Lewis News Conference Transcript 11/17

Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
November 17, 2014

Initial comments...
    "What's evident after reviewing the video is that we have still quite a bit to improve upon. I told the team after the game, congratulations on the win, but we have a lot of areas to continue to get better at. We had a lot of areas, particularly in the running game, where we could get better, make sure we're clicking on the same page throughout. And in the pass game, too. Defensively, we did a better job of tackling, but we can continue to dictate where the ball goes, and continue to tackle better. Those are key elements as we go forward through this football game and the next ones after. We've got to keep getting better at those things."

Did you think that this game was similar to the Atlanta game with the way you guys dictated where the ball went and how you tackled in that game?
    "If you say so. I can't remember. We dictated where the ball should go for the most part. And that's key."

How important was it for you to get a couple of younger players with a little bigger of a role? Will Clarke was up and James Wright had a lot of snaps. How important is it for you to get some of those young guys an opportunity?
    "As you go further through the year, and the young guys have been with us, they at some point if they get an opportunity to play, and guys made good on those snaps yesterday. Both of those guys you mentioned came in and had good work. Obviously Dre (Kirkpatrick) played his tail off. Darqueze (Dennard) got good snaps and played well. As we go through the year, we're going to need all these guys to contribute at some point. Rex Burkhead did well, too. These are all young guys who haven't played much football for us, and they had significant snaps, and made game-altering plays, game-impactful plays."

How big was it having Rey Maualuga back to get people in the right places and him being in the right place?
    "Both that and his mental and physical presence was good. He did as advertised."

Domata Peko always competes, but yesterday it looked like he really made a lot of plays. Did he play as well as it looked to the naked eye?
    "He did. The guys up front to a man did a real good job yesterday. They all played a good, physical football game."

From an offensive line standpoint, were you pleased overall with the push that you got?
    "No, we're actually a little disappointed in things, and we've got to get better. I feel like we were productive and made some good blocks, and obviously we made some runs, but we thought that with both our runner, and up front, we can still do better. We have more room to improve."

Do you expect Giovani Bernard to be back at practice this week?
    "Not sure. We'll see. I think so, but we'll see."

Kevin Zeitler seems to have gotten right back on the horse right away. He was playing at a high level before the injury, and it seems like he's come back at that high level...
    "Kevin has done a really good job. The games he's played for us he's played well. He's been physical. I think he whiffed on a draw yesterday. That  was about his most negative play. He's played well for us."

Will you try to practice indoors at all this week?
     "It's going to be cold, we'll see. It's going to be cold and windy from what I've been told Wednesday and Thursday, so the wind more than anything can be a factor. We kind of braved the wind and the cold last week, and I'm proud of how our guys we did it. We kind of balanced altering our schedule a little bit for a little less wind. Not that it's not as cold inside, but a little less windy inside."

Guys talked about practices this past week about how good it was, how physical it was, and fast. What were your impressions?
     "We had some focus of things we needed to do. We needed to continue to block physically up front, and we've got to defend blocks physically up front, and I thought we did a good job of that. We need to take that through the rest of the way. That's important, we can't back down off of that. That never works well in my opinion in the NFL. Teams that seldom practice (well) seldom win."

One of the things that was going to be key was poise with the noise and it seemed like you did a good job with that. It's going to be similar a situation this week ...
     "Going to be a similar situation. We have to really have a great focus and don't want to have any pre-snap things that beat us. We have to make sure we're on the same page, that if we're huddling, when we leave the huddle we're all seeing it, and hearing it through the same eyes. If we're not huddling, then we have to make sure we're communicating right with the alignments and formations and so forth. We want to keep doing that, and that's important. We really handled that in the opening part of the game yesterday."

A.J. Green took the last couple of weeks hard. What did you guys say to him?
     "Hue (Jackson) has really pushed him to be A.J. Green, and don't be a shadow of A.J., be A.J. He did some good things in the passing game. We still have chances to do some better stuff and continue to work as hard in the run game."

How much of that for A.J. is him just getting more confidence in the toe?
     "I think confidence, you miss some time like he missed – three weeks almost – and everybody's moving at a different speed when you come back. Being able to adjust to things that's going on, and the game speed and so forth. Yesterday he had some plays, and I thought he had a good week of preparation, and we just have to continue with that."

Are you happy with the progress Vontaze Burfict has made from the surgery now a couple of weeks out?
     "Yes."

Is he possibly back this week?
    "We'll see."

It was a pretty good job by a myriad of guys against Jimmy Graham...
     "Unfortunately it cost us a penalty, but I think that as George (Iloka) was coming through to the football (flagged for a personal foul), it took a little bit out of him for the rest of the football game. We have to be around him and close, and he's obviously someone we wanted to get hands on every chance we get. He's such an effective receiver."

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