Looking in the eyes

8-8-01, 4:40 p.m.


This is the fourth installment of linebacker and defensive captain Takeo Spikes' diary for Bengals.com during training camp.

Even though we lost our first game Saturday night, I still think we have something special here. And it has nothing to do with what happened during the game.

There were some stories going around last year early in the season how after games it was like, "See you tomorrow," and that was that.

But Coach LeBeau called us all up in the locker room and talked to us. He was making us realize that it's just not him running the show. It's all of us. Everybody has a part in it and to me, that was special.

He called up Willie Anderson and myself: "Takeo, Willie. Come on up." It was then I realized it was just like a family. All we've got is each other. We owe it to each other. You look around and

see it in the eyes. That touched me.

I told Brian Simmons that it was one of the first times since I've been here that when I lined up on the field, I expected to win. And I thought that the whole game. I thought we were going to get them in the end. I think it's that frame of mind LeBeau has been trying to prepare the whole training camp.

This is what I mean about being a family. When we fumbled in the first quarter on our 25-yard line, we looked at Willie and Jon Kitna coming off the field and told them, "Don't worry about it.' Last year, it might have been, "Damn, what's wrong man?" It just gets to a point where you get so frustrated.

But I think the mindset is if the offense has help us by scoring 40 points to win the game, so be it. They won't look back and say, "When is the defense going to pick it up?" And if the defense has to shut down the offense, we'll do it. That's what I told Willie when he came off the field. "You'll get it back." We didn't hang our heads.

I thought it was like that the whole game. We had a lot of opportunities and the only way you can have a lot of opportunities is to go out and create opportunities and that's something we haven't had around here.

We've usually had to get it the very first time. If it didn't happen, it's been, "Shoot, it's all downhill now." We had three or four chances that we couldn't capitalize on. But we kept getting the chances.

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