Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
September 16, 2015
Opening comments …
"We are looking forward to the Chargers. When you say their name, Philip Rivers comes to everyone's mind. He had a ball game last week that shows how good he is. He's big in the pocket and has great command of what they want to do offensively, both with the run and pass. They were pretty balanced, running the ball 30 times and throwing it 42.
"It's going to be a day where we have to do a great job on defense. Conversely, with their defensive group, big linemen -- Corey Liuget inside, and Melvin Ingram -- two explosive guys. And a very veteran safety back there (Jaheel Addae) who understands how to play the game. He does a nice job of getting himself in both coverage positions. We've got to get going and have a good week of preparation."
The Chargers used a lot of three-wide. How much of that is on the linebackers?
"We're going to have different coverages. You're going to have coverages that are man-to-man, zone coverages, pressures, and different variations of things. The important thing is we have to tackle the catch. We have to have proper leverage, good angles, and tackle the catch if the ball happens to be completed."
Are you encouraged by where you are with tackling?
"Last week we were in good leverages, good angles, which makes it easier to tackle the catch. We have to continue doing that."
Your team seems to have had an even keel on handling both success and failures over the years?
"I think we have some guys with experience who know the ups and downs and weekly grind of the NFL. What you did last week doesn't get you much the next week. It's something to build upon or correct, but you have to go out and restart every week."
Where does that 2013 Wild Card game stand in your memory?
"Well, it was a disappointing game. But we spend a lot of time talking about the past. Let's talk about the Chargers here now. We're not going to get any asterisks here this week for that. This is a new opportunity coming forward."
But is it used as motivation?
"Emotion goes out of the way once the first blow is thrown. Hopefully we are motivated to have a great week of preparation. That's the key element; we stick to our process, take care of our business the right way, and scores take care of themselves."
What did Detroit do that allowed Keenan Allen to run wild?
"Again, that's their game last week. Both teams did a nice job. Allen had some nice catches, and Rivers threw some accurate passes."
What stands out about Jason Verrett?
"He is very a quick-twitch guy. He's not as long in stature, but very quick twitched, good around the receiver, a great feel. Cornerbacks, to be successful, can't be cumbersome around the receiver. They have to have a great feel for playing the football and not interfering through the receiver. This was a guy that wasn't afraid that way. He has good patience that way and a good feel for that."
Rookie Kyle Emanuel didn't come from but a big program, but he looks like a playmaker …
"He does. Kyle Emanuel in particular is a good prospect. He was a guy that we felt was a good fit, and had an opportunity to be a productive NFL player coming out of a smaller program. He exhibited NFL qualities, so it's not surprising. These kids were good prospects coming out, and they're showing it now on the NFL field."
Are there different challenges in preparing for a guy like Philip Rivers?
"Well you defend the offense, week in week out. The quarterback is part of the offense. In Rivers, you have an experienced guy who is not going to be rattled, who has been in these huddles and understands the adjustments that may occur. Hopefully we take them off-course and they have to alter their plan, and we continue to stay one step ahead. With his experience, there's nothing that he hasn't been through already. We have to do a good job of executing and keeping him off balance."
Does he have any tendencies you can see that he likes to do?
"Quarterbacks read coverage; they don't like to do certain things. They read coverage, and the route develops and flows where the ball should go. You have to figure out where they've been coached to throw the football, where the read is, where the key is, and where the ball should go."
Is he about a physically and mentally tough QB that you've seen?
"He's similar to the guys we play in our division. He's a lot like Ben (Roethlisberger), (Joe) Flacco, and those big tall guys. Ben can stand in there and deliver an accurate throw with pressure all around him. He'll move in the pocket, throw the ball underarm; he's got a lot of ability to throw the football accurately under pressure. You see Rivers all the time, he makes an accurate throw when he's not able to get his feet into the throw. Last week they played out of no-huddle the second half, and he did an excellent job of mixing the run with the pass."
Do you expect them to continue with that hurry-up mentality?
"I don't know. We prepare for that each week, we expected more last week, but each and every week you have to be prepared and expect it."
The media talks a lot about the recent surge in production with tight ends …
"You go back to the Keith Byars and guys like that, playing back in the 1990s when I started in the NFL. Teams had those kind of tight ends. Brent Jones in San Francisco, the kid down in Dallas, Novacek, are examples. Those guys changed the game then. They also weren't generally playing in offenses that had guys spread throughout the field as much. You had to play against those kind of players and be conscious of where they are. One year, Tony McGee had a big year here. That is something that has been prevalent throughout the league. There were good players at tight end for some time."
So it's not a lightning bolt kind of thing?
"Right. (Antonio) Gates has been around, Tony (Gonzalez) just retired. I'm sure I'm missing a few. It's a special position. The way football is going, it seems like kids aren't gravitating as much to running back, they're going to receiver. These are kids that have been big receivers. It's like on defense; they don't want to play linebacker, they want to play defensive end in college football. It's the same thing we talk about every year prior to the draft—'Where are the kids growing up gravitating to?' "
Is it because 7-on-7 is used on all levels now?
"I think it's part of it. These kids playing football now are throwing and catching all the time. There's a shift in college football. Your predominant running programs like the LSUs and Alabama's, that are usually going to put two backs in the backfield at all times, are now operating more at one back and shotgun situations. So now some of these kids playing receiver grow into a tight end that can run and catch. And they're kids that can't shoot three-pointers too. (Laughs)"
How would you frame the message to casual fans about opening day?
"It's going to be a wonderful day out here. We just experienced someone else's (home opener) out on the road, and we'll hit another one next week in Baltimore. It's a wonderful, great day for the fans to come out, be loud, and give us a home field advantage. They are going to see a great opponent led by a fine quarterback, and it's a big game for us, with another AFC team. Down the line this game will mean a lot for us, so we have to go out and get win number two."