STEELERS at BENGALS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2009 KICKOFF 4:15 P.M. PAUL BROWN STADIUM
BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS PRESS CONFERENCE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
"After looking at the tape, there's a lot of correction to be made, and a lot of improvement to be done as we move forward. I think the guys all understand that. We did some good things, but all-in-all we've got a lot of things to get corrected. It's difficult to overcome 10 penalties in the first half, or whenever we had them. The two turnovers, as we had, make it very difficult, as well. We've got to just keep chopping wood defensively and create some turnovers. Right now we're just not getting them. We've just got to keep chopping wood in order to make those things happen and come away with some on our side. On special teams, we need to be just a little more diligent at some of our blocking and assignments in the return game. And have our specialists continue to get better in their phases. All-in-all, we're glad to win, but again, there's obviously a lot of correction to be made.
You mentioned a few times in the preseason about your guys having "lazy" or "sloppy" hands when blocking, and how it was leading to penalties. Was that the case yesterday as well?
"We can move our feet, and get ourselves in better position to try and avoid some of those things. It's a different standard that's being officiated right now in those things, so we've got to clean it up and make sure we meet the standard."
Health-wise, how did the team come out of yesterday's game?
"We came out of the game in good shape. We should go into this week just like we finished last week, maybe a little better. We have a chance to have a couple of guys join us on the practice field. Two of the three guys who haven't been practicing, other than Andre (Smith), have an opportunity to get some work in this week. So we'll see how they do."
What did you see as you broke down Carson's two interceptions on tape?
"He just didn't do what he's supposed to do, and he's got to improve on that."
There were a couple of times Aaron Rodgers couldn't find anyone to pass the ball to because there was nobody open downfield. Were you pleased with your team's coverage yesterday?
"I thought the guys did a good job in the back end. There were a couple of times late (in the game) where we didn't get matched up as well once he scrambled, and he was able to come back and find the guy. But we did a lot of good things. And you're right, a lot of the sacks that we ended up getting were because there was nowhere to go initially in the coverage, and the verticals were defended over the top, and so he had nowhere to release the ball to."
How do you think your receivers on the perimeter worked against a secondary with three players who have made the Pro Bowl?
"I thought we did a good job. We just have to keep playing. I thought our guys did a lot of good things. I thought our receivers improved in their blocking. They still need to do a better job, which will create more yardage for us in the running game. We really have to keep honing in on that, and pushing to do better than that. We didn't have a dropped ball in the receiver group, other than the one Daniel (Coats) had wide open. So we've got to make that catch and do a better job, again, with ball security throughout with Daniel."
What does Jerome Simpson need to show you in practice in order to make you feel comfortable with moving him to the active list on Sundays?
"The NFL (would have to) expand the roster to 47 people. We can suit up only 45 (players). So if they gave us 46 players, maybe Jerome would get suited up. Again, my personal conversations with Jerome will stay personal, just like they will with any other player."
Is there a different feeling and mindset during the week after a win, as opposed to after a tough loss like last week against Denver?
"I don't think so. I think you guys kind of talked them into some of those answers. Really, most of the time a player's memory is very, very short. They get over losing a lot quicker than the coaches do. So I don't think the players have any lingering effects. When Wednesday rolls around, it's time to prepare, and Wednesday morning they're on to the next opponent. Most of the time, they're onto the next thing on Sunday evening, too often. So I don't think that's much a factor in that. It's good to win, but we've got to go back now. It's a new week, and a new opponent, and you get back after it."
When you signed Quan Cosby as an undrafted free agent, did you envision he could have this sort of impact so quickly on the team?
"We thought Quan (Cosby) had a chance to compete for a job on our football team. Obviously what he's done has exceeded those expectations. He's done very well."
What makes Quan Cosby so good at what he does on special teams?
"We're only in Week 2. We have a lot of football left to play. Early on, the decisions he made weren't as good as we would like. He's had better decisions the last couple of times out. So he's just got to keep working at it and go, and get himself in good position to field the football, first of all, and let him execute the return from there."
Kyle Cook seems to be doing a good job in terms of communication and recognition against teams who give a few different looks. He seemed to handle the crowd noise well, too. How do you assess his performance?
"He did a good job up there. As he keeps playing with the other guys, he needs to keep identifying things and seeing it the same way. As you said, particularly in the end-zone areas it got very, very loud. You just have to keep working at that, and getting better, and better at it, and keep going."
Could you have anticipated that Antwan Odom would have seven sacks by now?
"I don't know that you would anticipate a guy having seven sacks, but we brought Antwan here to hopefully develop into being a fine, fine defensive end -- which included rushing the passer -- and he's doing those things right now. Just have to keep going."
Antwan thinks his weight gain (20-30 lbs. over the offseason) has helped him. Would you agree?
"I think kind of re-positioning, redeveloping his body has helped him quite a bit. He gained a lot of upper-body strength maybe that he didn't have, that he was a little short of when he got here. He's been dedicated to that, and that is a good thing. Whatever thing he thinks is helping him, as long as it keeps helping, that's good."
How do you think Robert Geathers has played opposite of Antwan Odom?
"Robert played very well yesterday. He had a lot of pressures and was close to making a lot of sack plays. Like I've said, a lot of guys contribute to someone (like Odom) having that kind of day of sacking the quarterback. It's the coverage, it's the other rushers being in the right spots. We need to keep doing better at that. We left some sacks out there that we should have had, so we've got to be more disciplined and stay aware of the quarterback. Obviously we're going to play a quarterback that can move and run this week in Ben (Roethlisberger). So it's very, very important that we continue to stay aware of the quarterback and anticipate and have vision on his movement."
What have Rey Maualuga and Michael Johnson given this team?
"I think really quality work that has really contributed to the defense doing well. They fit a role of athleticism, they fit a role on special teams. They've made plays in both areas, both guys. And they'll continue to grow as the season goes on and they get more and more opportunity. But they've gotten a good start getting their feet wet in the NFL. You see at the end of the game the conditioning level that you've got to have to finish out the game and be stronger and faster than the other group when you're in there at that point. And I think Michael's getting aware of that now as far as a pass rusher goes. And it's good. This has been good work for them and good opportunity, and they'll do nothing but get better as the year goes on."
Is it comforting to have a player like Kevin Huber at punter who can change field position?
"It is. Kevin has done excellently. His last punt of the day there from the 35 wasn't as good as Kevin can do. We want it to be a little higher, a little stronger. And we've got to keep working at that, getting the right hit there at the same spots. But he's definitely contributed in the first couple of weeks. He had a great hold yesterday on a couple of snaps. So we've just got to keep going and him keep working at it."
Chris Henry had only the one TD catch. Did they do something similar to Denver to keep him in check?
"Playing the first team makes a big difference, you know? You guys saw Chris play (in preseason) against guys that are probably not on NFL teams right now. And that makes a big difference. So if Chris keeps doing what he's supposed to do, and keep doing it right, opportunities will come. But we're not going to force the ball and get opportunities. He had one big chance for one big catch down the sideline yesterday and wasn't quite able to come up with it. But he did a good job in there blocking yesterday and he contributed a bunch of other ways. He had the big touchdown catch, as you said, and did a great job on that play getting his feet in. But the preseason is just that, it's the preseason, and guys get matched up for different reasons against different players."
Laveranues (Coles) seemed to bounce back from a bad opening game ...
"Yeah, Laveranues again, like Chris, didn't get as many opportunities in catching the football, but excelled in the other areas. and Andre (Caldwell) had the same thing and made some big third-down catches and a good run after the catch on the hot. So we just have to keep going, and Chad's got to keep blocking better. He had his moments, but we've got to be more consistent all the time. That's a big part of it. He's got some correction to make, and come skinny on the slant and make that catch and don't let them get inside him. So that's the good thing. We've got a lot of correction to do, we know we can do a lot better, and we've got to get to work at it."
What was involved in the botched onside kick recovery?
"We didn't execute it as well as we should have. You should recover the onside kick. I mean, gosh, that's about a 10 percent probability of the other team recovering it. We've got to do a better job than that. I'm actually glad they'd taken the field goal and gone onside, now the game's over at that point basically. So we should handle that kick and do a better job."
You guys play three straight division games. Does it help to start off a stretch like that with a game against Pittsburgh?
"I didn't even realize we had three division opponents back-to-back. It doesn't matter what comes after them. This is the game that's on tap, Pittsburgh at home. It's a division game, it's a home game, so it's a big weighted game."
You've played 3-4 defenses every week. Does that give the offensive line some continuity to be facing the same sort of defense every week?
"We've been saying that since we opened up camp, that at least as far as spacing goes, identification, we were going to face the 3-4's this year, I think for quite a bit. I'm not sure who the first 4-3 team is that we play, it might be Chicago. But we go for a while, so I think from that standpoint that's been good. Guys are settled in. The guys that give the look on the other side of the ball, they're settled in to their spots. They know where they'll be all week."
With Dom Capers in Green Bay, did you see some schemes yesterday against the Packers that are similar to Pittsburgh?
"There are some things that are very similar to what Pittsburgh does that Dom has incorporated into what they're doing, particularly in the third-down stuff and so forth, some of the first- and second-down stuff. So yeah, it's similar. Obviously, Dick (Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau) wrote the book on this now. Dick's done a great job, and these guys have been doing it since '93, the first time we started doing some of this stuff, some of it in '92. So you have the same people in place for a long period of time, and so that makes a little bit difference of the rate of play and so forth and the speed and the tempo."
I know you don't listen to the media and talk radio, but you have a positive buzz with fans and a home game this week. Are you looking forward to the excitement in the stadium this Sunday?
"As I said last week after the Denver game, the fans were outstanding, the crowd was great and we anticipate having another fun afternoon and a great crowd and getting them a win. They did a great job, I thought, against Denver. It made a real advantage for us. We hope to have the same advantage this week, so it will be fun. You saw the effects that a crowd has on a team on the road yesterday again for us, as we had the false-start there on the goal line. So those things are important. You just have to spend a lot of time preparing for that and being in the right spots, and you only get eight chances in the regular season to have that to your advantage."