Lewis News Conference Transcript 12/12

Opening comments:

                "After going through the film today, I am pleased about our ability to sustain the drives. We had a couple where we gave up negative plays down in scoring territory. Those are things that really hurt you. Yesterday, it was a combination of things. It wasn't just guys up front, we have to get to the right things all the way around. That part we can still do better and not give up those situations; we can get rid of the football if we have to. That is key.
                "Defensively, our our minds have to understand the situation. We didn't convert well on a few draw plays that they hit. Our unblocked defender has to make the tackle. That enables it to be a gain of more than you want, but not a 20-yard gain. Those things are important, getting into the right fits. On the situational runs that come up particularly when teams are having to throw the football, you have to convert back where they can't run draws and screens that nullify the rush.
                "The three young receivers on offense did a great job again. The backs were better on their tracks than they've been, and they stayed consistent. In the back end defensively, we took away what we thought was important; allowing vertical throws. We stayed alert and were able to handle situations special teams-wise. Alex (Erickson) did a good job of handling the punts when he could, and getting positive yardage until the end there, when we told him to fair catch it. Those were all good things in the game that started out with the conditions different than we are used to."

Special teams really got you great field position throughout the game ...

                "The return, interception, and the first punt were good to set up field position that way."

Does it seem like the young receivers are feeding off of each other?

                "It's the experience of it all. The fact that they are getting repetition out of it, day after day. It's been a good opportunity for them to go out and play. We haven't had many young guys since A.J. (Green)  was a rookie have this kind of experience. You wish you could restart it with those guys and see how they go, because of how much better they get week in and week out. Tyler (Boyd) has all of a sudden become a much better blocker, now that he has become better at being in better spots and being more involved in the offense. It raises your level in everything."

Has Boyd embraced his slot role on third downs?

                "He has. He had a couple yesterday in tight spots. He does a nice job of using his body. He's big enough to go in there and do that, and crafty enough to move away from leverage and make the tight catch. He's done a good job of it."

Does he have a good a feel for the game that you've seen from rookie wideouts?

                "I'm not very good at comparisons. He keeps getting better at it. The quarterback has a lot of confidence in him."

Any concern with James Wright and his knee injury?

                "We'll see how he goes this week. I can't control it."

Talk to us about Jeff Driskel's role, as he was active for a game for the first time ...

                "We had for the first time, six or seven injured players (to fill out the inactive list). He's prepared as the quarterback, he's prepared with the wide receivers, he's prepared to back-up in some of the skill spots on special teams. We didn't get him in there, but he was prepared to do any of the things that he's been asked to do. He's had an opportunity to practice them and be ready to go."

How has DeShawn Williams looked?

                "DeShawn has gone in these last two football games and done a good job of complementing the other players and giving us a different mix in passing situations."

Have you been impressed with Rex Burkhead?

                "Rex has done exceptional. There's only one football. I can't say he's exceeded expectations, because I expected him to do this. He just hasn't had a lot of opportunity. When they arose for him, he had different physical things that were setting him back. He's one of the hardest working people here in this building, and I'm glad he's getting these opportunities now. We're benefitting from them obviously."

Were Adam Jones' post-game comments about Terrell Pryor a surprise to you?

                "I didn't know anything about it. I learned about it after. It's not the thing we want to get into, and Adam knows that."

Do you still talk to the team about the playoffs? Does that help as you try to finish strong?

                "The only thing I talk to the team about is winning our games and seeing what happens. That's all we can control, and all I communicate to them."

How does A.J. Green look? Will he practice Wednesday?

                "Partly sunny (laughs.) I think he expects to practice. We'll see how he practices and see what he can do. When he goes out and proves he can do it on the practice field, then he'll be back ready to go."

What did you see on Tyler Eifert's block, the one he was penalized on? Did it look like a good block?

                "What I think Gene (referee Gene Steratore) saw was that he thought he got him helmet-to-helmet. I thought it was shoulder-to-shoulder. I have not looked at the TV copy of it, but from the coaches' tape, that's what I would say it is. You guys may know more than me. We don't want that as part of the game. He could have blocked him another way, or shielded him. That way, there's no risk of injury to either guy. In this case though, I think it was one within the rules. I hope so, so he doesn't receive one of those letters. If he does, he can win the appeal."

Your guys took some crazy shots in that extra-point craziness, when Cleveland tried to return the block ...

                "There were a couple of guys that took shots there. Clint Boling took a shot, which was probably legal. Ryan Hewitt took one in the back. It's unfortunately part of that play. I know a lot of the reason for the change in the rule was to create a football play. That's a real football play, with a lot of real risk. It used to be a harmless play as far as player injuries go, but it now raises the level of what could occur."

There's been talk about the NFL loosening the celebration rules. Your thoughts?

                "I don't think our officials should officiate intent. To me, that's not part of professional football. With planned celebrations and things like going that, obviously players should act like you have some sense. You want the guys to show some emotion. I do think that there's been some things that have drawn flags this year that to me are too close. Officials shouldn't have to worry about that. As long as it doesn't prove a lack of taste, let them show some enthusiasm for scoring a touchdown."

So consistency is important?

                "That would be helpful for the players, yes."

It does seem like they've eased up on it ...

                "Maybe the players have gotten smarter. I hope. What you're trying to do as a head coach is nip it all in the bud before it ever happens. If there's ever anything that happens throughout the league that's brought to my attention, I'm going to show our guys right and wrong. I'll keep coaching them on it because I want them to act like they've been there before.
                "All of that is important to everything we've talked about today; that we do it the right way all the time and not put ourselves at risk. We had another block yesterday when the quarterback was running that put us at risk. We don't need to do that. When you have a tight margin for error, you can't put yourself in that gray area, because the ball wasn't bouncing our way in some situations. After we gain nine yards but then have to go back to second-and-11, that's not good. Those are the things we have to continue to do right all the time within the scope of the game. We didn't even line up right at the end of the game. We have to get up on the ball. We don't want to re-kick. We had some guys flinch on both sides, but that needs to be fixed. It only matters when it doesn't work out your way. We have to keep working hard and coaching those things up so that they don't derail you."

Are your players approaching the Pittsburgh game the way you'd like?

                "Yes, I think they have. They know it's an important game for both teams. It's our next game, and they're fighting to win their division. We're fighting to stay alive, so it will be an important game."

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