BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES
NOV. 2, 2014
JACKSONVILLE AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"The game today, I think we played wonderfully in a lot of spurts and played not so well in some spurts. Credit goes to (the guys in the locker room to) go ahead to finish the thing out when we needed to. That's the positive of it because we didn't play our best football, obviously, whether it be the turnovers on offense, (or) the third downs on defense, (or) allowing the ball (to stay) in the air a couple of times where we had opportunities to make plays on the ball and we didn't come up with (it). We probably had two or three of those (moments) today. We had two or three balls in our hands for interceptions. I think again, credit (goes to the team) for finishing out when we needed to."
Running back Jeremy Hill in college was known for his big runs that helped put games away. Was that one of the biggest things that he brings to the team?
"I just think he's got great explosiveness, good vision, good cut(s), and he can be a load to tackle. It was a good job — basically, he was untouched (on the 60-yard TD) — so it was great execution by the offense."
How did you feel wide receiver A.J. Green looked in his return?
"I thought A.J. looked fine. He missed the line (of scrimmage) once, but I thought he looked fine."
What a day by the special teams with a tipped punt and a blocked one ...
"Yeah. In that phase (of the game), we helped field position quite a bit today, and that's good. We keep pressure on people that way, and that's a good thing. I thought (Kevin) Huber punted the ball well today. Mike (Nugent) kicked the ball well. We just have to keep it up. We didn't cover the kickoffs as well as we wanted throughout the day; I think they got a couple (returns) out to the 30 yard line. In that phase, we weren't as good as we've been."
Right tackle Andre Smith went out of the game with an injury ...
"He's got a sprained ankle and he didn't feel comfortable to be able to finish it out today."
Any update on cornerback Leon Hall who also went out of the game with an injury?
Can you talk about Jeremy Hill's big day today?
"He played well. We challenged him. We knew he would see a lot of carries with Giovani Bernard being out, so I thought he came in and answered the call and played well. Even if you take away the 60-yard run, he still had a really good day. That's why we picked him. It was great to see."
Jacksonville had given up only three touchdowns in the last four weeks, and you guys scored four today. Do you feel like your offense is clicking?
"We feel like we're doing some good things. We played a good, sound-defense, but we had a good plan coming in, and we executed well."
Are you happy with the way the team is playing right now?
"We have a lot of confidence. We need to keep this going. We know what kind of team we are and guys are stepping up and playing well."
Was it nice to see A.J. Green back on the field?
"Yes, it's nice. A.J. is so good. We've been together our whole time in the league, so anytime he's in there, it's nice."
Can you see a difference on offense when he's on the field?
"I don't think it's all based on if A.J. is in or not. When he was out, other guys stepped up and played well. We love having him out there."
Mohamed Sanu seems to be playing at a high level ...
"He does. He made some really good catches today — some important catches and some third down catches. He has such strong hands that if anything is contested, he'll come down with. It's nice having a guy like that."
Can you walk us through the interception at the end of the game?
"It was a screen and they tackled the running back. I was trying to throw it at the ground, but it ended up hitting off of Whit's (Andrew Whitworth) shoulder pad. I have to find a way to get it on the ground."
Do you think this team is better than what you were at the end of the year last year?
"I think we're playing well. We have to keep it going. We have a short week this week and need to be prepared for a Cleveland team that's been playing very well. We're in a good spot."
On Jeremy Hill's big run, did you see anything that made you think he'd break a long run?
"You have to execute. As soon as I handed the ball off, I saw a big hole. He made a few guys miss and ended up with a big run during an important part of the game."
Did you open up the playbook a little bit since A.J. Green came back?
"We're getting A.J. back into it. He wasn't in there for every snap. Jeremy (Hill) played well and Rex (Burkhead) and Cedric (Peerman) also had some plays that helped us out."
Did you feel a lull in the energy when Jacksonville started making a comeback?
"I wouldn't say there was a lull. They made some plays, and that happens. You have to do what you can to eliminate those. We have to be sound in what we do and keep moving forward. Regardless of what happens, you have to play all 60 minutes."
Do you feel that A.J.'s timing was pretty good, having missed some games?
"He was in the right spots. Obviously there's a little transition, having not played in a few weeks. It was a good start."
You reached some milestones as a rookie — Talk about Jeremy Hill achieving some milestones during his rookie year ...
"I think he'll remember this one. I'm happy for him. He had a big day today and I'm sure this is one he'll remember for a long time."
Tell us what happened on that long touchdown run today ...
"I think it was great scheme. If you watch the play, they had everybody blocked up. I just had to make my guy miss. If they continue to do those things for me, then I can continue to do my job and make guys miss. It was a big play in the game, and we needed it. Our defense kept getting stops, and we just needed to put the final nail in the coffin. It was a great job by our offensive line and a great play call. I was just doing what I needed to do."
Ryan Hewitt had a big block on that play ...
"Absolutely. He also had a big play at the end that let us run down the clock. That was a big first down, and that is why we kept him here. He does a lot for us. He does all the dirty work for us, and he is going to be big down the stretch."
On A.J. Green's fumble when you hurt your knee, did you think it was worse than it turned out?
"It was precautionary. I didn't like the way it felt when it first happened. I just wanted to make sure it was OK before I got up. I see myself as a tough guy and wanted to play through it."
You guys had four touchdowns against a defense that was playing pretty well. What does that say about your offense?
"We're a savvy group and we overcame some adversity. We obviously had some turnovers that we'd like to get back. If you make plays when necessary, you overcome adversity. We knew they were going to be a tough team coming in, even though their record didn't show it. They have great offensive and defensive lines. They've played everybody tough, including us today. We'll take a look at it, and get everything fixed. We have a tough division game on Thursday. We are definitely looking forward to Thursday."
You guys continue to play great in the red zone. Why have you had success offensively in the red zone?
"We get hungry. You have to get hungry, bear down and get aggressive when you get down there. We know that they are going to pull out all of the stops when we get down there. They are going to try and keep us to a field goal. That's a moral victory for them. As an offense, we know that touchdowns demoralize teams. The more we can score, the more we can demoralize them. We know they have a rookie quarterback, so it would be tough to handle it. We wanted to get up early, and even though they got up early, we overcame the adversity."
I guess you won't know until tomorrow morning, but how sore are you?
"I think I'll be fine."
Are you guys ready for Cleveland?
"I'm ready. It's a big division game and they are playing good. It's a short week, and they are going to be ready to play."
What happened on the offsides call?
"Usually if I'm a little offsides, the official will tell me."
You guys have been great in the red zone and Andy Dalton really seems to rely on you ...
"Yeah, we are playing good. We are running the ball great. The offensive line is playing well. We are clicking right now, but we still have a long way to go. Mo (Mohamed Sanu) is playing outrageous right now, which is only going to help me. The way he's playing right now, it's good."
You had multiple catches of over 30 yards. You are playing great right now ...
"Thank you. I'm just trying to do everything I can to make this offense go. We have a lot of weapons and I'm just trying to make plays."
Jeremy Hill really played great today too ...
"It was awesome. We see him work hard in practice every day, and we know that he is that kind of player. To see him play like that was great."
Thoughts on A.J. Green's offsides penalty ...
"Yeah, I was surprised. Just to have him out there was awesome. I definitely missed him, and Marvin (Jones). Although Marvin is out for the season, it was great to have A.J. back."
You guys have a lot of weapons that will hopefully be healthy down the stretch ...
"Definitely. We hopefully will have all hands on deck because we need them. Hopefully we get them back and (earn the No. 1 seed). We want that first spot and the bye."
It was physical game out there, which you seem to like because you are physical wide receiver ...
"Yes. I love it when it's like this. That's the way you play the game."
You talked during training camp about making more plays this year. Talk about your interception today ...
"I knew he was going throw it. He is a young quarterback and we watched it on film. I think he averages like two interceptions a game, and he throws into double coverage. We should have had four or five (interceptions) today. All of them, he was fortunate. On that play, I knew he was going to throw it because he looked left to the seam, I covered it, and he isn't the type to just take what he is given. The only thing I shouldn't have done was bring it out, but you know I wanted to take it 100 (yards)."
How frustrating was it for you guys on defense because you had so many drops?
"Very frustrating. It's the NFL, and any team can beat you on any Sunday. You start doing things like that, you don't want to be building that bad habit. We have to catch the interceptions and get the fumbles. We put our offense in bad positions sometimes. We make it hard on ourselves. The score is what it is, but it didn't have to be that close. But we are happy that we fought through some of the things we made mistakes on and got the 'W.' "
How big is it for you to be able to play with two healthy hands?
"It's crucial. I broke this bad boy last year It was obviously my mistake, and I had to play all year with a broken hand and a cast. That obviously made it a lot harder. Catching the ball was a big emphasis I wanted to improve on, and Marvin (Lewis) and my coaches were telling me I needed to make more plays on the ball. I am just happy that I have three (interceptions) so far, and I want to just continue to get more, force turnovers, and get the ball back for our offense."
You guys rushed for 191 yards. Against that defensive line, that is a job well done ...
"Absolutely. The last couple of games, they haven't given up very many touchdowns and they have some players over there. We had our work cut out for us, but it was a group effort across the board with the whole line, the tight ends and Jeremy (Hill). It was a good performance."
There was a big play late after Jacksonville got close when Jeremy Hill got the handoff and went 60 yards through the right side of the line. Describe your view of that play ...
"It was just a heck of a play. Everybody did what they were supposed to do. Jeremy made a heck of a run. And in that situation, it was huge. We really needed that, and everybody got it done."
How about Jeremy's performance today considering Giovani Bernard was unavailable?
"Gio is hurt right now and he wants to be out there, but Jeremy stepped up and that's what the NFL is all about. You aren't going to have everybody for all 16 games — people are going to get hurt. It's just the 'next guy up' sometimes, and Jeremy was able to do that today."
Jacksonville fought hard and they obviously didn't want to fall to 1-8, even when you had them in a big hole ...
"They are a good team and are in the NFL too. They have some good players over there. They weren't just going to lay down and quit for us just because they were 1-7 entering the game. We knew it was going to be a tough game all around, and hopefully we don't have those lulls where we kind of dip, but those can be fixed."
Not much time to enjoy this one with Cleveland coming up on Thursday...
"Yes, it's a short week. We have to get a lot of film study in and get our bodies right and just try to do the best you can for it."
What happened on your ankle injury?
"I think it just got rolled up on."
Do you think this is the type of thing that might linger?
"I hope not. With the short turnaround, I just have to prepare for the Browns and do the best that I can do."
Talk about the move to block the punt ...
"It was just sort of a little move. I didn't know I had that move, but apparently I do."
It looked like with any luck, the ball might have stayed in end zone ...
"I wasn't really sure what was going on. The ball was up in the air and was so high. It's fun to do stuff for the team and help the team and be a part of a win. We have a lot of work to do but we have to cherish these moments."
Does it show what Darrin Simmons is good at — picking those kind of things up?
"He is a hell of a special teams coach. He prepares us well, and we are prepared for everything, always. Even with the blocked punts, we still made a lot of errors. I made a lot of errors. I'd give back that blocked punt to fix some of those errors we had today in the game."
Rex Burkhead got the block before that one ...
"Yes, I think he was working the same move I did. We practice it during the week, and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we can get pressure, and it just worked for us today. We try to be as dangerous as we can on special teams, and Darrin makes a lot of calls for us. We have to just keep building off of that."
Special teams came up big in the fourth quarter. Talk about that ...
"Special teams made some big plays for us today, but we also had some bad plays. We work so hard during the week to play well on Sunday — to play well at the end of the season and in the playoffs. Those are the plays we need when it comes down to inches in the game. We have to keep getting better at it."
JAGUARS POSTGAME QUOTES
NOV. 2, 2014
JACKSONVILLE AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
"As a team I don't think we played very well in the first half. There were signs of some good things happening, but overall, (it was) not to the level we want to play. It was a challenging atmosphere in the locker room when we came in at half time. We faced some adversity, and a lot of times guys will stop and look for someone else to show (them) the way. The true challenge was for all of us to show the way and take responsibility.
"The second half was very competitive, but our special teams unit did not perform very well. The partially blocked punt and blocked punt is not our nature of play. We have to get those little things corrected ... not to overshadow the fact Jordan Todman did a really nice job in the return game. Defensively, the long run (60-yard TD by Bengals HB Jeremy Hill) really hurt, (as did) the interception at the end. I was excited about how we came back out and competed. It was a tough game, and we just didn't come through."
How surprised were you by the first-half play? It seemed like the guys were sleep walking ...
"Offensively, the first two series, we had penalties that put us in long-yardage situations. The defense came out and played pretty well. We had a couple of stops right away. It was a really hard-fought game. I give a lot of credit to them (the Bengals). They are a very well-coached team and very athletic team. They came out and attacked us and stuck to their game plan. We didn't make enough plays."
How surprising was the blocked punt?
"They did a nice job coming up and under and getting a hand on it. You see a lot of it going on in the league, but it wasn't something we've had happen to us until today."
How impressed were you by Allen Hurns?
"He had a great day. The competitiveness was very apparent in him."
It seemed like Blake Bortles became more confident in the second half ...
"I think so. I haven't talked to him yet, but I know as a whole group, we challenged him and said, 'Let's not wait, but let's make it happen. Don't count on the next guy.' The score wasn't even a thought. We were focused on competing our tails off."
What can you draw from this game?
"In order to be a championship team you have to have championship thoughts. 'It's OK to lose' is not a championship thought, and that's not part of our language. 'Be upset, be angry and be determined to come back even stronger' is our mentality in the locker room. It's a close-knit group who believes in one another."
What did you see on your last interception?
"We had a turn deal on the outside. I was working Cecil's side (WR Cecil Shorts) . That should have been the end of it — I should have just thrown it over his head. I ended up trying to throw it out of the back of the end zone, but it didn't come out as planned. That shouldn't happen."
It looked on that play like Clay Harbor and Allen Hurns ended up in about the same area. Was there a mix-up on the route as well?
"No. It turned into a scramble drill. The ball shouldn't even have been there. They were trying to get open."
So you were trying to throw it out of bounds on that play?
It looked like Allen Hurns was the only player in the vicinity ...
"Yeah. And I wasn't even trying to throw it to him. It just didn't come out of my hand great, and it didn't go where I wanted it to."
Allen Hurns made a couple great catches for you today and showed an ability to get downfield ...
"Yeah, he did a great job. I threw him some bad balls, and he fought for them. He battled his tail off. They all did, the whole game. It's exciting to be part of a team that fights the way these guys do. Until the last minute, every week, it's a fight."
Is it nice to know you can get away with a throw like that and have him go get it?
"Yeah. I think they all will. They all have that aggression, and they want to go make a play and want to go get the ball. Worst case scenario, they're going to go try and break it up. They've all done a really good job of that. It was a big emphasis this week, and obviously Allen went out there and got a few."
It looked like on some of his catches, like the ones of the middle, he used his body almost like a basketball player, to box out the defender ...
"Yeah. It was an unbelievable job. All of them were really good catches. He understands really well, and he has a really good feel for everything going on. He was able to make some really good catches."
What is Denard Robinson bringing to this offense? This is now three straight games where he has been around 100 yards ...
"He's been running really well, and the offensive line has been blocking really well. He's been hot, and we've been riding him. He's been able to produce and run confidently. It's been really good for our offense to run the ball like that."
Your numbers today looked good on paper. Do you feel that you played well?
"There were a lot of things — a lot of plays left out on the field. The late turnover ... there were a lot of plays out there. Our guys did a really good job of battling. We ran the ball really well — I think D-Rob (Denard Robinson) ran for 90 (yards). We were moving the ball. We had a couple of penalties early, a couple of missed throws. So, we've got to improve."
When you say you didn't play well, what was it? Were you not in a rhythm or flow?
"There's just a lot more that can be done — a lot more plays out on the field that can be made."
Allen just told us in the locker room that the receivers emphasized going and getting the ball. Is that something they've discussed with you, or something you already know?
"That's always their mentality. And as a team, it's our mentality. But there was a big emphasis put on it this week. I think it's shown, with the catches Allen was able to make, and some other guys, with going and fighting for the ball and trying to make plays."
When you threw the ball short on the long touchdown pass, did you do that because of something you saw in the way the defender was playing him?
"I didn't throw it short on purpose. The guy was behind Allen. I tried to throw it over his head and let Allen run under it. He did a great job of swinging the guy by and coming back to the ball. It was just another big play for him."
You had to adjust while the ball was in the air on your two touchdown catches ...
"Our receiving corps, we do a good job of playing for the ball. That's what we've been talking about all week; just playing for the ball. If the ball's in our area, get the ball. And we wanted to eliminate the turnovers, so when the ball's in the air, we needed to get aggressive with it."
Did you guys feel like you had what it took to overcome the deficit and win?
"No doubt. Coming out the second half, we were moving the ball a lot. The defense did a tremendous job with getting turnovers. We had a great feeling toward the end of the game that we had a shot to win it."
Which touchdown catch was tougher to adjust to the pass?
"I would say the second one, because the defender was right there. The first one, the defender that was sticking me, his eyes weren't on the ball, so it was pretty easy. Blake (Bortles) did a great job of giving me the opportunity to make a play. I know he has trust in me and I have trust in him. That's just the thing that we have with our quarterback and our receivers."
J.T. THOMAS III
Did your interception seem like it was just handed to you?
"Yeah, it was just hard play and the grace of God. Tipping the ball, and I was able to get my hands on it. It definitely got the momentum going in the right direction. When I look back at the game, there were so many plays that we just left out on the field today. You never want walk off the field and feel like there were plays left out there. I can say there were a lot left out there by me, the defense in general. We've got to be on top of things a bit more."
What happened on Bengals RB Jeremy Hill's 60-yard touchdown run?
"It was a missed fit, and my fit in particular. I just wanted to be able to be inside and be able to make a play and help the defense, help sift out. That's all me. That's all me."
How do you get a handle on a game that was so up and down?
"Never quit. When you look at the game and you see the film, we never quit at all. We kept fighting and we didn't let go at all. We didn't let up. Nobody looked down and said, 'Oh look, we're getting beat bad.' Everybody looked at each other and said, 'Let's go.' We want to make plays. We want to make things happen. You see it. You see that we've got it."
Are you closer to success than people on the outside think?
"Oh, yeah. When you watch the film you see it. If you know football, you know how close it is. We've just got to finish; finish games, finish drives."
What happened on the play where you had a chance for a big run but slipped?
"I'm trying to make a move too early, not being under control. Things like that kind of hurt you. It hurt me. That's one of the plays I can say, 'I want that back.' There were a couple of plays I wanted back. At the end of the day, you've just to go watch the film and learn from it."
CECIL SHORTS III
You're going on five weeks of showing flashes of success. What's the next challenge to mold those flashes into wins?
"You've got to figure out ways to win. That's definitely the next thing to get over that hump. As an offense, defense, special teams, every category we could've done better and we still had a chance at the end. So we've got to go in there, watch film and get ready for Dallas and try to improve on what we did good this week."
What's the mentality of this team that's now 1-8 and headed to London?
"We believe. We believe in the process from the coaching staff and everybody above. We're just going to keep fighting, keep our head down and just keep going at it."
How disappointing are you that the defense gave up so many rushing yards today?
"We're definitely disappointed. We have a standard that we can't let that happen for to play the level of defense that we want to play."
What happened on Bengals RB Jeremy Hill's 60-yard touchdown run?
"It was just a regular missed fit. It was just a missed fit where someone kind of got out of their gap. It's so gap-sound, that it popped out real quick. So you've just try to get it down. It was a missed play that we've just go to stay in our gap. Things like that happen sometimes, we've just got to bring him down and live to fight another day."