Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
Aug. 4, 2016
"We've gone through that initial part of training camp with some soft tissue injuries. We've got it all going on. Hopefully this will be the low point, and we'll continue to get healthier as we go. It's part of football, and unfortunately some of the guys get hurt. You put the roster together the best you can to try to be ready for them, and then you knock on wood. Hopefully we don't get too many in one position."
Is it good to get Vontaze Burfict back?
"Yes. We'll bring him back slowly. We'll try to bring him back slowly."
Is this just the way it is sometimes, with injuries?
"It is what it is. We have ways to go before we play the New York Jets. We're five weeks or so out. We should be okay."
Is it a testament to the way you draft, the way you seem to weather the storm of injuries?
"I think it's difficult to survive when you get more than one injury. With one, you are able to handle it because that happens every week. All 32 teams go through it, and unfortunately it's part of the game. That's the way we train in the offseason; so guys can avoid some of the unnecessary things that occur. Occasionally, things happen. They could be minor, where you have a collision, and everybody gets up. The next time it's something minor, you find out it's an injury that will keep them out for a little bit. It's just part of it."
How is Tyler Eifert progressing?
"He's doing well. We're able to do more functional work now, so that will give us a pretty good indication the next three weeks or so, which will be exciting."
Are the new guys responding well to the pads coming on?
"We've been pleased with the draft picks. Really pleased. Also with some of the other new guys, like our two veteran players, one on offense and one on defense. I like what they've done. Even some of our undrafted free agents have shown well. They're going to make for some competition, which is what you want throughout. I think we've got some competitive spots throughout the football team. As we took the next step to pads on Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, I felt good about things. We'll go through this weekend and next week and then get ready for the game Friday night."
Do you think a big play like the one Nick Vigil made on Tuesday can help make a rookie take the next step in his development?
"I do. It's a good confidence thing. When we draft young players, in order to get them going, the best thing to do is allow them to do the things they did in college. The other stuff that's new, they work even harder at to get it down. He comes here with a lot of tools. It's good, because I think the other players respond to that. We see it as coaches, and sometimes I don't think the players see it as much, how gifted he is."
You're doing a lot of different times and venues in camp. Is it important in your mind to change up break the monotony of training camp?
"By doing the different things we do, we do try to break the monotony of camp. It gives the guys something new, something to look forward to. Even if it's just the change of coming into the stadium and practicing less. It's a whole different thing. You get used to the crowd, the fans. Then when you come inside, you have players saying, "You don't even have music." (laughs).
What is the significance of the Bengals going to London? How are you preparing for it?
"Way too early to think about. The only thing we've done as a team is that every player has a passport turned in. That's all they need to do at this point. They're trying to make a football team right now. The people that are taking care of the trip are sending things over. We'll go from there. We've done what we needed to do, prior to Memorial Day. It's nothing but football for our guys."
Does this raise the profile of the team?
"That's not my responsibility. My responsibility comes out here."
Do you have any more clarity as to the extent of William Jackson's injury?
"Yeah. He's had an injury, and he's going to have a surgery that's going to re-attach his pectoral muscle. But we anticipate that he has an opportunity still to play this football season. Those are the positive parts of it. It's just a matter of how his body heals. He had a little more glide in his stride this morning because he sees some light at the end of the tunnel. It's just a matter of getting that surgery done, and then going through the rehab process, allowing the body and tissue to heal, and then go from there."
Jackson's injury and rehab seems like the perfect example of why the IR designated return rule was made, because now you have a little more flexibility with his situation than you would have previously…
"It is. It's a good example of why the rule was tweaked. It made sense to me, being on the (NFL Competition) Committee. There's really not a way to manipulate it, but it does provide for an opportunity. Two years ago, we put Tyler Eifert in that situation and he wasn't able to make it back, where we could have used the designation on someone else – I can't remember if anybody else was put on IR that year. But that's an example of it."
When do you have to place him on IR by?
"After the 53-player cut-down."
But you don't have to designate him at that time, correct?
"You don't have to designate it until you want to designate it."
You can do it at any time?
"Yeah, you can be designated at any time. Once they're on the list for six weeks, and then they have the two weeks of practice, or whatever it may be. It might be eight weeks. Whatever that time period is, once they've been on the IR list for that period of time, they're eligible to come off. I know that's eight weeks, but it might be six weeks and two weeks. I can't remember."
But at some point after the eight weeks, you can return?
"Sometime after the eight weeks. Exactly right."
Do you think that rule will ever evolve to where you can designate more than one guy, or do you think it will lead to stashing players and that sort of thing?
"(Laughs) Come on, man. As the ex-player, you're talking (laughs). 'If we get one, we might as well get two. And if we get two, we might as well get four' (laughs). Pretty soon we'll be Major League Baseball." (laughs)
I know it's just practice, but what are you looking for out of Vontaze Burfict today, as he practices for the first time this year?
"I'm not looking for anything special out of Vontaze. Just go out and practice and do his job. This is not an eye-opening day for Vontaze Burfict, so nothing special out of him. Just stay healthy."
Have you noticed any differences out of him maturity-wise from last year? Maybe with the way he carries himself?
"Well, I think he continues to mature, yes."
In what way?
""I think he continues to mature."
The Giants signed Leon Hall. Obviously you were in discussions with him. Were you hopeful he was going to sign here? What are your thoughts on him going to New York?
"Obviously we think the world of Leon and his family. We just wish him the best of luck. These guys have to make the decisions that they make, just like we make decisions. So you're happy for Leon. It's good for him. He feels really good about it, and that's good."
You guys obviously have a lot of confidence in the defensive backs you have on the roster now. Is that the message for guys like Josh Shaw or Chris Lewis-Harris, whose turn it is to step in now?
"We have a lot of guys vying for those opportunities, which is good. We put the roster together that way. We had an injury at that position, so everybody throws out the red flag right away. Like with Darqueze (Dennard), where he's going to miss another week, probably. But we've got to adjust a little bit and move forward. But Josh (Shaw) did a lot of really good things his rookie year. He's been spending more time at safety this camp, and now he'll move back into the corner position more. That's just part of it. We felt when we picked him that he would give us this kind of versatility. To his credit, he's lived up to that."
Darqueze has been a little snake-bitten with injuries so far in his career here. At some point his luck has to turn around, right?
"Yeah. At some point, you just feel that he's got to kind of get on the other side of the horseshoe and have things work out for him. He's so conscientious. He wants this. He's really morphed his body from when we first got him. I liken to him how we watched the maturity of Johnathan Joseph and Leon (Hall), when they were young guys. He's kind of taken those same steps. But unfortunately he just gets tangled up and gets an ankle sprain, and here we are again."
Have his injury troubles made it more difficult for you to evaluate where he is, or do you feel like you have a good idea of it?
"Well, Leon missed one full football game last year, and Darqueze played in a number until he went down with the shoulder. And he played well. He played outstanding, actually. He filled in for Leon in Buffalo where he did the whole thing, and he didn't miss a beat. That's the thing, I think we had some upside there. That's what we were counting on, and we're still counting on it. It's a little bit of a setback. But sometimes with these guys, it's good. I know right where they are and I know when they'll be ready, and that'll be a good time."
Is there any update on Tyler Kroft and his injury?
"Same thing. I know where they are, I know when they'll be ready and we'll be fine. And we won't expose them to any more injury. We've been through this for a lot of guys in the past. We've got to minimize it, and hopefully we don't have to overcome it that way. But they'll be ready when it's time to go."
Do you anticipate Kroft being back for the regular-season opener?
Do you have to change your approach with the tight ends, given all the injuries?
"No. We've got a couple other young guys that need to show whether or not they deserve to stay around here. That's good."