Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
October 15, 2014
"The Colts are playing really well right now. They're doing a nice job offensively. I think they might be leading the league. On third down, on both offense and defense, they're excellent. That's a key to the last four football games they've won, and how well they're doing that. They're getting good pressure on the quarterback, with 17 sacks this early in the season. They're doing a nice job. They've got some new guys on the defense, and guys have done a good job of adjusting to the scheme a little bit. Offensively, they're moving the personnel, the young guys are growing up, and they're playing well."
Can you compare and contrast Cam Newton and Andrew Luck in terms of what they pose threat-wise...
"Both guys, when plays break down, have the ability with their feet to make things happen. Andrew Luck does a lot more within their offense and the line of scrimmage the way their things are designed, as far as moving motion and so forth, and trying to get the right looks for their plays. Both are big, strong guys who are hard to tackle, and we've got to do a great job getting pressure and traps in the pocket, and getting them on the ground."
With Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson, is this the best ground game they've had in a long time?
"I can't tell you that. I don't know about a long time. But both backs are strong runners, and guys that you've got to do a good job tackling."
Does Andrew Luck look like he's taken a step forward this year?
"The thing that he has done is that is if he has a bad play, you've seen so often how he's able to move on to the next drive and put good plays together. Nothing lingers with him. That's one of his greater traits."
What do you like about Greg Little as a receiver?
"He's got good stature, good size. Coming out of college at North Carolina, he was a good catch. He had his moments in Cleveland where he dropped some balls, and they went in a different direction. He's leaned himself out, lost some weight, and he's looking for an opportunity. So he'll come in here and see what he can learn, and we'll see if he can help us at some point."
Did you look at Nico Johnson coming out of the draft, or was he a guy that you maybe had you eye on since then?
"We look at everybody, and we follow everybody, basically. But we did have a little bit more exposure to him, because Matt (LBs coach Matt Burke) coached him at the Senior Bowl as well. He felt good about him as far as the mental makeup part, having coached him for a week down there in Mobile."
Why is he a good fit here right now?
"He's a young guy, that's number one. We were able bring in another player who has NFL upside, to get him going, and get him started. It kind of hits us in two spots. He's giving us some depth right now with Rey (Maualuga) being injured, to provide the backup at that spot, but secondly, that he's got a great future."
Do you prefer doing it that way to bringing in a veteran?
"With veteran guys, it's difficult. If you haven't been in a training camp, it's hard. Guys are not going to pass a physical, and it's going to be difficult when they get here because they're not going to be in the kind of football shape that you need to play NFL football. You're really talking about using kind of a patchwork job, where sometimes the patchwork isn't quite the patchwork you need. In this case, this was great for us because of the upside and the future as well. He's obviously got future ability."
What is it like coaching and mentoring Vontaze Burfict? Encouraging the passion, while discouraging the other stuff ...
"He has to continue to play within the rules. He got called for a penalty last week that was not necessarily a penalty. Football's changing, and we're trying to really coach the head out of football, and that's been a mission of the league for the last two or three years, and that continues daily. We're teaching young guys new habits. Sometimes when that ball goes in the air, it's difficult to do all the time."
Are you concerned for him not just as a football player, but as a human being given the number of concussions that occurred lately?
"He had a concussion against Atlanta. That's the biggest concern. You don't want him to have…. Again, I coached defense and linebackers for a long time, and concussions didn't linger. Now we've found that because of the media and things, they seem to linger longer. There's a lot of attention paid to it. I don't know why they linger longer, but I don't remember them lingering like they do now."
Has he become a target for penalties?
"He just needs to play football. That's our message to everyone--just play football and continue to play within the rules, because the rules are what they are. We don't need anything extra at any point any time from anyone."
Do you expect him to control his excitement this week?
"He needs to control that aspect of it. He's been back and playing. We need him to play better than he played. He'll play better if he plays more under control and plays more within the schematics of the defense, and more in his responsibility. If he takes care of that, then we're going to play better on defense.
"That's the one thing as a young player that he really was able to do right away. He just played within his own responsibility and made a tremendous amount of plays. Our defense is designed for that guy to make plays, and we need him to make plays within his responsibility, and if he does, we'll be in pretty good shape. We let a ball go across the field the other day that we can't have happen. He was disappointed in himself, because there were plays he didn't make that we're used to him making, because he's that type of player."
There are reports that he was fined $25,000 for twisting ankles. Does that surprise you?
"I can't comment on reports, and I'm not going to comment on reports."
Did you have a talk with him about it?
"I talked with Vontaze about it Sunday night after the game. He called me when I'm sitting there disgusted, looking at our tape. He was looking at the tape as well at the same time, and we were both as equally disgusted at our play."
What needs to happen with the defense?
"We have to do our jobs. It's the same thing I told you guys after the game on Sunday. Just plain and simple just do your job. We took turns not doing our jobs. I could put two plays together for every player where they played brilliantly, and I could put a play where they didn't do what they're supposed to do, exactly what they had been coached to do, what they had practiced doing. That's obviously very rectifiable, very fixable, and just take care of your business."
Has that changed from the first two weeks, or has it just been more exploited recently?
Doesn't that get a little contagious, not doing your job?
"Guy tries to do too much. 'I'm going to make the game-changing play.' Well no you're not. You're going to make the play that beats us. Defensive players, they're different, and you shake them up, and be careful what you get out of it when you open that cap. We see it daily. You have to make sure they're all pulling in the same direction, or else they'll tie some knots quickly. Unfortunately they tie themselves in knots."
Is it fundamentals and tackling?
"Tackling is a big part of it. We come up and make a brilliant open field tackle when we take on the play wrong, and the very next play, the quarterback scrambles, and we look like we've never tackled before. It just goes around the board. We're going to get out of it quickly. We have to coach them out of it. We're going to practice them out of it again. We're going to do the things we always do, and we've had great practice and great preparation, but we really have to understand it's got to carry on to four quarters on Sunday, and in our case five quarters if needed. Until then we're going to have to keep hearing about it, and I understand that, and I'm trying to be patient with you all, and smile and do this, but it hurts."
Against Atlanta, you might have had as good a tackling exhibition as there is, and a month later it's what you're looking at...
Do you spend more time with Paul Guenther this week working on that side of the ball?
"You guys had put Paulie in the Hall of Fame (Laughs). Don't take him off his perch. I spend a lot of time with everyone. We're all struggling. We didn't win a football game. It felt like a loss to me. We had plenty of opportunities. I told our players I don't want to hear about it anymore. I'm doing what I do, it's big week. We have another great challenge ahead."
Would you say it is a big week for you?
"It is, because it's our next game. We know we're playing a playoff team from a year ago, and playing a team that currently leads their division -- an AFC team. So it's a big week, and we're playing them at their stadium. They won their last four games. They played on Thursday night; they've got a little more rest, and so it's a big week."