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Marvin Lewis Press Conference


Opening comments:ML:
We seemed to come out of the game in pretty good shape; the only thing of note was that Antonio Chatman had an abdominal strain and we'll see how he is Wednesday. He may be a little bit limited on Wednesday so he'll be listed as probable. These guys will be listed as out: Rich Braham, Levi Jones, Kelley Washington and then Anthony Wright. We'll see how he is later in the week. Rashad Jeanty will be questionable.

After watching the game in all three phases on tape, I think the key was at halftime, we came out of a bit of a funk and began to make plays on offense and defense. We eliminated the errors on defense, made plays on offense, converted third downs on offense and kept them from converting on defense. That helped us swing the field position, which we really backed up on in the first half. That made a big difference.

We went into the game with a little bit different approach. We were able to run the football and have some productive rushing yards, which enabled us to open up and throw it a little more. That was helpful and vice versa, they kind of work together. Defensively, we need to continue to work and eliminate the explosive play. We had a couple of 20-yarders, but as long you don't give up the big play, you have the opportunity to be successful.

In the kicking game, we have to eliminate some of the penalties. Some are a little sketchy as to why, but others are warranted. We just have to keep working to get our hands inside. Sometimes we run through blocks and it's misread to be holding and it's not. Our guy just cleaned the other guy's clock. We've got to figure that out and understand that if you dump a guy, it's going to get called because they don't see the whole act, they just see the result. We've got to understand that and continue to do better because we had a couple opportunities for better field position that got knocked back because of those kinds of penalties in the kicking game. We've got to continue to do better there.

Q: On Justin Smith and Robert Geathers:ML:

They did a good job yesterday with the opportunities and had a couple of big plays. Justin's sack took them out of field goal range at one point, and then later, we finished the game with Robert's sack. They had good pressure. They keep doing a good job with that. We ask a lot of Robert to do different things and he handles the responsibilities pretty much without error. He's played well for us.

Q: They seemed to play well against the run. One example is that pitch to DeShaun Foster that Robert Geathers stayed at home:ML:

Robert stayed with his responsibility and did what he was supposed to do.

Q: Both could get double-digit sacks. Why are the numbers up?ML:

 Consistency of their play has made a difference. I think the guys in the middle have done a better job. I think that helps and I think just coming of age as a rusher. You maybe understand a little bit more about how you break down an opponent, etc., and when opportunities occur and how you take advantage of those opportunities. The last sack there by Robert was helped out by the situation, the coverage and having the lead. Having the lead makes a big difference in sacking the quarterback. It's amazing how that works.  

Q: It was big to get the only turnover:ML:

It always is. You know the stats. If you're plus-1 you've got a chance to win almost 70 percent of your games. That's big. Overall, you'll end up with a pretty successful season. Not many times will you win a football game when you're minus in that area.

Q: The Atlanta defense managed to get to Ben Roethlisberger. Is it going to be tough to stop their defensive line?ML:

It's always going to be, isn't it? It's that way every week. It's not going to change. 

Q: What is Chris Henry's status?ML:

He gets an opportunity to come back and practice this week.

Q: Is it coach's decision to reinstate him?ML:

Yes. I think so. 

Q: Could he be down?ML:

He could be on our team and be down.

Q: Is Chris Perry OK physically?ML:

He had some rust. It's the first time he's been hit carrying the ball and actually getting tackled. He'll continue to work. We'll see what opportunity he gets this week.

Q: Could Chad Johnson's catch be the turning point of the season?ML:

There were a lot of things that occurred before then that made a difference, too. Every play leads to the next play. It's always a part of what you are. Things make a difference, but they don't make a difference internally.

Q: Thoughts on Glenn Holt:ML:

He did a nice job. He threw their vice guy into the returner, just like he's supposed to do. A ball (punt) happened to hit him instead of their guy. He did a good job and did what he was supposed to do. He got an opportunity and took advantage of it. He's worked hard in practice and he got an opportunity to suit up and play in a real NFL game. I'm sure he didn't sleep last night or the night before.

Q: It seems like you got a special talent in Andrew Whitworth:ML:

We try not to draft a guy who's not going to be special. We spend a lot of time looking at that. He's got a lot of ability.  He's smart, and intelligent. It's not going to be too big for him. He's got a calmness. He's got a great offensive line personality. He's a big, strong, aggressive man who doesn't like to lose. You like to have as many of those guys on your side as you can.

Q: What will determine whether Chris Henry will be back this week?ML:

That'll be my decision as to what's best for our team.

Q: The tight ends played a big role yesterday:ML:

We didn't use any four wide receiver sets yesterday (due to injuries at WR). We kept tight ends on the field more than we have in the past, particularly on third down and early downs. Normally, it could have been a receiver in that position. Tony Stewart made a couple of catches that changed field position early in the game and then in the fourth quarter that made a big difference. Reggie Kelly had a big catch for a touchdown. We missed a couple of other opportunities with the tight ends and we have to keep doing better. 

Q: Yesterday it was their opportunity:ML:

I can count on one hand the amount of times the tight ends have dropped a pass. When those guys get opportunities, they're going to make the catch. They're going to be at the right spot and at the right depth. And they do a great job of blocking all the time. They're just what we need. 

Q: Have you been a defensive coordinator versus Michael Vick before?ML:

This is the first time I've ever been on the field with Michael Vick. I'll be excited.

Q: Have you ever seen anybody like him?ML:

Nobody like him. It's a great challenge for us. It will be fun, and exciting.

Q: How's Dexter Jackson?ML:

A little sore, but it's expected. 

Q: Do you try to confine Vick to the pocket?ML:

You have to limit his explosiveness. He can throw some BBs, and he makes some very accurate throws. So I think it would be kind of taking away from what he is as a player to say we're going to force Michael Vick in the pocket. Michael Vick throws a lot of balls in the pocket and throws them very accurately. We just have to limit his explosiveness. We need to cover their guys down the field. 

Q: DeAngelo Hall claimed the title of NFL's fastest man at the Pro Bowl. It seems Chad Johnson wants to have at him:ML:

They've had this little spoof they've been getting you guys hooked into, so that will continue this week, I guess. Now it's a combination. Since they set this all up, they've tied you guys in it hook, line and sinker. You'll be right there. Just understand if you want to play along with it. They should have charged you guys admission for it.

Q: Chad has this game in red on his list:ML:

It's all part of their plan. They've had this planned since Hawaii.

Q: You've always said you get exasperated with rookie middle linebackers:ML:

Always. Always been.

Q: Is Ahmad Brooks kind of exasperating?ML:

I'm still exasperated.

Q: What does he have to do?ML:

He's got to keep working, keep doing things right.

Q: Is he usually in the right spot?ML:


Q: More on Ahmad Brooks:ML:

Ahmad works very hard at it. He's very conscientious. We've been very pleased with how he's embraced it, coming in and studying extra film all the time, asking very good questions, and taking great notes. He's a very serious pro and  this is why he's been given this opportunity.

Q: He seems to be taking it very seriously:ML:

It means a lot to him. Missing the opportunity to play early in the year, he knew he had to work. Nobody's on scholarship around here and you've got to earn your opportunity, and he's worked hard at it.
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