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Lewis News Conference 11/13


Head coach

Initial comments ...

        "I'm really disappointed for our guys (that we didn't) put enough good plays (together) to finish the football game and win the game. They fought their butts off. There were a lot of positive things in the game. With the defense, I saw some different things. We settled down and began to play pretty well in the second half. Our Achilles' heel — as we could tell after the game — was third downs on both sides (of the line of scrimmage). You have to prevent them from marching down the field by stopping them on third down defensively, and you want to have more opportunities to score more points by winning on third down more often on offense. That has to be a key point and emphasis for us."

Defensively, it seems like you're getting them into situations where they are converting on third down by an inch …

        "No. 1, we have to understand the situation. The 11 guys, whoever is at the point of attack, have to win their opportunity. We had a third-and-one yesterday (that played) as more of a passing situation. But (generally) on third-and-one, it's likely not (a passing down). So understand that, and everybody get to the right spots. Then, maybe the (running back) doesn't fall forward for the first down. It's an important thing — is everybody always being on the same page. Then, execute whatever front pressure or front coverage that Paul (Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther) has called."

On offense, it seems like there are more third-and-long situations …

        "It was third-and-three, third-and-four, or third-and-five at three points yesterday, with maybe a third-and-six in there as well. Those are all things that are manageable and that you have to be able to convert. We have to keep looking at how we're (going about third downs), what we're doing with them, and how we can convert them better. And also, understand how we're being defended (on third downs) in each game. (It helps with) the adjustments that need to be made in the play-calling or formations, or whatever we need to do to get us a better opportunity to convert (third downs)."

Do you feel like the defense is being worn down because of how much they're on the field?

        "Yes, it does wear you down. But, the only way to get off the field is to either take the ball away or win on third down. That's the only thing that is controllable. That's what happens."

As the game wore on, injuries piled up. A lot of young guys had to step up and play. How'd the young guys do for you?

        "We didn't do as well as we needed to. We didn't win the game. No matter who is in there, we have to be able to execute and get things done. We allowed completions or had penalties and those things — it's the same thing. Our execution was not of a winning standard."

There is a report out there that says Vontaze Burfict has been provoked at least three times, were you aware of that?

        "(The communications staff) told me of the report. The officials have a job to do. I've explained this to Vontaze; he understands that. They have a job to do and they are going to separate players if players are in a situation where they (need to be separated). That's not what this is about, or where the NFL should be. So, get back to the huddle and get going. That's the most important thing. We don't need to jaw with anyone after the play — any of the players. That's important. It would shock me if those things occur. I know on occasions supposedly they have, but again that would shock me."

What went into the decision about Jeremy Hill being put on the injured reserve list?

        "Jeremy thinks he needs to have ankle surgery."

Were you surprised by that decision?

        "Yeah. He's consulted a couple of physicians, both said this is something that could wait until after the season, and he just felt like it was causing too much discomfort."

He said that he had been dealing with it for a bit. Was that something you were aware of?

        "I don't think he had any instance of it since this August when he rolled his ankle during training camp, or pre-game warmups, or whenever it was. I can't remember exactly. But that's the only instance that he had this fall."

You have two good running backs left on the roster, but are you only going with two, or will you bring someone else in?

        "We'll address that as we move forward, now that his situation has been clarified."

Andrew Billings was able to play quite a bit. How did you feel he performed?

        "It was a really good opportunity for him to get in there and play. It's something to keep building upon and grow upon. I think that's. That was probably the most snaps he's had, and against that group of offensive players, that's good."

Josh Tupou got some snaps as well, how did he look?

        "Have you been evaluating the tape (laughs)? He's got work to do (laughs)."

The Titans didn't hurt you with their running game on the inside. The inside seemed pretty stout ...

        "We didn't play well enough. The quarterback ran for 50 yards and they had another 40 or 50 yards on different kinds of outside plays that came off the option. When we adjusted some things and everybody got on their responsibilities, we did much better. But we saw some different looks early in the game, so they had to come over and everybody see it through the same eyes and get it adjusted. Then (they) settled down and played it pretty well. We didn't play well enough to start the game or end the game."

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