* *"Let's go ahead and get stared. We got some positive news based on the quarterback (Andy Dalton) today. We will continue as is. He will be in a cast, and basically we will go week-to-week. I think that is about as good an outcome as we can expect. He won't play this week. As we move forward we'll see how he is each and every week, and it will be up to Andy and the doctors."
So in a cast and no surgery needed?
This is kind of the best case scenario isn't it?
"I would say so, from what my limited medical knowledge is.."
Do you still have to bring in a veteran?
Is it better to have someone who's more familiar with the system, than bringing someone from the outside?
"Well, we have to do the best thing for the football team."
What is the best thing?
"We'll see. Stay tuned."
Yesterday was an eventful day. Is today a day where it's the ultimate regroup now and everyone is focused on that?
"We had to regroup even before today. We had to regroup after the game. There was nothing we could do once the game was over. It's time to move on, turn the page, and get ready for this week, and get ready for whatever challenges are ahead. We are where we are. We just have to move forward and handle our business, and that takes care of itself."
Lessons are learned in every game. What do you think is the biggest lesson learned from the game yesterday?
"Same thing I say every week when I come in here. The three "T's", tackling, third down, and takeaways. You win or lose every week because of that."
Over a week-to-week prognosis, and with three weeks left in the regular season, would you feel relatively confident that the playoffs would be a possibility for Andy Dalton?
"We haven't earned our way to the playoffs yet."
Have you talked to Andy, and what was his reaction?
Relieved or excited?
"I think it's the news we expected. Unfortunately, it's different than the reports people keep blowing up my phone with (laughs). It's kind of the news we expected after last evening."
Is it a healing situation or a pain management situation?
"It's a healing situation. This is obviously a starting quarterback in the NFL, a young guy, and has a lot of future ahead of him. This is a healing situation, no doubt."
You mentioned after the game that you have to play with your pads and not your mouth. Did you have any further comments with the team about that?
Was it disappointing the way the pregame incident with the Steelers unfolded?
"Well, its disappointing for us as a football team. I think neither side wants that. That's not the way it should be. I know our team understands it. I talked to Mike (Tomlin) today, and his team understands it. I think we both feel good about things. It's unfortunate that it happened. Mike's addressed it, and we've addressed it."
How unusual is that, to talk to the opposing head coach the day after a game?
"Occasionally. I will talk to people occasionally."
What did you guys address?
"I think I already said what I'm going to say. Coach Tomlin and I talked today, We're good.
What did you like and what did you see in AJ (McCarron) yesterday?
"Unfortunately, we had the turnovers. We can't have turnovers. Other than that, it was a pretty positive day for him. I feel good about that. Our football team has a lot of confidence in McCarron. His confidence, the way he carries himself. It's the way he's been since the day he has walked in here. It's not going to be too big for him. He's demonstrated that. He's had those kind of moments in practice, where you sit there and say, 'Who threw that'. I was pleased with that. I stood back with him every day last year. Went through things with him, so I know his intellect and how he's into it. He's going to lead us into this football game."
It seemed like when he came into the huddle, the team really responded to him. That's a tough situation when you lose your starting quarterback, but they responded pretty well...
"He did a pretty good job, and he's got to keep getting better, and he will with all the reps and time. It won't just be four or five plays that we carve out for him in the week now. He'll be better for it."
There is no substitute for the experience in snaps, so the snaps he took in that environment were good?
"Well, yesterday was yesterday. He's going to have to move forward to the next time. It's going to recharge again, and he's going to go into it and prepare for it all week. It'll be his plan, it won't be Andy's plan, it will be AJ's plan."
You said he saw things for the first time, and he will learn from it and not make the same mistake twice. That's all there is to it right?
How much will you rely on Andy Dalton's ability to mentor McCarron through next weekend?
"Well, I don't think he's a mentor. He's still in the room. He will still be reflecting on things. AJ's going to have the ball and going to have to run with it, and take care of the ball when it's in his hands."
How much do you have to pare the game plan from the ones prepared for Andy?
"Well the game plan is always based around the quarterback, the offense and the defense. We're not paring anything. We're preparing a game plan for our quarterback this weekend, and the rest of our football team. We'll be fine, we have to go execute."
How much of an impact will it have, that AJ will have these three practice days?
"It's big. The familiarity with things are good. It's different than just stepping in."
How important is the running game at this point, now to really establish things?
"We have to attack the defense, whatever defense we are given. So much of that is based on the quarterback, what he sees, and how it unfolds for him."
Was there something that should have happened differently on the interception that Andy threw and then got the injury?
"Just don't make a bad play worse. Throw it away, live to play another down.
Something he's been doing well all year...
We're you getting good information from AJ when he was coming off the field?
"I don't talk to the quarterback (during the game), but I think he was very comfortable with it. The quarterbacks don't want me talking to them (laughs). Not many people want me talking to them during the game."