Opening comments ...
"We sustained some injuries yesterday. Gio (HB Giovani Bernard) has torn his ACL. That, I guess, has been reported. He's just looking at his options right now, but he'll likely have surgery here coming up. He'll get that repaired, and he should have a good recovery. And then A.J. (Green) has a strained hamstring. We'll for sure be without him this week, and it'll just be a matter of how quickly he recovers through it. The other guys that got injured in the game, we'll just see how they go. Right now, they're kind of all day-to-day. We'll see how they come through the week. But it was obviously the most significant (game) we've had in a few years, as far as injuries go in one ballgame. So that's where we are with that.
"The summation of having watching the game last evening: the part that we have to continue to work hard at and do better is the consistency of plays that help you win the football game. Offensively, we did a lot of good things, particularly in the first half. But in the second half, we go through that lull, where we go probably three or four possessions without making a first down. We're backed up and don't get the ball off the goal line and out of our own territory. We've got a couple of third downs in there where we don't convert — some shorter ones, some longer ones. We have to do that better in a tight, tight football game.
"Defensively, just consistency throughout the football game. They had a good sudden-change situation yesterday that we did a great job in. That was big. But there's got to be that throughout the football game.
"And then special teams, again, obviously, the biggest thing is we miss the two PATs. Those are the things that hurt you in a close game. We've got to continue to punt and kick the ball where we need to all the time. Too much of the game lies on a few different plays or breaks we don't make. We've got a couple opportunities and we don't make the breaks. We've got to take advantage of those when we get them. So that's where we are. We have to move forward. We've got to go play on the road and play a division game. It's an opportunity to get back and get corrected."
In five of the last seven games, your defense has allowed the opposing team to score on the first possession. Do you see any common threads that might explain that?
"No. I just think we have execute our jobs better. In those jobs, there's no question about it, there's been third downs that have been converted. That's probably the biggest thing in those drives."
Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green are about 43 percent of the offense to this point in the season. What kind of challenge will this week present for you and offensive coordinator Ken Zampese?
"They've accounted for a lot of what we've done this year. But we've got other guys that have to step up and get going — everybody else around them. No question."
A.J. Green needed a cart to leave the field, which prompts you to think the worst. Is it safe to say the news you just said about his injury is pretty good news?
"Yeah. I was made aware during the game that that's likely what it was. But until you get the scans and so forth, they're not 100 percent sure either way, with Gio or him or any other injuries that occurred during the game. So if there were any positive news, it would be that, yes. I think he's moving today maybe better than even expected. So it's good."
Do you think Green will be back by the end of the year?
"I think he'll be back by the end of the year, yes."
The last two weeks, you've given up 16 and 21 points, and the defense has gotten some turnovers as well. Have you seen cumulative improvement with the defense over the last two weeks?
"We've made improvement, but the ultimate improvement is winning the football game. It's drive stops. Winning the football game. Eliminating the scoring in the fourth quarter. All those kinds of things are huge things, and we've got to do that still. We've still not done that."
After looking at the film, what did you think of how Tyler Boyd, James Wright and Alex Erickson looked, considering they may have seen more snaps or worked into some spots they maybe haven't before?
"Tyler Boyd played in his normal spot, and I thought he took some steps forward yesterday, which is good. But we've got to keep going. James Wright, it was the first extended snaps he's had. He did some good things, he's got some things he's got to clean up and do better. Obviously you expect that when a guy gets extended and gets more opportunity than he's had. He's going to continue to do better. And then Alex. He lined up wrong once, but other than that, he carried and handled himself very well."
Given Giovani Bernard's injury, is it now more valuable to bring back Cedric Peerman from Reserve/Injured?
"We'll make that decision here coming up."
It's been a long time since you've experienced any sort of losing streak. Is it at all difficult in your experience to keep the team together, or does the fact that the playoffs are still within reach help with that?
"That's what we have to continue to work at. We continue to let opportunities slip away. At some point, we've got to go and win games, or we will be out of it. We've got to keep going. As coaches, we have to continue to pull the details out of our guys and pull the good plays out of our guys. Encourage, empower and get them going."
You said yesterday that it was too early to comment on Mike Nugent's status. After sleeping on it, have you given it any more thought?
"I've given it a lot of thought. We're going to move forward with Mike. As I said last night, I think some other things kind of contributed. But all in all, we expect Mike to make those kicks. On one, we didn't have a perfect snap. It was a nice job by Kevin (Huber) of getting it down. But we've got to be looking at the alternative action (a possible roster move), and where we are and things. I've got to make that call, and I prefer to continue this way."
Is there anything you can do to help Nugent through it? Is there a specialist he can work with on technique? Is there anything he need to do differently?
"He can rectify what he needs to do likely quicker than any of us. And I think Darrin (special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons) is very capable of helping him make the correction through these, with his hits on the ball and so forth. I'm really confident that Darrin can work Mike through this."
If you bring someone new in there's the unknown. Is that the biggest thing, not knowing what the other side would be?
"It's always a comparison, no question. It's easy for everybody to say to make that change. But, as you said, when that change doesn't work out, what do you do? I'm way more comfortable with helping Mike get corrected and through this and him having the confidence that we expect from him and that we really have in him. We just have to give him more opportunities. If we give him an opportunity before halftime, we're probably not having the same conversation right now. At the end of the game then, it's a different football game. All those things play into it. But it is where we are. And to answer your question, it is where we're going to be today."
With Clark Harris injuring his groin and his position being unique, is that one of those things where you have to get Ryan Hewitt and C.J. Uzomah some more reps as long snappers this week?
"Yeah. It'll be something, obviously, that we'll have to cover ourselves with as we move forward here this week particularly. But they've worked at it, so that's at least good as we go forward."
Harris displayed some serious grit yesterday going out there and snapping after sustaining the injury ...
"Yeah. And grittier today (laughs). But as the week goes on, they're confident he'll be feeling better."
There were 11 extra points missed yesterday across the league. It seems like kickers are struggling more with extra points than they are field goals from the exact same range. What do you think that is?
"Part of the dynamic is that we freeze them with the reviews and everything that happen a lot. That's the thing, I hate when it's not a clean touchdown. The guy has to wait. We do a good job — Mike stays over and continues through his process, rather than standing out there on the field. But it's almost a self-inflicted freeze a lot of the time. Even if that does affect the other two guys as well and everybody on the (PAT attempt). But it is what it is right now. It's a really high number (of missed PATs). I know across the league yesterday there was a lot of wind in a lot of places. That plays a part, particularly the way it bounces off inside these stadiums. Sometimes people have no idea the effect of the wind, even on the sideline compared to the mid-part of the field. We saw some balls going in certain directions. Even passes seemed to be affected by the wind yesterday."
There was a video that was caught on the broadcast that showed Vontaze Burfict flipping off the fans, or at least in the direction of the fans. Were you made aware of the video? Do you think he'll be fined for that?
"I don't know. Emily (Bengals director of communications Emily Parker) told me a little bit about it a little bit ago. She gave me a heads-up that you might ask that question. Who picked you (laughs)? But I have not seen it. But other than when she gave me the heads-up, I have no idea. I don't know what occurred or what or if he did make the gesture or who he's making the gesture to. It might have been at me (laughs). He'd have to get in line after yesterday."
It was after a good play ...
"It still could be at me (laughs)."
It seems like Burfict's level has been pretty high these last few weeks. Do you feel like he's ascended even further up these last few weeks form what you expected?
"I expect a lot out of Vontaze. And we can get more. We can continue to get more. He's done some really good things, but we can continue to get more and more. We ask a lot of him, and I think he's capable of delivering it."