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Everything the Bengals Had to Say After Week 2

Head Coach Zac Taylor

On what's been behind the slow starts the last two games, specifically.

I think last week was probably turnovers. This week it was more first-and-10 efficiency. We had some false starts. We had a sack on first-and-10 play action. We had a screen that went for negative yards. We had a run that went for negative yards. We were backed up, there. It's pretty easy in the first half to point to what the inefficiency was. It was our first downs, so now we're not on  schedule anymore and they did a good job of pinning our ears back, which is something we can't let them do. They really excelled in that area. I thought we settled down better in the second half and we were a lot more efficient

On how uncomfortable Joe Burrow looked in the pocket, especially in the first quarter.
I didn't think Joe looked uncomfortable.

On if he was getting pressured too much.

I think we've given up too many sacks, absolutely.

What kind of caught you off guard with the fourth downs. Should you have called time out and kind of gathered your team?
I still think we were in good shape. We kind of jumped up on the call. They ran a mesh concept and we jumped up underneath.

What are you guys looking to call opportunities for shot plays today or were they just out there?
We called some of them. Had to check out of them, rightfully so. And they did a good job trying to stay on top. That was one thing – tried to double Ja'Marr, tried to play a lot of Tampa 2. When your first down efficiency isn't very good, it's easy for them to try to take that away, particularly early.

On the communication on offense today.

Not great in the first half. Not good enough in the first half I should say. fence today. It led to some errors that were difficult when that shouldn't have happened.

On what you attribute that to.

I don't know. We'll have to find out.

On why he didn't go for the field goal in the second quarter when he was at the 42-yard line.

It's a 59-yarder, 60-yarder. We've got a great kicker, trust me. At some point, you've just got to make smart decisions. We know our defense has got to settle down. So there were about six minutes left in the second quarter, so you're hoping that that's going to lead to points. You're able to pin them down there inside the ten, which I think we got them right on the ten. Get the ball back, two minute drill with good field position to be able to punch it in. So it's just having faith in your defense, faith in your punt coverage team. Defense gets a stop and the offense has an opportunity to go into halftime with a score and they get the ball back to start the second half. I understand, ball on the 42. Be aggressive there. Again, we were just thinking we were going to just get one more possession and points and get the ball to start the second half.

On if he thought of going for it on fourth down.

That's really what went into the thinking. Let's play the field possession battle on this drive, leading into the half. Get one more possession and score, and try to double up at the end of the half.

On if he's surprised that the offense has looked so disjointed during the first two games.

No, because people are going to look back at two games last year and say something very similar. These reactions always happen when you lose a game. It's a long season. That's what we tell our players. We're just going to take ownership of these losses and continue to get better. We know that we have a good football team. We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit early on here in two games. Long season yet to go and our guys are going to continue to improve and play better and get some wins.

On if Dallas' pass rush impacted how aggressive he wanted to be, especially early in downs.

Maybe they haven't gotten the sacks against everybody you watch, but quarterbacks are just springing out of the pocket when you watch all of the tape from last season against these guys. They have a really stellar pass rush. They use these guys really well. Micah Parsons is going to be in the conversation for one of the best, if not the best pass rushers, just the way they can move him around. The way he can take advantage and bend. He's a real problem and they've got real good players behind him too. We put ourselves in some positions where they could really tee off and maximize what they're really good at. And that was frustrating early on. I thought we settled in better later in the game and were a lot more efficient.

On if it's frustrating the Burrow hasn't been given better protection in the first two games.

It's all frustrating. We've give ourselves an opportunity to win these games against good teams, so once things settle down, I know that we're going to be a really good football team.

On if he feels he's getting enough from a pass rush standpoint.

At the end of the day, you don't have as many sacks as you'd like early on. They gave up 14 points to start the game and then after that, they played really lights out aside from those two field goals there at the end. So our defense is playing really well.  

On if he feels like there was a stretch last year when he faced the same obstacles on offense.

Every team's going to go through this, where you face a two game losing streak at some point. Unfortunately for us, it's the first two games of the season. It's a long season. Again, we've just got to hit the reset button, not in a negative way, but just regroup for Tuesday to get ready for the Jets this Sunday. I know our guys are going to be focused the right way. We have great leadership. So again, that's just what we're relaying on right now, is those guys to get focused, have a great week of practice and go to New York and find a way to win.

On the play of Hayden Hurst.

I think Hayden's been really solid. That's what we expected. That's what he's done. He's focused on his game, he does a great job and it's not surprising that he's had the performances that he's had.

On Drew Sample's status.

I'm not sure. We'll have to look at it. I think it was his knee. We'll have to find out.

On his takeaway from the long, sustained, tying touchdown drive.

It's just what was needed at that point of the game and that's the position we put ourselves in. But our guys answered the bell. They made some tremendous one-on-one plays, some great throws, tremendous protection. About everybody I can think of stepped up on that drive to help us go score. The protection was tremendous on the two-point play. Joe had all day back there. I thought those guys really came together and put the drive together when we needed it.

On if the punt hit the scoreboard.

With my own eyes, the ball hit the scoreboard, but not on the replay, I guess. It was a big point of the game, where a punt's just dead for no reason. For a reason that we all saw, and we were lining up for a punt again. They just got a downed punt, no return. That part was really frustrating. [The officials] reviewed it and said it didn't hit…just watch the game.

On if there is a part of the offense that can be rectified by next Sunday.

I think we're going to be in good shape. Again, "settle down" is not the great word. I think we're going to be in great position going forward. Any time you lose, it's going to feel like, from everybody that's watching, that's the story. I get it. That's how it should be. We're going to work hard, just as we have, to go on the road and find a way to win against a good team.

QB, Joe Burrow

On what may have allowed them to get into a rhythm in the second half

"It's tough to say. I felt like in the second half we were able to get rolling a little bit. We didn't have a lot of possessions in the first half. Obviously you'd like to capitalize on the ones that you can, but you've got to give credit to them. They're a really good defense. Food secondary, good rush. Not our day."

On any potential reasons for two slow starts this season on offense

"I's tough to say. You'd like to start faster obviously. No touchdowns in either first half. It's not up to our standard. We would like to start faster, but the defenses that we're getting earlier are always different than the ones that are on film. I think that probably plays a part in it, but we've just got to do a better job of adjusting fast."

On if communication was a problem this week

"Communication was great today. I though third down communication was good. Obviously got to eliminate the false starts to get out of first and fifteen. The whole first half felt like we were in first and fifteen, so we've got to eliminate that. But, other than that, I thought the communication was good."

On the challenge of wanting to make explosive plays but not quite finding it yet

"Teams are going to keep playing us in a soft zone until we prove that we can beat them that way. So, we're going to have win a different way this year and we need to figure that out quickly so that we can get on the win column."

On the key to getting the quick game established

"I thought we were good in the quick game today. Hit some slants, hit Joe Mixon on some check downs. I thought we were good."

On the number of sacks in the first two weeks

"Well, week one there were several sacks on me. We'll go back and watch the film on the ones today and put the blame where it is, I'm not sure. GO back and watch the film and get those corrections made. But week one, there were a lot on me."

On the importance of the run game

"The run game is critical, especially when teams are going to play '2 Tampa' the whole game against us. I thought we were efficient. We lacked the big explosive runs today, but those will come. Thought we were efficient in the run game."

On the nineteen play drive

"That's how it's supposed to look. That's what we need to get the whole game. Whatever we've got to do to move the chains on third down, find those completions and get those chains moving, we're going to have to have a lot of drives like that, the way defenses are playing us. We've got to bank that one and remember how that feels."

On pressure early in the game

"Second half, I though the protections was great. They have a great rush, I would say top two or three best rushed in the league. They've got DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah, they do a really good job with their picks in game too. And so, early in the game, you're going to have those and I can do a better job of getting the ball out quickly. I thought, for the most part, we protected the ball well in those situations and that was my goal this week. And then in the second half, I thought the offensive line protected great. We kind of warmed-up in the run game and then we're able to have some more time in the pass game and that's what comes off of that. When we're able to run the ball well, they might be thinking 'run' and so then they're not so quick to get into their pass rush. So, the second half was more efficient, better for us, but just need to prolong that for the entire game."

On Hurst's play and Sample's injury

"Hayden has been awesome for us. He's just going to keep getting batter. I'm really excited about what he's been doing for us. He brings an element to our offense that I don't think we've had in the past. He's a big, explosive guy that is learning how we do things and what we want to do and he's just going to keep getting a bigger and bigger role for us. Drew going down was tough. We had a big package for him on third down, he was a big part of our protection. But I though Samaje came in and executed Drew's job very well."

On balancing taking deep shots versus needing to maintain protection for a longer time

"It's give and take. We think if we start running the ball a little better than that will open it up and teams will have to get out of '2 Tampa' shell. The second half tun game is how it should look. The first half we were in first and fifteen in every series so we're just going to get third down defenses when we're in first and fifteen. So, we've got to eliminate those early penalties, stay on track for the chains, and we'll be able to take more shorts."

On what he thinks about in the locker room after a loss

"You just look back and see what kind of plays you could have made differently to maybe pull that game out. We'll go back and watch the film and see our corrections. 0-2 is tough, but it's no panic. We've lost two games in a row before, we lost two games in a row several times last year. Lot of football left to be played."

On what is the key to winning after multiple losses

"Moving on from those games and making the corrections that you're supposed to make. We've got a great coaching staff who I know will make the corrections for us and tell us what we need to do to get better. We've got the players to go and make it happen. I think we've got to make more explosive plays, maybe find a couple of '2 Tampa' beaters that will get us some explosive plays. But I'll go back and watch the film."

On the most important steps to take to get a win next week

"I will go back and watch the film from today, but obviously week one was turnovers and today was we protected the ball and it's try and find some explosive plays in different situations. Maybe get into a check or two if I see an opportunity for a big play, but we'll go back and look."

HB, Joe Mixon

On first down execution and communication on the field: "I feel like, as a whole, we have to take initiative. Everybody. Coaches, players, everybody is involved with everything. I'm not going to finger point or anything like that. We have to put it on us to come out and execute. Be ready to play. For some reason, it seems like we've been coming up short in that area. We've been starting off slow; little penalties here and there that have been killing us. And get back on track. We just have to execute more."

On the response process from a tough game last week: "We just have to go back to work on Monday. That's where it starts. Watch the tape, learn from it and then get back to work on Wednesday. It's hard coming off of a loss. The best thing about it is, we have another opportunity come Wednesday. Watch the tape on Monday and on Wednesday we get back in the building and execute the game plan. Basically, throughout the week we just have to pre-start faster. Execute on first and second down and not play from behind."

On coming within a field goal in the last two games: "We know who we have in our locker room, especially offensive-wise. The defense has been playing their ass off. They had little hiccups here and there, but at the end of the day, they are balling on defense. We have to do whatever we are going to do on offense to counter what has been going on. Everybody has to take initiative on each other and execute and start fast. We have to finish these games."

WR, Ja'Marr Chase

On what is behind the slow start on offense two games in a row: "We've been having false starts, penalties first quarter, second quarter, first half, period. Not executing our plays right. That's the only thing that is really holding us back that I can see."

On what he attributes that to, whether not being sharp or something else: "Gotta know the snap count, that's all. Gotta know the snap count to know what we are doing. Know our assignment."

On the lack of big plays after having been one of the most explosive offenses last year: "Gotta take some shots. I don't think we took any shots today. That's about it. We just didn't take any shots, I don't think."

On whether that is because there is not enough time in the pocket: "That could be the case. We had to go to a quick game. We gotta take some shots still. You gotta get that protection down, too. That's the only way you can take shots. If Joe doesn't have time, you can't throw down the field."

On knowing the team is better that this: "You gotta come out and execute. No penalties, no false starts, no offsides. Just handle our business the right way."

DE, Sam Hubbard

On the defensive effort: "We just settled in and played our game, our defense. First half, we weren't playing our defense. We just settled in and did what we do. Gotta do it earlier."

On the first two drives and what the Cowboys did: "I think we just misplayed a run on that long run. Just better tackling."

On his big plays, including a tackle for a loss: "I think we just keep fighting. That's our defense; that's our team. We just can't put ourselves in a position where we have to claw it out at halftime. We'll learn from that and keep trying to make improvements."

On 0-2 and what is the message from team leaders like him: "You just can't let it affect you. You gotta go back to work. People look to you, your demeanor and how you handle yourself. All you can do is go back to work and I am excited to get back to work."

On the Cowboys going for it on 4*th* down early and whether the defense was settled and ready for it: "Yeah, we just got caught by surprise. We gotta be better with substitutions there. We weren't expecting them to go for it. But more and more teams are doing that in this league, and that's just the way it is."

OT, La'el Collins

On what it was like being back in Dallas: "It was great. I got to see a lot of my old brothers. I got to go out there and compete with my teammates. It sucks anytime you don't get the job done. Just gotta get back to work. It's a long season."

On Micah Parsons: "He's just a helluva player. That's what it is. That's probably one of the best defensive fronts we are going to see this year, if not the best. Just gotta get back to work."

On the communication issues and if they are a problem: "We just have to come out and set the tone from the first play. I feel like we kind of made it harder on ourselves. But what I love the most is that we stayed in it and kept fighting."

On 12 sacks over the last two games: "We don't want our quarterback getting hit, getting sacked. None of that. But, end of the day, we gotta put this behind us. We have two games in 10 days, so we gotta get ready for it."

On whether he is surprised that the offense looks this disjointed so far this season: "I think the biggest thing is, obviously a lot of talent on the offensive side. You just gotta put it all together. This is our first time playing together, these first two weeks. I think we will be fine. We will get on the same page and just start doing what we do, and that's coming out and setting the tone. Lock in on it and own it. Take it like a man under the chin and keep pushing forward."

WR, Tyler Boyd

On whether he thinks defenses are keying in on what they do well and taking it away: "Every team kind of knows what you do. But at the end of the day, you have to go out there and stop it. They played a certain coverage, which we see every single day. We just have to all connect. From the line to the tight end to the running back. If we all aren't sound, then we can't win on plays. As long as we get everybody up to par, then we'll be straight."

On why there haven't been as many big plays as people are used to seeing from this team: "Just guys not being dialed in, not doing their jobs. If we just do the little thing right – if it is one person who doesn't make a block, or one receiver who doesn't run a certain route the right way – one person could jeopardize the whole play. You can't point any fingers at all. Because we started together, we are going to end together. We have to find a way. We have to figure this out ASAP."