Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
September 22, 2014
"After going back and watching the tape a couple of times today, you realize we've got a lot of improvement to make. We need to play better in all three phases. It was a good win, obviously, and we're happy for that.
"But defensively, we need to make sure we get in the right fits better, and we need to make sure we tackle better. That's key going forward. We've got a good chance to look at those things. In the running game, same thing on offense, we just need to keep taking those positive steps forward. We can't be careless with the ball on offense at any point. We've got to make sure we're making accurate throws, we're catching the football, and we're not having balls go off our hands, and so forth. Special teams, just continuing to get better. This group has now played together for two football games. During the preseason I make it hard on Darrin (Simmons). I make him play a lot of other guys in spots so I can see who can do what, but when we settle back into our guys, and we've got a couple of younger guys playing in there, but we've got to keep getting better. We need to break returns. We did a good job on the kickoffs that came out yesterday, did a good job on tackling. I thought Kevin Huber had a good day punting the ball. Mike (Nugent) had a good day on field goals and kickoffs."
It seems like some of your core guys, like a Cedric Peerman, are playing at a high level on special teams...
"We keep doing better. Ced did a good job yesterday and had a couple tackles, and he had one a week ago. He's doing a good job."
Your offensive line has allowed no sacks in three games, and the way you guys were able to grind out the clock with those back to back scoring drives has to keep you pretty happy with the way your line has played...
"We did a lot of good things. I guess every coach stands up here before you and says that. We like to do better, which is important. We can't lose sight of that. We've got to keep pushing forward and getting better. We played with a different combination yesterday, and we just have to make sure they keep playing together. Russell (Bodine) is doing a nice job. The tackles have been consistent. We've just got to keep going and keep getting better. Clint (Boling) did a great job yesterday against a good player (DT Jurrell Casey). Mike (Pollak) stepped in and did a nice job. I feel good about that."
With the bye week, you can get some of your players back like Marvin Jones and Rex Burkhead …
"It's good for the team. It will be a good uplift for us to gain these guys back in practice, and for the opportunity for them to play in the next football game."
Will you get a chance to maybe start integrating them back into that practice schedule this week?
Did you come out of yesterday's game pretty unscathed physically?
"As far as I know."
Why has George Iloka fit well into a veteran secondary?
"He's been a great student. He's a smart kid with great athletic skills, talents, and ability, and he's done a great job of learning every one of the great habits that these guys have. The ones that those guys on the outside have, he's learned from them, he's learned from Reggie (Nelson). He's been a sponge, and he's been able to take how to prepare in the NFL, and how to do those things, and turn it into being a productive player."
He had the hit on Delanie Walker that caused the interception. Was that just him being in the right spot?
"The big thing is to come in and tackle with your arms. Tackle with your arms and good things will happen."
How has Terence Newman been able to get better this late in his career?
"It's his consistent preparation, both physically and mentally. He's the pro's pro. He doesn't have bad habits. He listens, he takes coaching, he takes critiquing, he understands. When you give him something, and something's not quite right, he's able to make the correction, and he's done a great job for us. He's obviously a great leader of the team, a great mentor for all of the guys on the football team."
Is that big for the younger guys like Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard?
"Terence is in those guys' ears, coaching them. If he's sitting the play out, he's coaching them on what they should be doing. You can't ask for better than that, and as he'll tell them all the time, 'I'm not going to be out here forever, so you better be ready.' "
You were able to get some game snaps for some of the guys that don't always get to play...
"Yeah, I don't know if I've ever had 46 guys play in a game (on offense or defense). That was good. It was good to get everybody some snaps. It's great. They practice their butts off all week, and then get a chance out there to go play."
What needs to happen for the running backs to get higher yards-per-carry?
"Just keep doing what we're doing, do a little better. That's what it takes. You turn some of those four-yard runs into eight, nine, 10-yard runs. Things will keep getting better if we keep getting at it. But we're doing a good job of hitting the runs when we need to, and we've got to keep it up."
Was not hitting the gap right on defense what caused the 10 yard runs?
"The quarterback had three runs, but we had two runs with the running backs that we could fit better and get in the right spot. We got held at the point of attack, they got one edge on us, but that's our fault for getting held. We've got to do a better job of leveraging the ball in those situations so that doesn't happen."
How do you see Geno Atkins improving from game to game?
"You just see his ability to play with power and pad level all the way through. At the end of the game he's still in there being an effective rusher, and you're still getting the slide coming to him. He's doing a good job of fitting and running the scheme. He's Geno. He's doing what he's asked to do."
What do you tell your guys before they leave about being grounded and staying focused?
"You just said it. You did a great job (laughs). See, you're listening. It's good."
Is this 3-0 different than 2006, the last time you were 3-0?
"I can't remember the last time we were 3-0, who did we beat?"
You certainly remember the roster ...
"It's a different group. That group had made the playoffs for the first time in a long time the year before. First time in their careers ever making the playoffs. This is a different football team, this team knows the task at hand. When we got started, we knew where we needed to go each and every week, and that didn't matter. We have a one-week season that will begin in another week after next week. We have just taken it week to week, and that's all we can worry about. That's all we can control, how we go out and play each and every Sunday."
Yesterday seemed to be a game the '06 team wouldn't have handled like that. It was kind of a businesslike approach ...
"I think in life we look forward to getting better at what we do in all ways. I'm not sure we have a guy here that's left from '06 (Whitworth and Peko were rookies; Geathers was here). It's all fresh and new to most of them, and week in and week out, and that's all we can do."
Is there an importance to the 3-0 start, in that you set yourselves up to be in the mix throughout the year?
"It's to put yourself in position to be in the mix when it counts. We're going to go into October the next time we play. We've had a good start to the season, now we have to have a better October than we had September. Going to Foxborough; we'll have their attention."
When you were a defensive coordinator, did you find it more difficult to prepare for a team that pulled off a trick-type play every week, like your offense has the last couple of weeks?
"No, because your defensive principles are sound. It's like playing option football. You have sound defensive principles all the time. When you look at an offensive play, everybody has certain responsibilities as you defend it by each front and cover. You just have to be sound. You have to be disciplined with your eyes and do your job. If you don't do it, who's going to do it?"
On the TD pass to Dalton that the Titans guy didn't defend very well, what kind of teaching moment was there? The player obviously saw it, but didn't finish it. Do you point those things out when things crop up for the opposition like that?
"Well, we point things out all the time. You just don't want to make a bad play worse from either standpoint."