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Marvin Lewis Monday news conference transcript

Opening Comments: "It's really good to get a victory on the road like that. We have a lot of coaching to do, improvements to make, and ways to get better this week. It's important we do it at a quick pace. I felt really good. There are a lot of things to coach from; situations that happened in the game. As we said off the top of our head yesterday after the game about how close NFL games were, it played true throughout the day yesterday. It's something we really educated our guys on all the time.
                "As you prepare for the season, you have time to look at the big picture of things. We talk about how important third down stops are, minimizing the gain, maximizing the gain, all those things that play into a football game. You have all those variables that happen. Yesterday was a great example of that."

What is your evaluation of Andy? Is that about as good as you've seen from him?

                "He made some good plays. He has some areas to improve as well. There are some things we'd like to see him do better."

How challenging are openers for a coach? What's different between this game and the other 15?

                "I think the first game is different. I won't use any kind of excuse that way, win or lose. In the first game, there's a little more unknown. It's good that it happens on both sides, all three phases, for both teams. They face unexpected things. It's then your rules and how you adjust and understand as you move forward each and every series.
                "The other part of it is, you go in with certain goals. We took care of the football yesterday; one turnover. That's big in those kind of games. We didn't win the field position battle, but that's something that's important to do. We didn't win the third-down battle. We overcame some of those things by making explosive plays that really helped win the football game. We also limited theirs, on the other side."

What is the biggest challenge looking ahead to Pittsburgh?

                "To play in the division and play on the road in addition. We're one more down on the road this year, and that's a good thing. When you look at them, you know the challenges are that they have good players. Their quarterback, Antonio Brown and their receiving corps. DeAngelo (Williams) will be in there and is a good runner. They have a new look at tight end. Their defensive guys come back with a lot of the same guys in the front seven. The secondary will be a little bit adjusted. We know schematically, the defensive football team hasn't changed since 1993, when we went to those kind of things. That's pretty much stayed the same. Other things have changed. They are using different parts in different pieces in different ways. I think that's what makes their defensive scheme so special; with how guys are utilized."

Will you watch the game tonight?

                "As long as I can stay awake. I watched the end of the game last night at 5 this morning, from the 2:00 minute warning on. It goes to show, another game in Week 1 that got decided by a field goal. There's a lot of them. All but three games were a field goal or less, and one was a touchdown."

Do you see a trend for why most games have been so close lately?

                "I think it's the goal of the league. It's to have all 32 teams have an opportunity to be champions at the end. That produces close football games. It was more last year from the year prior, and it's trending that way again."

Do you want your guys to hold on to some of the feelings from last year regarding Pittsburgh?

                "This is a new team, new season, and a new year."

Do you feel good about how the team executed down the stretches?

                "I was pleased with the execution of those things. I really was. Andy hadn't been in that end-of-half situation or end-of-game situation during the preseason. He hadn't finished the second quarter of a preseason game. I thought about doing it the third game vs. Jacksonville. I was going to tell him, 'When you go in this series, play it as you have a minute left in the game.' I wanted to put he and Kenny (Zampese) both in that situation, but I didn't do it, and then we decided to take him out.
                "We had talked about that before the game. So I was pleased that he got two of those in one game, and handled them both very well. The poise of the rest of the guys was good. We took it down a little far before we got the ball snapped on the third-down play at the end of the half, which made it difficult, and right at the limit to get the field goal team in there. We took it down to the limit there.
                "We were able to watch it today, and watch the clock tick down and everybody understand how important it is to know the situation. I thought Tyler Boyd was excellent. He got right up, put the ball right down there, and basically set the ball for them. Our guys were able to come off the field and get the other guys on the field, get the thing snapped and down, and obviously caught them with 12 men on the field."

How often do you work on that?

                "I think we've worked it two, maybe three times. We did it last Friday again. We've done it a couple times earlier in training camp. But we did it Friday for both sides of the ball."

Have you ever had someone pretend to be a ref and fall in front of the holder?

                "(Laughs) I felt bad. I think Clete (referee Clete Blakeman) lost his wallet too. Some guys got a little richer (laughs). But we got it snapped right at the point. It's good to have that situation. The defense got an opportunity to play again in a one-minute situation, which they did against Jacksonville, and they did it again yesterday."

The team came out of the game in pretty good health ...

                "Yeah. Again (knocks on head). But for today we seem to be pretty good."

The offensive line gave up seven sacks. Is that a scheme thing? Was it how good their personnel is?

                "We had some things we had to do better. We had one where we were kind of screwed up in the play. So we had some things just all around that were a combination of things. They did a great job executing, and we didn't do as a good a job of protecting and blocking them at times and facing up. It was a combination of everything we have to do much better, as I said after the game."

Jeremy Hill had a focus throughout the preseason and was very businesslike. What do you think of him not celebrating and handing the ball to the ref and the handshakes after his touchdowns?

                "I don't know what Jeremy's doing, other than when he scores a touchdown. I lose track of him (laughs). He scored a touchdown. It was a great run. He got the ball north and south and got his shoulders pointed toward the goal line like we ask him to do. He did a great job. He scored a touchdown last year the first ballgame of the season, and it seemed to be the characteristic for a bit. It seemed to be his tendency. Now, hopefully his tendency is more this way, as we move forward this season."

Has the red-zone defense turned into a mentality of, "This is who we are, this is what we're about?"

                "I don't know about, 'Who we are,' because you don't want them to get into the red zone. You don't want to play with fire like that. Our guys are very confident playing it one snap at a time, once a team gets in that situation against us. 'Don't worry about the last play, focus on this play. And let's go win this down, this snap, and get the ball back as quick as we can, in whatever situation we can.' "

Your message of 'keep playing' and "compartmentalize" seemed to play out yesterday...

                "It's important. Defensive players substitute more than offensive players, but the defensive linemen that were in and out of the game yesterday did a good job. Obviously we had the guys in the secondary who played and did a good job and had good tackles. Chris Lewis-Harris. Josh Shaw made a lot of big tackles in there yesterday, as well as the starting secondary group. So I feel good about that. It was kind of baptism by fire. Karlos Dansby in his first game with us did a nice job. Vinny Rey continued to do a great job. So you feel good about things. The defensive line came up with some big plays when we needed them to. We've just got to build upon it and do it better in every way."

You mentioned the defensive line. Do you think that the big game Margus Hunt had yesterday can be a catalyst for more big games?

                "Shoot, after I saw the comments in the paper today, I couldn't wait to watch the tape this morning (laughs). Man Mountain Dean (laughs). We want Margus in the worst way to continue to press forward and continue to break out and have a tremendous season. We're counting on him to. He's such a stone-face when you ask him a question about what he did (laughs). But nobody's worked harder at it, and nobody's spent more time at it. It just continues to come, and that's good. This was a good start for Game No. 1 for him."

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