Richie Braham and Bobbie Williams are out. Kelley Washington is doubtful. Dexter Jackson, Levi Jones, Deltha O'Neal, Brian Simmons and Keiwan Ratliff will be questionable.
Q: Thoughts on Cleveland Browns:ML:
I think they've settled in a little bit. They had a couple new linemen in there early on when we played them. I think they've settled into what they're doing offensively. Defensively, I think the same thing, too. They've got some new pieces they've added through the offseason, whether it was free agency or the draft, and they've been able to settle in a little more than where they were the first time around. They've had to kind of mix and match on the back end a little bit, so they've done a good job of the guys that have come in and played, and filled the voids well.
Q: Thoughts on Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards:ML:
Both guys are big, athletic players that run fast. They are really competitive for the football and want the ball to come in their direction. They're good, young players.
Q: Has Chad Johnson become more introspective?ML:
You probably have more in-depth conversations with Chad. I don't know. I can't answer that one.
Q: You talked about the new Chad vs. the old Chad:ML:
What I said was, 'It's good to have the old Chad here and 85 gone elsewhere. The Superhero'.
Q: How long was 85 here?ML:
He was here too long this season. I think he got started way in the offseason. It's good that the other guy's back, the guy that makes his teammates better. That's what a pro's all about. Make the rest of your team better.
Q: How did Stacy Andrews do?ML:
He handled himself fine.
Q: Talk about Rudi Johnson's success against the Browns:ML:
I don't know how much Rudi's gone out there and blocked anybody. I think Rudi's carried the ball effectively. To say that when a back runs for a lot of yardage, that is really shorting other people. Be careful never to do that.
Q: You guys have had a lot of success running the ball vs. the Browns:ML:
Well, the point is, we want to win the football game. I don't care how we do it. That's the most important thing, winning win the football game. If we can do it the way we like to do it, then great. But if we have to do it by other means, then we're going to have to do that. We need to be balanced on offense, and hopefully we have an opportunity to be that way.
Q: How do you feel about your last-place ranking on defense?ML:
It just depends. It depends on what your record is, whether the rankings matter. If you win a world championship, that's the most important thing. I've seen it where people talk about who was the No. 1 defense when it really doesn't matter. Then people are going to say yards and points. Which is it? It doesn't really matter. We're not where we want to be. And that's plain and simple.
Q: In the first Browns and Bengals game this season, you suffered so many injuries that it seemed to changed the scope of the season:ML:
We lost some guys in the game who haven't been able to play since. That's part of football. We had to adjust and move on. Every team's got to do that. If you want to keep playing, you have to. You have to step up. The new guy that goes in has to step up. Your other guys find a different way. That's important. We're a different football team than when we played them the first time. So are they, and we're going to go have at it on Sunday.
Q: Has there been a silver lining with all the lineup changes?ML:
It's not what I expected, but we are where we are. You earn what you get. And it does me no good to waste any time or energy looking backward. All we can do is find another way, find a better way, and keep moving forward. The advantage is a lot of guys have gotten an opportunity to play and sometimes that can be good. But when you look at why teams are consistent, they play with the same guys all the time. That makes a big difference.
Q What's on the menu at the Lewis home for Thanksgiving?ML:
Actually, we've been fortunate since we've come to Cincinnati to spend Thanksgiving with other families. So we'll fix a turkey this evening, but we don't get a chance to dine on it tomorrow. We've been fortunate to be invited to other homes.
Q: Thoughts on having lost Tab Perry:ML:
He's a good young player. Again, that's water under the bridge. We're filling air space to be talking about it. There's nothing we can do about it. It's unfortunate. But he's a good young player for us. He helped us in a lot of roles. The good thing is he's doing well and will have a complete recovery, from what we can tell right now. He'll be revved up and ready to go for season number three.
Q: If you run the table, you'll be 5-1 in the division like you were last year:ML:
It's big. It's a big game for us no matter if it's division or non-division. It's an important football game. We've put ourselves in a situation where every game is crucial to whether or not we get a chance to go to the playoffs and control our own destiny. It's a division game. It's on the road. It's the Battle of Ohio. So it's an exciting weekend.
Q: Does Chris Perry have to earn his role?ML:
Yeah. It's important in every way. When you're not with us when we get started (due to injury), other guys assume certain responsibilities. It's hard to make a wholesale change unless the guy proves where he is. Chris has worked hard. He's done a good job with what he's been given. Last week, he didn't get to touch the ball as much as he did the other weeks. This is a new week. He'll get a better opportunity. Every week we want to get the ball in his hands. There's no question about that. We feel he's a fine player. He's got a chance to be really a great player. We want him to keep working at it. We're going to keep trying to do things to get the ball in his hands. He does a fine job when he's in there blocking in protection. We've just got to keep going. Some other guys have had their role. He's just got to work with it.
Q: Has Ethan Kilmer expanded his role?ML:
You don't draft a guy to be a backup. At some point, you believe the guy can be an every-down player. We've got a ways to go. Every day is new to him. He just keeps working hard at it, learning, understanding, watching tape and kind of emulating other folks. And that's a good thing.
Q: Have the folks upstairs (management) reminded you this week that this is an important game?ML:
Every time we play the Browns, you can probably refer back to the same answer I always give to that question. It's an important game for a lot of reasons.
Q: Thoughts on Mike Nolan and Jack Del Rio wearing suits:ML:
I thought they looked great.
Q: Will you do it?ML:
I don't even worry about that. I'm just worried about getting to 6-5.