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Conference calls: Cincinnati Bengals


Wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco has 27 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco spoke to members of the Houston media via conference call.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis

(on the Bengals coming to Houston in 2002 at 0-7 and beating the Texans and the state of his team now) "Well, again, I wasn't here in '02, so I can't speak to that. I think where we are now is we haven't won any football games. We have to make sure to put together positive play, both a good start and a good finish to the football game. And that's what we need to be concerned about is each and every down and each and every snap and make sure we're doing it better. And put those plays together, one after another."

(on how much RB Cedric Benson is taking advantage of his new opportunity) "Well, I think Cedric has done a good job, and each week – obviously, he's not been with us for very long – he's able to learn more and more and some of the intricacies in the things that you do and becomes more and more comfortable."

(on what he has seen from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick the past few weeks) "I think Ryan has done a better job of managing the football game. He's done a better job of taking care of the football and realizing that he's not necessarily going to score two touchdowns on one play. You know, you have to take care of the football at all times. He wants to be quick and deliberate with the football, get through his progression. I think he's done a good job of paying more attention to detail of things he needs to see in practice and make sure that he feels comfortable in the different situations that come up in practice with the guys around him."

(on what he sees offensively from the Texans) "Well, I think (QB) Matt (Schaub), you can see a much more comfortable player than he played last season for the Texans. He's done a good job of really kind of playing with a personality and really kind of coming out. He's good with the ball. They do a lot of good things offensively with the play-action passes and the screens and things like that. He does a nice job of putting the football where it belongs and putting the ball in the weakness of the coverage. They have a group of big, physical receivers, which are impressive guys to watch on tape. The addition of (RB Steve) Slaton as a back and along with (RB Ahman) Green has given them two guys that can make big plays in the running game if they are given cracks and seams."

(on what the Texans are doing to open up WR Andre Johnson) "Well, I think they are creating things to get him the football and I think he does a good job. Obviously, there is some change week-to-week, and he seems to be doing a good job of handling that and being in the right spots to take advantage of those opportunities."

(on his impression of TE Owen Daniels) "He's a great receiving tight end. He's playing well. He does a good job of moving away from leverage. He seems to do a nice job of understanding football. He seems real comfortable as a receiver of the football all the time."

(on WR Chad Ocho Cinco and how difficult it is to get him the ball this year) "Well, Chad's been playing better and better. He had a very slow start because he missed most of training camp. He missed the entire offseason program with it and he had ankle surgery in late June, the middle of June, so he had a slow start to things and he had to recover from the shoulder injury, so he missed most of camp. So, it took him a while to get going and both of our receivers missed most of training camp. So, it's really taken them a while to get going and then, at the same time, our quarterback gets injured. So, they haven't had as much time on task with things. They've been playing better and better. Their practices have been better and better. Each and every week, you see kind of a return to form of what we're used to seeing."

(on if WR Chad Ocho Cinco has toned it down a little because of their record) "I don't know. As I tell the guys on most of these conference calls each week after they've spoken with Chad, I really don't have enough time in the day to figure out Chad's moods, so I'll let you guys figure that out. He wanted to know where I was at 1:30 this morning, what I was doing. So, I'm glad he's back and he's not the guy he spent the offseason trying to be. I've enjoyed him, and we're back to having our guy back and his spirit and how he goes about practicing and preparing. He's fun to have back in that fashion."

(on where he was at 1:30 in the morning) "Yeah, I was sleeping."

(on WR Chad Ocho Cinco saying that it's frustrating that they have been in a lot of games but haven't been able to finish) "We've not been starting very good offensively, and then we've really had a lapse at times and given up points in the fourth quarter defensively and not been able to put anybody away offensively in the fourth quarter. I think that's been the biggest shortcoming of our football season thus far. We're not getting off to a great start on offense, and (when) the defense has provided a couple of turnovers early in the football game, we've done very little with them."

Bengals WR Chad Ocho Cinco

(opening statement) "Is this everybody in Houston? I just want to start off by telling you guys I really love you guys, OK? I really do."

(on his friendship with Texans WR Andre Johnson) "Oh, man. That's my boy right there. I love 'Dre to death. We've been friends for a long time. In the offseason, we're always together in the offseason. We work out at the same places. He's a very good friend. We're going on, what, maybe nine or 10 years now. It's been a joy really watching him and really competing with him on I would say opposite sides of the world, but he's not that far away. Another person, I don't know if you guys know that Kevin Walter was here also with me. Kev's got to be the hardest working receiver in football, to get where you're at. If y'all get a chance, please tell him I said congratulations on all of the success and tell him that he still has the sexiest body in football, too."

(on how excited he is to see WR Kevin Walter take advantage of his opportunities) "I'm super excited. I'm super excited. Kev's got some of the most unbelievable teaching from one of the greatest receiving coaches, to me, that I've had a chance to deal with, and that was Hugh Jackson when he was here. Not only that, he was able to pick some of the things that T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) and I learned from one of our closest trainers as far as when it comes to playing receiver and running routes. And really, taking the skills that Kev learned here with the toughness and all of the pizzazz he already has as a receiver, it's no surprise he would be the starter on any team he was on opposite of whoever the number one is."

(on what he thinks about the year WR Andre Johnson is having) "He's a Johnson. What do you expect? He's done it before, year in and year out. The only thing that slowed him down, I think, last year, was the injury I think where he missed a few games. That's what you expect out of somebody like that, someone who is really a consistent Pro Bowler year in and year out. Maybe he doesn't make it year in and year out, but he's a Pro Bowl type of receiver. He can't be stopped. He's big. He's fast. So it's like you just pick your poison. At some point, he's going to beat you, regardless of what you try to do."

(on if WR Andre Johnson is as quiet around him as he is around here) "Uh, no, no. Uh, yeah. He's still the same. He's still the same. I had to think about it for a minute. He doesn't say much at all. If you get him to talk, it's got to be something important."

(on how WR Andre Johnson and himself became such good friends if he talks all the time but Johnson doesn't) "In Miami. In Miami, because I'm always talking 24/7 – always, always. I'm always challenging everybody. We're always together, and I'm always making jokes about football. I'm always talking trash, but it's unfortunate this year that it's not going the way – not just for myself, but for us as a team – the way I want it to. Usually, going against guys like this and being able to play against everybody from Miami, it becomes fun. But we're 0-7 right now, and that excitement is really not there."

(on how tough this season has been on him personally) "It's been tough personally, but I really haven't gone back and thought about what I said in the offseason and, somewhat, I kind of laid my bed and I kind of made the bed and I've got to lay in it. I come back and I talk, I don't want to say, yeah, sort of bad about the organization, and I come back and expect to be used the same way as far as production-wise. I mean, it's just not going to happen. I haven't complained about the opportunities that have come my way. Just when they come, I just made the plays. I'm trying to do everything I can to get out of this slump right now. I've been as positive as possible with the situation that we're in, despite what I said in the offseason. It was just more opinionated, that's all. I was really frustrated about the losing, and to start this year 0-7, you can only imagine how I'm feeling. But instead of taking a negative approach to it, I'm thinking of all of the things that I can do to help us get out of this situation. That's about it. That's all I can do."

(on the Bengals' start and how tough it is for him) "It's very difficult. For you guys that know how I play the game, I'm very boisterous. I'm very flashy, flamboyant. I love to pose challenges against opponents. I'm always saying something out of the ordinary to get myself ready to play, which most would call trash talking. But I have no room for it. I have no room to get myself going, so I'm approaching every game quietly and doing it in a way I've never done it before, and it doesn't seem to be going the way it should – not just for me, but us as a whole. And I'm trying to find that first win and I know when we get that first win, everything should be a lot smoother than it's going right now."

(on the offensive struggles and his impressions of Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) "Well, Ryan is getting better. He's getting better week in and week out. He's getting better. If you guys look at it, our entire season, we are in every game. We're in every game. We're in every game. I mean, the Steelers game, we were in the game with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. And you look at the score and think we got completely routed, but that's not how it was. It was 17-10 the entire time, and a couple of plays and you look up, you don't know what happened. But Dallas, we played well against all these teams, but we just have to learn to finish. When we watch film, it's just one thing here and one thing there, and that's what's been hurting us. We haven't played well as an offense, but as far as the quarterback position, Fitz is getting better and better and better week in and week out and at some point, it's going to bust wide open to where we look like the Bengals of old just throwing it, running it, catching it. One of the things we haven't done yet is we don't have as many explosive plays as we usually have, and I think those things are going to come."

(on how important it is to get the running game going and if RB Cedric Benson has surprised him) "Yeah. Oh, man, super powerful runner. He's really nice. I watched him when he first got in, and he runs the ball real hard. He had a couple of nice runs against the Steelers, who are very difficult to run against. But at some point, with him running the way he is and us having (RB) Chris Perry, that two-dimensional backfield like that, I mean, once they get going it can open up stuff. I'm not saying that we, as receivers, really need the running game to really open us up because I think we, our core, is so good that we can survive when the running game is struggling, but it makes it a lot easier for us."

(on if he sees RB Cedric Benson taking advantage of the second chance the Bengals are giving him) "Yeah, most definitely he is. He's taking advantage of it and he's doing a really good job, a very good job."

(on if there is anything other than the injuries and not finishing games that is missing from the Bengals) "Man, that's about it. The thing about the injuries, every team is going through it – the Patriots, I'm sure the Texans have injuries. Every team is going through it, and it's just something that you have to overcome. And it's not that big of a drop-off from the first string to the second string. I mean, there's a difference, but it can't be that big of a drop-off to where it effects your entire season. So we can't make that as an excuse. We just have to execute the plays that are called, and that's all. That's all there is to it."

(on if he'll talk to WR Andre Johnson before the game) "I'll probably call him once I get in town. I'll probably send him a couple messages to tell some of the DBs. That's about it."

(on if he trash talks to WR Andre Johnson) "No. I trash-talk to Andre to give the message to the DBs for me."

(on if Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall got in trouble for that) "He did? Yeah, I think so. I think so."

"What are the two starting corners' last names?"
(response from Megan Manfull of the Houston Chronicle) "Jacques Reeves and DeMarcus Faggins, and then Dunta Robinson came back last week."

(on if he remembers CB Dunta Robinson) "Yeah, I see Dunta in the offseason also. Tell Dunta I said be careful and congrats on getting back from that injury. And tell Jacques Reeves and Jacques Cousteau or whatever his name is… what's the other guy's name, Finnegan? Faggins. Tell them I said hello and it's on."

(closing statement)* *"Hey, again, guys, I love you. Please tell Kevin (Walter) and 'Dre (Andre Johnson) I love them and I'll see them when I get down there. Tell them to take me to dinner, to McDonald's. I'm a simple dude."

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