MARVIN LEWIS (with Cincinnati media)
ML: "As we begin preparations on the Chiefs, we have to really look at the things they're doing very well. They're really productive running the football – almost 150 yards per game. Throwing the ball, it's around 215 to 220 (201.0). Their third-down percentage is very good on offense. Obviously the thing that's hurt them thus far this season is that they've turned the football over. That makes a big difference. Defensively, they have a lot of explosive players. They're doing a good job on third down. In total defense, they're 11th in the league. They're limiting people on first down, and they're not giving up a lot of first downs. There are a lot of positives they have. They have dangerous returners. This is a team that's obviously won one football game, but they're playing a lot better football than that. We have to understand that and really just take care of us. That's the message – we've really just got to take care of us."
Is Kansas City's group of running backs one of the deepest in the NFL?
ML: "They're a good group. There are three guys that have been productive this year, with (Jamaal) Charles, (Peyton) Hillis and (Shaun) Draughn. So those are the three backs that play."
Is it good to see Andy Dalton get an individual award – AFC Offensive Player of the Week?
ML: "The thing that may almost be true is that in each of the victories this year, we've had a guy earn one of the honors."
Mohamed Sanu had a very good game last weekend. Could he be the answer at the "X" receiver?
ML: "I'll continue to play the guys as I have. He's done a good job. Each guy that seems to get an opportunity, they try to make the most of it. I'll continue to play them as they have. I don't know if that's a good answer to your question, but that's where I am."
How much of an improvement have you seen in Rey Maualuga since he's dropped a little weight?
ML: "Rey has played better every week. That's what you want from your players. He has really been able to settle in. He didn't play in the preseason, so really when we started the year, those were his first snaps. He played, what, four plays in the first preseason game? It's been good for him. The season didn't start the way that he would probably have wanted it to, but you know what, when you miss as much time as he did, sometimes that happens."
Was this past weekend's game against the Giants Maualuga's best all-around game of the season?
ML: "I don't know. That's hard for me to say. But as I said, I think he's played better each and every week."
How would you describe Jamaal Charles's running style?
ML: "He's a guy that has ability to make people miss. He's a slashing, cutter-runner. The ball is going to start outside, basically to the left side of our defense – their offensive right side – quite a bit, then he has the ability to get it all the way back and let it wind back, based on him reading the coverage. You have to tackle him; he can make a guy miss in the hole. He's more of a sleek runner than a burly guy. But he'll lower his shoulder and run through tackles, so we've really got to do a good job of tackling. Peyton Hillis is going to be a more powerful guy, but Jamaal is more of a slashing, cutting type of player."
What types of challenges do both of their QBs present?
ML: "Both quarterbacks obviously are fighting for their lives. They're working hard not to turn the football over. I thought you could see that in Matt Cassel's play on Monday. They're working not to turn the ball over, so you've got to be ready for them to pull the ball down a little more frequently and run. So we have to do a good job of discipline in the lanes and not ever losing vision on the quarterback when we do get a pass situation, because these guys will run for first downs and keep the drives alive – both of them have, and it's part of what they'll do. That becomes more of an issue with a guy that doesn't want to make the mistake of throwing the ball under duress. 'If I run it, then maybe nothing bad will happen that way.' "
The Chiefs are 1-8. How do you keep from overlooking them?
ML: "You look at all the good things they're doing, but unfortunately they haven't won the games because they've turned the ball over. So our key is to force some turnovers and not turn the ball over ourselves."
They've won only one game, but they do have a lot of talent on their roster. You've had similar situations here. How do you translate that into wins and make it a winning organization? What are the primary components to doing that?
ML: "Guys have to mature into their jobs. Basically for anything to be successful, you have to get your job done. That's the key – 11 guys believing in each other and getting their job done. If I get my job done and you get yours done, then we have an opportunity to be successful. If I fail, or if I worry about what you're doing and I don't do good enough at what I'm doing, then we're not going to be very good. I think that's key to anything. We've sat in here and talked about it each and every week. In order to win games in the NFL, you've got to make plays. At the point of attack and at critical moments of games, you've got to make plays. That's what we're looking for from our guys all the time. The coaches get them matched up in situations that we feel like we need to win, and then you have to go win. You can't have a miscue – a dropped ball, penalty or whatever it may be – that sets you back and gets you off sequence.
"As you know, and even more importantly defensively, everybody has to see it the same way, and it has to unfold for 11 guys together. If you give up an explosive play, it makes it difficult to overcome. Those are the things that are important. On special teams and defense particularly, all 11 guys, like when you're covering kicks, have to get to the right leverage and we've got to make a tackle when we get to the point of attack."
Romeo Crennel has been around the NFL for a while. How much interaction have you had with him over the years?
ML: "You look at him and you've got to have a sense of, 'This is how you do it.' He's been a longtime assistant coach – he probably has more years of experience than almost anybody left in the National Football League that's left coaching, I would imagine. He's been successful at every turn. That's the thing – he was a great position coach and coordinator, and he's had success as a head coach. His teams play hard. And he's a very, very, very, very good person. He's a good man if you want to have a friend, and you want to have a friend like Romeo Crennel. He's good for the kids; they play hard for that. You can see that. He's got a great passion for the game. When he was up in Cleveland, obviously our interaction was more often. But I've had a lot of time to spend talking with him about different things."
What is the forecast on Marvin Jones this week? May he start to work his way back to practice?
ML: "The sun is coming up (laughs). Today, we'll have some guys a little limited, but Reggie (Nelson) and Marvin are getting pretty close. They're really the two guys that were out and were partly cloudy last week, and it's clearing up for them. They're both guys that have worked really hard, and they're close to being able to get out and show me that they're ready to play here at some point maybe this week. So we'll see. It was really unfortunate for Marvin to get hurt really his first play in that game (Oct. 21 vs. Pittsburgh), where he was going to have an opportunity to have more opportunity. So it's sad, but he's worked hard through it. And Reggie is dealing with something, and I don't think Reggie has ever been injured before. But because of that, they've worked extremely hard."
ANDY DALTON (with Cincinnati media)
When a QB wins the offensive player of the week award, does it reflect on his teammates as well?
AD: "It does for sure. To not get sacked against the Giants is huge. It showed the offensive line played great. Four different guys catching touchdown passes shows the talent that we have. So it's not just what I was doing. It was definitely a team win."
It seemed like you guys had a little edge going into the game with the Giants. How do you maintain that?
AD: "Yeah, we had a good attitude going in that week. The way we started the game, we started fast, scoring quick. We've just got to use that as momentum. We've got to keep it going, we've got to take it into this week and take it on the road against Kansas City. We've got to come out and play the way we did on Sunday."
Kansas City is 1-8, but they seemed to play very hard on Monday Night:
AD: "They're fighting. They're trying to get back into it, they're trying to get that bad taste out of their mouth. You can see it by the way they played on Monday – they played the Steelers tough. So we know we're going to get their best effort."
They have made a lot of mistakes and penalties this season, which they are trying to fix. But can't a team like that can be dangerous if they don't self-destruct?
AD: "Right. They've had some mistakes that have hurt them. I'm sure they're trying to play a complete game, trying to play a perfect game. We've got to do our best to not let them do that. We've got to go out and play our best and, kind of like what we did this past week, start fast. If that happens, good things will happen for us."
They have a lot of No. 1 draft picks on defense:
AD: "They're talented. And they play hard. That's one of the things you see on the film from Monday – they're playing with a lot of passion and playing really hard. That's why the game was so close. So it's going to take our best effort again this week."
Sunday was your first game this season without an interception. Is it a relief to break the interception streak like that?
AD: "Yeah, it was. It's something we needed to have happen, especially against a team like that. It's good to not have that streak anymore."
It's easier to avoid that streak when you're playing with a lead though, isn't it?
AD: "It is. I don't know what the numbers were, but I think the first-half passing stats were a little bit better than the second-half passing stats, just from a numbers standpoint of how many times we're throwing it and things like that. But yeah, it starts with the fast start and getting up on them early."
Mohamed Sanu had his best game of the season on Sunday. He seems like he's starting to emerge:
AD: "Yeah, he's starting to emerge and it's good to see. Early on, when he first got here in OTAs and minicamp and things like that, you could tell he had a great feel for the game. He made big plays for us this past week, converting a fourth down, a third down, scoring a touchdown. He's really showing what he can do. I think he's going to get more and more playing time because of it."
On defense, the Chiefs don't seem like they're trying to confuse the offense, they seem very straightforward like the Giants:
AD: "Yeah, they are. And they rely a lot on their front guys, their front seven. So we've got to know what we're doing. Now it just comes down to execution."
What does winning the AFC Offensive Player of the Week mean?
AD: "It's a great honor, but nothing that I did by myself. To not get sacked against the Giants is huge, against that front four. They're some of the best in the league. The offensive line played great, and four different guys caught touchdowns. So it's definitely not an award I got, it's definitely a team award."
Kansas City's defense has been vulnerable on the back end a little bit:
AD: "I wouldn't say they're vulnerable. I think guys are finding holes and finding windows that they're able to get in, and guys are making big plays. Some of them have come on screens, some of them are just guys making plays. So when you get those chances, you've got to hit them. I'm not saying there's 'holes in the defense' (laughs),"
Can you talk about the hole you guys have dug for yourselves with the four-game losing streak?
AD: "We are where we are because we haven't played well enough to win some of these games. We've got to take what we did this past week and use it as momentum and keep it rolling. There are still seven games left, still a lot of season left, and we're going to find out a lot in these last seven weeks. We've got to bring our best effort."
CHIEFS HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL (with Cincinnati media)
How difficult is it to have your team at 1-8 right now?
RC: "As a coach, you want your players and your team to do good all of the time, and we haven't been able to be good enough because we've been shooting ourselves in the foot, basically. From week to week, what you do is try to concentrate on the things that you're doing poorly and try to get those improved and try to play better so that you can give yourself a chance to win. The guys have been playing hard, but the thing we've been doing is making mistakes later in the game that impact the game. We end up losing as a result of it."
What's the mood of the organization?
RC: "Everybody is frustrated with the record and what it is. There's no question about that. Players are frustrated, coaches are frustrated, the organization is frustrated and the fans are frustrated. The thing you look at as a coach is, are your guys playing hard? If they're playing hard, then you've got a chance to correct the mistakes. We took a step in the right direction Monday night. As far as some of the mistakes we were making, we were able to turn things around. We didn't give up any easy touchdowns. Our penalties were limited. We only turned the ball over one time, but unfortunately the one time we turned it over was the game-winner. There was improvement, so you have to try to build on that improvement going forward."
How did you address the celebration penalty with your team?
RC: "I told them that there are rules about celebrating. One man can celebrate, but the team cannot celebrate. You have to wait until you get to the sideline and celebrate with that individual on the sideline, or after the game. They understand the importance of not being penalized because it hurts you as far as field position goes. I don't think you're going to see us celebrating like that in the future."
The touchdown was overturned, but you were still penalized for the celebration. That's something that hurts in more than one way:
RC: "It sure is, because it gives a good football team good field position. A good football team with field position usually ends up with points on the board."
What does Jamaal Charles mean to your team?
RC: "He's been a big plus for us, because in the game that we did win he's the one that ignited the flame with a long touchdown run. Then Monday night he became a 100-yard rusher against the Steelers. I don't believe they (the Steelers) had one for three games. He gives us some juice, gives the guys around him some energy. That offensive line blocks better when he's running hard. He's definitely a plus."
What did you see from the Bengals in their win last Sunday over the Giants, particularly on defense?
RC: "I saw the same kind of resolve that we had a little bit Monday night with the effort that they were playing with, with getting turnovers and attacking a good football team. A Super Bowl quarterback (Eli Manning), they got after him pretty good and he made some poor choices as far trying to get rid of the ball. Your team is a good football team, and when they're playing with that kind of energy and making things happen like that and winning the field position battle, you guys are tough to stop as well. I think all of those things played into your last game and being able to pull that one out."
Chris Crocker played for you in Cleveland. What have you seen from him?
RC: "Chris is a tough player. He likes to have fun on the football field, and he enjoys the game. He's a hard hitter and he wants to win and he wants to do good. I think that same Crocker is there."
Each of your quarterbacks have had their struggles. Who are you starting this week?
RC: "Well, I'm going to wait until I talk to the local media because I've got these guys next. I feel like I owe it to them to tell them what I'm going to do about the quarterback before I tell anybody else." (Crennel later confirmed Matt Cassel as the starter this week.)
On Monday night against Pittsburgh, you guys broke your streak of not having a lead in regulation. What was it like to finally be able to play with a lead?
RC: "It was beneficial to the team to be able to drive down and score against a good defense, but our ultimate goal is to win the game, and we didn't win the game. But that drive and getting ahead on the scoreboard definitely helped us. It allows you to play a particular way, rather than playing from behind all of the time. It was a big plus and it did take the monkey off our back as far that was concerned. Now we have to take the monkey off our back as far as the won-loss column is concerned."
Everyone talks about the Andy Dalton-A.J. Green connection, but what do you see out of the rest of the Bengals receiver group?
RC: "They are guys who can make plays, and they complement A.J. very well. Andy does a good job of spreading the ball around and getting the ball to all of his weapons. I feel he's pretty good at that."
What do you like about Andy Dalton as a quarterback?
RC: "One, he gets the ball out of his hands. He doesn't hang out with it too much. He has good ability and he can run when he needs to run. He knows where his receivers are, and he knows where the matchups are and tries to take advantage of the matchups. The tight end that you guys have (Jermaine Gresham) is doing a nice job, as well as Green, as you mentioned. You've got that big strong offensive line that can get a lot of things done, and you've got a runner who runs the ball aggressively. He's tough. So, offensively you guys have a lot of weapons."
Mohamed Sanu had a breakout game last week against the Giants. The Bengals have used him in a variety of ways this season. How much have you had to prepare for that?
RC: "You definitely have to prepare for and you have to understand the abilities of a receiver like that who can do several things. Not only can he catch the ball and run routes, but he can run out of the backfield, he can throw the ball. When he's in the game, your antennas better go up."
Is it tougher when you're playing a team you don't play very often?
RC: "It is, because your players don't know each other and they really don't know the opponent as well. What you have to do is put in extra time during the week looking at the guys that you're playing against to try and get a feel for his technique that he uses, how he steps, how he plays, really."
CHIEFS RB JAMAAL CHARLES (with Cincinnati media)
What's the mood been like around the locker room? This hasn't been the best of years for you guys:
JC: "It hasn't been the best of years, but we keep strong and we believe in our teammates. We get energized and everything. We come in and practice hard, but the results don't show on the field the way we practice hard. Sometimes it's not a good feeling after you come in after a lost game, but we believe we're still a good team."
What positives can you take out of the game Monday night against Pittsburgh?
JC: "The only thing we can take out of that is we have to come harder next week. We're trying to win the game. We lost the game. Everybody says we played a good game, but at the end of the day we lost the game. We're hungry for a win."
Does it mean anything at all to you that you guys were able to run effectively against a good Pittsburgh defense?
JC: "It gave us some confidence in our line. We've felt all year we've been running the ball well, but the past couple of weeks we hadn't been running it good. It builds the line with more confidence this week knowing that they did a good job against a good run defense, and it showed up in some of the pass protection as well. I hope they can keep getting motivated by the good things that they do and don't get doubtful because of who's in front of them."
The Bengals broke four-game losing streak last week against the Giants, and many of the players said afterward that they had a strong feeling that they just needed to win a game. Is that the same attitude you say you guys have to have?
JC: "Yeah, we've been trying to win a game for I don't know how long. We've been on a losing streak for seven games now, eight games, (six), and it's just hard right now. We've played good teams. No team we've played has been bad. All of the teams we've played, their records look pretty good. We try to play against good teams and we try to finish out, but at the end of the day it's like something always comes up to haunt us. Hopefully we can get away from the haunting stuff and start making good things happen."
Do you get a sense that one of those games is coming your way as a team?
JC: "Oh yeah. I believe we will, and I feel like last week we had a bad call by the ref. I know I'm not supposed to talk about it, but I feel like, you know what I'm saying, it was a bad call, you know what I'm saying? Without getting called for offensive holding, that probably would have sparked the team even more, and then when they took the touchdown. It just—you know what I'm saying?—the spark went down again. We had to keep fighting over that stuff."
That was a big momentum-changer:
JC: "It's been like that the whole year, but at the end of the day I guess we have to do the things that are right. We've got to do everything right."
How do you feel about the celebration penalty against your team on Monday?
JC: "The defense knows they can't dance like that, but it was just one of those things where it feels like it got taken away from us again. I didn't know (the penalty stands) when you have a celebration and the play didn't count. I feel like the play should have never existed. I don't think that's right."
Is it like rubbing salt in the wound?
JC: "That's stupid. The play should have counted with the penalty. If the play didn't count, why are we still getting penalized? People were just getting excited. They're playing with a lot of energy, and you want that on your team. You don't want nobody just out there playing with no energy. They have emotion for the game and energy for the game. It's one of those things where you feel everything is going right for you once, but then it came back down once again. We've just got to stay in the game and know that we can't play against the refs; we have to play against our opponent, and we have to do everything right. We've got to do everything perfect, basically."
What stands out to you about the Bengals defense?
JC: "I feel like they've got a good defense. I feel they probably get overlooked between Baltimore and (Pittsburgh). They're in a good conference. They're a great team, especially on defense. They have a great secondary and a great defensive line. I feel they're one of the best in that conference. They're one of the best defenses I've seen in that conference but, again, I think they get overlooked by the Baltimore Ravens. They're a good defense."
Is it easy to say that Geno Atkins is the key to their defense?
JC:"We can't really say who we're going to key on. We're just trying to get a win. We just know that whoever is lining up in front of Geno is going to have to do his job."