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Dalton, Lewis News Conference Transcripts 11/26

Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
November 26, 2014

What kind of a rhythm is the offense in right now?
    "We've been doing some good things, but we still left some stuff out there. We've been playing a lot better, we've been moving the ball well, and so we've got to keep improving and keep building on what we've done so far."

A lot of defenses have a dominant player like J.J. Watt for Houston. For Tampa, Gerald McCoy is the real deal, right?
    "He is. He's really good. He's disruptive, he gets good jumps on the ball, he's making plays. You've got to do whatever you can to slow him down."

Is he similar to Geno Atkins in that sense?
    "Yeah, I think there's similarities. Obviously they're built different, they're different kind of guys. But with the speed that he gets off and the stuff that he does, I can see that comparison."

Do you have any concerns that Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins can pass along tips to teammates and you may have to change some things?
    "We're doing things a little bit differently than last year when they were here. Obviously those guys have been here, and they know the guys and stuff. But scheme-wise and all that stuff we're doing, I don't think it's going to be that big of a deal."

Describe the feeling of the division. Does it seem surreal that everyone keeps winning?
    "It just shows that every week's important, especially in our division. It's crazy how good everybody's playing this year. That's why you've got to be at your best every week, because you can't slip up once, because everybody's playing so well and finding ways to win games. You've really got to take it one week at a time and do whatever you can to win."

It might seem like a trap game at Tampa Bay, but even at 2-9 they are still in the hunt, so it means something for both teams...
    "Absolutely. We're playing for more than just this game. Whatever it takes to win, whether it be the preparation, do more, whatever it is. They're playing better than what their record shows, so we know we're going to get their best effort."

Has it been good to get away and play on the road the last two games, and have an us-against-the-world mentality?
    "That's what you have to do when you go on the road. We knew when the schedule came out that we were going to have these games. It's been good for us to get into this rhythm and win these last two, especially being on the road. I'm not saying it's good to be on the road, but we've been able to do some good things so far."

Is there any pressure playing at home when you get the immediate crowd reaction when something goes wrong?
    "It's not extra pressure. Obviously you want the crowd to be behind you and support you. There's a lot that goes on in a game. You want the crowd behind you. Not everything's going to go perfect in a game, but you want them to be cheering you on. If you can get  that home field advantage and not have some of the negative stuff that goes on, that's definitely in your favor. For us, the way the schedule is, we've got another one on the road, and then we'll be back home. Again, it's one week, we've got to win this one however we can."

A.J. Green had a big game last week. What do you do this week to improve upon that, maybe even get him more catches?
    "I mean, 12 catches last week, we'll try to get him 13, 14, 15, however many we can get. But you know, it was a big point of emphasis getting A.J. involved. We got a lot of good looks for him to make plays, and he made the plays. When you've got a guy like that, you've got to give him his chances."

You got guys back last week but then you lost Andre Smith. Do you have confidence in Marshall Newhouse having played with him in college?
    "Yeah, and he's been able to play this year, so we feel like he's stepping in, and we expect him to play well, and we know he will. He's going to work at it and make sure he's ready to go."

What is the team's support toward Devon Still with his daughter's cancer and now the allegations of not paying child support?
    "We support Devon. We know he's going through a lot. But I don't know everything that's going on with that whole situation, so I've got nothing really to say about it."

What types of things have you guys done for him?
    "I think everybody's just been there for him. There's so much he's had to deal with, with his daughter and stuff. And not just this team, but everybody nationally. I think it's been great for him."

Every parent can relate to that...
    "Absolutely. I don't understand what he's going through, but I can imagine how tough it is."

Do you have any plans to celebrate Thanksgiving?
    "My wife likes to do a lot of the cooking and make a big meal, so we'll just be at home relaxing."

What are you most thankful for?
    "I'm thankful for my family. That's the biggest thing. Got a lot of love and support from them and so very thankful."

What kind of relationship did you have with Michael Johnson. Were you just teammates or were you friends?
    "Yeah, he's a guy that's great to have in a locker room. We had a good relationship. It will be fun to go down there and see some of those guys that we played with."

Does he look like the same guy on film?
    "Yeah, he's big, disruptive, he gets off the ball quick, and we know what we're getting with him. He's a high-motor guy who's going to do what he can to get to the quarterback."

Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
November 26, 2014

Initial comments...
    "As we look forward to Tampa, their season thus far they've obviously not enjoyed the success they're looking for thus far, but they're trying to build a foundation of things, and the core of how they're going to do it all the time. They've lost some football games that they've gotten behind in, but they've also lost some close football games. They've won two football games on the road, and they're coming back home for a couple of weeks. Obviously, this is a big football game and an important part of the season for us. Offensively, (Josh) McCown last year made a name for himself in Chicago, how he played down the stretch when (Jay) Cutler was out, he did a great job of keeping them in the race of things and earning this opportunity. He got hurt earlier in the year and came back. Mike Evans has really emerged as a good player outside. Vincent Jackson's been a good player since he's been in the league, and (Doug) Martin was back last week who led the league in rushing a couple of years ago, and (Bobby) Rainey has filled in, so both running back-wise, receiver-wise, their offensive front their retooling that way. They're big, strong guys, so we have to play very, very good. Defensively, they're led by (Gerald) McCoy, who's having an outstanding year, and they brought over (Alterraun) Verner, he was with Tennessee most recent, and then (Dashon) Goldston who's been down there a couple of years from San Francisco. Then the linebacker (Lavonte) David who missed last week should be back this week. They're an athletic, explosive group on defense, similar to teams we've played it seems like this year. They've already had 23 sacks, and guys at every level who are good players, so we have our work cut out for us on both sides of the football."

Facing Michael Johnson, is that kind of an interesting matchup?
     "We've got three guys over there who started their career here with us. Michael as mentioned, and Clinton (McDonald) and AC (Anthony Collins). Michael's fought through some injuries this year, but he continues to play like Michael. He's got three sacks on the season I believe. He's obviously a guy that came here in the '09 draft and kind of grew up here, so we feel really happy for him, but on Sunday it's our job to put a frown on their face."

Two wins on the road, how do you keep that momentum going for Tampa?
     "Well, we've got to do things right, right from the start, and that's most important. We've got to really attack in all three phases, and get off to a good fast start by being disciplined and take care of our jobs."

How has the offensive line changed now with Andre Smith out?
     "Well we've played a couple of weeks without this, so I don't think there's much change. We just have to keep going, and I think as a football team when you lose a good player everyone else has to pick up the slack around him both on the offensive group, the offensive line, everywhere. Every position group, including the defense. We're obviously not going to replace Andre, but we've got to replace the productivity, and Marshall's (Newhouse) got to continue to grow, and fit into us and our system, and do it our way, the way he's coached to do it time in and time and out, and everybody around him has to really bolster things and pick up the pace."

Can Marshall get a boost from last week facing a guy like J.J. Watt?
     "The offense faced J.J. Watt, it wasn't Marshall solely, but they tried to put J.J. on Marshall a lot more than normal, and he did a good job. That's the way it is week in and week out in the NFL. Marshall's played a lot of football. He was a starting player with the Packers, he's played a lot of football there over the years, and that's why he's here to be able to fill in when an opportunity like this occurs, and he's done a good job of it so far."

George Iloka said your message to the team after the Browns loss was no more mulligans. Can you talk about how they responded the last couple of weeks?
     "Well there's got to be an urgency of where we are at the point in the year is the most important part. They've put themselves in position to control what we can do, and that's what they've been training for since April is to have these opportunities. Every opportunity provides for a bigger one. We just have to keep forging forward and grinding on."

Can you assess the impact of Rey Mauluga the past two weeks?
     "He's made some…. contributed some big, outstanding football plays, linebacker plays. As I keep trying to describe, linebackers back the line. Your job is to shed a block, make a tackle, and Rey's done a great job of that. He's really grown in that area over the time. He's so doggone physical. The thing he has also done is mentally he's so advanced that way of understanding what we need to get done up front, and any kind of adjustment to things and, being able to make that adjustment. And then the calmness that he brings to the rest of the group and not only at linebacker, but that he brings to the entire defensive huddle with his experience. So that's been a real lift. He worked to come back from the injury. He basically made it back probably 3-4 weeks quicker than I was told, so that's the good thing. He worked hard to get there, and now he's taking advantage, and he's helping us win games."

Is he playing as well now as he ever has, maybe better?
     "It's hard to say. My opinion of Rey has always been higher than what Pro Football Focus is. That's why I coach and they do what they do. He's doing a great job. He's not a finished product, and none of our guys are, and that's the good thing, and he understands that, but he takes coaching. He's one of the guys that from the very start I've had a great rapport with. He spends extra time with me just watching tape, and trying to understand and see things the way I see them and how it should be. That's good and it helps him. He spends time working at his craft, and that's the good thing. That's what's really impressed me about Rey through time has been how hard he's worked at wanting to be a good player."

Geno Atkins got credit for the safety, but it was Rey's play wasn't it?
     "It was Rey's penetration and Domata's (Peko), … yes, Rey and Domata collectively the penetration that really forced the center's feet back and into the runner, and the runner trips and falls and good things happen. Experience, knowing what the offense was doing was helpful on that play."

On the flip side, running the ball has helped Andy, and you've got a fourth-round pick (Russell Bodine), a second round pick in Jeremy Hill and a free agent –Ryan Hewitt – right up the middle. It's pretty impressive being so young and making those kind of contributions...
     "Russell and Ryan have continued to do well. Really since the start of OTAs, Ryan stood out, and he certainly stood out once we put pads on in training camp the way he carried himself. We really felt like we had a find. We had a guy who came here the unconventional way, who could contribute to our football team, and I really think the sky's the limit even though I might not agree with his evaluation of (Cincinnati Enquirer columnist) Paul's (Daugherty) wardrobe (referring to Beyond the Stripes), but I think the sky's the limit as he goes forward on things. I think he'll continue develop into a really good NFL player."

How strong is the support right now for Devon Still?
     "It's extremely strong. Leah continues with the treatments and Devon continues to work at his craft, and work hard at trying to play better, and contribute to the football team as much as he can."

How is he coping with the pressures and the new things swirling around him?
     "He's got support from everybody here. The good thing is Devon has grown up so much through this unfortunate illness that his daughter's dealing with. It's really grown him as a man and as a person, and I told him that just today how he's handled everything, and I'm so impressed. He's a really a beacon for  a lot of people, he will be for a lot of young guys as they face different trials and tribulations as an NFL player, because there are all the outside pressures that no one understands that guys go through. There's this kind of pressure, there's the pressure of playing, there's the pressure of performing, all those things that occur, and this one is really outside of football."

Are players easy targets sometimes for allegations that may or may not be true?
     "Wow, you're really trying to spin that in. That's pretty good how he spun that in. That's impressive. Devon's dealing with something, and we're confident, and we're not privy to all the facts of it, but Devon is very confident he's taken care of business the right way. Eventually at some point, if there's things that need to be done through the legality through the courts, it will come out that way. We're going to continue to support him, and we're very confident in the things that he's done."

Is the focus of the team more crystalized with teams nipping at your heels?
     "It's where we are with the urgency and the point of the season. Everybody is nipping at everybody's heels, and it's always the way that it is. It's coming down the to final five football games of the regular season. I know our guys understand. I think you've been in this situation regardless of who you're competing with all the time. I say this when we start these press conferences at the beginning of the year about the AFC North, and how I feel about it, and how strong a division it is. From the time we open up training camp all the way through every time I'm asked. It doesn't surprise me I guess is my answer to that. Our guys they know the urgency."

Do you expect Vontaze Burfict to practice this week?
     "I knew that one was coming. I was trying to think of my answer, we'll see. He continues to get closer to being able to practice, and we'll see if we can get some practice out of him at some point later in this week. It won't be today."

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