Lewis News Conference 9/30
September 30, 2016 05:41 PM
Marvin Lewis News Conference

Paul Brown Stadium

Sept. 30, 2016

Opening Comments:

"It was good to play fairly well all night. All three phases handled the game correctly, with preparation going in and playing pretty sound. We had the one breakdown defensively, but otherwise we were in the right spots all evening. Offensively, our quarterback in the first twenty plays, threw five passes on what we had called as running plays, which shows his ability to handle the offense and understand it. He was four out of five on those throws. We give him the liberty to do that, and later it led to a touchdown. He continues to do a good job on his decision making, accuracy, and running the offense with good tempo.
"Overall, we came out of it fairly healthy, which is good in the short week. Now we have a little bit of time to take a look at us, see what we've done in four weeks, and get better. As we go forward, we have a lot of football ahead, and we have to play better moving forward. "

Is it underrated having Vinny Rey back on special teams?

"Vinny hands down was selected again captain of the unit. He continues to lead the meeting even when he wasn't an integral part of the unit. He takes real responsibility for that. He came in yesterday and had one or two tackles. The calmness that comes with it is good. We had George Iloka step up yesterday too, and play a huge role on special teams, which he hasn't had to do in a while. A lot of the young guys continue to do well. Josh Shaw is really coming into his own on both defense and special teams."

Were you surprised to see Vontaze Burfict with 75 percent of the plays?

"I was told he played only 27 plays. (Official gamebook says 36 out of 45). I don't really care how many he plays. He was able to handle what we asked him to handle. He ended up playing in the end of the game because of the situation, but that was fine. Part of getting back into football conditioning is playing football. When we had the two-score lead, we were able to get some more plays in there for him, which is good."

Does aspect of the game intrigue you as you self-scout?

"We were pleased yesterday with running the football. We were able to have production when we needed production. Sometimes it gets skewed at the end of the game when there's no threat to throw the ball and they're going to crowd the line of scrimmage. So your numbers get off a bit. Penalties hurt too in those situations, because they can squeeze up on you a little more. We have to continue to correct the breakdowns in every phase and every area of the football team."

Have you noticed A.J. Green taking more ownership over the offensive room as a leader?

"I think it's another step in what makes A.J. Green so special and fun to have him on your team. He takes responsibility. A lot has changed in the last year and a half in his life, which is great. We reaped the benefit of it yesterday, and we'll continue to the rest of the season. You feel good about watching him grow. It's just like the guys on the other side of the ball in Geno and Carlos. It's fun to watch them grow up."

Does he seem like someone who can handle everything thrown on him, even if you didn't want to do that?

"You can't go into the game and rely on that. He plays a position that if the defense wants to keep you from touching the football, they can do that. We have to keep figuring out ways to keep them from doing that. Like a three-point shooter, you want to give him his shots as much as he can. We can't do it at the expense of losing the football game or turning the ball over."

Andy Dalton seems to be throwing the ball a lot, but has been productive with it ...

"His vertical throws have been spot on. It counts for the yards per attempt. His ability to throw the ball based on the look has been really good as always. It's also the maturity and understanding of the rest of the group, and being able to handle that. The guys are also coming up and making the catches. We've had some drop passes and we want to eliminate those. We have to keep catching the football when he makes those throws."

What has changed in him, with his decreasing amount of interceptions?

"A lot of times people get into his mind that he has to throw the ball to number 18. We have a lot of other guys who can make plays. It's about reading it out and letting it happen. If it's designed and gets to 18 based on coverage, then great. If not, let it happen to the design of the play and where the weakness of what we perceive in the coverage is. Accurate throws come from clean pockets and everyone on the same page down the field in the routes."

How have the new guys been?

"Brandon LaFell has been fantastic. He'll continue to show his value to the football team not only as a player, but as a professional. Tyler Boyd continues to come on. James Wright has had his moments and done well. The tight ends, and Hewitt all continue to move forward and get better. Now the opportunity to have Eifert back will also raise our level."

Do you think Tyler Eifert will play vs. Dallas?

"We'll see."

How did you come out of the game, injury wise?

"I think we came out fairly good. We had some bumps, bruises, and sprains that you get, but from what I understand, we're in pretty good shape going forward."

Will you be gradual with his return? Or is that something you can't predict until you see him out there?

"It's a little different offensively than defensively. Defense you respond to the offense. Offense you can control things a little bit. We have a little better control over that."

How have you seen Ken Zampese come into his own with the offense?

"He's become really comfortable really quickly. To handling the drive, the penalty, the setbacks, all those things that occur all the time. Our timing of things has been good. We had one timeout I had to take in one of the games after a big chunk play, where we had to get back to the huddle. Yesterday we got into the huddle in 17 seconds, and that's not good for us, because a lot of the things we do are at the line of scrimmage. We need to afford the QB the opportunity at the line of scrimmage as much as we can. That comes from Ken as he processes the next call, the personnel, and all that.
"That's something that as a play caller, you have to keep getting more comfortable with. As coaches, we have to be concerned with what the opponent has done, how they've played certain teams. This is how people apply things to us in the balance of that, and you attack from there. What we may see is not their normal thing over the past few weeks. This is how people will respond to us and do these certain things.
"We have to understand and know that and go in having a plan for it. Most importantly, and what Ken has done a really good job of, and what Jay (Gruden), Hue (Jackson), Bob (Bratkowski) all did, was previewing that for the players. Come Friday morning or Saturday night, they are comfortable with what's going to happen and how it will unfold. I think we've been really good at that."

He's had to adjust to a lot of new personnel ...

"With LaFell and Boyd the new guys, and Kroft, Uzomah, and Ogbuehi, the guys who have played one year here, there's a variety of newness. If you look across the offense, there's six-seven guys at times that are brand new to the fold."

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