BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
AUG. 14, 2015
N.Y. GIANTS AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"Obviously pleased with how we started the game. Defensively, I thought going out and getting off the field, and offensively, going in and taking the ball down the field and scoring, was good. There are some things to build upon, but obviously a lot of work left to do. We came of the game fairly healthy, which is also the key element in these football games. We got the young guys a lot of playing time, which is good, and saw some (good) things from them tonight, and things we need to keep working at and build upon. We didn't have a turnover until the last part there. There are things to do better. Defensively, I thought the No. 1 thing I was pleased with was tackling. We've got to keep working hard at that, and we've got to get better at turnovers — we've got to get some turnovers and create some turnover situations. The negative on defense was being offsides there with guys early in the game. Third-down, offensively, we've got to do better. That was the biggest Achilles heel tonight. We moved the ball up and down the field; we just didn't get it in when we got down there in the red zone."
It's limited and it's early, but how does Geno Atkins change the dynamic defensively being back to where he was two years ago?
"His quickness off of the football — and not only that, but also it's the mental part of it. The fact he understands the offense, he understands the formations, and things that occur that they're trying to do to block him and run plays. He's able to take advantage of his quickness and do some good things."
I guess that was pretty much the ideal showing for your starters as far as offense and defense goes that made it an easy decision to pull them out ...
"This was that game to do that and let some other guys play a little bit longer, and we can vary that as we go. We had some late scratches today, and so I'm proud of those guys up front that sucked it up and played. We did a good job with the guys that went out there and played up front on the offensive line today."
Tonight was the first time that Marvin Jones played in a year. How did you think he did?
"It was great for Marvin Jones to play through the second quarter like he did and feel good about it. We kept trying to get the ball in his hands and finally got it in his hands and then got him out, and that was good. He did a nice job catching the ball, avoiding the first tackle and turning up the field and running. It had to feel good for him."
Any update on Darqueze Dennard and Rex Burkhead?
For a first series, you probably couldn't have drawn it up any better, could you?
"Yeah. When you put in the openers for the game and talk about the different looks you're going to get, you want to execute them. That's exactly what we did. We moved the ball well and completed some balls, and the backs ran well. We did exactly what we wanted to do."
You've been in the league five years now — is that about as crisp as you can remember a first drive of the preseason going?
"Yeah. A lot better than the first drive of my rookie year (laughs). But I think it was about six plays, and you go down and score. That's how you want to start the season off."
It was just six plays, but you managed to get everyone involved — receivers, the tight end, running backs. Is that an ideal way to start?
" That was big. We got a bunch of different guys involved. We feel that with the guys we have, we can do that. It was a great start for us."
Was the plan to play only one series, or did the touchdown dictate how long you played?
"Usually going into that game, you kind of feel how that first series goes. If it's not exactly the finish that you wanted, you might go another one. So it was one of those things going into it for that first group where we were like, 'Let's go and put a good series together and watch these other guys play.' "
Were you at all surprised that Giants QB Eli Manning played into the second quarter?
"It's just one of those things — I'm sure they were kind of the same way — where you just see how things go. I don't think their offense got things going early on, so they wanted to leave them out there and keep getting more reps. But you never know. Some guys don't even play in the first preseason game, sometimes they play longer — it's just a team-to-team thing."
Your defense got back-to-back three-and-outs to start, and obviously the offense had a good start as well. Were you guys just feeding off of each other?
" The defense got us the ball around the 45-yard line or so. It was great field position. So we were feeding off of each other for sure."
You had a lot of time tonight to watch your defense. What did you think of how they played?
"They played well. I don't know how many three-and-outs they started with and how long it took them to get a first down, but they did a really good job. There weren't any big plays. They picked up a first down at one point, but then there was a penalty, so they were set back. It's fun to watch our defense play that way."
Moving forward, what do you take from this into practice next week and into the next preseason game?
"Yeah. We want to have that same kind of execution across the board. The twos and threes played well too. There's stuff that, when we watch tape, we'll be able to learn and improve from, especially for some of these younger guys. This is their first chance playing at this level, with all of the emotions and nerves going into it. They've got that first one behind them now, so now hopefully they can relax a little and calm those nerves."
That was about as an ideal of a first drive as you could have drawn up, wasn't it?
" This first game, you want to get into your groove and get a good start, and that's exactly what we did. There were a lot of positive plays, and we got a lot of guys involved."
Was it in your head to spread the ball around like that, or is that just the way it unfolded?
"We've got options, and that's the biggest thing. You can go different spots with it. We feel like we've got the guys where we can spread it around, so that's what we were able to do today."
This was the first time in a while where, when you scrambled, someone could hit you. Was that in your mind as you scrambled? Were you trying to get to the ground quickly?
"(Laughs) No, I got lucky because I kind of slipped, so I didn't have to take much of the hit. But you know it's live out there."
You're the No. 1 running back on the depth chart right now — what do you see as your responsibility when the ball is in your hands to contribute to this offense?
"That's just doing my job, man, and honestly I think my coaches do a good job of giving me information I need before the game so I can go out there and start executing and doing what I can do: Taking what the defense gives me and not trying to do too much. That's what's gotten me here, and I'm going to continue to try to do that."
The offense has its full complement of weapons now that tight end Tyler Eifert and wide receiver Marvin Jones are healthy again. What will they add to the offense that will make it more successful this season?
"I think the biggest word is 'x-factor.' This league is going to be taken by storm by Tyler Eifert and especially by Marvin (Jones) ... Tyler is definitely capable of doing big things, and I think those two will be x-factors for us and make a big splash."
The offense has the full complement of weapons with Eifert and Jones returning — what is this offense's potential with those two guys in the mix?
"The sky is the limit for us. We've got everybody healthy and hopefully we can keep everyone healthy throughout the season, and I think this offense can go very far. We've just got to keep working."
What will be the key to this offense performing as well as it does in the regular season in the playoffs?
"We just have to play good in big games."
What will bring that out — a change in attitude, a change in the way you practice, etc.?
"We 've just got to play better. We've got to play better in big games. That's it."
How did having the chance to practice with the Giants throughout the week help you in preparing for tonight's game?
"We practiced just against each other for about two weeks, and it just gave us another dimension to make us more competitive, since it was going to be the same guys we were going against in practice every day. It was different."
It seemed like once Andy Dalton had good protection, it was easy pickings for the offense out there tonight ..
"It just felt like we were out there having a good time. We just have to make sure we're executing, and that's one thing we spoke about: Competing. That's what we did out there."
You guys got off to a fast start — was that part of the game plan tonight to start hard and fast?
"Definitely. We wanted to start fast, and that's what we've been wanting to do for the past year. We want to start fast, execute and make sure we put points up quick."
Andy Dalton got the ball into a lot of people's hands tonight — there are a lot of weapons to utilize here. Would you agree?
"Yes, there's a lot of weapons to utilize for Andy. We're just going to go out there and make big plays — that's how an offense gets better. We compete within and among ourselves."
You line up in a lot of different spots, as do guys like Giovani Bernard and Rex Burkhead. How big is having that versatility?
"Oh it's big, because you've got guys that can line up anywhere, play many different positions are interchangeable within an offense, and that helps you tremendously because you can't game-plan for guys that can line up anywhere."
Early in the game, you guys were controlling the line of scrimmage, and I think the Giants had five three-and-outs on offense. You guys were just controlling the line tonight, no?
"We're just going out there and playing with each other and just trying to get to the ball. On the play where I stuffed the running back, I came around and the hole was wide open and I just did my job."
You're coming back to a place you performed well after a few seasons in Oakland. How does that feel?
"I'm just happy to be back with those guys in this locker room, because that's where I started, and I wouldn't mind finishing with them. I'm just happy to be back with guys I've been playing with for a long time and am very familiar with and comfortable with. I'm just happy to be back in the orange and black."
When you were here in the past, the defensive line had a pretty good rotation of guys ...
'We used to have a great rotation; hopefully, we can have it again. When the season starts, we'll see how it goes."
You practiced against the Giants for a couple of days. Did you feel like the game was going to go like it did tonight based on those practices?
"I mean, the Giants are a good team and we're a good team, too — it just played in our favor tonight."
How good did it feel to be out there tonight and produce in the series in which you played?
"I think it was good, not just for me, who hasn't been out there in a while, but our whole offense to play well and move the ball and get some points on the board. That's what we did and it's our first preseason game, but we've got a long ways to go and I just keep building every week and keep getting better."
Was it nice to just be back out there and get hit and be okay, to have contact and go to the ground and get up again?
"Like you said, it's the first time I've been tackled since last year, so like I said before, it's good to get out there and play well. When I'm out there, I'm not thinking about my elbow brace and my repaired shoulder — I'm just out there trying to play as fast as I can and help this team win. It's actually a lot easier when you're out on the field playing as you have a lot less to think about."
How did it feel to be back on the field in an actual game situation tonight?
"It was all right. It felt good. Obviously, it was good to get out there and get extended playing time and get back into things."
You had a classic play in the game where you had a play near the sideline and were able to get yards after the catch ...
"That's what I'm always thinking about, so if there's more yards to get, I'm going to do everything to get them."
Coach Lewis said in his press conference they were trying to get you the ball tonight ...
"Yeah ... It's been so long. I was just wanting to get the ball, do something, get tackled and get back into the feel of things. We finally got it."
Seeing the offense get in a rhythm early, what did it look/feel like from your vantage point?
"It was great. That's what we want to do. And that's a big thing for us — starting out fast. You always want to get into that groove early on so it can carry over for the fourth quarter. It's good to see."
How can you describe what Andy Dalton can do with all of the players around him in the offense this season?
"It's a great feeling. We're out there looking at each other, looking at everybody who's making plays. There's just so many options. It's great to have. It's great to be part of an offense where everyone has different attributes they bring to the game. Nothing but good can come out of that, and we're all excited to be a part of this."
When you saw the intensity the defense had even going late into the fourth quarter, how exciting is that to see as a veteran player especially given how the younger guys were performing?
"That's good, man. Any time a defensive lineman can get a sack, that's awesome and they're learning from one of the best (in Geno Atkins), so that's really good for them to go out there in the fourth quarter (and play well). Coach Lewis said it best: We started strong and we finished. That's one of the keys to winning in the NFL — finishing games — and we went out there and finished this game and that's great to see."
Will Clarke had a good game as well ...
"Will was working his tail off this offseason. He put on a couple of extra pounds — not getting fat, but bulking up, and it pays off. The hard work you do in the offseason will show up here in these times."
GIANTS POSTGAME QUOTES
AUG. 14, 2015
N.Y. GIANTS AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"I didn't like the way we started. Offensively, there was no tempo, no rhythm. Three-and-out, three-and-out. That didn't start us off very well. I just think our tempo and rhythm has to be upgraded. Obviously, we had some issues with catching or running the ball. At halftime, the running stats were pretty even. We had some runs in the second half. We had a nice kickoff return, we had a nice interception — both deep in their territory — and we couldn't do anything with it. That's frustrating. A lot of people had a chance to play. We've got a lot of information to sort through on tape tomorrow. We'll just see where we stand.
"We had a couple of injuries tonight as you know. (Landon) Collins banged his knee and he was out right away. (Mykkele) Thompson injured his Achilles, which we'll know something about that later. (Trumaine) McBride with a hamstring, he had been nursing his hamstring a little bit and obviously had problems. And (Jayron) Hosley a head and neck, so we did have some injuries today to report to you tonight. So, but we have a lot of work to do and a long way to go. We didn't play the way we envisioned we would play. This is a good football team. They looked very good. They showed execution, they showed poise. They were good on defense. Their defensive front was difficult for us to handle. We didn't have much going for us in the pass game at all. It was protection breakdown. If it wasn't that it was our inability to connect or their coverage was good. So, we've got a long way to go and a lot of work to do. We certainly head into this week knowing full well that things have been put into perspective for us. It's no longer wondering how you're going to play. I thought our two days of controlled work were better than the way in which we played tonight."
Can you give us an update on how bad Collins is?
Is it a concern obviously with Mykkele if it's torn or ruptured?
"We don't know."
What went into your decision — you said probably one or two series, and obviously you went a lot more with your starters?
"Not really. I told you that the offensive line would play 20 plays and they did play just about 20 plays. I think maybe Eli may have played 12. The first two series were only six plays. So nobody got overworked. There was no major decision to do something that hadn't been planned."
How did Flowers look to you?
"I have to look at the tape. I'm sure there were some things that he's definitely going to be able to improve. But we got him on the field and a number of snaps in the game for him. That's good experience for him. He'll play probably a little more than some of the others in preseason because that's what he needs."
You said you didn't play well. It's the second year into this offense ...
"That's correct. We didn't make enough plays ... We've got a chance now for another practice week, moving forward with installations and a chance to do some things with the ball down the field much more than we had right now. It seemed most of the things we did were very short. We got the ball out on some check downs more than a few times and guys have to take what's open. But I did expect the ball to move down the field a little bit more."
The right side of your offensive line, do you think you're a little bit more concerned than you were before in that area?
"I don't know more than I was when I came in. I mean this is the third day of working so I haven't had a chance to look at that and I'll look at the tape and make some decisions and focus a little bit more on that. But no more than it was coming in."
So what was your take on the right side of the line coming in? How confident were you?
"It's not just the right side it's the whole offensive line. We've got work to do."
You think Ereck Flowers did alright?
"I think he did all right. I think he did all right. We didn't do much with the pass so where do you want to start?"
Is it easier to be patient with the defense?
"I don't see any patience anywhere. It's the (first) game of the preseason. It's time to do some things, to put some things together. The plan tonight was to play everybody, which I think we did. We rode people in and out just the way we expected to. The group that had the middle quarters had a lot of snaps. You're talking about guys who played into the high 20s and some in the low 30s for snaps. It was a lot of snaps for the first preseason game, but that's the way it was planned. And that's the group that was to get the majority of the snaps and they did."
Akeem Hunt seemed to do a lot of really good things ...
"He did a lot. Obviously the kickoff return, a couple of nice runs. That's what I was looking for on the kickoff return. That was great to see, and I'll have to look and see if he could have gone all the way. It looked like he was going to go for a second."
Did you expect a little bit more from the first game?
"Yeah, of course. We would've liked to have moved the ball a little bit better, do a little bit better on third down. The second play had a lost gain, and then we had a third-and-long — a couple third-and-longs — and our third-and-manageable situations, we didn't convert. We've got to look at that and see where we can make improvements."
Last year at this time you guys were getting used to a new system. It's almost like there was an anticipated growth period during this process. Did you anticipate that coming in to today?
"We were on the same page. Guys were doing the right things. We just didn't execute quite well enough. We didn't sustain any drives. We did the correct things, we had opportunities. We just didn't do them quite well enough. We'll look at it. We could've made some checks or done some things a little differently that would have given us better opportunities, so I can look at that and just get back into the flow, and get back to game planning — get your checks, and get everything the right way, so you'll have better opportunity to have better plays."
I know you were on a snap count, but were you surprised about the four series?
"No. They never told me an amount of plays. I wanted to keep going out there to see if we could get something going and get into a rhythm."
Was there anything at all that left you concerned about the offense, or do you just chalk it up to being the first preseason game?
"Not concerned. I don't think you're ever concerned after the first offense. We didn't turn the ball over, we didn't have penalties, we weren't sloppy. We just didn't quite execute like we wanted to. We had some good calls, had some good things. We've just got to look at the film and see where we can grow — where we can make different adjustments. We need to get all our weapons out there and play a little sharper next week, have a good week of practice. I thought we had good work against the Bengals in practice this week. That was good. We've just got to keep grinding and keep getting better."
Do you think those practices had any effect on tonight with familiarity or feel?
"I think if anything it should probably help you out seeing what a defense is going to do. I don't think you're going out there game planning. I think the game plan sheet was made before the practices we had with them. We hadn't fully installed our whole offense yet. We've still got a few more installations that we've got to put it. We're kind of sticking to the plan and running what we have in right now."
Does it make for a long week?
"It was a long week here. A lot of nights, a little bit out of your normal routine of things. I thought it was productive. The week here and the practices against the Bengals were productive for us. They showed multiple looks on defense, and challenged us in making our calls, and made us talk about things. I think we made some improvements in that aspect and through game planning, but you've still got to go out there and make the plays."
On the first offense playing into the second quarter ...
"We stayed in because we wanted to score, obviously. It was good to get points on the board. We picked up some good things that they threw at us and that was good for us. We were originally told we were going to stay in for a quarter, but we needed to stay in longer. It was good work for us to be in there."
How was beneficial was it, getting to go against somebody else in the practices and then the game?
"It was great. Anytime you get to play against a team that good, a team that has been to the playoffs like they have, it's good for us to go against them. I think we got some good work. Tonight we found out some things we need to work on this week."
The top three running backs seem set. Are you just trying to work your way into the rotation?
"Yes, that's the goal for me. Obviously I know special teams are going to be a big factor, so I am never going to lose sight of that. But also I feel as far as being able to join that rotation, I feel I am capable of doing that and let it show."
Talk about the first couple of drives for you guys ...
"I just think we were a step slow and a little hesitant. It almost seemed like we didn't adjust to the live situation as well. You would think that you get in the game, and it's live, and you turn up the speed and turn it up a notch, but it didn't really look like that. It looked like we were just kind of in practice mode defensively. It was frustrating because it felt we should have been eager to get this opportunity. We should have played faster and better."
You've been around awhile, how unusual is that? Have you ever been in a situation where that has happened to a team?
"You see it happen. Sometimes you just have to get used to it. A team is game-planning you, things like that. Players have to get used to a team's tendencies and anticipate a little bit. I feel like we just have to do a better job as players of being ready, being faster and knowing what we are doing out there. I know we had some mistakes out there. It just seemed like some guys looked like they were stuck in the headlights a little bit."
What surprised you if anything? They always talk about the speed of the game at this level. What did you really like about what you did and what really puzzled you or caught you by surprise?
"The things the coaches have been telling the team about the game have all been true. It's definitely faster (than in college), and guys are better. Guys are a lot stronger. Those are the things I wasn't necessary surprised by, but it was everything and more than what the coaches have been saying. There are a lot of things that took me by surprise that I did right and wrong. I made a few mental errors and I know I will have to fix those things next week and do a lot better going on to the next game."
As you go through the rest of the preseason, are you concentrating more on new pass rush moves or trying to do what you do best?
"I am definitely going to be trying to develop my game. I want to be a complete defensive end. Not only being able to stop the run, but also being a great pass rusher. That is something I am going to continue to work on day in and day out. I'm excited about it; I am going to look at film and see some of the things that I need to work on and build on some of the things I did well out there."
When you know a zero coverage blitz play is called, what is going through your mind as a cornerback?
"I just don't want to be the one to let them catch the ball. It's an all-out blitz, and man-to-man coverage, and it's trusting the blitz to get there and the defensive backs to cover."
In the second half, the Bengals drove the ball a couple times, but you guys really stiffened in the red zone. Did you guys turn it up a little? How did you keep them out of the end zone?
"In our huddles, we just kept telling each other keep fighting and don't give up any points. If they drive all the way down to the red zone and we get the ball back, it's still a win for us."
Were you pretty happy with what you got on film tonight as they evaluate the cornerbacks?
"Yes, I was real satisfied, but there are two plays I'd like to have back. I just have to watch film and figure out how to correct it."