Starting off, we obviously didn't do some things right. We got beat and ran out of time. I have to commend all the (Bengals) fans that traveled down to Tampa Bay, and we should have pulled out the win for them, but we didn't. We need to move on and put it behind us. And we will.
As far as the injury report, the guys that will be listed as out right now will be: Rich Braham, Tab Perry, Anthony Wright, Levi Jones and Kelley Washington. Anthony will be out at least this week and maybe next week. We'll see how things go with the appendectomy. He's here today and he's doing all right. It will just be a matter of when he'll be able to take contact. Levi has a left knee injury. He's already been evaluated here, and we're just making a decision on what to do about that. It looks like he'll need to have it scoped. Kelley Washington has a hamstring injury. The extent of it, we will know as time goes on. These guys will be questionable: Dexter Jackson, Rashad Jeanty and Brian Simmons. Basically the rest of the guys have little things, but nothing that will keep them from being available for the game. That's where we are.
Q: Is Brian Simmons injury just a minor injury?ML:
Yeah, it was something on Sunday morning that made him feel not very good, so we went without him in the game. Hopefully as time goes on this week, it will subside and he'll be back to full strength. He injured himself last Wednesday and continued to work through the week. He felt like he was getting better, but when he woke up on Sunday, he didn't feel good enough to play. He was very honest about it and he didn't think he could do it. We were able to make the move before the game instead of getting in the game and being a guy short, which you don't want to have happen. It worked out well. John Busing stepped up and took Ahmad Brooks' role on special teams and did a good job.
Q: How did Ahmad Brooks do, starting for Brian?ML:
We didn't play well enough to win anywhere. We lost. We don't give out any 'attaboys' when we don't win the football game.
Q: You said a while back that Brian Simmons is going to be your middle linebacker for the rest of the year. Does Ahmad's performance change your thinking about having the best linebackers out there giving him more playing time, or moving Brian around?ML:
No, it doesn't change us. Ahmad was ready to go; he had a good week of practice. He did OK.
Q: It sounded like after the game you were challenging the offensive line to be more physical:ML:
It counts for everybody. We had 10 rushes for 50 yards in the second half and we didn't do good enough in the first half. We've got to do a better job running the ball. We've got to do a better of what we do and how we do it. No question about it.
Q: What are your long-term or short-term plans with Levi Jones out?ML:
We'll start how we finished Tampa Bay, with Eric Ghiaciuc at center and Andrew Whitworth replacing Levi at left tackle.
Q: With the number of injuries you've had on defense, were you pleased holding them to 14 points?ML:
No, I am not pleased. We didn't play well enough on third down, on offense or defense. We played well in the first half on third down, there's the difference. In the second half, we didn't play well enough. We allowed them to convert 5 of 9 third downs in the second half, and there is the difference in the football game. On the other side of the football, we were not good enough on third down. And that's part of the reason of why we lost. We had enough little plays that if we make those plays, they change the outcome of the football game. Whether it be special teams plays, changing field position that way, and so forth. We've got to continue to work at it and do a better job.
Q: On fourth down, you have given 8 of 10 and 4 touchdowns:ML:
I know. Go back and look at the last time I talked about. Those things pierce you.
Q: Did Justin Smith do anything wrong on the controversial roughing the passer penalty?ML:
It was called a penalty.
Q: As a member of the NFL Competition Committee, we talked about the emphasis on protecting the quarterback:ML:
Justin's shoulder hits the ground first.
Q: His body was underneath him. He cushioned the fall:ML:
He sure did. It's unfortunate. He strips the ball as he makes the play. It's an unfortunate call, but we still had an opportunity to stop them. We've got to stop them.
Q: Was Robert Geathers' hit penalized because he locked his arms while hitting the quarterback?ML:
Robert seems to be touching the quarterback as he is releasing the football. I don't know what you do differently, but we'll ask. We just have to play football. We're talking about stuff that happened yesterday, and that's over. We'll get the correction and we'll see what we can do to do it better. Hopefully we won't get in those situations again. We'll do it better. Same thing offensively, if we don't play better, we get what we deserve. We have to execute better and run the football better. We've got to do a better job on third down. We have to throw and catch better.
Q: If you're a defensive lineman, do you change anything you're doing?ML:
I don't think you change anything you do, but we'll see. We didn't recklessly throw anyone to the ground or do anything like that. That's what I think the rule was intended for, that we don't be reckless that way. Same goes for the rule with the unprotected receiver. Right now, I think we have people that are making things a little too complicated for the defense.
Q: With Kelley Washington being out with an injury, what type of options do you have to supplement the remaining wide receivers?ML:
We have numerous options.
Q: Could Chris Perry be one of those?ML:
Chris Perry could be one of those. He has a chance to be cleared for action on Wednesday.
Q: Will that be the first time you will be ready to make a decision on him?ML:
That's the first time we have to. We don't practice again until then.
Q: Was there a lack of communication or consistency on offense or defense?ML:
I thought we communicated pretty well until the one-minute drives on both sides of the football. We've got to do better. You can't have errors in one-minute situations. We had errors on both sides of the football. We had a communication error up front on the offensive side of the football and we had one on defense. In both cases, they were significant plays that should not have occurred because we had done it right two or three times previously in the same situation. Those are the kinds of things you have to eliminate. They happen in football all the time. I'm sure they're saying the same things in Tampa Bay, 'We're one point away from correcting the same things, and feeling a lot better about it'. But we are still correcting the same things and we've got to do better. There are no moral victories. We've got to go and win.
Q: You have a three-week window for activating Chris Perry. Is there a chance he could get activated, and what would that mean for this offense?ML:
There's a chance he could be activated and we'll see. Other than that, I don't need to speculate.
Q: Is it the same window for Adam Kieft and Jonathan Fanene?ML:
Yes, but neither one of them will be ready.
Q: Will you start throwing the ball deep more often?ML:
If the opportunity presents itself. We are pretty good at it. We like to do it when we can and continually get better at it. We don't want to miss any shots and we want to make them when we do.
Q: It seems to be a misnomer that you can do it at will:ML:
It's a misnomer, but there are other opportunities when the ball is designed to get down the field, and that doesn't occur. All that people see is the result, as people do on television. We are looking for those opportunities all the time, no question about it. It's important to us in our offense, and I've told that to you many times. There are other times when the ball is to be pushed deep and it's not able to go there. So we take the underneath and that's just the way it is. We don't want Carson to force the ball where it doesn't belong. And thus far, he has done a good job of that. He lives to play another day and sometimes it's hard. That's the biggest lesson he learned from his first year playing. You don't have to take those shots all the time. Let's live to come back next time and get them.
Q: Has the reshuffled offensive line changed any of the play calling?ML:
We feel confident despite those problems. We're at a different group than we were last week. We've got to settle in and get together and play. You don't just call it and go deep. There's a design to each play and that's what happens. When we can get the ball vertically, we'll go there.
Q: Given that opportunity in a future game and you had timeouts to burn, would you consider using them on their final drive?ML:
No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't give their quarterback and their coaches a chance to talk to their kid about this or about that. We want to keep the pressure on them like we did and just stop them. I wouldn't change anything. We've got to get an incompletion at some point in there, which would preserve some time. They had a lot of things go in their favor. We still had plenty of time to move the football as we demonstrated. With 35 seconds, our offense can move the football the length of the field as we demonstrated.
If we protect the quarterback, it's a different football game and we have a chance to make the field goal there. We didn't yesterday. I prefer with the clock running in the NFL, if you have to go eighty yards, it doesn't matter how much time you have left. With the clock not stopping, you are going to have a difficult time getting the ball out of bounds against that team. You're going to have to throw the ball in the middle of the field. They're not going to let you get out of bounds. I would prefer to have our timeouts in those situations.
Q: Is there an explanation for why Rudi Johnson ran seven times for three yards in the first half?ML:
He ran 10 times for 50 yards in the second half, let's not forget about the second part. We didn't block them well enough in the first half or run it well enough. We did a little better in the second.