We seemed to come out of the game in pretty good health. It looks like Wednesday, we should be pretty close to full strength. T.J. Houshmandzadeh seemed to get through the game fine, with his bruise. Landon Johnson has a laceration of the arm, and he should be fine. Dexter Jackson has a bruise on the wrist. Other than that, we should be in pretty good shape.
After watching the tape, it's evident that we won on third down. We had a good opportunity to be successful in the game, and that was a key element. We had the ability to score in the red zone and keep the points of the board on the other side. Those were all key things. We had some good plays, and some plays we need to correct, and play better. All in all we were able to overcome some things, and that was a good thing.
Q: What kind of confidence does this win give you going into Pittsburgh?ML:
I think we go in the same way, regardless. We did some good things in areas where we haven't lately. It's a new week. We'll get ready to play, and Wednesday we'll start corrections.
Q: Was using DeDe Dorsey something we might see in the future, or was that just isolated to the Titans game?ML:
It was part of this game plan. Every week, we'll see offensively, what we're going to do and how we want to utilize the guy. As I said a week ago, DeDe continues to do good things, and keeps earning more chances to do things. He had a nice tackle on kickoff. He did really well yesterday and has done well every opportunity he's had.
Q: Johnathan Joseph looked like he had a good game. Did the tape back that up?ML:
He did some good things. He came in and protected a couple of balls, particularly in some coverage situations, when in the past, he's been a little more hesitant. I thought he did a good job playing through some balls a couple of times. We still need our guys in the back to keep working at tackling. That's a key part of everything we're doing.
Q: Three straight games the defense has played well. Is it because you are getting your linebackers back to full strength?ML:
I think that's part of it. Guys need to keep doing what they're doing, and getting to the right spots, and tackling. You'd be saying four weeks in a row if we had tackled.
Q: Any word on what you're going to do with Chris Perry?ML:
Q: Are you going to wait until Wednesday?ML:
We'll wait until whenever we're allowed to.
Q: Is Madieu Williams playing at a level which you would expect, or could he play better?ML:
Each week, he's getting better. The things we're asking are to continue to grow as a leader, gaining recognition of the field, and getting people in the right spots. We ask a lot of him in coverage, all the time, and he's generally up to the task. I think he does a good job with those things. He's a very emotional guy. He wants everything to be right all the time, and when you have 11 moving parts out there, it doesn't always fit how you want it. You have to find a way to overcome it and get it going.
Q: Rudi (Johnson) said that his hamstring felt a lot better. Could you tell?ML:
You feel good, until you have a 300-pound guy strapped to your back. I thought this week, his runs were more Rudi-like. The way he was finishing runs, more than anything else. I think that was good to see. It gives him more confidence in things, and that's what you have to do. You have to be able to finish the run, and run through the first contact, and finish in the second or third guy in the area.
Q: What did you see in the play of the offensive line?ML:
We did a good job of making sure the pocket was clean in the first quarter. In the second quarter, we weren't as good at that. We had some guys throw off some things late, and we had people around the quarterback. We have to do a better job of finishing. We picked it up in the second half, and finished the game very strong.
Q: Talk about Dhani Jones and the transition he's made into this organization:ML:
He's really come here and immersed himself into the Cincinnati Bengals, and the city of Cincinnati. He really has done a good job on and off the field as a leader, 24/7. We had to do research, to make sure we had the right guy and the right fit. He was willing to come in, and accept whatever role given to him early on. I thought, for a guy who had been a starting football player in the NFL, he came in and said 'What can I do next? What more do you want me to do? How do I do this? Where do I go?' and I thought he did a good job at that.
Q: Special teams have played well for the past month. It that from continuity?ML:
It's continuity, and it's maturity. When you go into the season with one group, and they're all injured, or they move up into another role, you start from scratch again. We just needed to grow through that. Our specialists needed to make sure we were putting every ball where it was supposed to be, and our coverage and return guys had to execute.
Q: Is Willie Anderson day-to-day?ML:
We'll see about Willie on Wednesday.
Q: Chad Johnson has been excellent, but we've seen him tail off in the end the last couple of seasons. Is that one thing you're stressing to him, to maintain his focus?ML:
It's important for him to keep his focus. You should probably write a bunch of articles about that this week. It would be good to see him finish the season strong, and see how he can outdo what he did in the first part.
Q: It's been a tendency for the opponent to score in the final minute of the first half. What do you do to overcome it?ML:
Just keep playing better in the final minute of the first half. Don't allow them to score.
Q: Is Marvin White showing you anything?ML:
He's doing a good job. He's growing every week. He was chomping at the bit and ready to go on defense. He got some snaps in, not as many as he would like, but he was prepared and ready to go. When you call his number, he doesn't have that far-away look any more. He's ready to go. He's going to have a fine career in the NFL. Right now he's not getting as many snaps as he would like, but this is a new week, and we'll see what happens this week. He'll be ready when he gets his chance. He's been fighting through a little bit of a leg injury. He proved to me Friday that he was healthy, and that's what you like about him.
Like I said with DeDe, everything he's given, he's been able to answer the bell. The whole special teams thing, and the fits, and the speed of it, is all new. He's really done a good job of understanding it. When he got a pounding or two earlier in the year, he really hung his head, but he was always the first guy here Monday morning to figure out what he did wrong, and why.
Q: Is there such thing as a rookie wall?ML:
I think we're already through that. I think that's true, but that happens in Week 8 or 9. We've been through that with our guys. They've been able to get through that and have that sigh of relief. Daniel Coats felt that a little bit, Leon Hall felt it, Chinedum (Ndukwe) ... and they're coming out on the other side of it now. They have grown up. Once you go through the Thanksgiving pranks on the rookies, you grow up and move forward.
Q: How much will you emphasize finishing strong?ML:
Well, that has to be a big emphasis. If we don't, we're finished. We have no margin of error. We have to go make hay ourselves. Each and every week is big for us.
Q: What's it like to have a guy in James Brown (Bengals superfan from Middletown), who's been around since the Paul Brown days?ML:
I think J.B. brings a sense of how important, and passionate this can be for people. Even though this is their job, the players have to do it with passion. They see that J.B. is willing to do whatever it takes to do his part to help win the football game. He drives down from Middletown quite often, coming down during the week, let alone Sunday. He used to meet the team after road games at the airport. It all shows the players passion. It's awesome. The guys are appreciative of that. The veteran guys, who know what that's like, understand it. Then you have the young guys who are wondering 'Who's this guy,' and they get a chance to see and learn and listen to his one-liners all the time. 'We gotta have it,' and things like that. It's huge. It gives a sense of why you started doing what you do.