Marvin Lewis News Conference
December 9, 2015
Paul Brown Stadium
"The task at hand is a football game that gives us an opportunity to win the division. With playing it at home, we have to have great preparation this week, take care of our business, and handle things in all three phases of the game. We need to really work hard at playing error-free. When we played up at Pittsburgh, we didn't play our best football. We need to play a lot better this time around because they're a lot better football team now than before. We have to put our heads down and go to work."
What is it about their offense that has been taking off lately?
"I think Ben (Roethlisberger) has maybe missed a little of one game, so he's played most of his games since returning. When we played him last, it was his first game back. They've settled in with their running back now, and they have the full complement of receivers back. Everyone has been playing back together for a bit, which has made a difference for them."
What is the key to getting Ben on the ground?
"We just have to keep wrapping up, stay strong, and tackle up high. He does a great job of avoiding pressure in the pocket, moving away from it, extending the play, and creating opportunity."
How do you play with emotion but not too much emotion?
"We just have to play football, no different than any week. We have to play with poise."
How do you play with poise?
"As a player, do your job. Simple as that."
What are the challenges with stopping someone like Martavis Bryant?
"He's a very good vertical threat. You have to know he has both the speed and length. That's part of his makeup and the design of things they try to work with. A few weeks ago Markus Wheaton had some big-time games. They have three very good weapons, and their tight ends are good receivers. They're doing a good job in the passing game."
Does their defensive scheme cause more trouble for offenses in the red zone?
"I started it there, and was part of it. So you know with the outside linebackers, they're so well trained. They understand the pass game, so they're able to do things in coverage as the field gets compressed to make it more difficult on the offenses. Teams then have to be more precise and on point, and you have to fit the ball into some tight windows. They do some things with a drop-eight-package, which they've gotten very good at, and they change up who's at each spot very well, because they have some smart guys who've been in the system for a while, like Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison. One time James is the inside middle, dropped. Next time he's the outside flat dropper. James is such a smart player, he's able to move to different areas and create different issues for the offense."
What is the plan for Tyler Eifert and Adam Jones?
"We'll see if they're healthy enough to play. That's a big we'll see."
Adam is in a cast? So he's not practicing?
"Adam is in a cast. I don't want him to damage his foot anymore. I would assume, until I get the saw out later (laughs.) I'll save that until Saturday."
Is there talk around the team about controlling your own destiny?
"Zero. It doesn't really matter. We just take care of our business one at a time. There wasn't any talk earlier, there isn't any talk now."
Is it meaningful to possibly 'flip the script?'
"Its an important football game. Its a home division game, so it fits our two bills."
Is it best to not put the stakes out to the team?
"It's never my approach to worry about it. It's one game at a time, and this is the next game up. It's a division game, and its at home."
Toys for Tots message …
"We're asking the fans to come out this week and support the Toys for Tots Drive, along with the United States Marine Corps. We are asking fans to bring unwrapped toys gifts or cash donations. We have a sellout crowd, so we ought to set another record this week. It's an opportunity to help and extend ourselves to others less fortunate. Its a great cause and to provide something under the tree for these young people. Hopefully we have an outstanding turnout that way. Last year we contributed over 5400 toys and over $48,000 in cash. Let's top those numbers this year. Obviously the holiday season is special for all of us. As we come from the NFL, we get shortchanged a bit on our holidays, but for the families of our players, it's big, and they have young kids, so it's big days ahead for them."