Lewis News Conference Transcipt 8/31

Marvin Lewis News Conference

Paul Brown Stadium

August 31, 2015

Opening Comments:

"The preseason is coming to an end. We have three days of some good work to accomplish and an opportunity to get better at some things. There were some things that happened in the game Saturday night that we were good to get through. We'll try to work on some things the next couple of days that we haven't had an opportunity to cover this preseason. It's obviously a big game for jobs left on this football team, whether it be the 53 man roster, the practice squad, or auditioning across the NFL. It's a big game for a lot of folks."

How much sway can one game have as far as a player making an impression?

            "It confirms. You have to make what you feel is your best decision at that point and move forward."

The way the games have been spaced out this preseason, with the long rest and then the short rest. Has that affected you at all?

            "It doesn't matter, there is nothing we can do about it."

Do you prefer it to be different?

            "We all would like to have a week in between. That's what the design originally was, with the preseason and training camp. But when TV got involved, that all changed."

Can you evaluate how the offense looked Saturday, in comparison to the Tampa Bay game?

            "We're still the same team that played in Tampa Bay, vs. the Giants, and the Bears this past Saturday. We did some more things Saturday, made some plays on offense, and that makes a difference."

Can you evaluate the quarterbacks?

            "We feel good about where we are. We don't like turnovers, and when we have games where we don't turn the ball over, we feel really good."

Looking back on the tape, did anyone catch your eye?

            "Not to single people out plus or minus, but we feel good about the draft picks who got to play Saturday. We think they're moving in the right direction. The guys who came back from injury; Andre (Smith) got his first opportunity this preseason, Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones continue to play. All of which we feel good about."

Do you see a difference in Devon Still compared to last year?

            "Yes. Last year he was dealing with the back, and Leah's illness, so this year he's been able to train regularly and I do think you see a difference in his play, to a positive."

How deep is the D-Line in comparison to previous seasons?

            "We do have some guys competing to earn opportunities. Pat Sims and Brandon Thompson haven't had an opportunity to play, so it's an important week for them as well.

What happened with Brandon Thompson?

            "We didn't play him."

How come? Was it injury related?

            "He's not ready to play. Yes."

Will he play?

            "I hope so."

Where do you see Chris Carter positionally?

            "He's a linebacker. He's done a good job of trying to earn an opportunity as an outside rusher, and on some of the substituted defenses. He has the right background to do that, and he did a nice job for us on special teams when we added him last season. He's picked up where he left off there, and he's trying to really earn an opportunity to stay and carve out his own niche. He's done a good job.

Do you think he is playing like he knows it's one of his last opportunities?

            "I hope so. He's a great example of a sense of urgency, and a great role model for the young guys to see because of how he does approach it. He carries a briefcase, and that's the way you want to come about your job. He's a good example for some of these guys to emulate."

Can you evaluate Shawn Williams's performance, do you think he's come on as of late?

            "I don't think Sean's come on, he's done what we've expected as a player. We're trying to put him in a position to earn an opportunity to play more and more, and he takes full advantage of it. Last year he became a standout guy on special teams, and when he gets opportunity to play on defense, he's done a great job. He's continued to do that this camp."

How would you describe his demeanor?

            "He's like all the Georgia guys; he doesn't' say much, and does more. (Laughs.) That's the bulldog fight song, and Coach (Mark) Richt 's mantra. (Laughs) They're that way."

How was Jake Fisher's debut?

            "I thought he had some ups and downs, which was expected. Every experience, he'll learn from and get better with. Yes he has to get lined up on the football. But it's not as much just his fault as also the guys beside him. The guard was too deep, which led him to being too deep. It was something we need to pay better attention to. It was the official calling it from their sideline, which really should be a warning first. If he didn't warn the player, then warn me, so I can tell him."

Postgame, Jake said he thought he was too aggressive …

            "We played a defense that can jump around a bit. On his first opportunity to block Jared Allen during the game, Jared jumps around him. The next time Jared jumps, we run for 20 yards. That's the problem when you play a defense in that style; there's going to be feast or famine.
            "We seemed to feast on some plays as we went. It's good for our guys to understand that; that when guys zig and zag on defense, sometimes you get caught in those, and we're going to race up in there on you. Those are good lessons for our young guys to learn.
            "We talk to our guys, 'You're going to get movement, you have to be prepared for the movement and block behind your pads and keep your eyes and head up in order to win in that situation.' Generally with guys on the move, you can create even more space."

Does making cuts get any easier for you?

            "No. It doesn't. It's a hard thing when you have to cut the roster down. It's never any easier. I think it gets harder. Supposedly we have some depth, and guys will get some opportunities other places, like guys have that we've already released earlier this summer already. Hopefully these guys will get opportunities as well, and some of the young guys won't be counted out here at some point."

What is the biggest thing you want to see when picking the practice squad?

            "It's twofold. The first being is, can a guy make good on an opportunity to play if we have an injury at that spot. Secondly, it's the developmental part of a young player. Lastly, the depth of the football team. You try to look at all three areas to make sure you're covered. A guy that can ascend, a guy that can develop mentally and physically because he has NFL upside, and lastly the overall depth of the football team in order to practice."

How much of it is adapted to opponents?

            "We've sometimes had to adapt a little that way. Whether we go with an extra linebacker or a defensive end, if we have a DE we can stand up and be a LB. I think we have some athletic guys that have fun doing that. The trend of the 3-4 is to take some of these 4-3 ends and stand them up anyway. It's not bad for our guys to block on these 290-pound defensive ends we have walking around here. It's fun for them and they have fun doing it. We can talk to them within our concepts and they understand what responsibilities they have and how we're coaching to emulate the opponent."

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