The Bengals held a press conference to annnounce the Pro Bowl selections of tackle Willie Anderson, wide receiver Chad Johnson and quarterback Carson Palmer.
AndersonQ: Could you guys talk about the honor of going back to another Pro Bowl?WA:
I think all three of us understand it's really a team award. For a quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive lineman, everything works hand in hand together. I appreciate the guys around me because I've always said individual success, especially for lineman who don't have stats, comes when we see these guys get their yards. It comes not only from myself, but Bobbie Williams, Eric Ghiaciuc, Andrew Whitworth and Eric Steinbach playing at a high level to get these guys the recognition they deserve.
Q: Carson, your thoughts on making it again, after your injury:CP:
It's a numbers deal. I don't think it's always the best player. I think Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in this league, and I don't think he's going. I feel fortunate to be in the situation I'm in. I think there are a lot of quarterbacks that would play in this offense, with these coaches and these guys around them, and would make it. It doesn't really matter who's playing quarterback here. But I'm honored and excited. I hope I actually get to go and be over there with these guys and share that. It's too bad that we're at where we are at right now, because there's a lot more guys on our team that are deserving and that would go if we ended up having more wins. The more wins you get, the more guys get recognized. And there's a lot more guys on this team that are deserving and should be over there playing.
JohnsonQ: Chad, Honolulu has become a second home for you:CJ:
Yeah, it's a great feeling. It says a lot about the work I've put in and the work around me. Like Willie said earlier, none of this would have happened without the team. Without Willie blocking None of this would have happened if Carson wasn't able to throw the ball. The respect goes to the entire offense itself. And that goes for the play-caller. Unless we're not all working as a unit, none of this would happen. The first Pro Bowl, everyone has a mind of wanting to go to Hawaii. It has gotten repetitive for myself. It's gotten repetitive for Willie. It's going to get repetitive for Carson. But right now we're playing for something else. It ends in 'Bowl,' but the first word is not 'Pro.' We're trying to get to the Super Bowl. We all have that same common goal. This is all good and dandy, but we're trying to get to Miami.
Q: Thoughts on Anthony Munoz being only Bengal offensive lineman to make four or more Pro Bowls:WA:
I started going once we started winning. Anthony went to the Super Bowl his second year in the league. That attention came to him early. In my career, we started winning late. I didn't start winning until my eighth season in the league and had a reputation. You can get overlooked being on a losing ballclub. It's real hard for linemen, in particular, because you don't have any stats. All those previous years, Corey (Dillon) was putting up numbers and people thought Corey was the only guy. It's like Carson said. This team over the last 3-4 seasons has been playing at a high level. There are lot more guys who should be here and are going to be here if we keep winning. The linemen go hand in hand with winning. If a young lineman aspires to go there, make sure your team wins.
Q: Does it ever get old?CJ:
No. When it gets old, that means you lost a step or you don't have the same hunger for the game. Once you get used to it, you should continue to play at that level. If you're not playing at that level, you're getting ready to get cut, or it's time to retire.
Q: Is it more satisfying going in a time when many starting offensive linemen are out?WA:
I'm most happy about the way we were able to pull together in midseason after the early-season slump. Obviously, the last ballgame wasn't one of one of our best games. But the previous four, five, six games we were jelling and not getting Carson knocked around and giving our running backs some room to run. It's our job to basically set Carson, Chad and Rudi and those guys loose. When these guys aren't getting loose and getting their yardage, it comes back on us as a line to pick our game up.
PalmerQ: Can you talk a little bit about what Willie Anderson has meant to the team this year given all the offensive line injuries?CP:
Willie, year-in and year-out since I've been here, has been our rock offensively. He's been our leader. He's a role model to the younger guys; not just the younger linemen, but to myself, Chad and a number of guys on our team. To me, we don't have a real vocal offense. There's not a bunch of veterans other than Willie and Richie Braham. But Willie being a veteran, having been there, been to Pro Bowls, been on bad teams, been on good teams, knows the difference between the two. He knows what it takes to get to be a team that wins. Coming from where he's come from, he's a guy that speaks his mind. He's a guy that leads by example and a vocal leader also. When you have a quiet group, it's good to have a vocal guy.
Q: Does that give you a lift seeing how Carson has come back from the injury?WA:
My ultimate thing and Carson's ultimate thing is, I want to block for him in a playoff game. I want to be a part of him leading us to our first playoff win in several years. In order to do that, we have to take care of one game at a time. He won't admit it, but I think our offense and our team goes better when he is that vocal leader. Guys the last two seasons have paid more attention to him. My job is to make sure he gets heard and to make sure everybody is hearing him.
It functions only if he's the leader of the offense and the team. When times have gone bad, the first thing he says is 'my fault'. Well, we all know it wasn't his fault. The great guys do that. The great guys take that pressure off other guys. That's why we all want to see him succeed so much because he is that kind of guy. I have played with guys who as soon as the game was over, 'It wasn't me. If I'd had better protection, I could have won'. That's the reason we all want to see him succeed because he is that kind of guy. That's a guy you go out, play hurt for and spend extra hours trying to find ways to protect him.
Q: Is consistency the key to excellence?CJ:
Yeah, it is. I couldn't be consistent without Willie doing what he does, Carson doing what he does. People don't understand the hours he and I put in on the field and off the field. They don't see the hours on Thursday watching film about the defense. It pays off at the end of the year.
Q: How is your foot?WA:
It's good. I'll play Sunday.
Q: What did the MRI show?WA:
It showed something. It showed an 11-year lineman who is 340 pounds with flat feet.