Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
November 12, 2014
Did you get away from football over the weekend, or did you stay immersed in it?
"I was here, but obviously we were away from football for a little bit. But it was good to have a little break. I think it was good for guys to have some time, and we're back and ready to go."
Who do the Saints remind you of defensively?
"With Rob Ryan being their guy, they do some things that are similar to teams that we've played. He's got his blitz packages that he likes, but also there's a lot of coverage in there, too. We've got to be prepared for all of it."
You're 10-3-1 against the NFC. Is there anything to that?
"I wouldn't have known that I was 10-3-1, so I don't think there's anything to that."
Looking back to Thursday, did that have a different feel to it than other games where you've struggled?
"Things couldn't get into a rhythm, and it just kept being that way. The big thing is we've watched the tape, we've learned from it, and we've moved on. Our focus isn't about last week and about what we've done earlier in the season. It's all about these next seven games, and what we can do and what's in front of us."
What do you take away from that last game as you go forward?
"I still think at the end of the day, you don't turn the ball over. It gives our team a better chance. They score 14 points off turnovers. There's so many things that we could have done differently, and I could have done differently. Like I said, it was one game, so we can't let it hurt us for the remainder of the season."
What's the best advice you've gotten about that?
"That's not the kind of player I am, not the kind of offense we are, not the kind of team we are to put that showing out there. You can't lose any confidence. You can't all of a sudden panic or anything. There's been a lot of good things that have gone on for this team. So hold onto that kind of stuff, because you've still got to have a lot of confidence. That's the best thing you can do out on the field because that's contagious."
Until two weeks ago, you were playing pretty well...
"Yeah, we're still in control of everything. There's seven games left. We've got to be at our best for the next seven."
How do you get your swagger back?
"I think it all starts with the way you're preparing, the way you practice. What you're doing on the practice field's got to relate to what's going be going on in the game, so when you get these looks in practice, you've got to hit them. You've got to show everybody that there's going to be big plays out there. And the way you go about talking about things, whatever it is, just the confidence level of everything that you're doing -- that allows you to play that way as soon as you get to the game."
Do you embrace the fact that you have three in a row on the road?
"Yeah, you've got to have that extra focus playing on the road. We knew the way the schedule was, we've known that for a while. We've got to do whatever we can to take these next three, especially since there's three back-to-back to back on the road."
Do you have a reference point to say, "This happened before and here's how I handled it?"
"I'm sure it's happened before. Like I said, we've moved on from that."
Hue Jackson talked about you rallying the team and getting everything heading in right direction ...
"It's something that we've talked about after watching tape and getting everybody back. We understand what kind of offense we can be and what kind of team we can be, so I think it's something that we've talked about and I've talked about with everybody. So like I said, we're moving forward from that one."
Can you put your finger on the reasons for the inconsistency on offense from game to game?
"There's not one thing. It comes down to the execution. Everybody's got to be playing together. Not saying we weren't, but everybody took their turns at making their mistakes in those games, so when you're making mistakes and continue to do it, it makes it hard to score points. I think that's the biggest thing."
You're still in the driver's seat for the playoffs...
"Like I said, we've got seven games left, so it really doesn't matter what we've done to this point. We're in a good position with what we've done so far, so these next seven games are really important."
Andrew Whitworth said the team is ticked off. Do you have a sense that this an angry team?
"Yeah, I think we're ticked off, however you want to say it. Just the way we performed, that doesn't sit well with a lot of people. It doesn't sit well with me. Obviously Whit's saying it, so that's the attitude that we have right now. And the best thing you can do is play another game after you play a game like that one."
Does it help getting back to a normal week schedule?
"Yeah, you get back into the routine of everything. It's obviously good when you have more time to prepare."
You could be getting guys like Andre Smith and Giovani Bernard back at an opportune time ...
"Yeah, obviously you want all your guys back, so hopefully that could be this week."
What's the loudest stadium you've played in?
"Shoot, we played in Seattle. Houston for some of those playoff games was pretty loud. We've played in some crowd noise."
Does it affect what you do very much?
"You've got to be good in the way you're doing your cadences and stuff, the communication with everybody. You've got to be loud and make sure everybody's on the same page."
The Saints are good at home but they just lost there. What does it take to beat them at home that you can see on film?
"You've got to capitalize when you get turnovers. You can't turn the ball over. There's so many things that go on, so you've got to find a way to go take those games. That's one thing you see, it came down to the end, the game going into overtime for them last week, and San Fran was able to capitalize on some turnovers."
Is this another chance to remind everyone you're still here as a team?
"Yeah, we're playing a good team. So you know, anytime you get a win against a good team, it solidifies things for you."
Marvin Lewis News Conference
Comments on canned food drive...
"The first order of business is to thank the fans and congratulate them again for the canned food drive, the 28th annual, which benefits the Freestore Foodbank. Before our game with the Browns, almost 6300 pounds of canned food and over $17,300 in cash was collected, which enables about 57,000 meals to be served benefitting children and their families in the Greater Cincinnati area over the holiday period. Also thanks to Meijer for donating an additional $10,000 to the Freestore Foodbank, which will enable another 30,000 meals to be distributed. Again, congratulations and great job of that last Thursday evening...So there was a positive (Laughs)."
Comments on the New Orleans Saints and this week's game ...
"It starts with the quarterback Drew Brees and his ability to move in the pocket and find open receivers. He does such an excellent job of that. Their season is not quite going the way they'd like also, so it's a big game for both teams.
"They're dangerous with receivers, starting with Jimmy Graham, who is a very good receiving tight end as we know, (Marques) Colston, and the rookie (Brandin) Cooks is having a great year for them. Mark Ingram is running the ball very well. They use a trio of backs, given the situation, and they use a lot of personnel in and out throughout the day. The receivers from Colston to (Kenny) Stills to Jimmy Graham are all with around 25-30 catches each at least. This is an offense that's well balanced at spreading the football around, and getting the ball to the open target.
"Defensively, with Cameron Jordan and (Junior) Galette, they have two outside rushers who are both outstanding. We've got our work cut out for us down there, playing inside as they do, where they do a great job.
"For us, number one, we have to take care of the football. We have to know how important that is, week in and week out. It'll be especially important this week for us, getting off to a fast start on offense and doing a nice job on defense early. We're about where we were a year ago, but unfortunately our expectations of things are a lot higher. So everybody feels a little bit differently about it. We are where we are. We have to rise above it, and get going to play good football, good winning football over this seven weeks, one at a time."
With Jimmy Graham, do you treat him more as a receiver than a tight end, because of the way they use him in the passing game?
"As you go through and you break down opponents, you look at what they do when certain people are on the field, and because they use a lot of different people, he's used a lot as a receiver basically, yes."
Creating matchup problems with tight ends is what a lot of people are doing in this league, but he's different than most...
"He's got special length. He's got great hand-eye catch coordination. He does a nice job of basically rebounding the ball. He's really good at that, being able to use his body, and keep his body between the defender and the football, using his body in between. He does a good job of that."
Do you have an idea of whether guys like Rey Maualuga will be able to return to practice this week?
"Yeah, some of our guys will return to practice this week."
Rey being one of them?
What about Giovani Bernard?
"Gio won't return today."
If Rey is able to play, what does he bring to you in run defense?
"Obviously Rey can make plays, but more than that, the mental aspect, the understanding of what we want to get done front-wise. It's important to have the experience that he has. He's a smart guy, he's a good extension of Paul (Guenther). We've been missing he and Vontaze (Burfict) both being out at the same time. Rey brings that mental aptitude back, as well as making the plays through the middle of the defense."
You've had to play with a bunch of different linebacker combinations. How hard is that for guys to get used to each other, learn where each guy is supposed to go and trust each other?
"The part is more the communication process and what has to happen when things change. If we were playing static football it's pretty easy, but there's not much static offense out there."
How is Vontaze doing?
"He's doing fine."
Do you think he might return this week?
"I don't know that he'll return this week. He won't practice today."
How about Andre Smith? Does he have a shot?
"Yeah, Andre will return to practice this week as well."
How about Leon Hall?
"Leon will return to practice as well (Laughs). If I just told you all this you wouldn't have to work for it, and it would be no fun."
When you say not returning to practice today, that leaves it open for the rest of the week ...
"That's right. It could be wide open (laughs). Again, you can't put a timeframe on injuries. As I tell the coaches, they'll be out there when they come out there and practice, and we'll put eyes on them and feel good about them. Then we'll have a better idea. We really can't count on them until we know we can count on them through the process. Our guys are on the mend, and that's a good thing. From (Tyler) Eifert all the way through, they're on the mend, and we hope to get them all back at some point in the next few weeks."
Can you talk about Emmanuel Lamur's development? It's really his first full year starting, and the tight ends he's had to deal with...
"For Emmanuel it's almost like a rookie season with him, because as hard as the young guy works, until you have to go out there and play an NFL season, you really don't have a great feel for it. He's battled through some injuries, some ups and downs with his body, and the further we get away from that, and he gets back and starts feeling better about the way he feels physically, all the better. But also the time on task, and the mental aspect of playing football week in and week out. He's in the situation where he gets matched up on some of these guys that are athletic, whether they're runners or tight ends as pass receivers, he gets the opportunity to do this."
Physically on paper, he can match up ...
"Physically, yes, that's a strength of his."
He just has to learn to do it …
"Yeah, you have to do it time on task."
You couldn't have picked out four or five better tight ends to go against than the ones you've faced this year ...
"Yeah, we've played the gamut. We've played everybody but (Antonio) Gates this year. These receiving type guys that aren't necessarily lead blockers. They are more the receiver type than the lead blocker type."
Taylor Mays gives you another body that can defend tight ends ...
"Yeah, more flexibility, and another player that has those skills. He's a bigger man with bigger stature, and has the speed to run and chase."
With Graham, he plays like a WR, but it's tough to match up a corner with a 6-7 guy …
"Right, you have to have to the 6-2 or 6-3 corner like Dre (Kirkpatrick) You need a guy with big length to go do that, but obviously Jimmy Graham is 250-some pounds he's got the strength that's going to win that 50-pound mismatch as well, particularly the tighter it gets to the goal line. The further away from the goal line, the better off you are. The tighter it is to the goal line, it comes back into his favor again."
Andy Dalton said he moved past Thursday. How important is it to keep that behind you guys moving forward?
"It's really important. The thing that we had to hang onto was not rearranging the schedule on our players in order to get them out of it a little quicker. We've had good work, good focus on Monday, and through today this morning. We have to go get better at the things we are not doing very well. We've got to apply this plan to the Saints and be great at it."
On Thursday night it looked like you were on the sideline trying to get guys back into the game mentally. After the game, is that something had to do this week to them, or are they pretty much ready to go?
"I don't recall the situation you are talking about, but my job is to do that every day, any day. That doesn't matter. My job is to get us to move on -- right, wrong, indifferent, either way. Because last week is over, and we don't get anything for it. I've sat here and told you that the first three weeks, we get nothing for last week. It's all about this week."
Is this game especially important for Andy, due to what happened on Thursday?
"(Smiles). Really, I think every game we play is especially important for every player. If I say otherwise, you are going to ask the same question the next week. He can go and be lights out, and if we lay an egg the next week, it's going to be especially important in your mind. That's the way it is. That's where we are. This is what everybody wanted. Here we are. Now hang on. It's what you want. That's where we are. We got to go."
You've had the wild peaks of great play and lows of bad play instead of being more consistent. Is that tough?
"You've got to look inside, if indeed those were peaks and valleys. They were a little bit leveler, and I'm glad they were a little leveler. But we have to look at why things eroded together at the same time, which we had a tendency to do the other night."
Is it important to relay that this team is still in the driver's seat when it comes to making the playoffs?
"Right, but that's not what the case is right now. The case is this week, this football game."
The reaction of some people has been almost like you are 3-and-9. Do you have to remind the players this is where you were in '11, '12 and '13, that you were in this exact spot and went on to make the playoffs?
"We were in this exact spot. But we've got to do things better. We are not playing as well right now on defense. The entire defensive football team is not playing as well. We have given up 50 more first downs then we did a year ago at this time. We have scored five less touchdowns and given up five more touchdowns. We are running for a half-yard better on offense, and they have a half-yard better per carry on defense. Part of that is we haven't had a lead. Part of that is we have 50 more rushing attempts.
"All those things being said, we are better on third down now then we were at Game 9 last year. We are almost where we were offensively after Game 9 last year. Those things are all equal, but we are not getting it done on first and second down defensively. We have to do a better job. On offense, we are ripping and roaring on first down. We have to do a better job. We are 12 first downs off from where we were a year ago at this point. We are not scoring as many points. We were scoring more points in the first quarter, now we are not. We are losing the first quarter, we are losing the fourth quarter. All that being said, that's where it is."
The most consistent part has been special teams...
"Knock on wood. We are making plays on special teams. We can't spit the bit on that. We've got to keep pressing the metal on that, and we've got to keep being as attacking and efficient that way as we have been. We've got great ball placement, but the other night when we needed two great punts we didn't get two good punts.
"Again, all of those things matter in the great scheme of things, and that's why you don't win. When all those things happen at the wrong time … we miss a wide-open crosser, we get bumped off a route, we get bumped in the pocket. We miss a tackle out in the flat, and a six-yard gain turns into a 16-yard gain. Those things happen, you lose football games. We have to go back, and do a better job and not lose the football game. We are paid to win, we are paid to make plays and we have got to get it done."
Do you have to emphasize running the ball more?
"It's going to be important. You saw the weather change today. Ironically, we are going to go into better weather for three weeks in a row, probably (playing in southern locales). But the last four weeks, we know what it's going to be like, and the teams we are going to be playing these seven games all play good defense, from New Orleans to Houston to Tampa, who has great explosive guys up front on that defensive group, and then we know the other four teams we play. We've got to play against seven great defensive looks over the next seven weeks."
Hue Jackson is always talking about attempts, not so much yards per...
"Correct. Yards-per helps."