Andy Dalton News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
June 14, 2016
How similar and how different have things been with all the changes, including Ken Zampese taking over as your coordinator?
"Zamp's personality is a little different than Hue (Jackson). The offense as a whole, and schematically, is going to take on what he likes. We have a lot of guys that have been here a while and understand this offense. He understands the players he has. There are some things similar, and some things we'll do different. For the most part, the new guys are starting to pick up on how we've done things for a while. Its been a good smooth transition. I'm happy for Zamp that he's in this positon. As time goes on, we'll continue to get better and understand more, but we're in a good place now."
Do you draw on the other times you've had new coordinators and new experiences?
"The thing that's different now is that I'm not learning a new person. Zamp's been my quarterback coach since I've been here. We already have that great relationship. I understand how he thinks and does things. For him, its the same thing for me. I'm not learning the new style of a guy. That makes things easier because we've been together for a while."
How have you and A.J. Green grown together over the past six years?
"Its been fun to go through our career together. The understanding of what we're trying to do, how to run routes, where I'm going to put the ball, its all second nature to us now. We've been doing this for a while. There's a comfort with having him out there. He's one of the best receivers in the league. For us, its been cool because we came in together."
Would you say you both took a step forward last year?
"Definitely. Obviously injuries happen. We've taken the next step. That's one thing we've worked on, is continuing to be the best we can be on the practice field or game field. We continue to strive to be better."
How important is Tyler Eifert to the offense?
"Tyler is such a great player. He has a great feel for the game and an understanding of what we're trying to do. For a guy to be as big as he is, to run the routes the way he does, go up and make plays, he's a special talent. Its been good for those other tight ends to get in there for camp and get the experience of being out there, taking a lot of reps, and seeing how different coverages play out. The experience of them coming in and having all those reps is really going to help us out through the year."
How hard is it to develop chemistry in practice, as compared to game experience?
"The more you play, the better you're going to feel. But all we have is practice now. For Tyler and for me, its understanding how he runs things, how I expect him to be in certain spots. All of that will carry over to game-time situations, and that's when you have to perform."
How is the relationship between you and Bill Lazor developing and how important is it?
"It is important. We've had a great relationship since he got here, and it has continued to grow. We're really learning how he works and how he thinks of certain things. I'm always asking him for feedback on footwork, throws, certain things to make sure we're on the same page. As time goes on, we'll have a better relationship, but its been a great start for us."
Did you personally feel that you took a significant step forward last season?
"I felt like last year was the best year I've had. That's the expectation; every year you want to get better and do things you haven't done. For me, I was able to do that and it helped this team. Now, its about continuity and to keep pushing to get better."
What's it like to see Gio Bernard get rewarded with a contract?
"For a guy like Gio, it's great. He does everything you ask him to do. He works extremely hard. For a guy like that to get rewarded, it's exactly what you want to see happen. It couldn't have happened to a better guy. It's great to have him on the team, he does a lot for us. He doesn't say much; he just goes about his business. I'm so happy for him; he deserves it."
Was it a known thing, when you came in here six years ago, that if you put in the work you would get rewarded?
"When I first got here, that was the last thing I was thinking about (laughs). As time has gone on, you see that. Not all teams are that way, so I feel very fortunate to play for an organization that is that way. The guys that have gotten second contracts on this team are guys that they have drafted. It's cool to see an organization that does that."
How big of a factor is it to have an offensive coordinator who you've been with for some time now?
"Its fun to have that because you can draw from those experiences. We'll be in film and pick up on how it's exactly how it was against Pittsburgh a few years ago, or Buffalo. You have those experiences you can draw from. Now it's just making sure everyone gets on the same page. For the new guys, we don't have that yet, but you can relay it to them how you exactly want it to be. Its a learning process, and we're going to try to make that happen as quick as possible."
How much are you showing the other new guys about how things are done around here?
"That's what you try to do right now. This is a time where they're learning a lot. They're trying to do everything the right way. When things go right, you want to make sure it's encouraged. When it's wrong, you have to talk them through it and let them know that they need to be in this right spot. It's part of them coming in, especially the rookies. They're getting used to the NFL game, and things move a bit faster, and you have to react to certain coverages. The more experience our guys get, the better feel our guys will have."
What do you think is Coach Zampese's greatest strength?
"I think he works extremely hard. He's an extremely smart guy who understands the game of football. That's why he's in the positon he is in now. It's well deserved. That's the biggest strength; how smart he is and the understanding of how defenses are trying to attack us."
What have been your impressions out of Brandon LaFell so far?
"He's been solid. He's come in and picked up on things quick. I told him it feels like he's been here for a while. It's not repeating or teaching things with him. He's a guy that's been around for a while and understands the game. He's definitely going to help us out."
Do any of these OTAs and minicamps feel mundane to you after six years of it? Can you keep them fresh?
"You definitely can. You're seeing different things. We have a lot of newer guys, so we're trying to bring them along and get them up to speed. Coach Guenther (defensive coordinator) does a good job of giving us different looks too. It's not easy out there. They try to make it as difficult as they can. I don't feel like it's mundane. There's things you want to get better at. That makes you excited about being out here."
Do you enjoy the little competitions that arise out of camps like these?
"When you get to the first few phases of OTAs, its all timing and mechanics. Then when you get to practice and go against the defense, that competition brings out the best in guys. It's a lot more fun to practice against the defense than throw it in the air."