Dalton, Lewis News Conference Transcripts

Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
December 10, 2014

The Browns said after the Thursday night game that they knew your terminology and what you were calling. Do you think there's something to that?
    "I think there is some, I'm sure there is some fact to it. You study what we do, people do a good job of doing scouting and all that kind of stuff, we understand that. So we've just got to be sharp on what we're going to be doing, and we think that we have a good plan going in."

Will you have to change terminology or anything?
    "Whether it be changing stuff or whatever, we're going to do whatever can be to our advantage."

How did the loss to Cleveland affect you guys?
    "The big thing is that we didn't let it affect us moving forward. We learned from that game, and we moved on from it, and we've done some good things since."

Did you need a rock-bottom moment to get everyone feeling the urgency of it?
    "You don't want to have a rock-bottom moment to get everybody going, but it's one of those games, one of those things that happen during the season where you can go back and look at things, and get back to doing things the way that you want to. Since that game, we've pretty much done that."

How did you change after that game?
    "Playing like I know I can play. That game doesn't show what type of player I am, so just getting back to doing the things I can do."

During the Cleveland game, you couldn't get out of the funk as an offense. What was the reason for that?
    "We never made that play that was going to keep a drive going or get us that momentum. Because we didn't do that, we couldn't get out of it. That's why it ended up the way it did."

The Browns have a history of taking A.J. Green out of the game. Is that because Joe Haden is so good or other things as well?
    "I think it's a little bit of both. Haden, he's a good player, and he's done a lot of good things, and we know he's going to follow A.J., but they've done some other things as well. You know, we've got to find ways to get A.J. his touches. A.J., he's got a good challenge this week."

A.J. has had a great run in the last four games. Do you see a difference in him?
    "I think it's just the confidence is back. He's getting lots of chances. So when the plays have been there, he's made them. He's made big catches, big runs after catches, big plays. That's the type of player he is, so you've got to keep giving him these opportunities to make these big plays."

Is the back of the Browns defense among the best in the league?
    "Yeah, they do a really good job. With all the coverages that they're playing, the man coverages and stuff, they feel like there's always a guy around the receiver, you're always having to make a tough catch. It's not like guys are running wide open in these zones. I think that's why they're leading the league in interceptions and have been playing well."

How important are these games with the division so close?
    "Every game we're going to play, these last three, are really big games. There's a lot that's going to be determined in them. Every game that we're going to play is going to be important.

The crowd will be revved with Johnny Manziel starting. How important is it to get off to a fast start?
    "You want to start fast. The better you are early on in the games, you can take away the crowd and all that kind of stuff. But we know the kind of atmosphere we're going to get. So we've just got to be ready to come out firing."

Is the way their corners play similar to what you see here in practice?
    "Yeah, they do a good job of getting up on guys and pressing. Like I was saying, there's always a guy around the receiver when the ball is coming, so you're always trying to make contested catches."

Have you crossed paths with Manziel?
    "When he was in high school coming out for the things that we did at TCU, I saw him. Other than that, I haven't been around him."

What are your impressions of his game?
    "Seeing him in college, he was a playmaker, he was running around doing things, guys were getting off their routes, and getting open, and he was making big plays. He was just a playmaker."

How often does A.J. come up to you and say he's beating his guy and you need to get him the ball?
    "It happens at times. I'm always asking them what's going on out there, how's he playing you, doing certain things. I mean there's definitely times when he feels he's winning every single time, so when you've got him going like that, you can keep feeding him the ball."

Has there been more of that lately?
    "Yeah, he's showing his emotion. He's making big first downs, and he's getting excited, and that's how it should be."

Does that rub off on others?
    "Absolutely. Anytime you've got a guy who's one of your best players, showing a lot of emotion, showing his confidence … you know, confidence is contagious."

Does Andrew Whitworth do the same thing in the huddle, saying he can beat his guy?
    (Laughs) Yeah, there's times in games where A.J.'s not the only one. Whit does a good job. There's other people that they get their opinion out there."

What did you think about Jermaine Gresham's touchdown dance?
    "Jermaine can dance."

Do you feel a bond with Manziel with both of you being from Texas?
    "I feel like you either have been around, or get to know, the quarterbacks who have been in Texas. You've seen them play in high school, or knew them when you were in high school or college. Him being at A&M -- a lot of connections with A&M. To say we have a bond, I don't know about that, but you definitely follow guys that are from your area."

Why are there so many good quarterbacks from Texas?
    "I think there's such an importance on football in Texas, so it starts at a young age and it's a big deal. And there's a lot of talent there."

Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
December 10, 2014

Comments on results from the Toys for Tots collection on Dec. 7 ...
    "First off, with the Toys for Tots drive, it was last Sunday in conjunction with the Bengals and the Marine Corps. James Key is here from the U.S. Marine Corps, and he's here to thank everyone."

U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant James Key:
    "Thank you very much for having me. We're here to announce that at last week's game we raised a record $48,888. We also collected 5,470 new toys, and all those toys will go to the underprivileged children of the Tri-state area. On behalf of the United States Marine Corps and over 50,000 kids, thank you to the Bengals for having us."

Lewis on radio comments...
    "As Jack (PR director Jack Brennan) said, this is the first time I've had a chance to address all of you in person since I was on the radio Monday night. So again, obviously the apologies have gone out. The remark that I made was dumb and caused a lot of uproar. I apologize again for that, and we've all moved on to football."

Based on the height difference between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, how does your defensive approach change for Sunday's game?
    "We just look at the 130-something plays that Johnny had this preseason, and the plays he had against the Bills this year, and go back and look at our time spent evaluating him in the draft. He obviously did well in the offense there at (Texas) A&M, so we just go through and adjust the plan accordingly to the things that we feel could be a part of their offensive game plan against us if he's in there."

What impresses you most with Manziel?
    "He has a great knack for avoiding rush, for avoiding the sack. He's quick to get the ball out of his hand and pretty deliberate in things that way. He was in an offense that threw the football, and kind of wide open, gave him opportunity to make plays, both with his feet and with his vision down the field."

Is he a quarterback obviously that can run but doesn't necessarily give up on his progressions after the first read if it's not there?
    "He's a quarterback who can run, and he's made a lot of plays with his feet. He's made plays we've all watched many times where he got out of the pocket and was able to keep his vision down the field and make plays down the field. He's kind of a dual threat that way."

In college it seemed like he was more of a scrambler. Not a lot of run packages, but he would go back to pass and end up scrambling ...
    "Yeah, he would avoid pressure to make a play. Again, you've got to keep track of him."

Your first couple games against running quarterbacks this year with Jake Locker and Cam Newton, they were able to do things. But with Andrew Luck and guys you've had since then, did you make adjustments against running quarterbacks that you think helped out?
    "You get into the game, and you've got to apply it in the game when it's live action. You can talk about it, and you can drill it and so forth, but until it's occurring in the game ... The option with Carolina is a totally different entity than with most teams, because Cam Newton has  the size of a running back, he's 235 pounds. So Cam is a different element that way. We don't know what exactly we'll get this week, and we'll see on Sunday."

We now know for sure that Vontaze Burfict is not going to be back this year. Is there a feeling on the defense of 'Okay, he's not going to come back to help?'
    "He's not been here to help, so I don't think that's changed. Vontaze has played, I think, 200 snaps this season, so we've played virtually the entire season without him, unfortunately. I don't think there's much change in that situation now from a mental standpoint."

Hoyer likes to stand tall and throw from the pocket, but Manziel tends to move around. What challenges does that present to your defense?
    "I think it's very similar to your first question. Brian Hoyer, when we played him the first time, they moved him a little bit, and that's been part of their offense, and part of the offense that Kyle (Shanahan) has put together. I think it will adjust a little bit, but not much."

With Burfict going on IR, there's now been a handful of injuries that have lingered a little more than initially expected. Do you think that there's been setbacks in rehab, or the initial projections were a little shorter than they should have been?
    "Well, we don't ever give a timeline on a diagnosis. That's why we don't. Each injury has to be treated, whatever is required, whatever is affected, and then go from there. But we can't put a timeline on a player. We try not ever to. Sometimes the player makes the decision to have the treatment go a certain way, based on, 'How can I get back if I can?,' but ultimately, the decision has to be based on his career going further out."

Is Vontaze looking at more surgery, or just more rehab?
     "Well, he can't decide, which is where we were the first time around with him. But on Sunday he told me he was ready to play. That's why he is what he is. He's such a competitor and everything. He's heard recommendations from a lot of different people, and then he's going to have to make a decision on what's best to go forward."

There was even some chatter that he didn't want to go out there and play, but you can probably speak against that...
     "That had nothing to do with it. When he was able to go out and do what you can do as a professional linebacker, he was ready to go. It's a hard thing to deal with if you're a guy who's never been injured before, and you've got this injury and it doesn't seem that significant. He basically finished the game (on Oct. 26 vs. Baltimore, when he suffered the knee injury), You're on that adrenaline, and when you come off of that, and it (the injury) is the real deal, then you need to consider the options."

At San Diego (last season), he played with that bad ankle and took every snap when you didn't think he was going to play that morning. And then he plays 52 more snaps against Baltimore. The guy I guess ran out of magic...

    "At some point physically, we just have to attend to things. It's unfortunate. He'll make a decision here coming up in the next few days, week or so, and attend to it and get himself ready for next year."

Do you think he can be back next year on a normal timeline if he does have surgery?
     "Yes."

It's not like Jadaveon Clowney, where they're saying he could maybe miss part of next season?
     "I shouldn't put a timeline on it. We'll see."

With Cleveland having a new quarterback and three receivers who didn't play last time, does this have a different feel than the typical situation of playing a divisional opponent one month after you already played them?
     "Well it's going to be different, yeah. The fact is, we lost the football game here, and so we need to play better in all three phases, and they've got some additional weapons available: There's the three skill players you mention, and they've made the change at quarterback. In my opinion, they've really hit their stride defensively. They're playing better on defense. In all areas, we're going to have to play better."

A.J. Green has been on a nice run the last four weeks, even by his standards. Have you noticed a difference in him, or was it just as simple as he's feeling healthy again?
     "I think he's feeling as healthy as he was (before an early season toe injury), but I think the other thing is, he's been very determined. We've got to be just as determined throughout the building to go and get this done."

Does that feel like that's been an issue at times during the course of the season, to get everybody on that same path?
     "No, but it's where we are right now at the end of the year. This is the opportunity you have. It's what you hope for at the beginning of the year, to be in this situation at the end of the year, in control of things and your own spot, and now you've got to go do it."

How different has Andrew Hawkins' role been with Josh Gordon back now?
     "Probably a little, but not much. Andrew is still getting the ball in his hands on unders. They're really doing a good job of spreading the ball around, getting the ball on unders, getting the ball on leverage-type situations, moving away from leverage and so forth. They're interchanging those guys in and out pretty well."

People talk about difference being in shape and being in football shape. Does Gordon look like he's back to where he was?
     "This is his fourth week of playing football and I would imagine you're going to get a guy that's in that condition, yes."

Since they made the decision to go with Manziel, do you think they would stay with him in the game in any situation except an injury?
     "I can't speculate on that."

Once they make a decision like that. it's usually pretty firm...
     "I would imagine, but again, I don't know."

How important is what Andy has done since the Cleveland game to just help this entire team rally around him?
     "It's important, but this is another bridge to go over. We have to navigate these waters, and go do it and have to be successful at it for everyone's sake."

What has worked best for Andy since that game, and what's big reason he's been able to put that behind him?
     "I think it's that everybody be on the same page. We have to get to the right spots, he has to deliver accurate balls, protection and route have to match, and when they don't match, things are going to be bad. Then he's got at all costs to take care of the football. Those are things we have to continually keep doing all the time no matter who it is, runners, receivers, etc. That's always part of the equation. "

Do you think the way he responded in Tampa helped him with his teammates in the locker room?
     "I think we kind of addressed that after that. Guys have to step up and play. He came around and played a good second half in that football game. That's another step forward."

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