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Lewis News Conference Transcript 9/11

Opening comments…

*            *"When I watched the film last evening, there were some positives out there. It didn't seem like it last evening, but there were some good things that happened. And, obviously, there were a lot of things we have to do better as far as execution goes. That's the disappointing thing. We can't turn the football over. When you really look at the tape and consider the 'why' and 'what,' we know we can't (turn the ball over). Defensively, for the most part, we did a pretty good job throughout most of the football game. We had a couple plays (that we didn't like), and obviously the big touchdown right before halftime was huge. With third downs on defense, we need to minimize those. We have to do a better job of stopping them on third downs and not letting drives continue. We had a couple of them that were extended by penalties on defense, like the one with the field goal there in the third quarter. Those are big parts of football games. Again, (we need to make) corrections on offense, like doing a better job with our quarterback, our protections, receivers, routes, everybody included. That's huge.  And staying with our running game, continuing to follow up on that, and doing a better job of blocking on the perimeter. (We have to) create more opportunities that way with (halfbacks) staying on their tracks. Be consistent with it. There are things to improve upon and areas we need to get better. We have a quick turnaround and the opportunity to face a new opponent, and one that feels much like we do today. We have to get ready."

What were some of the positives that you took away from the game?

            "We had around 38 opportunities throwing the ball on offense, we had some guys do some good things within their responsibility on 35 of them. But four or five of them, or whatever it was, with the way that things transpired for us – it killed us. And that's the hard part. On defense, I thought the guys – as far as containing and playing the running game – did a nice job. They had one 10-yard run on the inside play, and the run before halftime when we were in prevent. They ran the ball for however many times at a 3.7 (yards per carry average) even if you include those, because they can continue to run it at the end of the game. So there are things to build upon. We have to do a better job throughout the game in the pass (defense). Early in the game, they converted the third down that led to a field goal. We have to do a better job of (stopping that). But we had Nick Vigil, with his first time being a starting NFL linebacker, and Kevin Minter, who is new with us — both did a good job throughout the football game. The guys up front, across the board on the defensive line — the ends, the tackles — played consistent and did a nice job. There are things to approve upon and get better at, but we have to build upon what the good things were."

How do you think Chris Smith looked in the game?

*            *"He rolled around in there and did a good job. He played with great energy. He got an opportunity to play more in the second half without Michael (Johnson)."

What did you say to the team after the game? The demeanor in the locker room afterwards didn't seem as down as one might think.

*            *"It can't be down. This is a 16-game football season, and that was one ballgame. We knew that, win or lose, today was going to be the same day here. That didn't matter. Whatever happened yesterday was going to be erased very quickly. That's been my message. Regardless of what happened yesterday, today was going to be today, and we were going to have to get better."

What did you think of Giovani Bernard's performance? Considering all he went through with the injury, it has to be pretty inspiring.

            "Gio fought to get back out there and be here for the opener. That was big for him, considering the passion and energy that he plays with."

You had mentioned that this was one of the most disappointing games you have been a part of. What was the reason for that?

*            *"Well we didn't score any points, so that's my biggest reason (laughs)."

I wasn't sure if was more than the shutout...

*            *"No. We just don't take care of our opportunities. We have opportunities to put points on the board and we don't get it done. It's a different football game. Even as bad as it was, we get the turnover early in the third quarter, and we now have an opportunity to make it a 17-7 game. And we failed to get that done. That's what I've not been a part of. You have to right the ship and get going. We keep fighting. I'm sitting there in the fourth quarter, and you all are probably wondering, 'I can't believe he's punting the football (with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter).' Right? You all said that, right? But we get the ball back three more times. It's a tough call either way. I'm darned if I do, darned if I don't. But we still get the ball back with three more opportunities. We lose a minute or two minutes, or whatever it was. They run it three times, and we get the ball back, and it's a 10-yard difference in field position. It's not fourth and 10, its first and 10. We kept playing, I guess. We come out of it, we keep playing football. And that was important to keep grinding at it. But we didn't make anything happen. The tipped ball on Andy's first interception – I mean that can happen. But we have to rally, and we have go from that point. We hung in there and kept playing. We felt like we could still make plays and get back in the football game, but we just didn't get it done."

Do you feel like the three-running back approach worked?

*            *"We've used three running backs a lot, so it was fine."

Will it be the same moving forward?

*            *"I'll never tell you that (laughs)."

Is it tough to prepare for a team on the short week, especially when there is very little film on the other team's possible starting quarterback?

            "There (has been film) throughout the entire preseason. That's what they have. Whether it's Tom Savage or Deshaun (Watson), it's what they are. And it is a short week, like you said, so I don't think we are going to see a new offense. We are going to see (Texans head coach Bill O'Brien's) offense and what the Houston Texans do on offense. I would expect Deshaun to be the quarterback, and it would surprise me if he's not. I think he's a young, talented player, and they're going to run their offense, which starts with the running game. We have to do a very good job against that."

Is there any theme you saw with the interceptions on offense yesterday?

*            *"On the first one, the linebacker made a nice play. He's headed left, away from Andy (Dalton), and Andy throws the ball inside. He has to put a little more loft on that particular pass. (Terrell) Suggs stops rushing and tips the next one. Suggs does some good things that way. We knew that going into the football game. Unfortunately he beat us with that yesterday. But there are things we have to do better going into that situation when we know the ball is going (to be thrown) like that. (The Texans) are team that tips a lot of balls, too, as we've seen before."

Cedric Ogbuehi gave up a few sacks, but overall what did you think of his performance?

*            *"We have to play better. Sometimes it looks like Cedric gave up the sack. You guys have your own estimation, and you can do that. But collectively, we have to play better. We don't want our quarterback touched back there, and he was touched too often. It belongs to the entire football team. It belongs to us as a football staff in general. We have to do a better job."

Is your leash shorter or longer with Cedric, after his play a season ago?

*            *"Again, we're going to keep getting better."

Any update on Trey Hopkins' injury?

*            *"No."

Do you feel like it doesn't get any easier when you go from Terrell Suggs to Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt?

*            *"And (Whitney) Mercilus and some other guys too (laughs). We know this is a very skilled defensive football team. It doesn't get any easier. That's life in the National Football League. We have to get ready to go, and we'll be ready Thursday night."

How does Andy Dalton usually bounce back from games like these? You've seen him bounce back several times before.

*            *"He's Andy. He's very competitive and very particular about things, and making the things go the correct way with rhythm. We have to have better rhythm with everybody. "

The first-team offense didn't score any points yesterday and struggled in the red zone. Where is your frustration level with that?

*            *"If you put that all in, it's one game and three series — two against whoever we played in the second and one in the first. We moved the ball in those. But we've got to do a better job of finishing drives, there's no question about it."

Tyler Eifert was targeted only once. Is that a concern for you?

            "We can't force the ball. We are going to let the quarterback make the reads and do the things he's supposed to do. They (Ravens defense) did a good job at times when things were directed to Tyler of being around him. Andy (Dalton) pulled the one ball back, and it ended up being the sack fumble. He's got to go ahead and read those things out, and we need to get the ball down to the next player for the next opportunity for Tyler Eifert or even A.J. Green. It doesn't change. If Tyler Eifert has 10 catches and A.J. has one, you'd come in here and ask me my concern about A.J. getting one catch (laughs). Right? Probably (laughs)."

Do you expect John Ross to play Thursday?

*            *"We'll see."

Is there a roster decision yet, with Adam Jones coming off the Reserve/Suspended List today?

*            *"He doesn't come off today. We have a roster exemption."

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