Marvin Lewis Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
September 9, 2015
"I think when the regular season rolls around, for the players and the coaches, it's just a different feel. The details of everything have to get locked down. The urgency of things is upon is. That's a good thing. The environment of going on the road, the environment of a different stadium and so forth. This one's a little different because at this time of the year, with the grass and the (baseball) infield together, there's a little challenge that way. We've got to make sure everybody understands it. Everything about it, from the locker room and that way all the way through. We kind of take out any angst that might be there as we go into this game."
How much do you think your continuity that you guys have had in the offseason, bringing everybody back, helps you particularly in this month and dealing with the schedule?
"Well, we get to prove that."
Do you feel like it does give you a leg up on other teams?
"I think for the players, there's a certain calmness and focus enough to not worry about how certain things are going to be. We don't have very many new players. We have the rookies and we have A.J. Hawk. The other guys were with us at some point last year, and that's a good thing. So we encourage the veteran players to take the rookies under their wings and help them get through this. Get them to understand the urgency of the task at hand. We don't get any do-overs now."
Is there any edge for an established staff going against a new staff in Oakland?
"We don't get to play them. We're going to have to go play the football team."
What is the biggest formula for your traveling so well, that Andy Dalton has won 19 games on the road'
"Don't turn the ball over. The same thing whether you're playing out here at Paul Brown or on the road. Don't turn the ball over. We have to do a great job of that. If you look at the opening games, the ones we've lost, we've lost in that battle. The ones we've won, we've won in that battle. That's the key. I think that's the key early in the season. I think that's the key in every situation. We've got to control field position and do a great job of getting takeaways and doing a great job of protecting the football on our side."
Is there anything else you can think of contributing to the road success? "That's the single most important thing. Our quarterback has done a good job of not turning the football over, and that's key. When we turn it over, we're going to have a hard time winning. For all 32 teams, it's hard to overcome."
With Hue Jackson going back to Oakland, does his demeanor change at all this week?
"I'm waiting for it (laughs). Lock him behind the door or in the cage. It'll be a special moment, there's no doubt. I remember going back to Baltimore, and I left on different terms. I would expect that. That's the way it is. Just like when I went from Pittsburgh to Baltimore. It's different when you walk back in the stadium on the other side."
How challenging is it to measure your emotions?
"He's doing a good job. He's got to keep doing a good job of managing it. Hell, this game means a lot. It means a lot to him."
Do you think that year when he came back after the firing helped him, with that role you put him in?
"I hope it was beneficial to him. I know it was certainly beneficial to us, and to me because he came back here with a whole different perspective of things. He came back with the perspective of a head coach, about the team, about the 46-man roster. He came back with a different perspective of why things are the way they are, of how a cut down occurs, how you go from 75 to 53 and why those 53 stay.
"He really did come back with a big picture thing. I know he was very, very beneficial to me. I hope it helped him. He was very instrumental in Dre Kirkpatrick being able to do the things he's been able to do as a pro, because that was a tough year on Dre. So they spent a lot of time together. He spent a lot of time with Adam Jones. A lot of these guys, when he was thee in that meeting room, in the first year on defense, he's been able to help tutor and bring along. It was very beneficial to us."
How much do you lean on each other for the big-picture stuff?
"Quite a bit. I have a great respect for him and Paul (defensive coordinator Paul Guenther). As I've said many times, the three of us coached together in 2002 (with the Redskins), and I could go to the other side of the building, and those two guys were over there when we would get done on defense. I've got that kind of relationship with both of those guys. They were working together at that time. I have that kind of rapport.
"There's a lot of leaning on each other. I can go in and ask Hue a question, or look at something critically, and he doesn't take offense. He knows what I'm doing it. It doesn't impede him from moving forward. Or he can come in say, 'Why can't we have more of this or less of that?' Or whatever it may be. I know he's looking at it from the big picture and not just one-sided. That's a good perspective to have. When you gain that kind of experience, I'd be foolish not to listen to it."
When constructing a staff, do you think about veteran guys, mentors to younger coaches…
"I would recommend that if you could. I know just with the six weeks that Al Saunders was here, I see the advantage of that with our conversations, his input to me I go back to when I was an intern coach in Kansas City, and Al was there coaching for Marty (Schottenheimer). I have a great deal of respect for him, and obviously he and Hue had the relationship they have. And Jonathan (Hayes) played for them. That kind of experience, you can't put a price on."