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Marvin Lewis news conference

Posted Aug 17, 2012

Opening Comments:
ML: “After watching the tape, I was again pleased with our effort, with our energy. I thought we really competed very well last night. Our guys are playing extremely hard on special teams. We’re getting some guys that haven’t done a lot of that, or they are coming from college or are just new to it here with us, and they’re really putting in some real positive and aggressive snaps.

“Offensively, we got off to a pretty good start yesterday. The fumbles kind of set us back a little bit. We’ve just got to do a better job of ball security. It’s very, very important, as we know. We really have to look at that and pay attention to that all of the time. It’s difficult to win games in the NFL if you give the ball away to the other team.

“Defensively, we did a good job other than when we got the phantom calls that extended the (Falcons’) first drive, so we were out there an extra three plays. We’ve got to look at those things and make sure we’re being critical of ourselves to avoid those situations. But after watching it, I don’t know what we’d do differently. As we got into the flow of the second quarter, we just did a little bit better job on the quarterback movement things, particularly in the zone defense we were in, and got better matchups and got where we belong in our spots. I think we came out of it fairly healthy. We’re having Jermaine (Gresham) evaluated today. He seemed to be the only one with anything very lingering. We’ve got the guys with the usual bumps and bruises that you have after a playing a football game. We’ll know a little bit more later today where Jermaine is. As I said last night, it shouldn’t be anything that holds him out of things for very long.”

When you say you couldn’t do anything differently, are you talking about the pass interference call on Terence Newman?
ML: “Yeah, Terence, and the same one with Leon. Leon got called for a play where I don’t see the foul. It’s something we’ve got to work through and go through, those calls on the back end there.”

You’ve talked about having more consistency in the running game. Is that also a matter of having time to prepare?
ML: “We have to maintain and get some consistency going in the running game. Whether created by scheme or movement, we’ve got to do that. That's part of it. When you gameplan, some of it comes together a little bit better than some other parts. We are pleased with the footwork and some of the things we are doing, so that part is good. We just have to keep doing it. Apply a little bit more when it becomes really important.“

Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling, the two new starting guards, got a good amount of playing time last night to work on timing and rhythm. Were you happy with how that went?
ML: “We had the first half four-minute and end of the game four-minute drills twice yesterday, and didn't do a very good job in either one of them. You want to be better than you were in both of them, because in both cases we ended up punting the ball back to them.”

Each of your three quarterbacks last night had a good passer rating:
ML: “Yeah, we made some good decisions overall. Guys got us in and out of plays, got the ball in and out of our hands. We just have to keep after it. Like you said, we have new guards and different guys playing center in there. All of that, and that timing, has to keep getting better.”

Although not much stock is ever put into preseason records, is there any significance at all for being 2-0 with a team that’s still young?
ML: “Not really, but like I said in my opening statement, just keep being competitive. Each time, each play, each snap you are out there keep trying to win your battle against the guy you are playing against. If you keep doing that, good things will happen. That is the only thing we are trying to attempt to do. When we go into the game, a guy doesn't know whether he is going to play 12, 20 or 40 plays. It's just a matter of how the game unfolds, and when I feel like the guy has had enough, we are going to make a change and put another player in at that spot. We are doing well at that. And every time your number is called, go out there and compete.”

Taylor Mays and Vontaze Burfict have had similar head injuries in each of the two weeks. Style-wise, is that something you can look at and re-teach, or were they such bang-bang plays that the injuries were unavoidable?
ML: “He is going to play football the way he knows how to play. He can't play football at half speed. Just got to keep playing.”

Taylor Mays said he was actually going to sit down with you and Mike Zimmer to talk about how he can avoid colliding with his own players:
ML: “There’s only one way to play. Maybe there’s some things that he can keep working on in practice to make sure when he gets into the finish point of those plays that his head and eyes are staying up. That would be the only thing that I would say he can continue to work at. That’s one thing that you can at least strive to work on in practice, to keep your head and eyes up when you get into those collision points, which really will help him down the line as part of being part of the adjustments in the rules. That will help him.

“He’s playing a position, I would say, where our guys are knocking the tail off of folks right now. It’s evident on tape that when balls are getting caught, those guys are getting hit. That’s a good thing. They’re playing very physical back there. We’ve got pretty good, tight coverage, and we’re running them into tight spaces. That’s what you want to have, because that will make a difference down the line. Last night we didn’t get those tipped balls. As you keep tipping balls in the air and getting your hands on balls, those will start to fall your way.”

Has it been tough for you to evaluate corners in games because of the amount of guys you’ve been missing?
ML: “Yes and no. I think I know the guys that have been out there are the guys I can count on. I think that’s important. As the old adage goes, you can’t make the club in the tub. That goes without saying. You know well enough that I need 53 guys I can count on most every time out there, and I think that’s important.”

Do you anticipate getting Jason Allen back this week?
ML: “He’s going to begin to do some work. Jason is one of those guys that you’ve got to kind of hide his helmet after a bit, because he ended up reinjuring himself, because he did too much his first day back. So, he’ll take a gradual couple of days to get back into it.”

Is Adam Jones the same way, too?
ML: “Adam’s very similar. Very similar. We thought by holding Adam out of the last game he’d be better. Time will take care of business, I guess.”

It looked like Dre Kirkpatrick and Ryan Whalen were getting some good on-field work before the game. Are they getting close to returning?
ML: “Yes.”

Could Kirkpatrick return this week?
ML: “We’ll see. It won’t be today.”

Overall, how do you think your cornerbacks held up?
ML: “They did a pretty good job. Again, there are things we can do better. But it’s kind of the same thing, as far as your preparation, with some of your ‘overs’ and getting in the hip pocket a little better, and we’ve got to get some help from underneath. Again, I thought we were banging guys, we were pretty tight in coverage and we were forcing them out of progression. We threw the timing off a couple of times. That’s what you want to have. He (the quarterback) escaped the one time because we weren’t coordinated in the rush pattern. So it’s just things like that. You’ve just got to keep working. It’s so much about 11 guys working together all the time. We’ve got to keep working at it. That’s a good offensive football team, and it was a good opportunity last night for our guys to go out and play against somebody like that.”

You have another good offensive team coming here next week in Green Bay, though 17 of their players sat out last night’s preseason game:
ML: “They went through that (in 2010) and they ended up winning the Super Bowl. They went through that in the regular season, and they ended up hoisting that trophy at the end of the year. So their guys have been resilient. They’ve found a way to get the next guy up and in and playing at a high level. It’s unfortunate now that they’re going through some injuries. I don’t know if they’re expecting guys back or when they’ll get them back. But we all go through it. It happens and it seems to wear down a position. We’ve kind of had that at the defensive line and secondary here.”

What are your impressions of rookie DTs Devon Still and Brandon Thompson?
ML: “I’ve been really pleased with those guys. They’re what we expected and better. Every opportunity for them to get out there and get going will continue to help them help us for the regular season.”

How important is that, considering the depth you lost on the defensive line in the preseason?
ML: “It’s very important for us. Otherwise you’re looking for stop-gap players. These guys are going to be players here for a while. The time invested in them is really good because it’s all the upside potential. You’re training your guys. You aren’t having to re-train a guy off the street with his own habits. So that’s been good. Jamaal Anderson has been terrific in that way. He’s a really good person, a really good guy. He’s smart, understands the game and has fit right in.”

You were better than 50 percent on third-down conversions last night. Are you pleased with that?
ML: “Yeah. To be almost 50 percent, that’s a key element. We just have to continue on pace. The good part of that is we’re getting the execution and the protection, and the quarterbacks are doing a nice job.”

On the one touchdown drive, Andy Dalton had a few third-and-longs but still went three-for-three:
ML: “It's key. He's playing very, very well. He does nothing but get a little better every time out.”

Do you expect Pat Sims to be back this week?
ML: “Pat is improving all the time and he's getting closer. It's just a thing where you want to make sure a guy can withstand the rigors of practice and playing in a game before you take him off that list. We've only got two weeks to go. We've got to make a major decision on whether or not to do that. So they have to prove to us that they're ready.”

Now that it’s winding down, what is your reaction to the first training camp here?
ML: “From my standpoint, it's gone excellently. I think everybody upstairs feel very, very good about it. Hopefully the fans and everyone else that have experienced it feel just as good about it. There are some things we've learned from and been able to do a little better as we move forward and make it a little more comfortable. From the players' standpoint, they feel good about it, and there are some things we can to do help improve their atmosphere. As I've said a couple of times in here, I think the people at the stadium, from the grounds crew and Aramark, and the people in marketing and so forth, have done a, excellent job in providing a great environment here.”

The new grass practice fields seem to have held up well. You were talking about alternating with the far field in a rotation to save the bigger one closest to the stands:
ML: “We'll probably spend a little time over there today, but yes, it's done well and we'll be able to practice on that one here as soon as we close it up to the fans after Sunday. So the rotation of things has been pretty good, and we'll give that one we’ve been working on (closest to the stands) a rest for a bit and be able to come back to that later in the fall.”

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