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Everything Zac Taylor Had To Say After Week 2


SEPT. 17, 2023



Head coach

What do you feel told the story of the game today?

       "Turnover battle, 1-0. Every time we play them, that's what it comes down to."

How would you assess this performance?

       "I thought our guys fought. This is exactly the game we knew we would get. They got the ball first, leading 17-14 at the half, but were in great shape coming out of the half with the ball. Then Geno Stone made a great play with the pick. He did a good job holding backside, cheating post-snap. Then they hit an explosive play. That's the way it goes when you play these guys. I told our team, 'This is the type of game you store away and learn from.' You win more games down the road because of what we went through today. There's nothing discouraging about how our team played. You want to come out with a win, especially at home in front of our tremendous crowd, but it is what it is. We're 0-2 right now and get a chance to bounce back on Monday Night Football."

How do you think Joe Burrow looked today?

       "I thought he looked great. I thought he was poised; the protection was unbelievable up front. Those guys do a great job holding coverages as long as anyone we've played against. I thought he saw it really well. He did a good job efficiently leading us."

Would he have gone back in for a final series, if needed?

       "That was the plan."

What can you do to get the offense in sync earlier in the game?

       "We had a holding call right out of the gate. We had a first down, a holding call — now it's second-and-14. Then we had a great play on the third down, and then we're out of bounds. I think in sync is the wrong term there. If you really assess what was going on, I thought we were in good shape. They got us on a second-and-10. They threw a bubble, and it got us in third-and-10 and we couldn't convert. Outside of two plays on the first two drives, the next five drives we drove down the field for a field goal, touchdown, interception, and then touchdown. It felt like we were finding our rhythm there offensively."

Has Joe's health limited the playbook at all?

       "I thought this week we were in really great shape."

How hard is it to contain Lamar Jackson?

       "He's very difficult, then you put on top (of that) all of the weapons they have. They have an elite skill group — an elite tight end, great running backs too. It's built to be tough and explosive. They do a great job."

Tee Higgins had some nice catches today ...

       "I thought our guys responded really well. Last week was a challenging week for receivers with the rain. Things don't go your way and you don't get opportunities with the way the game got away from us. I thought our guys did a great job this week, getting ready for their number to be called and stepping up when it did. The Ravens do a good job trying to roll up to Jamarr Chase sometimes, and I thought Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd stepped up when needed to and made some big plays for us."

Does the 0-2 start last year give you hope for next week?

       "The beauty of this team is we know it's a 17-game season. There's no overreaction on our end. We have to be prepared for stuff outside our locker room, which is natural. We're in a very difficult division. We would have loved to come out 2-0; 1-1 would have been fine too. This is exactly where we were last year, and this team is only going to get better with every game that passes. When you stumble early, you have to learn from it. So many years in the past, we've learned from early-season losses that have propelled us in November and December. This will be no different. I'm very confident in that."

How frustrating is it to start 0-2?

       "It's not what we want. There are a lot of really positive things that happened today against a really good football team. We've lost to two teams now that will be there down the stretch, but we get them again, just like last year. It is important to turn the page, because it's always a new team and a new year. But there's a lot we can take from last year that will help us going forward."

Are you pleased with the third down progress?

       "It was better than (last week's) two for 15."

Did you think Joe saw Stone on that interception?

       "I saw what he saw. Stone did a good job holding on the snap, and then when Joe's eyes came, he popped over. It's a veteran safety making a good play."

How are you able to evaluate the defense's performance against the rush?

       "They got 40-something carries and do a good job leaning on the run game when they need to. They get a 10-point lead there at one point, then a lead at the end. They did a good job. They have good personnel you have to honor, then the skill guys obviously. Their quarterback is difficult because you have to rush him differently. It creates a whole new list of opportunities for them."

How do you feel Lamar played?

       "To my eye, he played really well."

Was the lack of pressure on him by design?

       "It's a challenge. There are pressures there where he's elite with his movement skills. Some quarterbacks, the pressure would be there and affect him. For him, he just skips around it and is able to move on. You have to rush him differently. He does such a good job in the pocket. He's one of the best passers in the league, and combined with his rushing skills, he makes it difficult."

It was another big crowd, what can you say to them?

       "Stay patient with us. I know that's hard to say and listen to. They want wins, there's a lot of excitement going into this season. We have a lot of excitement, and we still do. It's Sept. 17, and we plan on this being a long season. We'll be excited to make corrections, put this one behind us, and have an electric Monday Night Football crowd as we've had here."

Do you need to evaluate any big changes?

       "I feel like we're in great shape. We got some good performances from guys. There are some things we can correct and adjust, then continue to move forward."