I want to start with an important note. Sunday, prior to the game, The FreeStore FoodBank and the Bengals are teaming up again for the annual Holiday Canned Food Drive. We're encouraging all the fans to bring non-perishable foods, and donations. Last year we collected nearly nine thousand dollars, and over 5,600 pounds of food. Hopefully we can top that this year. We're really encouraging everyone to do that. Everyone should come out and have a great day. A very loud, very noisy day.
Today, the guys who didn't practice were Willie Anderson, Madieu Williams and Herana-Daze Jones. Madieu and Herana-Daze will be able to work tomorrow (Thursday).
As we look forward to the Cardinals, this is a team that obviously has a talented, physical group of wide receivers, and a good back in Edgerrin James, and a very experienced quarterback in Kurt Warner. They've got some weapons. Defensively, they're playing very, very well. They're explosive on defense, sound, physical, and they do a good job of tackling. So it's going to be a great challenge.
Q: How do you feel about the job Ken Whisenhunt is doing?ML:
I think they've done a good job. They got off to a good start and they're kind of making them a more physical football team. I think that's what really he's trying to do.
Q: Excited to see some of the best receivers in the league go at it?ML:
The guys on both sides are some big guys. They're not little guys, other than Antonio (Chatman). Everybody else is big in stature, guys are all 6-foot or better. This is on both sides, what both teams have.
Q: The Cardinals can morph into a 3-4 defense:ML:
They're a 4-3 team, but they use a lot of 3-4 principles. Calvin Pace is playing strong side linebacker, so basically they're doing it with almost with five down guys.
Q: Would you consider placing Willie Anderson on IR?ML:
Well, again, I said Willie didn't practice today. I don't want to elaborate or embellish or do anything else there, because that's all it would be. So I really can't give you an answer to that question. He didn't practice today, and that's what it is.
Q: What do the Cards look like on offense; are they 'Pittsburgh West'?ML:
Well, they're a running football team that likes to use the play-action pass. They use four wide receivers like Pittsburgh does in some of their substituted situations. They have been able to move the football, and he (Edgerrin James) does a good job of breaking tackles. They play with two backs in the backfield, some on first and second down, so it would be very similar I think to what you see from Pittsburgh.
Q: Would you say that beating Arizona starts with containing Edgerrin James and getting pressure on Kurt Warner?ML:
You want to defend them from the top down, and that generally starts with defending the rush. I think that's important.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in Kurt Warner over the years?ML:
He has a strong arm. He likes to get rid of the football very quickly. He likes to throw the football down the field and throw into those windows. He's always been a guy who makes good decisions. He's not been a guy who has thrown a lot of interceptions in his career. That's why he's been a proficient quarterback.
Q: The Bengals locker room is heavy with Michigan alums. Have you noticed any tension between the Buckeyes and Wolverines?ML:
Our rivalry this week is with the Arizona Cardinals.
Q: Any updates on Chris Perry?ML:
He still remains on PUP this week.
Q: Is there a chance (Perry) will play this weekend?ML:
There's a chance, but he still remains on PUP.
Q: Did Chris Henry bounce back well physically after last weekend?ML:
I don't know how much pounding a wide receiver takes. I don't even know that he was tackled but once. I think most of the catches he caught, he went out of bounds, and he only hit the ground once. He was fine, I think.
Q: Do you think he did well in his blocking?ML:
He did OK.
Q: We heard that a bunch of fans sold their season tickets after the loss to Pittsburgh. Would you like to say anything to those fans?ML:
I bought a bunch of those (laughs). They can't get them back. They'll go to fans that want them, that are on the waiting list trying to get them. Once you put them out there and sell them, you can't get 'em back.
Q: Are you close to getting the running game back on track?ML:
It goes back to, like I said Monday, we have to be more physical at the point of attack. We have to finish things. We have to get the right hats on the right people and we have to be knee-benders and keep our pads down and get after it. We have to roll up our sleeves and get dirty.
Q: Why do you think Rudi Johnson's yards per carry is so much lower than Kenny Watson's?ML:
His yards per carry are less than Kenny's right now. That's the way it is. We ran the football more effectively in the games Kenny played than in the games Rudi has been in. Kenny gets the ball in different situations, when the field is spread a little bit wide open and things that way. That would be part of it.
Q: Do you think the ability to spread the offense three or four wideouts will help the running game?ML:
Not really. I don't think that has anything to do with the running game. We're not going to play any different wide receiver sets than we've played. That's not going to change anything we've done that way.