BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES NOV. 29, 2020
N.Y. GIANTS AT CINCINNATI
Head coach Initial comments ...
You mentioned you were hopeful that the defense and special teams units would step up today to help out the offense with Brandon Allen starting at quarterback. You have to be pleased with those units in that regard, correct?
"Absolutely. They gave us a chance. (The) special teams (unit) had some big plays. The defense held their own; they were out there on the field for a long time. We just didn't get enough support from the offensive side of the ball today."
What was the biggest problem trying to sustain drives on offense today? You had a lot of three-and-out series ...
"Yeah, we never found our rhythm. And, again, our first down efficiency (problem) is where it really got us. We were in a lot of second-and-eight, second-and-nine, second-and-10 (situations) it felt like, and that's not a good recipe against that defense. We struggled today, and (then) we put one together at the end of the game because the other side of the ball kept us in it, but again we had that turnover at the end of the game that put the nail in the coffin for us."
How do you feel Brandon Allen did handling an offense?
"I thought he did enough for us. The guys around him have to step up too, now. We had several drops (and) holding penalties when we would get a completion. (It felt like) we had only three possessions there in the first half. It felt like we hardly ever had the ball. In the second half, (we) just never had our rhythm. When we would get something positive, it seemed like something would send us back the other way on the same play. There were three drops, two holding penalties — and there was a fumble on a positive play — that all hurt us."
The running game was not much help today either, correct? I think the longest running play was the fake punt, right?
"No, not at all. That's going to be a big part of what we're doing, and again, we didn't get anything going. They (the Giants) did a nice job at the line of scrimmage. There wasn't a lot of room for the backs to go sometimes, but again that has to be a better part of what we do going forward."
What made you comfortable starting Brandon Allen over Ryan Finley?
"I've just been around Brandon and felt like he gave us a good chance (to win), and he did. I feel like he's a good decision maker. Not everything was perfect, but again, we knew there were going to be some challenges. We needed the guys around him to lift him up and help him through this week, and we didn't get enough of that, to be quite honest. And there will be some things we need him to improve on, certainly. We need the whole unit to be more supportive around him."
Do you think he deserves another shot to start? Will he get the start next week?
What was the difference in calling plays for Joe Burrow versus Brandon Allen today, in terms of plays at your disposal?
"You know there's always a balance. He's had three days of reps with our guys, and you try to consider that a little bit with what you put in the (game)plan — what he feels comfortable with to try and get him started here in his first week here. That will continue to grow as he gets going and gets more comfortable with what we're doing. Again, I expect good things from Brandon. We had an opportunity today, and just didn't take advantage of it."
Since Allen had practiced so little, what evidence did you use to decide he was the best option to start at quarterback?
]"I've been around him for three years. I've seen him play a lot of football."
We saw what happened with the Denver Broncos this week in terms of their quarterback situation and COVID-19. We know Brandon had been separated from the other quarterbacks. How has that progressed protocol-wise as the season has progressed?
"Yeah, he's never in a room with them. He always met virtually away from everybody else. And even on (the) field, I often lectured him about standing too close to the other players. He had his helmet on and could listen, but that's just a part of what we've got to do now. We'll have another guy coming in now to play that role."
How tough is it for a guy in Allen's position to come into a fourth-quarter situation with :45 remaining and a chance to win the game with good field position but not much else preparation?
"It's life in the NFL. It's the position we were in, and we've got to move the ball and make some plays. Again, it doesn't all come down to the that one play. There are plenty of other plays where we could have gotten momentum throughout the game. There were plenty of other plays where guys could have stepped up. Of course, everyone was going to remember the last play the game, but there was so much more that went on around that."
There was a report that Joe Burrow will have surgery in Los Angeles next week. Can you provide any update on that?
"I'm not ready to provide an update on that. I'll have more information on that this week. Not today."
What happened on that last fumble that essentially ended the game?
"We'll have to see. We may have a MA on the routes as well. I had spoken to (Allen) to see what his thought process was there, but we'll watch the tape and get a better picture of it."
The offense was moving the ball on that last drive while the Giants were playing back a little bit. Can you explain how you were trying to attack them to get that last 20 yards?
"For us, it was just about getting the first first down. That was what killed us the entire second half. We had countless three-and-outs to start the half, and you just never feel a rhythm (when that happens). You're calling two normal calls, and then you're calling a third-down call, and it wasn't even often two normal calls. You're calling second-and-eight, second-and-nine, second-and-10. And again, it came down (to the fact that) our first down efficiency in the second half was not good enough."
Regarding the players' effort today say to you about this team — the fact that they kept fighting in the wake of Joe Burrow's injury, when many of them last week admitted postgame that they were a little deflated immediately after it happened?
"It was everything that I ever needed to see from these guys, and everything I see every day. You're down 19-10 in the fourth quarter, and the offense hasn't done anything the entire game, but the offense kept grinding and trying to make the plays they're capable of making. You look at it (and) the defense got a huge stop, the offense goes down and gets seven points, (and) the defense gets a monster stop there on a backed-up situation. The punt return team gets a huge punt return and puts your offense in a position to go win the game, and it just didn't work out that way. That tells you everything you need to know about these players in this locker room, and everything that I see every day and know. They're playing hard for each other, and it's going to turn for us I know at some point. I told them it's frustrating — you're sick to your stomach, it sucks. It's not fun to lose. But we know that this tide is going to turn for us and we're going back look back on this (someday). This is a necessary part of our growth, but we need to get some wins to show for all the work we've put in, because it makes it tough when you finish games like this."
You had a pad and glove on your hand today. Was it nicked up?
"I honestly didn't notice anything was wrong until I came off the field. It was a mallet finger. They just stringed it up, put a glove on it, and it was good to go."
Did the Giants do anything different from what you anticipated?
"No, they did a good job of that. We tried to take some shots when we could. Give them credit, they did a great job of keeping things in front of them. It was tough. (There were) a lot of short, immediate routes trying to get sustained drives. A couple times we hurt ourselves with penalties and shot ourselves in the foot a bit. We only had three possessions in the whole first half I think. When it's going to be a game like that, you have to make the most of your possessions."
This was your first start since 2019. How do you think you performed today?
"I'm my own worst critic, so there's a lot of things I think I can do better. Obviously the interception, with better ball placement. And then the fumble cost us the game. There's definitely a lot of things I'll find on tape and things I can get better at, whether it be a read or a throw. I'll definitely get better from this."
What was it like going from emergency quarterback to the starter within a week?
"You prepare every week regardless of your position. I was preparing like I was going to play each and every week. Nothing really changed for me, except I played on Sunday. As far as preparation went, everything was still the same in terms of the film I watched and practice reps. I'll learn from what I did during the week, see what I can improve on, and take it to the next game."
Is it true that at Wednesday's practice you completed every pass you threw?
"We did a great job on Wednesday. I can't think of a time the ball hit the ground. You're going against good looks, and then with the receivers, where all I'm trying to do is give them a chance. I thought the offensive line did a great job today. We'll all watch the film, and we'll all try to get better and find the little things we can improve on to try close out a game and get the win."
How does a good week of practice validate you as you get ready for this game?
"I think it went a long way with the guys having the confidence in me, and seeing that I could make a lot of the throws needed to win a game. I haven't taken reps with them all year, so for them to finally see it gets us on the same page with routes and timing. It gives a boost of confidence."
When you signed here, did you think you were one play away from being the starter?
"You always have to have that mindset. Whether you're second- or third-string, you have to go in each and every week and know you're one play away. That's how I've always prepared, whether I was on a practice squad or not. That's the only mindset to have in the backup position role."
Have you ever been in this situation before, with such a quick turnaround before your first start?
"Last year in Denver when I got my first start I was running a lot of the scout team, so there were a lot of live action throws being made. This league is tough, and sometimes that's what's asked of you. There's no excuses to be made. You have to go out there and perform."
Was that your mindset when you were here in preseason?
"Me and the scout team receivers and (Bengals QBs coach) Dan Pitcher every single day after practice would stay and throw the majority of the routes that Joe Burrow was throwing in practice. Obviously it's not the same as getting with the live receivers and the timing of their routes. But you have to find a way to get those reps in, and that's what we decided to do."
Walk us through the last play, where you fumbled ...
"I knew we only needed about 15 yards to get within field goal range. There was a little miscommunication with me and Tyler Boyd. I was expecting one thing, and he read it a different way. I got stuck on him, and from there I need to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I was trying to scramble and make a play, but in that situation the best thing is just to get forward as far as I could."
How difficult did quarantine make your acclimation to the roster and joining the team?
"It's definitely a weird year. But it's a weird year for everyone, so there's no excuse for that. I've been around the building, and guys have seen me in practice. That first Wednesday practice was good for the whole team to see the throws being made. I tried to talk to as many guys as I could and get to know a lot of the guys, but this season with COVID-19 is a very strange season."
How were your feet and eyes today?
"I have to go back and look at the film. (The Giants) did a good job stopping our run game, so you're forced to throw it. They played a lot of heavy zone coverage, and played everything deep to take away a lot of our routes that get down the field. We were forced to hit a few check downs, and that's the type of game they wanted. That's how it played out."
You mentioned an injury to your finger. How did it happen?
"It was on one of the plays, I'm not sure. I didn't notice it. It's what they called a mallet finger. It won't affect me."