Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
September 23, 2015
Opening Comments ...
"This week at Baltimore, we've got a football team that is well-coached. They have a lot of good players, a lot of weapons. The season didn't start the way they wanted, but it's their home opener, and we know they will be ready to play. We've got to go play very good football, better football than we played the first two weeks, to go up there and win. It will be an important contest for us. It starts the division games for us. We all know what we have to get done. We have to have a great week of preparation. Better than good, got to be great."
Steve Smith is able to be so productive at this age …
"He's still a competitive player, playing at a very high level. I understand he announced earlier he was going to retire. I'll help him. Leave me alone. He's a handful every time we play against him, from Carolina and now Baltimore. We watch him on tape each and every week, and he's a handful."
His attitude on the field is rare …
Is that the ideal demeanor you want out of a player?
"You do. You want a guy that can be so competitive all the time the way he is. You watch the little things he does to get himself open to catch the football. That's so important. If you are a receiver, you are paid to catch the football, and he does things to get himself open. He's good at it."
Do you like watching the battles with him and Adam Jones and your corners/ Adam has some of that demeanor, doesn't he?
"That position has to have some of that. You have to have that kind of demeanor in your body, in your mindset. It's a tough matchup for us all the time."
How different is Baltimore without Torrey Smith?
"It didn't surprise them that Torrey Smith is not there. They allowed Torrey Smith to leave. They had a plan, succession and so forth. This is their plan just like it is on defense. They got some young players, still getting going and dangerous guys. Some of them played against us before. We have to defend the offense all throughout."
Why have you had so much success the last three times you have played them?
"Those three times really don't matter, what matters is this week. We know things we have to do, and that's take care of our quarterback, take care of our football and do great things against them in the running game. Not allow them to run the football. It's a simple formula. You ask me that every week, I give you the same answers."
What you've been able to accomplish against them in the past, do you use that in preparation for this week?
"We have to go play this football team this week. It's not last year's team. We have to apply our offense, defense and special teams to this unit. We have to win our matchups all the time. That's what's important. In football games on Sundays, you've. you got to win your spot, win your down, play after play after play."
What does the Baltimore franchise mean to you personally?
"It's huge. They are still my second-favorite team. There's a lot of the same people still in place from my time there. But we compete against them year in and year out in this division. It's an important game for us."
They've won 77.5 percent of games at home the past 10 years, tough place to play, crowd a factor?
"It is. They have a good home-field advantage. They've done a nice job of it. Players go out and play the game. There's going to be 11 on guys on each side, and we will go play. That's the important part."
Is there anything underrated or overlooked about Geno Atkins' play?
"I think Geno's been playing the run exceptionally well. I think that always gets a little underrated in Geno's case. I thought he had an excellent year last year playing the run. He came back so much stronger in his lower body, and you see that in his play. His understanding of the run fits for us and what he needs to get done. If they try to single-block him in the running game as well, we know the ball is coming back right now."
Have you ever had an extended conversation with Geno?
"I have, but they're not very extended. It's common to Georgia player conversations. None of them are very long. Coach (Mark) Richt has done an excellent job, and those guys, none of them are very wordy in anything ever, and it's funny. When Geno has something on his mind, he's very quick to state it. It's like music to your ears - like E.F. Hutton - to hear him speak that way and it's great. He always makes me smile when I hear him talk or A.J. (Green) talk or Shawn (Williams) talk. They're men of very, very few words."
A.J. is Abraham Lincoln compared to Geno …
"Geno doesn't want to beat his own chest. He just wants to play football."
Have you seen a change in Geno since his injury, because he's kind of disappeared for us (the media)?
"I think to us, to his teammates he's still Geno that way. I think in his life he's maturing as a young man. He's got good things going on in his life. He understands that and he's back playing football."
Have you seen him with his dog?
"I know, I've seen him with his dog. He's incredible."
How much different is this team when Gio Bernard gets more snaps?
"Gio is always part of the plan. Both players (Gio and Jeremy Hill) are part of the plan. Gio, when he gets opportunity, is always going to run the way he runs, whether he gains three yards or 12 yards or 17 yards. If we block some of them at the line and get them down, he'll get more opportunity all the time, because he has the ability when he gets to the second level to make people miss. That's a huge spark for your team when that occurs. When you see that runner get beyond the line of scrimmage and make that first tackler miss, it gets the guys excited, because they know if they can just get their guy blocked a little bit more, a little bit more, we've got more opportunity for big plays."
As the season progresses is Jeremy Hill, with that build, still the guy you want to carry your team?
"We're not pigeon-holing anybody that way. We think going forward, we're going to have share the load with those guys."
Which guy in there brought you a birthday cake today?
"I don't think any of them. I would expect not."
How much different does an 0-2 team approach a game vs. a team that's 2-0 - how desperate will they be?
"They're not desperate. It's a long football season. They'll be ready to play whether we were both 2-0 or both 0-2 or 1-1 it's going to be the same football game it was going to be."
Is chemistry on the offensive line underrated?
"When you have guys that need to work in conjunction with each other, the chemistry is not underrated. It's part of it. It's very, very important. We can go to training camp and go one-on-one pass rush, and then they go an play the game, and there's five guys, and it's a whole different deal, because they're not one-on-one very often. There's help coming somewhere.
"There are certain drills that are good drills for the defense and certain drills that are good drills for the offense. One-on-one pass routes are good drills for the offense, because it doesn't always end up that way. It's the same thing with the defensive line and the defensive front seven, they all have to work in conjunction and concert with each other, but the offensive line more than any group.
"They sit that way in meetings: the center sits there (in the middle), the right guard, the right tackle, the left guard, the left tackle. That's the way they sit; that's the way they do things, because they always have to see it the same way. We've got a good group and a strong, strong foundation obviously in that room and in this building. I've been fortunate since I've been here in '03 to have that."
When you draft offensive linemen, do you look at the "have to play well with others' tag"?
"It almost comes with the position. It's almost natural to the position. This last offseason, we spent more time in Indianapolis interviewing offensive linemen than sometimes maybe we would have. Those conversations are always refreshing. Then we go to the other side of the line, and it's, 'Oooh, man. It's literally like night and day.' "
When you are in a hostile place, is it important to have the unspoken word?
"They've got to be on the same page, no question. They've got to; quarterback to the line to the tight end to the runners, and the protectors, everybody's got to be on the same – and see with the same eyes and hear it and execute it the same way."
Considering the pass rushers Whitworth goes against, it's impressive he has played 24 straight games w/out a sack...
"You didn't just do that did you?"
(Laughs. Knocks on the desk for luck)."Andrew is just amazing. He does an amazing job week in and week out. Both tackles have started the year very well, and we've got to continue. We know what we've got ahead of us this week. It's important."
You don't have to give Whitworth a lot of help. Is that pretty rare?
"We're fortunate to do what we do. And those guys do a nice job for us."
Is the defensive-line continuity and communication not as important?
"I think it gets to be important. You got the four guys working in conjunction, seven guys, 11 guys. Defense is 11 guys playing together all the time, whether it's running game, passing game. But the defensive line, it has to have the same thing and you grow with that. The young guys we have are growing with that now. Just like Domata (Peko) and the guys who have been here throughout."
What do Ravens miss with Terrell Suggs out?
"Well, Suggs has been such a dominant player, both against the run and the pass, and they do a lot of different things with him because of his special abilities to play on his feet, to be an inside rusher as a pressure guy, be an outside rusher, to drop off into coverage. He understands your offense. I never got to coach him, but he must be a great learner. You watch him play week in and week out, you can see that he understands the opponent.
"When you lose one of those guys, somebody's got to pick it up, and that's what I'm sure they're looking for. They've got a great young player in (C.J.) Mosley. They've got (Daryl) Smith inside, who's a tremendous player with knowledge and still plays at a high level. So these guys are having to step up. They have a great young one in Mosely who you can see now kind of assuming some of those roles that way, and I'm sure he'll continue to grow in."