ML: “After going through the tape, the one thing that kind of stands out is that we had four drives offensively where we had eight or more plays. We have to continue to be more consistent to finish those drives off with touchdowns. We’ve had a lot of those drives this year and earlier in the year, we were putting in a lot of them for touchdowns. We’ve got to get back to that. We’ve got to be a little more consistent with assignments and finish and things that way. Obviously the turnover hurt us that way. I thought offensively, third down was very good yesterday. Not perfect, but we did a good job there. We’ve got to continue with our tempo and the no-huddle. On defense, obviously the difference in the football game ended up being third down. We did a good job on defense all day. We’ve got to continue to tackle well, particularly tackling the catch. They had the one long play; and we’ve got to tackle the catch right there. It’s a 12 yard gain and it ended being a 50-something-yard play. Those things we’ve got to keep working hard at.”
When you look at the offense and you look at these long drives, what’s happening at the end of them? Is it the same issue every time?
ML: “No, it’s not the same issue. Our execution on the plays just has to be better, whether it be run plays or pass plays. We’ve got to make sure we’re consistent with it.”
Looking at some of the run plays, there were big lanes and if one guy finished you could have had over 200 yards instead of 160. Is that what you’re talking about?
ML: “Yeah, it ends up being one guy a lot of times that falls off the block, gets tripped, whatever happens. Sometimes it’s physical and sometimes you just have to finish, get your feet in the right spot, get your hat placement and things in the right spot, and keep the defense moving so you can continue to cut it.”
As teams continue to zone in on
ML: “Yes we are. We just have to keep going and continue to create opportunity for those guys. As we go we’ve got to make some big plays for those guys, and that will really open things up.”
How do you think
ML: “One of the better qualities of Andy Dalton is the fact that he lets a bad play go and moves forward, and he did that yesterday.”
What can a win like this do for your team?
ML: “It puts us 3-2. You don’t glean anything if you don’t take advantage of the next opportunity. That’s what matters. We get a chance to live and move on to the next week.”
With the weather conditions, especially the wind and the rain, for
ML: “It was a great hit by Kevin at that point of the game into the wind like that. It was a pretty strong wind obviously at that point. It was a big hit with good coverage. We’ve got a lot of new players on special teams that are taking the majority of the snaps, so we’ve just got to keep coaching them hard. A lot of them are cutting their teeth that way. We moved a step forward this week and we’ve got to have another good week of practice this week.”
ML: “That’s why we brought him here.”
How did you think
ML: “He did OK. I’m very happy with Margus. He’s going to have a great future ahead of him. It wasn’t too big for him yesterday. It was a good shot in some good spots.”
ML: “It was an important week for those guys to continue to play well and get back and do a good job. I thought he and Terence (Newman) both yesterday played very good games.”
You’ve beaten Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady this year. Is there any value in that?
ML: “When the schedule came out, I think I counted that we played 10 of the last 12 Super Bowl participants. Obviously with that comes very good quarterbacks and generally experienced football teams. They've been used to being successful. It's great for the football team. It's great experience we've had for the home fans to see these three quarterbacks in action three weeks in a row. Guys that have been MVP of the Super Bowl. It's an exciting thing for our fans and the team to win these football games.”
Going through what they went through in Cleveland shows that this team can’t look past anybody, right?
ML: “I don't think we can look past anybody, I don't know that you ever can. We’ve got to get ready to play. We are going to play another team this week that's trying to find themselves and get going. They are playing good defense, and they can be explosive on offense. It looks like we'll play a new quarterback again, and we’ve got to get ready to go.”
What are the challenges of playing against a new quarterback?
ML: “I don't know what the challenges are, you just have to be good at what you do. They're going to generally look to play to their strength. We got to get them off schedule.”
Buffalo has had a lot of high picks lately and they’re pretty strong in the trenches aren’t they?
ML: “They are strong and have some guys at back end that are high picks. They are a team that has a lot of ability.”
Do you do things to help take care of
ML: “We're always going to take a look at Terence's reps. To Adam's credit, he's felt like he needs the reps. He's worked hard to be more consistent at the things we are asking him to do, so he's been a little bit more difficult to pull out of his reps. He likes to take them. Knock on wood, those guys have been working through it. We are always going to be conscious of Terence as much as we can. The good thing about Terence is when he's not in there, he's coaching the guy that's in there in his spot. He gets the vicarious visual rep and is coaching the guy up all the time. He's such a great pro that way.”
Are you still learning something about your defense? Have they surprised you in any way?
ML: “I think the thing is, when you play good defense, you really have to have a very short memory of what happens. In each situation, you’ve got to focus on that situation and go. If there is any kind of sudden change or whatever, you don’t have time to hang your head and worry about this or that or wherever they get the ball back. We kept giving them the ball at midfield and beyond yesterday at the end of the game. You don’t want to be in that situation, but to our guys’ credit, as we say, they didn’t flinch. That’s the first thing they all said to me after the football game; ‘Coach, we didn’t flinch.’ That’s what you can’t do, because if you flinch yesterday, he (Tom Brady) is going to zip that ball by you. We’ve got to keep working hard at getting takeaways. That’s the most important thing in the NFL, to take the football away. Defensively, the more you can take it away, the more opportunity you have to be successful, because, frankly, the other team’s offense isn’t on the field. You’re sitting on the bench drinking Gatorade and watching your offense work. That’s a good place to be if you want to play great defense. “
The last two home games were filled with plays that, if they went differently, could have changed outcome. Do you think going through that has a carryover effect for your team?
ML: “I hope it does. You have to work through adversity at some point in the game, generally. There are not many times when you don’t. We worked through a lot of adversity yesterday at the end of the game with jumping offside, fumbling the football, jumping offside, a roughing the passer penalty and those kinds of things. The big play down the field, the 53-yard gain, the ball caught down to the one-yard line, first-and-goal from the one. There were a lot of things where you had the chance to hiccup or flinch and we didn’t do that. We kept our eye on the prize.”
Your front four seems to feed off each other. Is that unusual in your experience?
ML: “No. You’ve got groups that spend a lot of time together, and the offensive line and defensive line are like that. You’ve got to credit (Domata) Peko and
Any optimism about Leon Hall being able to play this week?
ML: “I feel good about things. We’re early. Leon was very close to being able to play last week, so barring any kinds of setbacks, we should have an opportunity to get a couple of guys back and be ready to go.”
ML: “We’ll see, just as long as he doesn’t create any more penalties or he won’t get his opportunities. He’s caught it in practice.”
You talk about not flinching. How much did the sack by Geno on the second play of the game set a tone for the day defensively?
ML: “Everybody has been talking a lot about that. I mean, there was a lot of football left to be played. I think getting off the field on third down was probably more important, when they checked the ball down out in the flat and we make a tackle to make it fourth-and-one. Those kinds of plays, to me, are really significant plays. That was a third-and-three, I believe, and we did a good job down the field. They’ve got to come back and we make the tackle. It was Vontaze (Burfict) or Rey (Maualuga), I can’t remember who it was that made the tackle in the flat. That was a big play. Those are the kind of big plays. Geno did a great job early in the football game, but as the game goes on there are going to be plays that are so significant, and getting them off the field as much as possible on third down is so important.”