Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "It was a good win last night for our team. The guys, they fought hard. They hung together. It was a battle. It wasn't pretty, but in the end the only thing that counts is the win. Like I said last night after the game, proud of these guys and the effort that they gave in the game and really glad to come out with a win, but the key is now to do it again, so we've got to move quickly here on to the New York Jets which we did as soon as we landed. We're onto the Jets."
(on the status of QB Brian Hoyer and if they need to sign another quarterback) "Right now I'd say Brian is in the concussion protocol and that'll be a day to day deal with Brian. We're hoping that he'll be able to play for us, but right now it's day to day. As far as the roster goes right now, we're going to stick with what the roster is as I sit here right now, but those are ongoing discussions that Rick and I have throughout the day, the night, into tomorrow morning, things like that. Obviously we can't wait too long on those things to get somebody ready to go. You've got to make a move at some point, but we may just stick with what we have."
(on what it says about QB Brian Hoyer that he quickly realized he wasn't able to play and alerted the coaches) "Well I think it says a lot about him. He wants to do what's best for the team. That's the type of guy he is, but I also give a lot of credit to George Godsey. He kind of noticed it right away. Brian was, he took a sack, when it happened was the first sack of the third quarter. He got hit twice in the head on that play, once at the ground, other one was just the way the sack occurred. He wasn't functioning correctly as to how we know he would usually function calling a play, receiving the play in, trying to communicate it to the offense. So George pointed it out to me when the series was over I went over to him and he just said, 'look I'm having trouble remembering the plays right now,' so that's kind of where it was at. That's when I called the – I put my doctor, my stethoscope away and called the trainer."
(on the development of their young players) "It's very important. Anytime, especially when you play in a winning game, you go out there and it's Monday Night Football and young guys have a chance to go out there and play and they end up playing well. I thought Benardrick (McKinney) had one of his better games, (Christian) Covington made some plays, Brandon Dunn made some plays. So it was good to see that. Anytime you can do that and get guys more experience, there's no substitute for experience especially in a big game like that."
(on what he liked best about QB T.J. Yates' performance last night) "That's a tough situation for a guy to go into, so one of the things that impressed me and really has always impressed me about him is his demeanor. He's a very calm guy, nothing really fazes him. We were just kind of joking about it in the locker room, he missed a motion on one play and we told him, 'hey look, don't forget the motion,' and kind of looked over at us and gave us that, 'ok, I'll get it next time.' Just a calm guy and the way that he approached that situation was really what you're looking for. He got enough reps during the week, not very many where he could go in and function. He was able to call the play, communicate with his teammates, and the one thing about T.J. is the locker room has a lot of respect for him. A lot of these guys have played with him. As soon as he entered the huddle there was already that amount of respect for him and they knew that he would go in there and do his job."
(on what it means for the team to be able to add un-drafted players to the roster who perform well) "It says a lot. It says a lot about those guys. If you look at Brian Peters on special teams last night, he did a heck of a job. He was flying around. Akeem Dent was another guy that did a really good job, we picked up in a trade last year. (Quintin) Demps I think is playing well on defense. Charles James obviously was a very active player last night. He's brought a lot of energy to our locker room, to our practice field and the game field. It's a credit to those guys, they're doing a good job."
(on what last night's win can do for the team's confidence) "Yeah, I mean I think anytime you go into a game like that and you're playing an 8-0 team and you end up coming out on the winning end of it, that means a lot for your team. Now, the key is for us that we have to understand how we got to that point and the way we got to that point was we were honest with each other, we worked very hard, coaching staff, players especially. We had full-padded practices. The guys put a lot of time in the meeting room and the film room, and that's what has to continue because when you look at the New York Jets, they're a really good football team. I know that they didn't win their last game, but they've won a lot of games, been in a lot of close games, they're playing really well on defense, offensively have a lot of weapons, they're good on special teams. Our guys have to understand, ok how did we get to this point, well we're doing these things this way. We've got to continue to do it that way. It's all about hard work
and putting the time in."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph being a big part of this defense) "First of all, he's a very bright guy. He really understands his position, but he understands the whole defense and he understands the league. This is a guy that from day one has always impressed me about his knowledge of players on other teams, opponents that we're going against and what their skill sets are and how our coverages are going to work against their offensive systems, things like that. He's a very bright guy and he's a great leader. He's one of the leaders of our football team. It's really good to just see a guy like that who's played a lot of football in this league to be able to continue to play at a high level. He's playing really well. He came up big for us last night."
(on if he gave out any game balls) "I'm going to give the whole team a game ball. I haven't said that to them yet, so I'm letting the cat out of the bag here because today was their day off, but when they get here tomorrow I'm going to give everybody a game ball. I think all three phases, look, the defense played a whale of a game. There's no question about the way the defense played, but offensively we did enough. The only turnover we had was the one that was basically what we call an air ball, Hail Mary play at the end of the half. So we didn't really turn the ball over, we took care of the ball, we scored when we had to and the defense played great. I thought our special teams did a great job, so I'm going to give a game ball to everybody."
(on what compelled him to talk to the players and tell them he made a mistake sitting QB Brian Hoyer after week one) "Well, I've talked to you about this before. I really like to keep that stuff between the team and I. Anything that's said in that team meeting room, I do like to keep between the players and myself and the coaching staff. It's very important as a leader, as a head coach, to be able to stand up in front of your team and be honest. I'm on TV here so I have to be careful how I say this, but you can't stand up to them and be something that you're not. I'm an honest guy and for two years now, 25 games, whatever it is, we've had a lot of honest meetings. That's the way we operate. Whether it was, whatever the story is now, doesn't really matter. It's all about approaching your players in an honest manner so they know where they stand."
(on why he thinks the defense hasn't given up a touchdown since the second quarter of the Miami game) "Well I think that you have to give the players a lot of credit. We've worked hard on tackling. We've worked hard on run defense. I think you have to give the coaches a lot of credit. We've changed, we've changed the way we use some of our personnel. We've changed our scheme a little bit here and there. We've tried to adapt our scheme to some of the things our players do really well, and we have to continue to do that. That's the key. The key is that we're able to continue to look at the opponent that we're playing and how do we take our best players and put them in position to be able to make plays. I think overall though you see better tackling out on the field. I think that's what you're seeing. When you tackle better, that goes a long way."
(on if he plans to start OLB Jadeveon Clowney as soon as he's ready to go back in) "I think everybody's in a competitive situation. The answer to that is we're going to play the guys that practice the best. If you're out there practicing and you earn it on the practice field then you'll play a lot in the game. If you are out there and you're not practicing well, you're not going to play a lot. If you're in there and you practice really well then we'll put you in the game."
(of this team's ability to win games no one thinks they can win with backup quarterbacks) "I don't know, I think again you have to give a lot of credit to the players. If you look back on Case Keenum, the one thing I always remember about him was that when we got back here without being here for 10 weeks or whatever it was, he just jumped right in. He had a great attitude about it, he was a very bright guy that remembered things, and it's the same thing with T.J. Yates. He walks back in our locker room, everybody knows him, they've got a good relationship with him and he has recall of our system. I believe in the way we teach quarterbacks, I really do. I know it doesn't always come out looking the way you want it to, but we believe in the way that we teach those guys, the way we communicate with quarterbacks. There's a lot of give and take, what are you comfortable with, what do you like, what do you remember, ok here's what we're going to go with, here's how we have to attack this defense, and there's a lot
of communication there. It's certainly not a dictatorship. We believe in the way we coach those guys."
(on if the big hits on special teams set the tone) "Absolutely. It think that Max Bullough, Brian Peters, Charles James, Akeem Dent – when he tackled Pacman (Jones) on that one, that was a heck of a play and there are many other ones. I thought Chris Polk's run, even though we didn't run the ball for a ton of yards, that one run where he really barreled in to some guys and got some extra yards. All of those things in addition to the really good defensive plays really helped us set a tone on the sideline and in the game."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney is expected to return this week) "I do, but we'll have to see tomorrow."
(was the pitch to the outside the original call on 3rd down) "That was a bad call. It's on me. That was me. It was my call and hindsight being 20/20. I thought we were going to get something else there, but we ended up getting something that's obviously not real good for that play."
(on what happened on the 2nd and goal play) "Again, that one is on me too. I think that we are in a situation where we like to go up tempo and we've probably gone to the well one too many times on that. That call is on me."
(on if he called any good plays) "A few. George (Godsey) calls all the good ones."
(on what the win against the Bengals meant to him personally) "I don't ever think about it that way. First of all, rumors, those are rumors. Criticism – that comes with the job. When you don't win, you are going to get criticized. You have to stay away from reading or listening. You have to focus on the team. Personally, what means a lot to me is that locker room. Those guys come in to that locker room and feel that excited about all the hard work that they put in to that game and in to that season and to come out on the winning end of a game like that against a very, very good football team, a well-coached team. A grind-it-out of type game. Personally, I feel great for the players and the coaches."
(on G Xavier Su'a-Filo's play) "In the beginning he struggled early. They did some things to our protections that were tough and especially on the left guard position. I thought he did a really good job of settling down and he ended up playing a good football game. I was happy to see that. I think the key with Xavier, the more and more you play, the more you need to settle down a little earlier. Basically he's like a rookie. He didn't play a whole lot last year, so I think the more he plays, the more you'll see that he's a good player."