Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
August 30, 2016
"Yesterday and today with our releasing players, is one of the more difficult times in this job and responsibility. Guys have worked really hard, and then you have to tell them that their time is not here and now. It may be in the future or down the line, but not right now. Like today with Brandon Tate, who has meant a great deal to our football team. He has really been a great pro for the whole football team, and a model for how to do things correctly all the time. It's one of the harder decisions we had to make, for a good person, a good man and a great family. It gives him – hopefully, maybe – a jump on another opportunity this year, or maybe back here at some point."
Is this move mostly about not denying what Alex Erickson has done this preseason?
"As you said, Erickson and the rest of the rookie receivers, like Tyler Boyd, what they have been able to show as returners gives us some other options. Going in, we knew about Tyler, but we didn't know how effective Alex would be."
What are you expecting from Tra Carson and Bronson Hill on Thursday, after Cedric Peerman's injury?
"They have an opportunity to get out and play more than they would have played. They get an opportunity to show the ability to stay here. They've played probably three or four quarters of football thus far this preseason between the two guys. Now they'll get to share four quarters, so its great for them."
What's your message to Andrew Billings, as far as handling this year of rehab and being away from the team each day?
"As soon as he can get to where he can get around better, then he'll be a part of the football team and travel with us. We'll keep him as close to us as we can. Part of the medical protocol for what he had done is to be non-weight bearing for a bit. So that makes it more difficult for now."
Is there a hope that Brandon Thompson can come back later this year?
"Yes. Brandon injured his knee in December, so it was ambitious to think he'd be ready for the start of the season. He's done a great job. He's working hard and working through it. We'll get an opportunity to bring him to the roster hopefully sometime in the future."
Cutting the roster from 75 to 53, how taxing can that be as a coach?
"It's tough. Dispatching 21 guys like we have to when we go to that point, it is. It's a lot of work for the personnel department to get those guys processed out all the way through. Some of those guys that we'll unfortunately have to release that day, a day and a half later we'll be trying to get them back to our practice squad at some point after they clear waivers. There's the process of that and going through it. We've had this kind of Thursday finish over the past few seasons, so we're kind of getting used to it. Now we've continued to adjust the rules so you can put the team back together a little bit sooner in the week. That's been a positive that we can get the team back by Monday, when we're back up to full speed."
The practice squad has been a big factor in developing players. Is that a critical part of the process?
"It is. It's a great part of the process. It's a great opportunity for young guys to continue to develop. Sometimes you end up in a situation on a football team where maybe that position is stacked. We've been able to keep an extra guy if we have to in a spot, just because we feel like his future is bright. We just played against one like that Sunday night in (Jaguars LB) Dan Skuta, who was one of the guys here we were so fond of. He earned an opportunity here in 2009, and made the best of it all the way through. It fits well for the development of young players. It's really the only developmental league we have, and it's a great opportunity for the NFL to continue to coach and mentor these young guys and develop them mentally and physically."
Is it also a really exciting time of the year, for that very reason, to see a young player make it?
"It is. That's the other side of the coin. As coaches, we often focus on the tougher calls, but there's also the good ones. Once in a while you get to make a good phone call and relieve a guy. He can then be excited about what he's done and his opportunity. Guys work hard to make it, and no one's sure of it until they actually know they're here for a week. Obviously we know it's not forever and that's the other side that I think sometimes publically goes forgotten: This is still a week-to-week job. That's the other side of it."
How open are you to pulling from the pool of players?
"Very open. We'll continue to look. We'll look at what the other 31 teams do, and see if there is somebody that upgrades us in a spot on the 53-man roster."