more this week than they have any other time, because they're able to make those plays. They just have to go make them."

How important is it to run the ball on Sunday against a defense that's really good against the run?
    "We hope to hit some big runs, and you've got to be able to run the ball. It will be a point of emphasis, but we're going to do whatever we can to win the game, whether it be running it or throwing it."

Do you expect a more fired up Baltimore team than in the opener?
    "Yeah, they're playing with a lot of confidence. They've won several in a row. We know what we're going to get with Baltimore regardless of when you're playing them, how you're playing them."

They rush the passer with so many different people. How do you defend that?
    "It just comes down to the preparation. You've got to find the different looks, see what they're doing, and make sure you're good on all your blitz pickups, and adjustments, and protection responsibilities and things like that. We'll be prepared. I've already watched a bunch of film, making sure we've got our keys on certain looks."

Are they doing different blitzes now than in season opener?
    "Yeah, obviously that was just week one, so they've had more season to do more stuff. So they've got a lot of stuff we have to prepare for."

How does A.J. Green look to be coming along to you?
    "I've got really no comment on that. That's all stuff that the medical staff handles."

Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 22, 2014

Initial comments...
    "It's obvious that with Baltimore this week, we're playing a football team playing very, very well. They're running the ball efficiently over the last few weeks and have made some explosive plays in the running game, some consistent plays in the running game, hit their stride that way. And they continue to be effective with the vertical throws down the field. It's obviously very important for us to be able to defend against that.
"Defensively, they're big, strong, explosive up front. It's helped them having (Lardarius) Webb back in the secondary because they've been better in coverage and have settled them down a little bit. It allows the guys up front, they've had the lead, and lets those guys tee off on you. They've done a great job both schematically and with just individual efforts by the rushers. They're being very, very productive.
"And then with special teams, they're very strong with (Sam) Koch and (Justin) Tucker, and with Jacoby (Jones) as a returner.
"It's a big game for us, and one that we've got to play our best football to date. We've got to play great in all three phases."

After the game last week, is this an elixir, a good thing to play a team you know so well?
    "I'm glad you elaborated what that word meant (Laughs). It's … I don't know what it is. It's a good week. It's the week we have. It's a home game, it's a division game, an important game for us. People will be excited. Our guys have to be excited to play in this football game, have a great week of preparation. There's going to be no hiding. Everyone is going to know right where everybody is."

How important is managing and working through lulls to making the playoffs?
    "I think every year that I've been in the NFL, the teams that I've been on, the teams that have gone to the Super Bowl, have gone through lulls. But you've got to find a way to pull out of it. You've got to push over the hump. You're never as good as people think you are, nor are you as bad or whatever.
"This is important, dealing with adversity, dealing with a loss, and coming back off a loss, and getting back after it. You've got to have the mental toughness, the mental fortitude, and the attitude, and the leadership within the football team to push over, and to not spit the bit on preparation. You have to continue to work as hard in the meeting room, the classroom, and on the practice field, and to get the execution where you need it in every phase. And don't hiccup and let something get away from you that you should be sound with."

Is it easier because you can point back to last year or the year before as examples?
    "I haven't pointed back to anything. I'm just focusing on the week at hand. I'm not very good at going backwards. I've got to move forward, and continue to press forward, and make the correction, and get people to do it the right way all of the time consistently, and don't let one error lead to the second error."

Which noise is more difficult for you as a coach to deal with: the "Atta Boy" or criticism?
    "I think the "Atta Boy" noise, for me, because I don't think these guys listen to criticism. They block criticism out (Laughs). Criticism corrections are harder for them. They just shut it out, man (Laughs). I think the "Atta Boy" noise is harder."

Is giving A.J. Green time to heal a luxury you can't afford?
    "It's not up to that. It's up to when he's physically ready to go. That decision is not in my hands. When he is significantly healed he'll be ready to play. He'll know it, I'll know it, and then he'll be ready to move forward. He's had the best people in the world -- at least in our country -- examine this, and they've been consistent with their message to him. He's seen the people that every NFL player sees, every professional athlete sees, and they've been consistent with the message, and so we've felt pretty good about that."

Is it tougher to give one more week with a guy like A.J.?
    "Again, your eyes have to work on the practice field and see what you get. From there we have to go. It's hard for me to go and put a guy out there on Sunday that I don't feel can last the full football game. That's the hard part. He plays a different position. If we had A.J. for part of the game doing certain things that would be great. I think we could operate offensively, because we're going to have some other guys, obviously. But when we get to that point we'll make those decisions. We'll cross that bridge when the time comes."

Does the offense need to be up-tempo and run the ball more to be more effective?
    "The second part of what you said is very important, that we run the football. Not necessarily more but more effectively. Running the ball, and being effective at what you do, lends to more opportunity. Everyone can look at 'Well, you only did it this many times.' Well, when you don't make any first downs, you don't have many opportunities. That's the key element. If you look at where we are first down-wise, and where we are third down-wise, neither one of them are good enough right now. Those things are important, that we get better. We went very poorly at New England, and then we were pretty good against Carolina, and then very poorly again last week. So if you look at those things, you can see that your opportunities are going to be limited."

In the last two losses, did the game plan get ripped to shreds and you couldn't run as much?
    "Well, I don't know about the game plan being … We didn't execute very well, and the other team outplayed us, and out-executed us, and kept us from getting the ball and the first downs going."

That's sort of the Catch-22 with the running game. You have to run it a lot to be good at it ...
    "You've got to run it effectively, and create space, and do the things you've got to do. And do a great job of staying on the blocks, and finish the blocks, and be able to finish the runs, and turn the three- or four-yard runs into a seven- or eight-yard run, which now gets you second-and-two, third-and-shorter through the sequence of downs."

Have you ever had a player here who more fundamentally impacts way you prepare to attack a defense or how a defense has to prepare for you than A.J.?)
    "I think in '04 and '05, and the confidence level we had in Chad (Johnson) through that period with a healthy Carson (Palmer), we felt good about those things. We knew we could dictate certain things with Chad, we could get certain matchups, and then it allowed the guys on the other side to go to work. Obviously, T.J. Houshmandzadeh emerged as a fine, fine player given those opportunities. That's what a guy like that, a dominant player like that, can do offensively. At that point we didn't have the vertical threats that we have now in Jermaine Gresham. When we had Reggie (Kelly) as the tight end, we were better when we had the combination of Reggie and (Matt) Schobel for a bit through that time. You open up different things that way, no doubt about it."

Two-TE packages were so important for both teams, but they had Dennis Pitta go down and you've had Tyler Eifert get hurt, so they're totally different now...
    "They've morphed into more of a regular with using a fullback, but they will use the second tight end – his name is slipping my mind, number 80. I'm better with numbers than names, (No. 80 is Crockett Gillmore). But they are using that some. But he's playing in there, and they're using the fullback (Kyle Juszczyk) in there much more often than they were before. The package has changed as Owen Daniels has gone into the Pitta role, and 44 has gone into the Owen Daniels role, similar to the way Gary (Kubiak) did things offensively in Houston."

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