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Rookie diary: business trip replaces Homecoming


(Another installment of Bengals running back Jeremy Hill's rookie diary)

I grew up in Baton Rouge and went to LSU, so this is the first year I haven't been in Louisiana. And I went to the Alabama-LSU game last week, so to me this game in New Orleans is just another road game to me. It's not that big of a big deal.  It got a little crazy earlier in the week with all the tickets, but that's calmed down and I'm just trying to handle business. Hopefully we get that win and we get that good felling. That's the plan.

New Orleans is 45 minutes from where I grew up, but I never played in the Superdome. I've been to the city a bunch of times and I've been to the dome to watch games, so it will be good to play in there, but it would probably mean more to me if we played at LSU for some reason.

You never know what Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is going to do. He likes to do a lot of things. It looks like they've dialed it back a little and they're not doing the stuff they did early on. But we've got to be prepared for anything.

 Marvin Lewis did a great job early this week getting us ready for that. Telling us to know the knows. Know the stuff we're supposed to know. Know the game plan. But also prepare for the stuff you're not and be ready to adjust and adapt.

I think that's been tough for us on the road this year. Just not being able to adjust after having some adversity early. If they play coverage like some teams do against us, we have to be able to run the football and keep out of third-and-longs. I think that's been our Achilles' heel this whole season.  Getting stopped and having to punt the ball and keeping our defense out there. We've been solid on third-and-shorts and I think we'll be fine if we get them.

I could have done a lot more against Cleveland.  I think everybody felt that way after the game. We left a lot of plays out there. Its little stuff we can get fixed. I think we've done a good job this week getting it fixed.  It's a big game for us. I think everyone's heads and minds are where they're supposed to be right now. It's a hostile environment against a team with their backs against the wall just like us.  It should be a good game.

I lost a fumble last week and I know that's part of the game, but I pride myself on not doing it. I only had one in college. I don't think about it. I think that's what has helped me so far. I guess that kind of hurt me in that situation. Not thinking about it. But I'm going to continue to do what I've been doing. It's been successful for me so far. I'm going to continue to do it and not think about it and not worry about it. Just stick to my techniques and stick to the things I've been doing that got me here. We haven't had any fumbles in the running backs room besides that one, so we need to continue to keep doing that.

I think my eyes got real big just trying to make a big play. In games like that you don't know when you're going to get to the second level again, so any time you get there you try and make something happen. I think I tried to make too much happen. It happens. Just trying to make a big play.

I know I got criticized for what I said after the game. That the Browns were worse than I thought.  Everyone keeps bringing it up. I guess everyone wants to get more quotes out of me, but obviously I'm not going to give them to them. I didn't mean it against them. I was talking more about the way we played. That's just how I was feeling that day at that moment.

I don't take back anything I said. Guys are real PC with most of their answers most of the time. Any time the media can get something a little outside of that box; they'll take it and magnify it no matter how petty it is or how small it is. I understand that. Obviously it's a rookie mistake, but it's out there now. It is what it is.

 I don't think of myself as being a PC guy, but I think for the most part guys are. I say what I feel most of the time, but obviously at some point you've got to hold some things back. You want to respect your opponents.  Just respect everything around you, respect your teammates and everything else. Next time, I'll probably take back some of that, but like I said, it is what it is.

We practiced in the cold weather this week for the first time and it wasn't too bad. I thought it would be a lot worse. But once you get out there for a little bit, you get a feel for it. It's not bad at all. I think it's going to be fun playing in some of those snowy games.

I played a game like that in college in Arkansas. About 30 degrees and no snow. I had a good game. Scored a touchdown.  When you know you don't have to play a game in the cold that week, you really don't focus on it that much, as opposed to if you're playing a home game, especially in this weather. If you know you're playing inside, you really don't think about the weather. You just go out there and focus on what you have to do.

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