Head Coach Bill O'Brien
T Duane Brown
ILB Brian Cushing
TE Garrett Graham
G Ben Jones
QB Ryan Mallett
ILB Mike Mohamed
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on if he has regretted not going with QB Ryan Mallett earlier in the season) "I knew that question was coming. I didn't know it would be the first one. No, I haven't. I haven't. We always try to make decisions that are best for the team. As we went through the beginning part of the season, the first half of the season, we tried to evaluate game to game and week to week each guys' performance and
the team's performance and each unit's performance. We did what we did. We felt like those were the best decisions for the team, so after the Philadelphia game, we came into a bye week there and we really had a chance to sit down and look at what our team needed, what was best for our team. And one of the things we felt we needed was a quarterback change, and so that's what we did."
(on if the change to QB Ryan Mallett was about his advancement) "A lot of it had to do with that. A lot of it had to do with what he had seen from the time he was traded to us to that point. Meaning, when he got here, how was he with his command of the offense, how much had he grown as a professional football player, how much had he grown in his knowledge of the offense. And again, yesterday he did a good job. He did a solid job, but he made mistakes. It was one game. There is a lot of things that we need to clean up with a lot of players, including him, but it was a good start for him."
(on what he pleased him the most about QB Ryan Mallett's play) "I thought that his, kind of like what I was saying I had seen at practice I saw in the game, the huddle command, the ability to get us into the right play at the line of scrimmage, his poise on the sideline, his communication with his teammates on the sideline. I thought he was decisive for the most part in the passing game. I had him down for two poor decisions. When you throw the ball whatever it was, 30 times, and you only have two poor decisions, that's not bad for a first start. Those were the things that I had seen in practice and it was good to see that in a game."
(on picking up the pace on offense) "That's one thing that I had seen in practice. He (Ryan Mallett) understood the rhythm that we wanted to play. He had performed that well in practice. When we continually saw that week-to-week, we knew that he was a guy that when he got into the game, that he would know how we wanted to play. Up-tempo, huddle-tempo, in-between tempo, he has a good grasp on those things."
(on the development of RB Alfred Blue and if he sensed that he was up for a breakout game) "He had 36 carries and had 156 yards. He had plenty of chances to get over 100 yards. We gave him the ball 36 times. He did a good job. Don't get me wrong, but I don't think he's headed for Canton quite yet.
He did a good job, but we knew that when we drafted him that we felt we had a guy that was a smart player, a tough player, a really good teammate, a guy that could fill a lot of different roles. Obviously he can play running back, he's been good on special teams for us and he's our personal protector on our punt team. It's very difficult to come in as a rookie and be the personal protector. You have to bark out the signals, you have to understand the looks and things like that. He's done a really good job with those things. And then yesterday he did a really good job running the football. He knows, like I told him today, that you're only as good really as your next game. How are going to perform in your next game. That's the most important game."
(on the play of the offensive line) "They probably played their best game of the year. They blocked well, they protected well, they blocked well in the running game, they protected well in the passing game and there was good communication. Of course there are certain plays that they all wish they could have back. Maybe a bad snap here, a holding call here, a poor landmark here. We've got to fix some of these things moving forward. Overall, those guys I thought played a whale of a game. (Duane) Brown, (Ben) Jones, (Chris) Myers, (Brandon) Brooks and Derek Newton, those guys all played a good football game."
(on QB Ryan Mallett saying he's focused on the next start and not celebrating his first NFL win) "I think he realizes, again I think a lot of it has to do with how he's been trained over the years. He knows that, OK, he went out and played a solid game against a good Cleveland team and he knows as soon as that games over you have to start thinking about Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a really good football team, had a great win yesterday over New Orleans. I'm sure he was already starting to watch their tape on the plane on the ride back from Cleveland after he reviewed the Cleveland game. I'm sure he watched that and then moved on to Cincinnati on his own. That is some of the things that we see that we like about him."
(on if RB Alfred Blue's performance gives him confidence in him moving forward with RB Arian Foster possibly missing more time) "I have a lot of confidence in Blue. I really do. I didn't think twice about him having the start in that game. Of course, Arian Foster is a proven player in this league. He's a really, really top notch running back. But at the end of the day, injuries occur, so the next guy has to be ready to step up no matter who you are. Whether you're a veteran player or a rookie player, I think we all had confidence that Alfred would step in there and do the job."
(on how important was it to get TE Garrett Graham involved) "That was good to see. That was really
good to see because I don't think he's been involved enough. Especially on that two minute drive where we hit him twice there, those were two good throws, two good catches, two good routes, two different type of routes. One where he had to get open verses man coverage and one where he had to get his head around verses zone coverage when he was free up the seam there. He had to do two different things there. That's a credit to Garrett Graham and a credit it to Ryan (Mallett) for getting him the ball, credit for the line for protecting well on those plays. It was good to see."
(on the impact SS Danieal Manning has made since arriving right before the start of the season) "He's just a great guy, great teammate, great in the locker room, great special teams player. Made a tackle on the kickoff yesterday, had a kickoff return, started at safety, did a nice job there at safety, had some big plays, had a big fourth down play at the end of the game. A guy that practices hard, he's played a lot of football in this league. We've got a lot of respect for him, our coaching staff to him. And he's been a really good addition to our football team."
(on P Shane Lechler saying that he did not have a good game yesterday) "Shane is one of the best punters really to ever punt to be honest with you. Shane, when you look at Shane's stats and what he's done over his career, yesterday was his 200th straight game, I mean, that's unbelievable. No, I would say yesterday probably wasn't one of Shane's best outings, but he'll come back. Nobody knows more about punting then Shane. He'll fix his mistakes or correct his technique. He'll be back ready to go for Cincinnati."
(on if the run defense was the best it looked all year) "Yeah, I mean, they held them to under 60 yards. I think that's probably one of the better performances of the year for our defense. I think our front played well. Obviously our defensive line—J.J. Watt, what more can you say about him—but other guys played well, too. I thought Brian Cushing and Akeem Dent in the middle, they played well. I thought for the most part we set the edge well with (Brooks) Reed and (Whitney) Mercilus and
(Jadeveon) Clowney did a decent job when he was in there. (Jared) Crick played well; (Jeoffrey) Pagan got in there in the fourth quarter, made a couple plays. That was good to see. Ryan Pickett, he went in there did a good job. I think that was the 201st game or something like that he's played in. He's a veteran player that's done a really good job for us, too. I think (Jerrell) Powe got in there and did a decent job of holding the point. Everybody worked together and overall we did a good job of stopping the run."
(on QB Ryan Mallett's arm strength showing up in mid-range passes) "That's part of it. He does a good job of understanding when we're going fast. He tries to take a pre-snap picture of what he sees and he can process that pretty well. He did a lot of that in college with Bobby Petrino at Arkansas. He did a lot of that. And then obviously in New England he did a lot of that in practice and coming here. We're trying to get our offense in a better rhythm and he helped us do that yesterday. Arm strength, it's that, but it's also the timing and the placement of the ball. Overall, that was pretty good yesterday, although on the one play on fourth and 3 to Andre (Johnson), he rifled that ball, but it was a little bit inside and Andre made just a great catch on that play. The receivers, Andre, (DeAndre) Hopkins and D.J. (Damaris Johnson), did a decent job of catching the ball for him for the most part."
(on what the biggest thing for OLB Jadeveon Clowney is moving forward) "Consistency. Consistency, being able to do it week-to-week, day-to-day. He's a disruptive player when he gets in there and he's got the ability to really disrupt plays. When he understands his role and what his job is in the different packages that he has and keeps getting a better understanding of those things, he's going to be more and more disruptive as he goes. I just look for consistency with all the rookies."
(on the play of ILB Akeem Dent recently) "I'll tell you what. He has, over the last three games, been one of the more improved players. He's playing physical. He's doing a good job blitzing. He's doing a good job on special teams. He's done a nice job for us over the last three games. He keeps getting better. I think yesterday he did a good job of stopping the run and blitzing the quarterback. He had a tackle for a loss, he was in, I think he had a sack on (Brian) Hoyer. The guy has done a good job and he just needs to keep it going."
(on if he likes where the team is knowing that there are divisional games left on the schedule and a path to the playoffs) "I think anytime it's around Thanksgiving and you're still in the hunt, that's a good thing. You're in the 11th game of the season and you're still there. There is a lot to play for. That's big. That's big. That's what I explained to this team this morning. They know that. They understand that. I think what we did was, the bye came at a pretty good time for us relative to this game, this past game, and we had a good week of practice. We had a lot of energy. We need that every day. We can't afford to have a bad practice. Of course, bad plays happen, but not bad days. You can't have a bad day. You have to have good practices, a lot of energy and keep this thing going. Hopefully we can keep creating turnovers on defense, try not to turn the ball over on offense, we've got to play better on special teams. But it's like I said, last week it was seven one-game seasons; now it's six one-game season. Cincinnati is a very difficult challenge."
(on teams now having more film of QB Ryan Mallett and if there will be adjustments that defenses will make) "So last week they had seven plays. So now they have 84 more plays, I guess. They have some more film, but it's still one game. Every week is a different challenge. Cincinnati presents a different challenge to us than Cleveland based on their personnel, based on their scheme. We're a game plan offense. Week-to-week, there are certain things that we will always do. We're going to try and establish the run, take care of the football, be in manageable third downs. But as far as what plays we run and things like that, that will be different week to week."
(on DEA agents speaking to a couple NFL teams about illegally prescribing drugs and if he has any concerns within the organization) "Not at all."
(on the play of Bengals QB Andy Dalton and the return of WR A.J. Green) "There is a good point right there is that A.J. Green was back for them this week against New Orleans. Andy Dalton is a good player. I worked him out at TCU when he was coming out, so I remember him coming out of college. Smart guy, tough guy, good accurate passer; all these young guys, these younger quarterbacks, they've all had their ups and downs. It's those guys that fight through it that end up being successful in the end, and Andy has done that. He's fought through some ups and downs. He's a good player. He presents a lot challenges to our defense."
(on the play of CB A.J. Bouye in place of the injured CB Kareem Jackson) "I think A.J. went in there and did a decent job. I'm sure there are some plays that he wishes he could have back. I thought he made some plays and then there are things that he needs to get better at and he needs to get more consistent at. He's a young player. He's only in his second year. He's got all the skillset that you're looking for in that position. He just needs to keep trying to be as consistent as he can be."
(on if he has an idea of when CB Kareem Jackson will be back) "No, I don't."
(on how big ILB Brian Cushing was for the defense) "I think anytime you get a guy back like that, that means a lot to that defense. He's a playmaker. He blitzed Brian Hoyer twice and he hit him very well. I think that affected them a little bit. He played good in the running game. He was a leader out there calling the defensive signals. I thought he played a good football game."
(on if the fast tempo is something fans can start to expect from the team) "Our guys like playing fast. They really do. They enjoy the tempo that we play at whether it's even just a quick play in the huddle and getting to the line of scrimmage fast or it's just going no huddle. I thought the drive at the end of the half was a two minute drive. That was a good drive. I thought that there were a couple drives in there where we just went to the ball and Ryan (Mallett) got us to the ball and we were able to get into the right play and get into a rhythm that way. Or there were times where we huddled during the drive and we were able to get in and out of the huddle at a good pace. Those guys enjoy playing at fast paced. Hopefully we can continue to mix those tempos up."
T Duane Brown
(on the offensive line clicking) "We're really been working hard the past couple of weeks, trying to get in sync, trying to improve individually as players. As a unit overall, I think the main thing came down to communication. I think we did a great job of preparing for what to expect this week. Especially on the road in that kind of environment, being able to run the ball like that, it was a great feeling."
(on the offensive line starting to click within the new system) "It's tough. It's tough, you know, we've all been working hard throughout the offseason, throughout training camp to try and get adjust and acclimated to the system. But once you get into live action week-to-week and different game plans week-to-week, it's tough, but we're all professionals and this is our job to learn as much as we can as quickly as possible. I think we've all been doing that throughout the year. I think yesterday was a good result of a lot of preparing and a great game plan put into action."
(on the quarterback not getting sacked) "That's always the goal going out there. To keep him clean, we really knew we had to do that this week in order to be successful and in order for him to be successful. He's a good quarterback. He has a lot of talent. You're able to showcase that when you're able to set your feet and deliver the ball effectively, and that was what he was able to do. They had a good defense with some pretty good pass rushers. To not give up any sacks on the road like that, it's a great feeling for us."
(on QB Ryan Mallett's performance against Cleveland) "I think he did great. I think from the operation, getting out of the huddle, to getting us to the right play at the line, to deliver the ball well. The only interception he had was made a by a great player and a great play on the ball in the end zone. Other than that, he delivered the ball well, got us a great two minute drill to get us points at the end of the half and it was a great overall performance I thought."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on how he feels the day after a game) "I feel healthy. It's nice to be back out there. Good to be back playing football."
(on if it's reassuring how he played yesterday) "Yeah. I know in my mind I'm going to be fine. Maybe everyone else thinks differently. I know who I am. When I'm healthy, good things come."
(on what percentage he would put his health at) "I'm not sure. I just feel good. That's the bottom line. I don't really have a percentage or a measuring stick of where I am, but I feel good. Like I said, when I'm feeling good, good things happen."
(on being back out playing and not having to think about his injury) "I was just playing football. I was just reacting, having fun. That's the bottom line. Went out there and felt good."
TE Garrett Graham
(on the pace of the offense with QB Ryan Mallett) "He's been in the system a while and I think he knew ahead of time how he wanted to play the game with up tempo pace. Just really seemed to be on top of it. I thought we ran the ball well. That opened up the pass game. Just looking to continue to do that this week and have a good week of practice."
(on what it is about the up-tempo that excites the team) "I think it's a rhythm thing. That's how we go out and practice every day. It kind of traps some guys for the defense on the field, so we're able to take advantage of that sometimes. Just kind of maybe gets the defense a little bit more tied. I think that helps to our advantage and maybe they're not set or where they're supposed to be. I think that can only help us."
G Ben Jones
(on how it helped his development working with C Chris Myers) "Chris is like a coach on the field. He's a guy that's done it for so many years. Seeing how hard he works and just seeing his high level of play this late in his career, he's a tremendous athlete. And just seeing that and what he does, you kind of adapt to some of his behaviors. How he prepares for games, how he prepares his body, how he treats his body, and I try to adapt some of that into my schedule every day."
(on how satisfying was it to have a big game running and to limit the defense to zero sacks) "It was nice. That's the thing as an offensive line, we work out there, we really want to run the ball good and protect our quarterback, and I think we did that pretty well yesterday. That's our goal every week. Yesterday we were clicking on all cylinders, which is nice. That is what we strive for every week."
(on what was clicking for the offensive line) "It's been like that all year, but we just couldn't get it every series, every play in a row. Yesterday we finally put it together. It's always good to come off a bye week and start fast like that and get on track because right now we treat every game like a one game playoff. You're trying to win every game through the rest of the season. That's what we're doing right now, just focusing on the next game."
QB Ryan Mallett
(on if anything surprised him about his first start) "I don't know about surprise. It was a good start. We got the win. Now we've got to go to work and get ready for this week."
(on the biggest challenge now that he's had success) "You've got to do it again. You can't get complacent, obviously. It's one game. There's no complacency. We have to go continue to work and study the film of the Bengals and get ready to go."
(on if there is something that he didn't do that he's going to want to correct) "We'll see more today. We've got to gameplan and stuff to get ready and see what we're going to do."
(on if he let himself celebrate last night) "No, just trying to get back to work, man. We've got six more games."
(on if the goal is to stay focused day-to-day) "You've got to go day-by-day. You can't fast forward or rewind. Seems like the smartest thing to do for me."
(on it not looking like it was his first NFL start) "I mean, I've played football before. I'm just kidding. It didn't feel like my first game or first start or whatever. It felt normal. It felt natural. Just trying to build on that every day and get better."
(on the play of the offensive line) "I didn't get hit but twice. Once you can do that and continue to do that, it's a recipe for success."
(on if he heard from a lot of people after the game) "Yeah. I had a lot of texts after the game."
(on the best message he got after the game) "I don't know. It was a lot. I haven't even read them all yet. I haven't had the time."
(on if he heard from Patriots QB Tom Brady at all) "He said congratulations."
(on if RB Alfred Blue ever looked tired) "No, Blue could go all day I feel like. Blue, if he needs a break, he'll tell the coaches. I'll hand it to him whenever."
(on continuously handing the ball to RB Alfred Blue) "I'll give it to him whenever they need me to."
ILB Mike Mohamed
(on the importance of yesterday's win) "We were just talking about getting back to .500, getting our heads back above water, and now it's just a series of one game seasons basically. Just taking it week-by-week and just trying to win out."
(on the defense stepping up yesterday) "We talked about that. Our biggest thing was coming in and stopping the run, putting them in third and long situations, letting guys like (Jadeveon) Clowney and J.J. (Watt) kind of cut it loose. Cleveland is big on their running game, so we felt like if we could slow that down, we'd have a good chance."
(on what the defense told DE J.J. Watt after he caught a touchdown pass) "He's one of those guys who can basically do it all. We were saying I think we've seen him do everything but throw a pass. That's probably next."