BENGALS LOCKER ROOM
Jan. 1, 2015
A.J. Green wasn't able to play in the first game against Indianapolis, and now there's a chance you could be without him again…
"You just have to know how to learn from it and step up. Whenever you get an opportunity, you just have to make a play. "
Do you feel that your opportunities have diminished some in recent weeks?
"No, not really. I just go out there and do my job. When the ball comes I have to make the most of my opportunity. "
Prior to the Denver game you guys got questions about this team in primetime. Now you're getting questions about this team in the playoffs. Do you get tired of hearing those questions, and does it motivate you in some way?
"This is a new team, a different team from the past three years. This is the first time that this group is in the playoffs. We just need to take it one game at a time and get ready for the Colts."
How exciting of a time is this for you?
"It's very exciting. We get a chance to go back to Indy and play a very good Colts team with a good defense. We'll have our hands full and will need to bring our 'A' game."
How dangerous do you think this team can be in the playoffs as a whole, beyond just this one game?
"It's definitely not about winning one game. We have goals set and high expectations for ourselves. We know what's at stake, and just have to continue to keep pushing, because we know we have a big opportunity ahead of us."
How important is it to have AJ Green out there this Sunday?
"It's very important because he balances us out. When he's out there we can take advantage in both the passing game and running game."
There is a lot of pressure on the quarterback leading up to these kinds of games. What do you expect from Andy Dalton on Sunday?
"I expect Andy to be Andy Dalton. He's a very good quarterback who has command and knows how to run this offense. We all have to follow him and he can take us where we need to go."
How encouraging is it to have had A.J. Green back on the field at practice today?
"It's very encouraging. We all know how much he means to this team, and I'm sure he's going to do everything he can to be out on the field Sunday. We're not really worried about that, we're just doing everything we can to make sure we execute and hit on all cylinders."
This is a different offense than the one that played Indianapolis earlier in the year, and you are one of the big differences. What do you expect from the offense this time around to send a message that it wasn't really the Bengals the first time around?
"I think we've definitely found our identity, especially at this point in the season. We have a lot of faith in our running game, which can open up the passing game."
How confident are you that you will be ready for a game this big?
"I'm very confident. I haven't played in the playoffs, so it's just another game for me. I'm just going to do what I've been doing all year long. I'll go out there focused and do what got me here. My coaches and teammates have a lot of faith in me, I have a lot of faith in myself, so I just have to go out there and let it show."
What do you expect from Andy Dalton on Sunday?
"I expect a big game from him. I like the way he's been practicing all week. I'm excited and looking forward to seeing Andy play."
What specifically have you seen from him this week?
"We're practicing well. We're executing the game plan and understanding what is expected out of us. It doesn't matter if we can't transfer it to the field on Sunday, so that is what we are focused on."
Have you approached this week much like the game at Cleveland, when you guys just kind of tuned things out?
"Yes, most definitely. Coach has been saying all week that we have to do the little things; we have to do the extra stuff. You never know when you're going to get back to this point. All we have is the moment we have now, so we have to take full advantage."
What is the biggest difference between now and the first time you played in Indianapolis?
"We are a completely different team. We are definitely more consistent, and we're playing better as a group. With that being said, we need to stick to our guns, trust the calls, and make plays."
What is the key to stopping that offense and Andrew Luck?
"You have to get to him. If you give a guy like that time and space, he's going to take advantage of it. If you take those things away from him, it could be a long day for them."
Does it help that you played them in October?
"No, not really. We're familiar with them, but at the same time both teams are totally different than the first time we played. We're basically two different teams playing the same game, so to speak."
Another difference in this game is the absence of (Colts Running Back) Ahmad Bradshaw…
"Yes, he was able to do a lot of things in the running game. The other backs are totally different. Trent Richardson is a power back who runs between the tackles. Boom Herron likes to try to get outside. Again, it's two totally different teams in the same game."
There has been criticism outside the locker room about the lack of a pass rush. Does that bother you guys?
"It doesn't bother us, because at the end of the day we know what we're capable of doing. We're in the playoffs, and there are guys that had 15 sacks that are sitting at home right now. At the end of the day we have a chance to do something that hasn't been done around here in a while and that's get out of the first round."
You mentioned last week that primetime games are motivating for you. Do you look at playoff games the same way since you guys haven't won in the postseason?
"We've come up short the last three years, but I believe we've gotten better in certain areas and that we're a new team. We're ready for the challenge and the task at hand."
Is there anything from the first game that you were able to learn about their passing game?
"You pretty much know the speed of the receivers and how they're going to release off the ball. We have that much down, but everyone's game plan is different in the playoffs."
Does it matter that you're indoors and that weather won't be a factor?
"It's a bonus for me. The wind doesn't affect the ball on punt and kick returns. You have no excuses. It's a perfect day for football."
You've been close to breaking a return for a touchdown. How motivated are you to score?
"I'd like to get in the end zone. I'm tired of hitting 50 or 60-yarders. My goal this week is to get into the end zone, by any form or fashion."
Special Teams Coach
What did you see on the tape of the Antonio Brown punt return last week?
"We had the play stopped. We missed a tackle at the point of attack. We need to maintain integrity and stay vertical. He made a great play, but we had a couple of guys fold."
What are your thoughts on Colts punter Pat McAfee?
"He's a Pro Bowler. He's fortunate he gets to play in a dome, which helps. He is a great player. They've got a good kickoff guy too; who I think leads the league in touchbacks."