Initial comments:** ML: "I think after looking at the game, it was a good win for us. I'm a little disappointed in the penalties. That was something we need to clean up as we move forward, and make sure that we are doing things correctly. For the first time in a bit, we had two line of scrimmage penalties which we haven't had in a bit. We have to make sure we don't have those things occur. Offensively, we were very productive, efficient, and that led to being very good on third down. Third down on offense and defense were the biggest things in the football game. Ball security on offense was good, and obviously the protection around the quarterback.
"Defensively, we have to play better. We played good on third down, but our execution all the way around was not up to the standard that we feel good about. Obviously we had a couple plays where we didn't tackle very well, and we have to continue to work, and tackle better and be consistent. We haven't had that show up before. We've got to do a better job of that and getting the receiver, ballcarrier, whatever on the ground. Special teams, we made some plays, but we have to be more consistent. We have to make better decisions in the return game, and make sure we get everything executed all the way around. Obviously, it's great to win, but as we know we've got a lot to work on and get better with as we move forward. Good week and preparation and go back and get better on some things fundamentally."
You guys are 5-1 when the turnover margin is equal, obviously when that's not a factor you are doing a bunch of other things real well:
ML: "I think so, but if you look at the 256 games that will be played in the NFL this year, that turnover margin will always play the biggest part in the wins and losses."
Was that the best you've ever seen in terms of protection for Andy Dalton?
ML: "I don't know if that's the best. That's hard for me to judge that. Robert Mathis is a good player, and we were able to keep him away from the quarterback for the most part."
Three games without allowing a sack is a pretty good run:
ML: "I'm not even aware of that. Those are things you keep track of."
Giovani Bernard had some huge holes to work with:
ML: "I thought there was some good execution in both design and scheme. We have to keep taking advantage of that. Gio is explosive, he did some good things. We were able to get him in space, get him matched up one-on-one a couple times. He's going to do well when we get him in that situation."
Has he grown more decisive in hitting holes as the year has gone along?
ML: "I don't think so. He's the same guy."
On one sweep led by Anthony Collins and Andrew Whitworth, if he would have pressed a little more he could have gone 70 yards:
ML: "Well, he bounced in and bounced out a couple of times. I think he got put up on safeties pretty early a couple of times. You've just got to skinny that guy up and make them make a harder play. But we all go back on video and always see a guy and wish we did this or that. Brandon (Tate) had a chance against the kicker to do something. We've always got to get the ball in the correct arm, where we can use our stiff-arm as a weapon, which Gio did very effectively on the one play. But so again, those are things we've just got to keep working at hard, always pointing them out on video and practice."
There were times against San Diego and Indianapolis that your line simply overpowered people when they needed to:
ML: "That's important. We've kind of hit a stride that way. They're confident about it, and they're feeling good about it, and we've got to let them do their thing. We were able to both run and throw the ball effectively yesterday. The play-passes off of the runs are a hard thing to defend if you're being efficient and effective with it."
You opened the game with play action runs. Is it easier to call plays with a foundation like that?
ML: "If we can package plays that way, we make it harder to defend. We got good games outside from the receivers, and all the guys made big contributions and we blocked better. But yeah, it's obviously going to be harder to defend if we're doing those things correctly."
Jermaine Gresham seemed like he was mauling people out there:
ML: "He did a good job again. He played well, had a big catch, a big third-down catch where he gets the guy off him. The guy was grabbing him and holding him, and he's able to press away and make a big catch. He got us in position a couple times by making plays. He blocked well at the line of scrimmage. He had to protect a couple of times against their outside rushers, and did a good job of that as well."
Do you have an update on Terence Newman?
ML: "He's a little sore today. We'll see how he goes through the week. He's a little sore."
Is George Iloka in the (concussion) protocol?
ML: "He's in the protocol. That's all I'm allowed to say. He's not happy with the protocol, I can tell you that. But he's in the protocol."
Dre Kirkpatrick is in line to get more time with Terence (Newman) hurt. It seems he's done better in last three or four games:
ML: "If we do miss any time anywhere, we've got obviously a guy chomping at the bit to play more in Dre Kirkpatrick. Terence and Leon (Hall) and Adam (Jones) were able to hold Dre at bay. It's been hard, but they had a big stiff-arm on him, and trying to keep their jobs from him. And frankly, they've been great mentors for him. So yeah, he'll get obviously an opportunity to expand his role."
When a team sees other guys get opportunities and make the most of them, it gives them even more encouragement:
ML: "It should give them more incentive, more desire to keep preparing the right way. Margus Hunt, Jayson DiManche, Shawn Williams, these young guys that are getting opportunity and chance. Hopefully we keep growing with that. We've got some guys on offense that aren't quite getting the chance, but they're doing good things in practice. So, I'm anxious when they get that. Dane Sanzenbacher, I can't get him suited up and involved enough. I feel so good about him. Rex Burkhead has only got to dress one time this year. So we've got some other guys that are waiting in the wings that when they get opportunity, they'll be ready."