Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 13, 2014
"It was a lot of football yesterday, and it was real disappointing not to come away with a win. We had good plays, we had plays not so good, and we had an opportunity to win the football game a few different times, and failed to make the stop on defense to win the game at any point there in the fourth quarter and overtime, and obviously we moved it down offensively and missed the field goal that could have won it.
" A couple of turnovers we had on offense were a big difference in the football game, and we've got to work to eliminate those things. We had some pre-snap penalties on offense due to cadence, things that are very easily avoidable, and we've got to do a better job on that.
"Defensively, I think we allowed three third-down conversions through penalty, and five on the day by penalty. Those are huge plays in the game, things that are all self-inflicted, and things that we're going to have to work hard at correcting. We really have to go back and just do our jobs on defense. We're trying to do too much, and guys need to relax and do their thing, and keep doing your job consistently play after play after play."
Where would you guys be at this season without Mohamed Sanu at this point?
"We would have somebody else lining up at wide out (laughs)."
He's made a lot of plays for you guys and has proved to be pretty valuable...
"You draft a guy in the third round, you think that's what you're drafting. We expect that from Mo. That's really what we expect."
You said last week that you were very confident in Mike Nugent. Still the same feelings today?
"Yeah, still the same feelings. We've got to make the kicks though. Mike has a couple jobs to get done, and that's one of them."
Will you look at other kickers at all this week?
Do you have any update on Emmanuel Lamur or Rey Maualuga?
Vontaze Burfict left the game yesterday. It looked like he was dinged up. They said it was a blow to the head. He came back, but how concerned are you with his situation?
"He's got to go through the things he's asked to do, and do it right."
You mentioned after the game about his play that he needs to tone it down...
"We knew that he was going to be so excited to be out there playing, and my point is just 'relax and play one snap at a time, and make sure you're getting your job done all the time the right way.' He made some plays yesterday, quite a few plays, but he had some plays where he didn't play it the way he was supposed to play it, with the anxiousness of being back out there, and he got winded early, which had as much to do with him leaving the game as anything, because he came right back after they went in and checked him, because he was fine. We knew that was going to occur. We tried to caution him all week about it, particularly at the end of the week, to relax and play. There's 10 other guys out there, and you just do your job, and they'll do theirs, and we'll be fine."
When you evaluated some of the penalties, what did you think?
"There's nothing we can do about it, so we're wasting time talking about it."
The defense has only seven sacks through the first five games…
"We've been getting a lot of seven-, eight-man protections though. We had a couple, two or three, two-man routes yesterday. We're getting quite a bit of that. We're getting a lot of wide receiver screens, things like that. We're probably setting a record for those plays against us. That's part of it. You've got to keep doing it the right way and make sure we're sound in those things and tackle those. We're going to have to force people to drop back and release some guys at some point. But if we keep allowing them to make first downs by penalty, then they're not going to have to do those things. We're seeing a lot of different things, a lot of play-action and so forth."
You lead the league in lowest opponent passer rating and are second in lowest completion percentage. Is that a good indicator of pass rush effectiveness as well?
"Sacks aren't an indication, necessarily, of defense all of the time. It's part of it, because you're going to get more sacks when you've got the lead and opportunity. The last two weeks we haven't had the lead, and that makes a little bit of difference also. Like I said, when the quarterback has to hold on to the ball, there's a big difference."
What's the biggest key for a coordinator to righting the ship?
"Go back to fundamentals of things, no matter what it is. Make sure we're dotting our I's and crossing our T's through everything and, like I said earlier, just do our jobs."
Is that your message to Paul Guenther?
"You make sure you revert back to make sure we're doing things the correct way all of the time, make sure we're getting in the right spots, we're winning on third down, and that cures most of your ills."
Geno Atkins has been getting some pressures of late. Is he getting better little by little?
"Well he got a couple of one-on-ones, and every time he does, he's around the quarterback. That's a good thing. He will just have to keep making it happen, and you'll stop asking the questions. I'm looking forward to those days."
Some Carolina players were accusing Vontaze of ankle wrenching. Do you have any comment on that?
"No, I don't have any comment. Ankle wrenching...Sounds like the WWF."
Will you be working A.J. Green back into practice this week?
"We'll see. I've been told A.J. is day-to-day with things. We'll see how he continues to heal. When he gets to be a level of tolerance, and we feel good about him not re-injuring it, we'll feel better."
Are you seeing any progress with Marvin Jones?
"Well ... no."
Regarding the blocking in the back penalty on Andrew Whitworth, if a DB turns his back on you, from a rules committee standpoint, what's protocol on that?
"I don't know. That's a close call on that play one way or another. It's a great effort by Andrew getting out there, and whether it's a millisecond and the guy's beyond him, or the guy turns that's part of it … It's unfortunate. We just have to do it better, and just make sure we don't get that as a block in the back.
"It's no different than the penalty called on Andre (Smith), the play starts the other way. Andre doesn't know the ball is coming back to the right, and he's blocked his guy four yards down the field, and he doesn't know, doesn't feel the ball coming back that way.
"It's just unfortunate. You get some of that. You've just got to keep playing. There's a lot of plays that happen in 80-some plays of offense and defense yesterday, whatever there were. That's a lot of football plays, and so we had a lot of opportunity again to put the game away, and we failed to do that, and that's the thing we have to understand and get better at.
"We were playing a good team, a team that you know went from Plan A to Plan B on offense, and we didn't adjust as well to it. We expected it at some point if we shut down the original plan, and they put the game on Cam's shoulders, and he undid us. He kept moving the ball down the field. He had a couple of good throws when he had to make good throws, so we have to do things better."
How much of the zone read stuff was Cam's excellence as opposed to not hitting gaps right?
"You need sound, disciplined responsibility. Everybody's got to do their responsibility all the time."
As the season starts grind away, as you start to evaluate your team, do you look at it from a day to day perspective, or do you ever pause to say, "Where are we now as compared to a month ago in terms of certain things we wanted to get done?"
"I don't look at where we were a month ago, I have to look into the future. I can't look behind. It does no good looking back. There's too much ahead to look back all the time, and there's too much change in the future to look back. You're wasting your time look backwards. You can't change back."
Mike Nugent took that last kick pretty hard. How do you think he will handle bouncing back?
"In that position you have probably been through that before, and you've got to just bounce back. Hopefully we'll get him a lot of opportunities. That's a kick Mike knows good and well he should make. He knew he might have to kick from farther away and make it to win the game. We just didn't get it done, and it's the same thing, it does us no good to continue to talk about it. We missed the kick yesterday. He'll make the next time he gets an opportunity. Mike will make the kick. I'm very confident about that."
You mentioned you don't see any progress in Marvin Jones. Is this where you start to consider longer-term options?
"It's up the medical people. I don't have to spend my time worrying about that. When Marvin Jones comes out on the practice field, then I'll worry about Marvin Jones."
Does A.J. have a shot this week?
"I think he has a shot, yes. When I see A.J. out there running around in practice, then I'll feel better about A.J. having a shot."
What about the guys in the pits, Zeitler, Thompson, are they still moving along?
"They're moving along. We'll see how they go. We'll see. I guess they're in the 'we'll see' category."