Bengals conference calls

Marvin Lewis

(on all the positive questions about his team)"They're always positive questions aren't they? The people around the city are having a good time.  I think we're doing as you want to do every year, and quite frankly, expect to do.  You've got your nose down, your head down and it really doesn't matter what goes on around you.  We're just treating everything week to week and going forward.

(on if the 16 turnovers surprise him)"I think obviously when you get half as many as we have that's a surprise.  We've done a good job of tackling.  We can continue to get better there, that's important.  That's an area that this football team really had to get better at in order to compete against the teams we compete against all the time.  The breakdowns we've had in our defensive football team have been tackling, and that's important.  We've changed some guys in and out, we've moved some guys around and that's helped us play better defense.  We've done a nice job of executing things.  We've been fortunate whatever happens when the ball is on the ground or in the air, we've made plays on it."

(on his first recollections about Dom Capers)"He's such an intense preparer, he's so detailed, so exact.  He's been just a tremendous friend but more than that a mentor, he and his wife Karen to myself and my wife Peggy.  Just a very, very close friend.  We wouldn't be having this conversation if it wasn't for Dom Capers.  I'm very grateful to him, and how he brought me along as a coach and the responsibilities that they gave me to allow me to grow and coach and do.  We had a very special coaching staff there in Pittsburgh and its funny when you remember back on those times just how special it was."

(on if Capers influenced his coaching style)"I think your personality and how you handle and deal with the players, the questions.  I think a lot of it, especially the detail of the game plan is a product of how we did things in Pittsburgh.  Our principles in the running game, and defending it, and the passing game are products of that.  So, a lot of things go back to him and the stars, frankly.  I've carried those principles through from when I became the coordinator in Baltimore, I took those things we did in Pittsburgh and took Bill Belichick's stuff and the front stuff from Cleveland and kind of merged things together because I retained the D line coach.  So, our principles continue and its funny when we add a player out of the system, he comes in here having a leg up already because he knows the verbiage, the terminology and the coaching points."

(on Chad Johnson as an entertainer opposed to a trash talker)"He's not being demeaning to anybody.  He just talks about himself and playing; he loves to play the game.  He loves to practice.  He loves to play football.  He's in this building every Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m., Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, Friday morning, he's just here – he comes with the building.  He just does his thing, and when you score touchdowns you are allowed to celebrate as long as it's not excessive.  He knows the penalty for that, and it's a huge penalty on the field and an even bigger one off the field.  I don't have to worry about him and those things.  He understands what he's allowed to do and what he can do.  He has fun playing the game and he competes each and every day, and he wants the guy across from him to compete just as well.  I think that's the thing that people who aren't around him every day don't know and the guys out there on the field, people who just hear or see something that is said, and then basically a lot of time over blown out of context.  Because if you ever read the gist, it's really not anything, but the headline sometimes has a bigger bite."

(on what it would take – division championship, playoffs or winning record – for him to do a Riverdance)"(Laughing) I think it would take a Super Bowl championship to get me to look like that."

(on how to keep team from being overconfident about 0-2 Texans)"Well, I mean we're only three weeks into the year and there are a lot of teams that either have won or haven't won to this point, and you've got to just keep playing.  We're not overconfident about anybody.  We've been down this road before.  We have played football teams, we've been in that situation, and so we understand that.  We played a team that was undefeated in the Kansas City Chiefs here two years ago.  So, we understand what it takes.  We know how the Texans got their season corrected last year after their start.  I made (our players) very aware of that this morning and showed them those things.  We're not going to go into the football game overconfident.  We're excited to be at home to play in front of our fans.  We've been on the road twice now already.  We play four of our first six on the road so we got to take advantage and enjoy our fans."

(on how bad Mike Brown wants to win)"(Laughing) Oh, I don't know.  Mike Brown wants to win very, very badly.  I think that was somewhat kind of hidden in everything the way people at least tried to enlighten me on the situation here.  They were really kind of uneducated on how badly he wants to win.  Every day when we sit and talk, I'm glad for him.  I'm very happy for him that he's somewhat vindicated in the whole thing and has a chance to go forward."

(on most influential personnel change)"Well, I've had an opportunity to do those things and that's what Mike's given me the task of doing.  He and I talk quite a bit about those things and we both hear from other people's opinions.  But ultimately, he lets me give him my decision and he obviously makes the final decision being the owner.  But, I've been very pleased with that working relationship and it was one frankly that people have tried to scare me from.  It's been the exact opposite; it's been great.  I enjoy that part of the game, I really enjoy evaluating players.  In college you've got to recruit them and here we just you pick them.  I love that part of the game, making sure a guy has what I think it takes to tick inside to be productive on this football team."

(on what the cornerbacks do for the defense)"They've really given us an opportunity to play good football.  I really believe the game is driven by your quarterback and your cornerbacks.  My experience in the NFL, I've really come to believe that's the way you play good football here and that's what drives me so hard on our guys in both areas of how important their jobs are.  I don't go a day without reminding those guys of that."

(on if Texans switching OCs is an issue in preparation)"It's a little bit of an issue but we're going to take this training camp mentality.  We're going to play the Houston Texans and be excited about it.  We know they are going have some things that are a little different.  They're going to have a little different play-calling philosophy, I'd imagine, with Joe P.  He's a fine, fine football coach, the kind of coach that players really rally around to play for.  So, they're going to be excited.  They've got a new beginning, and so do we coming out this Sunday."

(on what about Carson Palmer impresses him)"His ability and his humility.  When we picked him and as we evaluated him before the draft and getting to know him, those two things are what stood out so much.  But you're still not sure about either until you spend every single day around the person and the player.  And both areas – humility and ability – are just tremendous."

(on if part of him wants to show teams they made a mistake passing him up)"Well, I'm not showing anybody anything.  But all the coaches like the Dom Capers, the Bill Cowhers, the Dick LeBeaus and Brian Billicks and the people like that, the Ozzie Newsomes, that really believed in me and gave me an opportunity to be a coach.  And many, many guys before that.  And all the African-American coaches that have come before me as assistants and that I really looked up to.  Frankly, the Chick Harris' of the world, and guys like that, that when I was a young coach I looked up to and said 'Boy, I wish I could be like those guys some day.'  You've got a couple of those guys on your staff with Kippy and Chick, that hopefully everyday they're proud of the things we're doing and I thank them every chance I get for the opportunity they've provided for me."

(on how he prepares guys for struggling Texans' offense)"Well, this is an NFL football team and they've got some good players over there.  They've got some really talented guys.  We just played them here a couple of years ago so our guys are somewhat familiar with their ability and it was a very, very close football game.  So, we know what we're in for.  Again, any success we've had has been through preparation and hard work, and that's not going to change."

(on Rudi Johnson not getting much pub)"Rudi just comes every day and does his job.  He's a very steady performer.  He's a guy that gets better every time he touches the football.  He's on track with where he needs to be in our running game, he's very diligent in that.  He's been diligent in his protection and where he needs to be there.  He's an outstanding leader on this football team, somewhat quiet, but an outstanding leader.  He rallies the tough guys around him."

Bengals WR Chad Johnson

(on if anyone can cover him) "Yes, the IRS.  They've been on me quite a while."

(on doing the riverdance on Sunday) "I'm not sure.  The riverdance will not be repeated again.  It would have to be something a lot better.  Therefore each celebration will get better and better as it goes."

(on which corner on the Texans he's been eyeing)  "Playing the Texans, I'm looking at Dunta Robinson.  I'm studying Dunta.  I'm studying Phillip and I'm studying Demarcus Faggins, very good, very fast.  I haven't played this type of group yet all year so I have to do a little bit more homework on them with them being what I call complete cover corners."

(on who qualifies to be on his checklist) "Regardless of who I'm playing, all three of them names can't fit on there, so I put Phil on there and I'm just looking forward to the challenge because they are very, very good cover corners."

(on Phillip Buchanon) "I would think so.  A good week of practice to try and get back in that starting lineup would be a start.  I'm not sure what happened with the benching but I was looking forward to going up against Phil who is a friend of mine not only on the football field, but off.  It's just in our competitive nature to want to compete against one another and I'm sure he's looking forward to it."

(on how he became good friends with Andre Johnson) "Me and Dre go way back.  We go way back.  He was at UM and I always affiliated myself with those who went to the University of Miami, whether it was working out, going out, or just talking football.  We're all close, very close.  I'm looking forward to it, I haven't seen them in a while.  We all stick together, me, Andre, Phil and all the other players from Florida around the league.  We just have fun when we ever meet."

(on which Johnson will be the better receiver on Sunday) "I'm not sure, when you have a last name like Johnson, who knows what's going to happen." 

(on Keyshawn Johnson) "No I'm not giving him advice.  Keyshawn is one of the best receivers in the NFL and he's done it for awhile.  He doesn't need my advice."

(on the riverdance) "Yeah, you can't repeat the same thing twice.  This is entertainment.  Therefore you can't see the rerun.  It's like watching a soap opera.  There's never a rerun on a soap opera.  It's funny, but the thing is after doing the riverdance, whatever I do this week, if I'm able to get in the end zone, has to be better than the week before."

(on guaranteeing anything this Sunday) "I'm not allowed to do that anymore.  Coach Lewis took me out of the guaranteeing business.  After the Kansas City game, all I can say is we have a big test ahead of us playing the Texans.  For one, they're coming off their bye week and they're hungry.  I know they're hungry.  And they're solid on defense, especially the secondary.  That's what sticks out to me the most."

(on his outspokenness) "Everybody knows that if you know me, if you know my personality, that's not me.  It's nothing merely than a challenge to whoever I'm playing.  It doesn't matter whether you play d-line, linebacker, corner, it doesn't matter.  It's a fun thing.  It's about having fun.  This is the NFL.  Sundays at one o'clock you have to have fun and that's what I'm doing.  I bring excitement to the game to the outside world watching and also for those who are playing it within.  That's all it is."

(on being undefeated) "It feels good, but it's not satisfying yet.  It's good because we haven't done it in a long time but we can't get comfortable and we can't get complacent because we haven't done anything yet."

(on Marvin offering to dance with him if they win the Super Bowl) "You know what, he probably will."

(on the Bengals  defense) "They're playing unbelievable right now.  Last week was ridiculous, the week before that was ridiculous.  I don't know what Marvin's doing but whatever he's doing over there is unbelievable.  So I'm looking forward to them playing like that every week.  Who knows what might happen."

(on Carson Palmer) "Everything.  For one, we all know his physical abilities but now it's the mental that's going to take this team to the next level offensively.  Him knowing everything mentally that he sees in front of him.  Being able to read the coverages, make the right adjustments, make the right throws.  He's made that jump now to now basically, regardless of what the defense does, there's nothing that makes him uncomfortable.  And it's showing up week after week.  As the weeks go on, he's only going to get better and better."

(on what it took for him to get to this level) "Hard work.  Hard work.  I wish I could sit here and talk to y'all all day.  I have come from…school…was horrible in school.  Horrible.  And the only way I could get on the field was to hop that hurdle of school.  So that was my struggle.  The reason I work so hard, the way I do now, and I will never get comfortable until they throw me out the NFL when I'm like 48 or something, is because it was so hard for me to get to this point.  And I always remind myself about how hard it was to get here and when I got here I would never get complacent. And when I was here I would make it fun and do everything I can to show people that I was one of the best.  That's what I'm doing.  It's only my fifth year.  I have so much more to go.  I'm only scratching the surface.  I haven't reached my potential yet."

(on becoming the highest paid receiver in the game one day) "I don't know.  If God keeps me healthy, there's a good chance it could happen.  But who knows.  All I can do right now is focus on getting us to the playoffs.  That is my goal is to carry this city, carry this organization and do everything I have to do in power to get us to the playoffs and to the big dance."

(on matching up against corners) "I don't know how that works.  Going into the game against Houston, I'm not sure if they'll match a certain corner on me whichever way I go.  We basically just put a game plan in and whoever's in front of you is in front of you.  But what I do in those situations is I study everybody's strengths and everybody's weaknesses to a tee.  So depending on who I go against, I know what's good to work against them and what's not."

(on being double covered) "Yeah, it doesn't matter though.  I've been coached well enough to this point to where the double-team doesn't matter.  The first guy is really invisible.  I really don't see the first guy.  When you have a double team, everything is basically run off the second person.  So I'm really seeing it as single coverage still.  I can talk about the ins and outs of how I do the things I do.  It's just about being creative, man.  Running routes is an artwork.  I've gotten very good about it."

(on advice he'd give to Buchanon) "I don't know, he doesn't need any advice.  He's going to come out and play ball.  He's not going to back down.  In fact, he'd be talking trash right now if he was on the phone.  That's Phil.  I know him, he's very good.  That's why I still don't understand what's going on over there how he can't be on the field.  We're talking about a pure cover corner, both of them, him and Dunta.  You can't find that in the NFL right now.  There's not that many.  Champ (Bailey), that's one.  I'm talking about pure, leave you on the island, one-on-one by yourself and can hold your own.  You're going to get beat sometimes, yes.  You're going to get beat, you're not perfect.  But it's hard to find the types of corners they have over there in Houston.  I'm dead serious.  I've watched five years worth of film now and it's hard to find that type of player who can stand out there on the island and say 'I'm going to cover this guy one-on-one and do it."

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