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Lewis News Conference Transcript 11/28

Opening Comments:

                "One of the things I thought important going into the (Baltimore) game was making positive plays on first and second down. Probably on about half of the possessions, as we went through the film, we did a pretty good job at that. We did have a couple of third-and-longs. It was about 50-50 of third and seven-plusses and third and three or fours. Those are much more manageable.
                "We did convert on the third-and-22 after the ball was knocked out of Andy's hand (Andy Dalton), and we converted a couple others. It just makes for a harder day in doing that.
                "Defensively in the first half, we allowed a couple of third-down conversions, and in the second, a fourth-down conversion. Those end up likely being the difference in their scoring. In those tight games we have to do better. We had some plays where we can't catch a break. We have to make our own.
                "Offensively, we also have to be able to run through the grabs and holding. If you stop your feet you're not going to get the flags. We have to run through those and keep playing. It's important to do that to give the quarterback options. Those are areas where we have to keep churning."

Are there any common threads with the opening drive touchdowns on defense and the lack of fourth-quarter 4th quarter scoring on offense?

                "They are areas that need to get done. You have to score on offense, and in the fourth quarter, and limit the score of the opposing team. It's important to win that fourth quarter scoring, and we haven't been able to do that. We can move the ball, but haven't come away with points. We had two turnovers in the red zone yesterday. We had turnovers other times in the season too, and those are huge. Defensively, we just have to settle down and play. We're too excitable, or whatever it may be. We have some error, and we have to eliminate that."

Are you still sticking with Mike Nugent?

                "Missed PATs are things that affect the football team and our opportunities. We are where we are."

Are you bringing any other kickers in for a tryout?

                "No, we're not."

Was there an issue with the clock on the play where they challenged with the timeout?

                "We were down on the clock because of not knowing whether it was a first down or not, and not getting the ball down right away. I have to make sure we get a new clock in that situation, so I had to burn a timeout there."

So you have to request a new clock?

                "They should see it. I shouldn't have to. We were down on time and so Andy didn't have an opportunity to get the play off. I was headed that way. We didn't get a new clock. Right now those things aren't working in our favor. We're not getting those breaks."

In those situations, they should stop the clock and discuss the spot?

                "You should get a new 25-second clock regardless when you get down below a certain point. It's the play clock that is the concern."

Were T.J. Johnson's snaps at center planned or a reaction to things?

                "It was to calm the troops a little bit. I think he did a good job of that. We felt good about what he did."

Is looks like Cedric Ogbuehi is doing better ...

                "He did some better things in this football game. That's part of what he has to keep doing. The rushers don't get easier as we go. He continues to learn on the job. It's training under fire, what he's having to go through. It'd be good to get a lead for him to be able to get comfortable with a lead."

Do you worry about players sticking together during a losing streak like this?

                "I don't.  At all. They had a great week of preparation. We need some things to break our way now. We always have to keep moving forward. They're professionals, and have to go play and do what their job tells them to do. You can't worry about what you can't affect, you just do the best job at what you can affect all the time."

Players such as Clayton Fejedelem and Rex Burkhead seemed to step up in expanded roles ...

                "We knew we had some different guys playing due to injury. Some stepped in and were productive. As you move forward and where we end up this week health-wise, it was good to see them do that. You mentioned Clayton, and it was obviously great for Rex. Rex has been here and due to different things such as numbers, injuries and so forth, hadn't had the opportunities as some guys, but continues to work as hard as he does. We come out of the game feeling really good about him."

Is it good to see Cedric Peerman back?

                "It was good to have Cedric's presence in the football game when we were down some other guys. To have him help steady the ship was good."

How much tougher is it to move on during the week as the losses mount?

                "I don't think it gets any tougher. The thing is to move forward and prepare as well as we can for the Eagles come Sunday. It's a home game for us, and it seems like we haven't had many of them. The way the schedule has been, it seems every other week or so we're on the road. We haven't been back-to-back at home since earlier in the year. It's important game for us to get back on track and to have each player believe in himself again, most importantly. Just as I said earlier, players have to take care of business, get their job productively done throughout the entire football game. Not with the ups and downs, but to play through the entire thing and do a great job on his own."

Is there a ripple effect with a player like Justin Tucker?

                "He's had a good year kicking above 50."

Does that change how you plan for a game?


Might you consider not bringing AJ Green back? Do you still expect him back? Any shot this week?

                "No. I do still expect him back. For this week, we'll see. Partly cloudy. (Laughs)."

How do you try to stay on track and ignore national media noise?

                "I think with professional football, the players realize their jobs are never really secure. That's why they are what they are. They have to perform each and every time out. They're always being evaluated. Their job is to play as well as they can and win football games."

Do you yourself have those kind of thoughts?

                "I don't think coaches have those thoughts. That's part of what we do."

Was it harder to block that sort of stuff out when you were younger?

                "I don't know. I led a good life early on as a coach in some good spots. It's part of what we do. Every coach realizes that all the time. Everybody has to perform, that's why it's professional sports. So many times I think people tend to think that you start out with 90 guys, and that everybody gets to stay. Everybody doesn't get to stay. It's the same thing with players and coaches alike. Everybody knows, the object is to win games. That's our responsibility; to pull it out of the players as much as we can. When it's not there, then we have to get a new plan."

Any update on Chykie Brown?

                "I don't know if they've done an MRI, but from our reports, he has a patella injury with his knee. That's all I know for now. He'll get a scan and see the severity of things. "

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