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Marvin Lewis Press Conference Transcript

Opening comments:"After going through the tape, in some areas, particularly offensively, we got better in the second half. We were a little bit better and more sustained running the football. We got some cracks, some seams. Cedric (Benson) did a good job running the ball hard. The tracks (on the field) were a little bit better in the second half of the football game. On third down on offense, we weren't as good in the second half. We fell off there, and it was third down and generally makeable yardage that we're not making, and we've got to work on that.

"Overall, for the whole season, our fourth-quarter scoring has been good. We've got to get better in the first quarter at putting some points on the board. Defensively, I think there are some things we need to fit a little better, but overall, minus a couple or three plays, not a bad day. We have to keep improving in areas – just getting one more step and making the tackles, getting guys on the ground, and making sure we're doing the fundamentals that we're asking them to do.

"I think in the kicking game, we continue to take steps forward. That's good. We continue to improve, and we just have to keep improving in all three areas of the football team."

On fundamentals:"We have to keep improving, keep taking steps forward. I think there's some consistency with it, but some inconsistencies we've got to get out. We've just got to keep taking over the things from the meeting room to the practice field into the game and see those things show up on Sundays."

On struggles in the passing game:"We didn't do good enough."

On common themes of the offense struggling in the first half:"I don't know that we necessarily struggled yesterday in the beginning of the game. We didn't put the points up that we'd like to put up, but I don't think we struggled. I thought we moved the football, both in this game and the Baltimore game. We moved the ball, but we've got to convert third downs more consistently. I think that was true in New England. This week we were five-of-10 or so (on third down) at the half, which is pretty doggone good. Now, there are some ones that we need to convert, and some ones that were easily convertible, so we've got to do better."

On if the weather affected Carson Palmer:
"I don't know. I don't blame anything on the weather. Both teams play in the same weather, and we've got to play with what we're dealt. Our guys knew it was probably going to be a wet day. We began talking about it last Monday, and we talked about it Wednesday all the way through (Sunday), so I thought we handled things well. It didn't shock them. They were ready for it, and we needed to go out and play better on offense, defense, and special teams. But we're right where we are, and that's the good thing. We just keep moving forward."

On concerns about Palmer's performance:
"I don't think so. I don't have any concerns." 

On whether Palmer is playing at the level the coaching staff would like to see:
"I think our football team is not quite always playing at the same level we need to play at, but we are only three games into the year. We will keep playing and getting better in every area. The people around him will continue to play better, which will make his job way easier. I think he does a good job of directing us. He's been a good leader. That is what he's got to do. When he has opportunities to throw the football and deliver the ball, he does an excellent job. Yesterday he had some guys not quite do the things he needs them to do right. It all reflects back on the quarterback. But we have to just keep working at it." 

On not being able to capitalize off turnovers:"Yeah, we got to score some points. No question about that."

On Morgan Trent's performance at Carolina (two passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a punt downed at the Carolina 4-yard line):"Just like everybody else out there yesterday, we would like to see him do better. (He) just has to keep working at it. When he gets his opportunities to do better, he has to continue to have great weeks in practice. So when it's his turn and he gets an opportunity, he has to make plays. They get off their own goal line there at the end -- we don't want to see those things occur. You just got to keep playing and play better." 

Any idea what the weather is going to be in Cleveland?
"I do have an idea what it's going to be. It's going to be Bengals weather (laughs)." 

You do seem comfortable in the environment of a grinding type of game:
"Not too many teams have to make excuses for winning like that, but I guess we do. So we will just move forward. I will say little, our players will say less, and that is the way it'll be. So if you are comfortable coming in here and going through this like this, let's just keep it up because it's not going to change." 

Paul Brown had a saying, when you lose say little, when you win say less:
"We'll win and say less, and we will continue that habit, and that's the way it will be. But we are not going to make excuses for anything nor have reasons right or wrong. That is not the way you go about it. We will keep working and getting better as a football team just like we have. There are highs and lows. Every time we come in front of you, there are highs and lows. Go back and read your last articles or last year's articles and you'll reflect back on it. Three weeks from now it will be totally different. That is part of it. My job is to keep us moving forward in every direction in all three phases the right direction. I am glad you have some things you want to talk about and concerned about (smiles), but we will be all right when we need to be. We will be right where we need to be. We will stay one step ahead of them."

About the series before halftime:"Well, I was greedy and I shouldn't be greedy. So, a couple different things I'd do differently in those situations. I'd direct the quarterback a little differently. But it happened, and it's a good opportunity as I said yesterday, for us to learn from because there are three or four different scenarios we could have played differently. But I wanted to have an opportunity to break the game open and get the touchdown, and we didn't. We didn't get anything. But we didn't have it bite us in the tail yesterday. We lived through it. And it's a good learning experience for us. Situationally though, there were three or four different scenarios that I pointed out to the team that we could have played differently when that occurred."

On the last hurry-up before time expired:
"We had a guy injured from what I was told, right? The last play. I understand we had a guy injured who couldn't get up. And again, there's nothing you could do. Yeah, the play took five seconds, we should have had 10 seconds in order to get set and clock the ball but if we have a guy down, I don't know what we're going to do in that case. We got stuck. But again as I said, there's a lot of different ways to play that. We chose to play it that particular way that way. It didn't work out to get the touchdown or field goal at least. I think in that situation again, I would probably still work to try to get the touchdown and keep the ball in our quarterback's hands and get him an opportunity."

Is that why you didn't clock it the first time with 18 seconds left (as opposed to accepting the 10-second runoff)?
"Yeah. But we get the penalty and then the scenario: Do you just let them take the 10 seconds off, take the runoff, have eight seconds left? You've still got a whack at it and a timeout in your pocket. Or preserve the 18 seconds and have the whack at it with no timeouts, a couple whacks at it? There are different ways to play it, and in the end had we not gotten injured, we would have got the ball clocked and we'd have got the field goal off and we probably wouldn't be sitting here talking about that. We'd be talking about just another red zone opportunity and three rather than seven. But it's a good thing, and I think a lot of those things come up in football games. We had a number of them, we made some plays like that in the kicking game. But this particular one, we didn't make. Good ball down the seam, good execution of the route, good catch by Jermaine and we got the ball down there right on sync. But it's good to learn from."

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