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Lewis, Joseph, Hayes, News Conference Transcript

Saturday, May 2, 2015
at Paul Brown Stadium

Cincinnati Bengals
news conference transcripts


Head coach
Initial comments ...
    "We're very pleased with these last two picks in the fourth round. Josh Shaw the cornerback/sometimes safety from USC, has both the speed and length to be very successful and transfers well here to the National Football League. As a cornerback, as a possibility of a safety, as playing nickel, all those things he's done a good job of. So we're excited to have him and get going with him. He actually is a guy we had in to visit just a week ago. So (he's a) very, very smart, very, very intelligent young man and impressive that way.
    "Marcus Hardison, really a lot of similar characteristics of being very smart, explosive, athletic. Both of these guys really have tremendous physical skills for their position. So we're excited to bring them in. It improves our depth, gets us new, young guys and an opportunity to have competition with some of the guys that are on the team, moving forward. I think Josh will continue to help us fill voids on special teams and so forth that are so important, as far as getting an opportunity to dress on Sundays. So he hits us right in that spot as well. So we're excited about both players and what they bring to the table. I think we've been fortunate thus far with these first six guys. We want to continue to this trend with guys who have a great passion to play the game and play hard and have physical traits for their position."

How did you guys address Josh Shaw with his suspension from last year?
    "Obviously, we're pretty in depth with that. I think it's a real error in judgment and he paid a price for it. He made a mistake and then he tried to cover it up."

He seems to have taken that head on when talking about it. How much of that impressed you that he didn't shy away from it?
    "Well, by the time we talked to him, he'd been through it a few times (laughs). You know what I mean. In his case, it's all directed at him, so I think it's pretty easy to take head on. He screwed up a couple times and when he did, he tried to cover it up a different way. So he paid the price for it."

With his potential to play either cornerback or safety, do you start him at one position first?
    "Yeah we drafted him to play corner, but I just think he has ... you always have guys on your team that are cross-trained, and he fits that bill."

Hardison seems like a similar mold, sort of a 'tweener. Is he an end or is he a tackle?
    "We think he's a defensive tackle. In their defense they play somewhat of a hybrid 3-4, so sometimes he'd play out at end, he played inside at tackle. He showed the flexibility and the ability to learn in their defense and play a bunch of different spots. So when you're watching the tape, it's easy to keep track of him because he wore No. 1, but other than that, he's going to be in different spots."

Defensive backs coach
Defensive line coach
Josh's story is well known. What did he do to convince you he's worthy?
    Joseph: "He's a young kid. He made a mistake; it was a one-time deal. He's a very smart guy; he graduated in 3.5 years from USC. So school was important. He's a good person. And I spent time with Josh and I'm comfortable with Josh as a person. He's very sharp. He understands he made a serious mistake and it won't happen again. He's fine."

You're always trying to evaluate character qualities. How different was Josh's situation compared to the more standard stuff?
    Joseph: "I think it's different. As a coach, you're more concerned about alcohol and drugs and those things. But for a one-time mistake for a young kid who graduated in 3.5 years, to me it's less concerning. He's not a drug guy or an alcohol guy. He made one mistake and it was a stupid mistake. But he's a good player, he's a good person and I'm excited about him."

He obviously had limited tape from last year. Where did he stick out? Was in the postseason experience, or the Senior Bowl?
    Joseph: "I knew his history, so I looked back and watched last year's tape. Off that tape, he's playing corner, nickel, he's playing safety. He's a big imposing guy on tape. If he would've played the entire season last year, I'm not sure where he would've been drafted. What I saw last year, he was a really good player in my eyes. So I'm excited he was there in the fourth round; that's a steal for us in my opinion."

What are some of the traits you're going to be looking for when deciding if he's going to stay at cornerback or safety?
    Joseph: "Well, he's going to be a corner. He's going to be a press corner. That's what we do here with the Bengals. He's going to be a corner with the ability to play nickel; that's a huge thing for us. And obviously in a pinch he could play safety. You can see it on tape. It won't be a projection. He's doing those things on college tape. He's playing all three positions and he's a very, very, very smart guy. So that's exciting for me."

What stuck out to you about Hardison?
    Hayes: "Mainly the fact that this kid is 307 pounds, ran a sub-4.9 (40-yard dash) and has a lot of position versatility. He played (defensive) end, he played three-technique — he's played all across their front, a bunch of different positions. This past season, he had double-digit sacks. You've got a guy who's 6-foot-3 plus, over 300 pounds, runs sub-4.9. That stuck out to me."

People consider him a late bloomer because he went to junior college for two years. Did you see much of a difference between his junior and senior year film?
    Hayes: "There was a little transition for him, coming from junior college to a four-year school. In high school, the kid was a quarterback, and then he switched positions. He just started playing defensive line his last year of high school, and he played it in JC (junior college). This is something that's a little new to him, which is great. We'll be able to work with him and get him going. I spoke with his position coach down there (at Arizona State), who I've known for a really long time, and he thinks his upside is really big. So we're looking forward to that."

You don't get a lot of converted quarterbacks on the defensive line ...
    Hayes: "(Laughs) Yeah, he did it in high school. He told me they got a kid who transferred in, and he was moved right away. But he can throw the ball pretty far. According to his position coach, he can throw the ball about 70 yards. If you just put him out there, he'll chuck it. Now, if he'll hit what he's trying to throw it at, he might throw like Coach Joseph here... (laughs). But you don't know (laughs)."

So he's not as accurate as Mohamed Sanu?
    Hayes: "(Laughs) Maybe not."

You don't usually select players from junior colleges ...
    Hayes: "It's just kind of how this guy came out."

Are there any challenges you typically see with those players?
    Hayes: "With this guy, it's one of those things, he just happened to go to JC. He handled academics there well. He's an intelligent guy. You'll meet him — he's a smart guy when you talk to him. There won't be any effect from that."

What about junior college players development-wise? He hasn't played as much as others have at a four-year school ...
    Hayes: "Right. They expected him to come in and play right away, as a junior. There was just some transition, I think. Talking to the people down there, they just wanted him to jump right in and be able to play. Sometimes that guy can do it, sometimes he can't. Talking to him when he came here (on a visit), we looked at tape together and he knew their whole defense. He was very, very sharp. I could just put the tape on, and he looked at it and was telling me what everyone was doing. So whatever happened in that first year, he learned the defense and was able to do it the next year, because it equated to 10 sacks. So we were pretty happy about that."

Is his best position the three-technique defensive tackle?
    Hayes: "We hope so. That's what we're drafting him to play."

Throughout this draft, versatility seems to have been the theme. How much does that matter to you guys?
    Hayes: "Always. It always is (important), because you never know what's going to happen within the course of a game or season. People who can do more get to stay around here longer. In our case, in our (defensive line) room, if you're not a starter, you need to know all the positions so that you can be the first guy off the bench. You want to be that guy, whether it be the swing end or swing tackle, or a guy like Wallace Gilberry, who can play them all. That's why Wallace is so valuable to us, because he can play all the positions — any of them, at any time. That's important."

Can Hardison do that?
    Hayes: "We'll see. I'm going to give him one thing first and let him work with it, and hopefully he masters that, and then we'll move on. That's how we've done it in the past with other guys, like Robert (Geathers) and all those guys who have come before him. The more he can do, they more I can give him."

How far along is he from a knowledge standpoint, compared to other players when they're first coming in?
    Hayes: "We'll have to see when he gets here. From studying him off the tape and just being around him at the combine, and then when he came here and we talked to him, I think he's moved along pretty well. But until he gets here in our scheme, in our building and talks with our players and starts learning our language, I can't really say, 'This is where he is.' But I like the package."

Who was the last 300-pound player you saw run a sub 4.9-second 40-yard dash?
    Hayes: "Gene (Geno Atkins). He's 300 pounds, and when he came out he was 4.6 or 4.7 seconds."

Does he play similar to Geno?
    Hayes: "He's taller. But they're similar in that regard. They're pass rushers — guys that are good against the pass and will have to work the run technique. So in that way, I think they're similar."

The fourth round has been good to you, Coach Hayes ...
    Hayes: "It's been OK (laughs). I like getting my guys there. ... Vance likes first-round guys; I work with what they give me (laughs)."

With Josh Shaw being a USC defensive back, was defensive backs coach Mark Carrier — a former USC defensive back — stumping for him?
    Joseph: "Absolutely. Josh Shaw's coaching staff was very positive about him. They love him. And Mark knows them very well, so it definitely helped him here."

Cornerback, Southern California
Based on what had happened with you this year, do you feel fortunate a team took a chance on you this high?
    "It is an absolute blessing to now be a part of the NFL. It's been a childhood dream of mine, and for Coach Lewis to make that call, and wanting me a part of the Cincinnati Bengals organization, I am truly humbled and honored. It is such a blessing."

A lot of the projections had you at a corner or a safety, how do you view your role in the league?
    "I view my role as a guy that can do both; whatever Coach Lewis and the staff wants me to do, I'm going to do it and put my best foot forward, either at safety or corner."

Did you play both corner and safety?
    "I played primarily corner in college; I played a few games at safety, but primarily corner."

The whole incident you went through this past year, what have you learned from the incident, has it been a trying situation?
    "It was the first time in my life where I really hit ground bottom, so for me being able to overcome that with my family, it was definitely hard at times. I know that I'm selected today in the 4th round primarily because of that incident, and me lying about it. The most important thing I learned is to not even put myself in that position and to always be truthful."

Did you say anything about the situation to some of the teams you were interviewing with before the draft?
    "Every team I talked to, they know everything that happened from start to finish. I wanted to make sure I was being truthful on my end, and I didn't leave any unanswered questions. I answered every question truthfully. I know they all did their research back in California, making sure they vetted everything. I'm sure they felt comfortable with it at the end of the day."

When did you have those conversations with the Bengals?
    "The Bengals were actually my last visit, earlier this month, about two weeks ago. That's when I was able to have that conversation with them. Also, during the combine process, I met with Coach Lewis and the rest of the staff for a meeting in Indianapolis. That's when I was first able to tell my side of the story, and then again later when I took my visit."

How at ease did they put you, to know that they would take a look at you at a certain spot in the draft, regardless of the situation?
    "From my visit I knew that talking to everyone there, that they love corners. You can see when you look at the roster now; they have a lot of highly talented guys. I know that they love corners, they love pass rushers. I knew that the Cincinnati Bengals were a serious and realistic opportunity for me to land."

What was the hardest part of that situation for you personally?
    "The hardest part was afterwards and facing the aftermath; realizing I was suspended for ten games. It was my senior season, and I was a captain planning on doing big things, helping my team win and I was on the couch for ten weeks having to watch. So that was definitely the most difficult thing."

Was the suspension for the fabrication and not an injury?
    "For the fabrication, yes."

Did you wonder, while you were suspended, if you would be able to get this behind you and show teams that you could play in the NFL?
    "I knew that prior to my season, teams knew that I could play football, but I wanted a chance to get back out there during my senior year and be able to play with the guys again. So I played three games for USC this year, then went on to play in the East-West Bowl, and the Senior Bowl. That helped me get in front of all 32 teams for those two weeks. That definitely helped."

When the suspension ended, did you ease back things, or did you stand up in front of the team and address them?
    "I was suspended for all team activities. One thing I did right after my suspension was I went house to house apologizing to my teammates. It didn't matter if they were walk-ons or big time contributors to the team, I made it a point to go to each and every guy, look them eye to eye, and apologize for putting our team in that position."

Defensive tackle, Arizona State
Everything really came together for you this year. What was the biggest difference between this year and last?
    "For me, it was coming out and playing, just learning how to play football and being comfortable with the system. It was just believing in myself, going out and working with my teammates."

You were a converted high school quarterback. How far can you throw? How come you didn't try to stay at quarterback?
    "Yes, sir. I can probably throw the thing the whole football field (laughing.) I tried, but they wanted me to stay on the other side of the ball. They also didn't want me to show off in front of the other quarterbacks and hurt their feelings (laughs.)"

Talking to the coaches, they see you as a pass rushing threat from the interior. Do you see yourself in the same kind of light?
    "I think so. For me, it was learning to be a dominant force and a better overall player, and I'm excited to learn from Coach Hayes."

You've moved all up and down the line. Do you feel comfortable at tackle, and what do you think is your best position?
    "I feel comfortable at defensive end, because that's where I play, but I can play other spots and still be active on the line."

Are you comfortable playing the three-technique?
    "I would feel comfortable because that's where I think I excel at the next level. I feel like now in the NFL, it's more of a three-tech than anything."

Did you have a good feel for the Bengals' interest?
    "Yes, I had a good feeling. I had a very good time while I was up there on my visit, and it was just a wait from then all the way to draft day. It was a long way to wait until the third day, but I don't care where I got drafted, and it only takes one team to like you, and the Bengals did. I'm ready to go to work."

Is that 4.8 40 yard dash time accurate?
    "Yes I think it is. Being a former quarterback and skill player, I had to get a little bigger, but I feel I kept my speed."

What do you know about the Bengals' defensive line and the guys that play for them?
    "To be honest, I don't really know many of them. I know they're pretty good guys, so I can't wait to meet them."

Ever hear of Geno Atkins?
    "I know of Geno of course, he's a monster. He's a good player."

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