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Playoff Quote Board: Welcomed Weather; Chess Play; 'Athletic Freak Show'

Quarterback Joe Burrow in practice at Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals prepare for their AFC Wild Card game Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Quarterback Joe Burrow in practice at Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals prepare for their AFC Wild Card game Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Best of the Zoom news conferences before the Bengals practiced Tuesday:


During quarterback Joe Burrow's tenure, the Bengals have faced Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley twice. Once this season and another last season when he was with the Los Angeles Chargers in Burrow's NFL debut.

Back on Nov. 21, the Bengals beat the Raiders, 32-13, despite Burrow's career-low 148 yards. In the 16-13 loss to the Chargers that opened the 2020 season, Burrow went for 193 yards. That's a combined 341 yards compared to the 446 he put up against the Chiefs in his last outing.

Burrow: "They're good at limiting the big plays. They've got a really good front. They can get after the passer really well, so we've got our work cut out for us … Sometimes they come out and play completely different than they did in the first game. Sometimes they come out and do the exact same thing as they did in the first game. We'll be ready for anything."

Head coach Zac Taylor: "The players understand the scheme, they play fast, and they understand the rules. (Bradley) gets all the players to play to their highest potential."


Bradley is trying to slow down the Bengals trio of wide receivers. Tyler Boyd, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are one of the best groupings in the NFL and Burrow is their campaign manager:

"They're athletic freak shows. Tee is big, strong, fast. Ja'Marr never gets tackled. TB might not be an athletic freak show but he's a really, really good receiver that gets open when he needs to … Our trio of guys, I'll take every single one of them over anybody in the league."

Linebacker Logan Wilson: "I refer to them as the three-headed monster. You try to take one of them away then we still got two others."


The Bengals have no problem with Saturday's forecast for a high of 28 degrees. That would make it the coldest game at Paul Brown Stadium since a 24-20 loss to the Steelers in 24-degree weather on Dec. 18, 2016.

Left tackle Jonah Williams: "Ideal football weather for an O-lineman is definitely colder than probably for any other position group. This December-January weather's been great."

Taylor, who had a brief stint in the CFL as a quarterback: "When I was in Winnipeg, in November, as the fourth-string quarterback, I would practice with two hooded-sweatshirts underneath my helmet and I would throw with ski gloves.

Wilson, who grew up in Wyoming: "Cold weather makes everything hurt a little bit more … I think my senior year my state championship game was below zero at kickoff.

"We did win it and I wanted to wear no sleeves, but our coach said we didn't have a choice. We had to wear sleeves because you'd basically get hypothermia if you didn't. I remember after the game the inside of my facemask was completely frosted."


The Bengals roster has 12 players with playoff experience from different teams. They think the vets have been crucial to the young team's success. 

Jonah Williams: "Some of the vets who've either been here a while or have come in from other teams have had the opportunity to play in the playoffs, they've stressed the importance of this and the level of focus that we need to have."

But they also have key players that won a national title in college.

Williams: "I was just thinking about that. Between Joe (Burrow) and Ja'Marr, our last couple first-round picks all have national championship rings. And there's a bunch of other guys on the team, too, who have been there. That feeling of being in a big game isn't as daunting as it might be for people who haven't experienced that. But just as a whole, our focus and how seriously we're taking this game, that's been our main preparation so far his week."

Burrow: "I've played in a lot of big games not just throughout my college career but this year as well. The last five or six games for us have been playoff games so, we've got a lot of experience in those situations."

Williams, an Alabama grad, on Monday's Alabama-Georgia national championship game: "I'm disappointed, I wanted us to win but, Georgia hasn't won in, 42 years. They can celebrate this one."


The Bengals locker room features a chessboard that the players indulge in from time to time. According to QB1, the interest began in training camp.

Burrow: "(The chessboard) has been there since training camp. Me and Thaddeus (Moss) started playing, then a couple of guys have cycled in and out, playing some games, a good little locker room comradery thing."

Burrow, who has played since elementary school, enjoyed the Netflix show Queen's Gambit and has had battles with cornerback Chidobe Awuzie:

"I've put a little pressure on. We've only played twice and I had to get a little better from the first one and then started to put a little pressure on him, I think the next game we have might be a little different."