What Zac Taylor And Joe Burrow Said After The Win Over Jacksonville

190821-Taylor-Zac_press_conference (AP)

BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES

OCT. 4, 2020

JACKSONVILLE AT CINCINNATI

ZAC TAYLOR, Head coach

Initial comments...

Once you got out of your own way, the offense was dominant ...

"Yes. We got called back on the holding call and then the third-and-inches. We have to make that play ... that's a 50-50 play we need to make. We left a lot of plays on the field, but putting points on the board every possession is the way it has to be."

The running game was complementary as well ...

"That's how you want it to look. You want to be able to play with a lead and get into your playbook. Our guys allowed us to do that. Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard were running hard when they had opportunities. They got us in good situations that allowed us to play how we wanted to play."

Is this the type of balanced offense you envisioned?

"It is. But the key is we still have to start faster than we did today. For them to put points on the board so early, we have to get that corrected in all three phases. Otherwise, we played the type of game we wanted to play. We just want to start faster."

How good did it feel to see Joe Mixon have this type of game?

"It's great for him. A lot of these guys that don't get the stats they want each week are so unselfish. That's what this team is made of — unselfish guys. For a guy like Joe Mixon, (when things haven't) gone the way he wanted the first three weeks ... for him to be rewarded like that today is what we expect to see."

What's enabled Joe Burrow to be so successful so early?

"Chemistry with the receivers. Every week is so critical for us in terms of the overall chemistry of the team. He's getting a much better feel for all these receivers. We have several new ones that didn't play last year, (and) we're getting a feel for how to utilize them best. When the run game does what it does, it takes the pressure off him where we can take some shots. I thought the offensive line did a tremendous job today. They kept him clean, (and) they had some great blocks in the run game. Tight ends and receivers did as well. All the things we talked about and correcting last week coming off the field vs. Philly. I thought our guys were so dialed-in this week. It was our best week of practice we've had in two years here. The energy was tremendous, and guys took that to the field and made it count."

What can you do to get A.J. Green more involved?

"There were opportunities where we called things designed to go to him, but the ball just went other places. I talked to all these guys on offense. We're not going to worry about guys getting their touches and targets. There are enough weapons to where we can win football games, and someone might have one catch for three yards. And there might be one where you have 10 catches for 150 yards. Going back to the unselfish players and high-character guys we have on this team ... they understand that they just want to win. A.J. was as happy as anyone in that locker room. His time will come."

What did you think of Alex Redmond's performance in his first start?

"That one is a little harder for me right now. I have to see the tape. It's hard for me to assess one offensive lineman."

What about Tyler Boyd's performance today?

"He's been consistent. That's what he does. He brings it every single day — the meetings, the practice field and every game. He's a reliable target for Joe. He gets to where he's supposed to be on time and can separate against any defensive back in the league. He's been dependable since I walked into the door here."

How much did you look at scheming up more opportunities?

"No. We felt like we left 75-80 yards on the field last week because of lack of details. We're not going to overreact to any one game. We know where we're lacking and where we're better. The scheme changes from opponent to opponent — you see a few different things this week — but we left a ton of yardage on the field last week. It was much improved this week. I'm excited to watch the tape and see who really helped us there."

Why did everything work in the third quarter?

"We played complementary football. Our defense was getting stops, and our offense was scoring. It's a big thing to come out of the gate and get points. So now you're scoring points on successful possessions, and you get a chance to start to build a lead. That's not something we've had a chance to do yet this year. All three phases were working for all four quarters."

Did you do anything specific with Joe Mixon, getting him downhill?

"No, same plays we've been running. Guys were really dialed in with the details. We almost went overboard with that this week to make sure the message was clear (that) it's going to take all 11. It's not just the running back or the offensive line. It takes everybody. The guys really bought in and had a tremendous week."

Does this victory feel a lot different?

"We've been expecting to win. This is the first game we've finished. That's all it is. Last year, when you go 13 weeks, you really do feel that. This isn't the same feeling, because we've been expecting this to come. We know there's more coming on the horizon."

What is it like to see Joe Burrow's development so far in the first quarter of NFL?

"He's not a rookie. I don't even think like that. He doesn't think or act like a rookie. He's in command, and guys believe in him. He's become a real leader on the football team."

What does it do for Joe to finally get that first win?

"It gets the monkey off your back. That's the truth. You have to get the first win of the season. A lot of the small things that pop up over the weeks we weren't winning, they add up. Now everybody gets that pressure off them. They can free up and go play ball."

What did you tell the team at halftime?

"Nothing. I thought we played pretty well on defense in the first half. Offensively, we felt like we were in total control despite the holding call, then the inch-yard line. It's not panicking — we had 30 more minutes of football to play. We got the ball first, and I'm just glad our guys answered the bell."

JOE BURROW, Quarterback

What was it like to see you score against Jacksonville's defense, only to have several plays in the first half where the mistakes the offense made prevented those points from counting?

"It wasn't too frustrating. We knew that if we executed the way we're capable of, they weren't going to be able to stop us. We talked (about it) at halftime — we were the only ones that had stopped ourselves. So we came out (after) halftime and performed the way we were supposed to."

You had 300-plus yards passing and the team had 200-plus yards rushing. Is that the type of balance you're looking for as a quarterback?

"Yeah. The O-line played really, really well today. They've taken a lot of heat the last couple of weeks, and I was super happy for those guys to have the game they did. They're going to continue to build on it. I know they are."

You're the first rookie QB in NFL history to throw for 300-plus yards in three consecutive games. How does that make you feel?

"We got the win. That's all I care about. The last (three), we didn't win. (It) feels good to win. I'm going to do whatever it takes to win football games. Like I said, I'll throw it zero or 100 times, I'll throw for seven or 500 yards. It doesn't matter to me."

You had 36 passing attempts and there were 34 rushing attempts. Is that the balanced offense you guys have envisioned all season?

"Yeah, it is. Joe (Mixon) played really well today, the O-line played really well today. That enabled us to have some success with play action as well, so it was a well-balanced attack we hope to continue."

When did you allow yourself to know this was going to be your first win as a NFL player?

"When we finally recovered that onside (kick). I was looking at the clock and talking to Ryan (Finley) saying, 'Gosh, 12 seconds (left). That seems like a long time.' Everyone had that mindset on the sideline, and then we got into victory formation and it felt great."

What were you feeling in the moment and what was your reaction to that first big run Mixon had?

"I was just trying to give the O-line some juice. I always try to bring some excitement and some energy to the offense. They played great all day, and I was just trying to celebrate with them."

Did you feel more comfortable in the pocket today. If so, how did that affect your performance?

"I wouldn't say more comfortable. The O-line played great today and gave me a lot of time, so I was able to extend plays and go through all my progressions. But I wouldn't say, 'more comfortable.' I was comfortable the last two weeks as well."

Did you really say 'Gosh' to Ryan Finley?

"Yeah."

What has allowed you to be so comfortable so early in your career?

"I think (Bengals Head Coach) Zac (Taylor) has really done a great job of asking what I'm comfortable with in calling those plays, and he understands what I like in certain situations. We have a meeting the night before every week (where) I go through my top three calls that we have in every situation that and he calls them 1-2-3. He's been doing a great job of calling plays, and we have great players on the outside that understand zone coverage and understand what we're trying to do on every single play."

What was celebrating your first NFL win like with your teammates in the locker room?

"It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. But it's one. It's one game, and there's 12 more, so we're going to enjoy this for five hours and then come back tomorrow, correct the mistakes and move on to Baltimore."

You said you didn't really care where your first touchdown pass ball might go to — you weren't too concerned where that memento ended up. Do you have any plans for your first victory game ball?

"It's going back in the ball bag. You only get so many great (balls and) I'm very particular about the balls that I throw, so it's going right back in the game ball bag. I'll be using it again."

You had a lot of success using play action today. I would imagine that's every quarterback's wish ...

"Yeah. Everything on offense was working today, so it allowed the play action to be effective."

Did that effectiveness help your ability to succeed as a passer?

"Yeah. Even in drop-back today, the O-line was stoning them at the line (of scrimmage) and giving me a lot of time. It was really awesome today."

On the touchdown pass to Mixon, it looked like you said something to him right before the swing pass. What did you say?

"Yeah, I'll leave that on the field. I think it helped him score though."

Did you make a concerted effort to get him the ball through the air today?

"No, not really. I just did a better job of doing what the defense gave me and not pushing to push the ball down the field. He was doing a great job of understanding his protection assignments and getting out early if his guy didn't come. And when we started to push the ball down the field a bit, they started to back off a bit and Joe was open in the check-downs."

How surprised were you when Myles Jack wrestled the ball away from Drew Sample for that interception in the end zone?

"Very surprised. Very surprised."

You and Tyler Boyd seem to have developed a lot of chemistry. It seems like he's your go-to receiver right now ...

"Yeah. Like I said before, he does a great job of just working to get open. He's always working, he's always doing something at the top of a route or if something breaks down, he's always trying to get open in zone and man (coverage). He's just always working, and it's great to see."

You and A.J. Green haven't connected for a big play yet this season. What's missing from that connection?

"Yeah, I don't know. We'll have to watch the film and see what the defense was doing to us. We're just happy with the win; I know A.J.'s happy with the win. He's not a selfish player, so we're all excited."

You went back to Sample after Jack's INT, and then you kept going back even more after that. Was that intentional on your part, or is that just how things played out?

"I'm not going to let a play that someone did or didn't make affect my decision-making. I have faith in all our receivers, so if the defense shows me one thing, I'm going to throw it to the spot I'm supposed to and our guys are going to make plays for me. I have faith in all our guys."

How much momentum is there moving forward after finally getting a win today?

"We feel it. We feel a lot of momentum right now about where we are. Obviously there are some things to fix, but we had a great week of practice this week, and I think that's why we won the game. We have to continue it on to next week. This is the NFL — there are no weeks off. We've got Baltimore coming up, and it's going to be a tough game. We're excited to play."

There weren't many fans at the game today, due to COVID-19 restrictions, but how did it feel to have fans present at the game today? And how do you think the crowd received you?

"Yeah, it was exciting to have some real people in the stands. The last couple weeks without fans just felt a little off, so to have some home fans in the stands felt great. It felt good to have cheering going on when you make a play. It felt like football again."

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