Opening comments: ML:
We don't have much to update, injury-wise. We seemed to come out of the game fairly healthy. There were a couple of guys who were a little sore and banged up. This week, we should look to the possibility of the services of Rudi Johnson, Caleb Miller, Antonio Chatman, Corey Mays, and Ahmad Brooks. Ahmad may be the farthest away, but the rest of those guys have a good opportunity. Two guys who were a little banged yesterday would be Dexter Jackson with a hip, and Willie Anderson with a knee, but I think they can play. Otherwise, we seemed to come out of the game in pretty good shape. We should be as close to full speed as we've been all season.
Q: How did Willie Anderson perform while he was in?ML:
He did a good job.
Q: Back up to Willie's standards?ML:
I don't know if he was totally back to Willie's standards, but he did a good job.
Q: This being Pittsburgh week, does the intensity level kick up a notch?ML:
We have to approach it just like another football game. But it's a division game. It's at home. They're leading the division. That being said, that's where the intensity level is. Those things are important.
Q: You talked about battening down the hatches, and Chad talked about the postgame speech -- us against the world. Who is the world? ML:
Everyone who isn't in that locker room is the world.
Q: ESPN reported pregame yesterday, there's a possibility that you may trade Chad Johnson next season:ML:
Did that come from anyone here?
Q: ESPN cited a source from within the organization.ML:
Is there a source inside this organization? Not the last time I checked. I don't think there's any sources inside this organization.
Q: Did ESPN talk to you?ML:
Q: Madieu Williams is a very aggressive guy who's asked to do a lot. He also leads the team in penalties. Is he trying to do too much?ML:
You have to look specifically what his penalties are. The pass interference penalty at Kansas City was a very close call. After review, it probably wouldn't have been called. His call this week on roughing the passer, we'll see what comes back on that. Those things are things that happen within the scope of play, and they're not a worry to me. The delay of game penalty yesterday, he shouldn't have done that, and it was wrong. He's was trying to keep the runner down. He thought the guy kicked him, so he was grabbing his legs. Again, that's poor judgment in that situation. We gave them five yards that we didn't need to give them and stopped the clock.
Q: Two things of emphasis last week were to get the running game going, and convert on third down. You did both:ML:
They ended up being a big part of the game. They always are, as we said. Two of the third downs the defense surrendered, on one the quarterback was scrambling, and on another it was the touchdown before halftime. Both of those plays could have been better played, and been non-conversions. Now we have to go work on fourth down (Jets were 2-for-2).
Q: Pittsburgh looks like they're opening things up a little more offensively:ML:
I haven't watched them enough to tell you that. You can ask me that question on Wednesday.
Q: This was your first win since the opener. Could you sense a relief after yesterday's win?ML:
No. We go out there and expect to win every day. Just because we hadn't won doesn't mean we didn't take the steps to win. It's not an insurmountable task. We lost some football games, we won a football game yesterday. Now we get back and go to work to win another football game this week.
Q: Any suggestions for fans who are considering putting their tickets up for sale to Steelers fans?ML:
Again, I think we'll have another great crowd at Paul Brown Stadium this week. Very loud. We caused a little confusion on one of their snaps yesterday with the crowd support. The last couple times we've played the Steelers here, our fans have come and been out in great spirits. It's going to be a great afternoon. Our first chance to have a 1 o'clock kickoff. So we have a great chance for a great crowd and a loud environment. It'll be fun.
I think the fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have shown their true spirit and they've come out in droves, and that's a great thing. No longer are we in the days when they sold their tickets to people from Pittsburgh. Hopefully they'll come out and enjoy a great football game. It can get us back to even, almost, in the division. I haven't look at that, but I guess you guys will figure it out for me.
Q: A lot of players talked about a sense of relief after the win. did you feel a sense of relief?ML:
No, I did not feel a sense of relief. As I just said, I felt like our guys put a lot of hard work in and I'm glad they got the benefit of their continued work and so forth. Everybody needed to win. The city needed to win, the fans needed to win, you (media) needed to win, and that's a good thing. But it's time to get to work on the next one.
Q: The Steelers have won their last six games here, and you guys have won some up there recently. Why is this series so backwards? ML:
We're going to try to figure it out this Sunday. It's an important game for us to win at home.
Q: How important is it to have a successful running game against Pittsburgh?ML:
It's big. It's something that for the last three years we've really looked at hard in this division. To have a chance to be successful in our division, you've got to be able to run the football efficiently. We don't want it to become a one-dimensional game for us offensively. On the other side of the football, we know it's important for us to not allow them to run the football as effectively as they'd like. We want to put more pressure on them to have to throw the football, and then defend the throws.
Q: Did you watch the Steelers last night?ML:
I did not.
Q: Did you see Jason Elam's kick (game-winner for Denver?)ML:
I saw that kick. That's was about it. I have good timing.
Q: Is there a chance that Kenny Watson will be more in the mix on first and second down, even when Rudi Johnson comes back?ML:
We'll worry about that when Rudi comes back.
Q: What about DeDe Dorsey?ML:
He did a good job. As I think everybody in this room knows, there's a lot more to playing running back in the NFL than carrying the football. You've got to be able to make sure you keep that ball secure at all times, you've got to know where you are in the protections and everything that way. That's important for DeDe to keep progressing that way. He's not been with us a great deal of time, so in my opinion he's learned fast. We've gotten some comfort with him in those areas.
Obviously last night was a big step in that. He got an opportunity in critical points in the football game to be in there, when Kenny was winded and so forth. So that's a good thing. We've got to keep building upon that, and he's got to keep exhibiting those habits in practice so we can depend on him that way. I think the more you have the opportunity to do, the more you take advantage of it successfully, the more opportunities you get.
Q: Will Courtney Roby have a chance as a punt returner?ML:
Again, just like that, there comes that security of the football issue. Right now we have a pretty good comfort level with who's in there. Fortunately over the last four years, we've been able to field the football, and I think that's a good thing. We'd still like to get more positive yards on those returns. We'll keep working at that. Now that Courtney's with us, we've got to see how we feel him about him catching those balls and so forth and where he is that way.
Q: To follow on Mark's question about Chad, we know he's fairly high-maintenance, but is he a team player or is he too selfish?ML:
He's been a team player.
Q: He (Chad Johnson) has unbelievable numbers:ML:
He set out this year to block better. I'm very happy with that. And he's seen the ball get spread out more, and he's had no issue with that. He knows that in order for him to have the success he's having, we need to be able to do other things correctly. The biggest thing we continue to try to impress upon our guys, whether it be Rudi, whether it be T.J., whether it be Chad, whether it be Carson, is that the opportunities we want come from making first downs. If we don't convert on third down, I've told them, none of you are getting any shots at anything. It's a football team. So we're not going to win, we're not going to have opportunities for plays, touchdowns, catches, runs and so forth, unless we do better on third down. And yesterday was a first step in that direction.
Q: That holds true for Glenn Holt too?ML:
Glenn Holt's played in each and every football game, but he can't determine the coverage that's put over on his side. The quarterback's got to work the football into the weakness of the coverage. We're not going to go back and coach Carson to throw the ball into the strength of the coverage. So Glenn made his opportunities yesterday as they rolled coverages different ways. He had some opportunities, he ran fast, he got himself in position, he got two interference penalties that are not catches on the score sheet, but they're obviously big plays. Those are the things he's got to continue to do.
Q: Is there a chance Chris Perry could practice on Wednesday?ML:
There's a chance. No, I will not say one way or another.
Q: Some guys on suspension have been allowed to come back to practice early. Could Chris Henry return to practice this week?ML:
There's a chance.
Q: Ken Anderson was a legend here; now he's the Steelers QB coach:ML:
Well, it was a great opportunity for Kenny and his family. I've known Kenny since he was coaching here. I had an opportunity to talk with him in the summer, and I tried to hook up with him and play golf. I know he's excited. Their season got off to a good start. He obviously has a lot of close friends here in Cincinnati. He's beloved here at Paul Brown Stadium. He's beloved by Mike Brown and the whole Brown family for what he's done here for this organization. He's a good coach, and he's in a good spot right now, feeling good about things. But he's coming here to Cincinnati, and we've got to get a win.