Bengals.com Senior Writer Geoff Hobson gets reaction from head coach Zac Taylor on last week’s opener in Seattle and this week’s Paul Brown Stadium opener (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Fox 19) against the 49ers.
Last week we were looking to find out what is the identity of Zac Taylor’s offense. It didn’t look like the Rams. It looked like the ‘91 Oilers. You guys were flinging it around with 51 passes. Going in, I would imagine you wanted to be more balanced.
You want to win the football game. Bottom line. Sometimes that’s going to entail throwing the ball a lot, sometimes it entails running the ball a lot. Sometimes you’re going to have that balance you strive for, the bottom line is you always create a game plan you think is going to work and be ready to adjust as the game goes on. That was an instance where we had to adjust as the game went based on what they threw at us and it called for throwing the ball quite a bit.
How do you get the balance back?
You’re not going to get the balance back if they choose to play the defense like they did. We’ll have a plan of attack for whatever front and coverage they’re going to play us. We would do it all over again if we had to. We would do it the same way. If you throw for 430 yards, you should win those games. Unfortunately, we left too many points on the field.
Obviously you guys were prepared. Best passing day ever in a Bengals opener. Andy Dalton led the league in getting the ball out of his hand quickly among NFL quarterbacks. Is that a stat you want? (Profootballfocus.com had Dalton with an NFL-high 32 passes with less than 2.5 seconds in the pocket.)
He makes great decisions. He can get the ball out before the pressure gets to him. He sees the field really well. He made some unbelievable throws in that game that are probably underappreciated by a lot of people. That’s what we’ve seen from since early in training camp, so that’s no surprise.
Is that what you want that number to be? For him to be the quickest getting it out?
I don’t know how they measure that. Some of those RPOs (run-pass options), those are really runs for us. You can say we had how many running yards. We’re throwing RPOs instead of handing the ball off. I’m sure that factors into it.
And he was No. 1 with the most play-action passes. (PFF had him for 17 and completing 11 for 64.7 percent and 8.1 yards per those 17 passes.) You’ve got to like that stat even though you didn’t run the ball, he still had the most play-action passes.
We think it’s good, even if we’re not necessarily having a great day running the ball, play-action is usually good protections for us and it allows us to attack the defense the way we want.
He was middle of the pack when it came to percentage and yards per. Those are numbers I’d imagine you’d like to see up a little bit.
To have 65 percent completion on play-action is pretty good. That would be about our target. The yards per is, really, if they’re going to play quarters coverage and not let you throw it down the field, you’re going to have to take what they give you underneath. That’s a little bit of a byproduct of what coverages we see. I thought he made great decisions and took care of the football.
That’s something stats don’t show you.
That’s why you don’t look at stats.
You were very disciplined up front. No false starts in that crowd noise. The only thing was that delay of game penalty on the first scoring drive and led to a field goal instead of a touchdown.
The delay of game. I take responsibility for that one, but otherwise I thought our linemen did a really good job holding water.
Was it a problem getting the play to Andy?
Yeah, just a little miscommunication. I should have called a timeout.
That probably makes the weekly journal that you keep of things you learn though experience.
There are a lot of things that make the journal weekly. There are a lot of things to learn from. You just have to make sure you’re being critical of yourself. Not just the players, but yourself and the other coaches and make sure you’re willing to make all the corrections that are necessary.
What did you like the best about the defense on Sunday?
The energy. The energy they all played with. Celebrating with their teammates. You can just feel the energy on tape. I thought that was really impressive to see.
The way defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is doing it, it looks like we’re not really going to know what he’s rolling out there.
That’s the way you want it.
The big thing for them was 33 percent on third down after giving up nearly 49 percent last year.
You just have to be consistent with that throughout the season. Can’t just be a one-game wonder. Have to make sure we’re consistent.
What do you think are the main differences between the 49ers this year and last year, when the Rams beat them twice?
More experience in their system. They have added a couple of pieces that are good players, but the core part of that team has experience in all the systems in all three phases, so they’re just a year improved.
George Kittle set the NFL yardage record for tight ends for them last season. Is he a product of the system?
No. He’s possibly the best tight end in the NFL. He’s a real threat on every single play to score and you have to account for him.
How does a guy like that go in the fifth round?
He keeps making improvement.
What kind of crowd are you looking in your home opener?
It’s got to be deafening. This a team that really likes to communicate at the line of scrimmage. The louder we can be and make it hard on them to communicate, that’s going to give us an advantage.
Any home crowds stand out for you down through the years?
I played at Nebraska and coached at Texas A&M and I think those are two of the best in college football. In the pros, there are a lot of good stadiums out there. Typically the domes are the loudest. When I was here with the Dolphins in 2012 (a 17-13 Miami win before 61,162) I remember thinking it was a difficult environment.