Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Everybody came in ready to go today, had a good day of practice, and everybody got a chance to recharge their batteries and that's the good thing about the bye week. Hopefully guys were able to get healthy and things like that. I don't have much of an update on injuries and things like that. (Jadeveon) Clowney, I'm not sure where that's at right now. Kareem Jackson probably would be out for this game. Cecil Shorts should be ready to go for this game. Ryan Griffin was out there at practice today, so other than that, I'll open it up to questions."
(on how TE Ryan Griffin looked at practice) "He was moving around pretty good. I thought he looked pretty good."
(on his expectations for the timeline of TE Ryan Griffin's return) "I would see him being ready for Monday night."
(on what TE Ryan Griffin can contribute to the offense when he comes back) "I thought he was really coming on and playing well, had a good end of the year last year and a good training camp, good offseason, so it'll be good to get him back. I don't think it's easy to miss that much time and then just jump right back in and be playing at a high level, but he's a guy that really worked hard in the rehab room and in the weight room when he could. He looked today, like I said, he was moving around pretty good today, looked like he was in pretty good condition, so should be ready to go."
(on the Bengals pass rush and their front seven) "They're 8-0 for a reason. One of the reasons why is their front is a very strong front, (Carlos) Dunlap, (Michael) Johnson, Geno Atkins, one of the best three-techniques in the league, so it's a big challenge. Linebackers are athletic, tough, their top four corners are all first-round draft picks, talented guys, got a lot of respect for this defense and our guys are obviously going to have to be up to that challenge. That's a heck of an opponent on the other side."
(on what they learned when they self-scouted over the bye weekend) "You know what, we're looking forward. You know what, we're on to Cincinnati. What's done is done and we're on to the next opponent. We've studied ourselves and hopefully made some changes and taking it one day at a time and moving on to the Bengals."
(on how T Duane Brown is doing) "Good."
(on if it helps that QB Brian Hoyer has beaten the Bengals the last two years) "I don't think that matters. I think it's more about how's he practicing this week, which looked good today, where is he at with his game plan. I don't think any of that matters."
(on if it helps QB Brian Hoyer from a confidence perspective that he's beaten the Bengals) "He has confidence. He's playing, he came out there today, he was ripping it around pretty good and he's playing confidently right now regardless of what his record is against the Bengals."
(on if the Bengals are the toughest task for the defense this season) "I mean they're good. I think that, like I said, they're 8-0 for a reason. You didn't even mention Andy Dalton. He's playing as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. They're very good. I think the one thing they do a great job of, and I have a lot of respect for their staff, (Bengals Head Coach) Marvin (Lewis) and his staff, (Bengals Offensive Coordinator) Hue Jackson and (Bengals Defensive Coordinator) Paul Guenther. On offense, they're running the ball, and they run the ball downhill. Their offensive line is big, strong, played together for a long time. That's the key right now for them. They're able to run the football and they're in manageable down-and-distances, and that's going to be a big challenge for us on Monday night. Like I said, our guys enjoyed their time off and they're back ready to work today and they came back ready to go. We practiced pretty good today, so we'll show up. We'll be there on Monday night."
(on working on the running game) "Yeah, we had one practice before we left and that was a full-padded practice, so a lot of that was spent on the running game. Our running game has to improve, stopping the run and running the ball. We're spending a lot of time on it, and we're only able to be in pads once this week so that'll probably be on Wednesday. We'll be in a full-padded practice on Wednesday and get it going and really practice the run game there, but we're going to work one day at a time, like I said, and try to improve every day."
T Duane Brown
(on how it felt to be back out on the field at practice after going through the concussion protocol) "It felt great, just one of those things, never experienced that before, so good to be back out there, good to be amongst my teammates getting ready for Monday night."
(on if he's ever been through concussion protocol before) "No, I haven't, fortunately. It was tough. I'm feeling a lot better. I felt a lot better the next day. It's something that takes a little bit of time. The trainers did a great job of helping me out and I'm feeling great now."
(on the Bengals defensive front) "Tough front, I've played against those guys quite a bit in my career. Across the board, you've got Michael Johnson, (Carlos) Dunlap on the edges, (Geno) Atkins, (Domata) Peko, (Wallace) Gilberry comes in on third downs. They're playing well. They're good in the run, good in the pass rush, they've got some good backers, nice secondary. This will be a big test for us. I think it's on us as an offensive line to win the battle up front in order for us to be successful, so we're putting the time in this week."
(on if they've thought about the first half of the season) "No, we're moving on. We're fortunate to be having an opportunity to be in the position we're in, to still control our destiny somewhat heading into the second half, that's all we're really concerned with. We're not worried about the positives or the negatives that we took from the first half. We're moving on. We have a big, big game against an undefeated team on the road, Monday night, and it's a big opportunity for us as a team to go out and start the second half out on a good note."
(on if they care about their record) "No, we don't care. It doesn't matter. Whatever you've done up to this point it doesn't really matter. With that being said, we know they're undefeated for a reason. We know they're a good team, on all facets, offense, defense, special teams, so that's the part that we look at but we have to focus on ourselves and what we can do to go out and get the job done."
(on playing on a big stage in Monday Night Football) "It's primetime, man. Looking forward to it, I haven't had a Monday night game in a couple years. It's going to be pretty good. On the road, we know their fans are going to be into it, so we have to bring our energy and start fast."
(on if they're going over what they need to do to get the run game going) "Yeah, we met some last week before we took our break. We met today to discuss what we have to do differently. I think for us, as an offensive line, it's a mentality, running game is a mentality. We just have to have it in our minds that we're going to get it done. You don't want to become one-dimensional on the road against that defense. We just have to take that approach, play-in and play-out, that we have to be able to run the ball effectively."
(on if this is going to be the toughest front they've seen this year) "It's one of them. We've had some pretty tough ones. I think as a total defense this is definitely up there. They have some great players, they're pretty deep as well. They have some guys they rotate in that can play as well. Like I said, we're playing on the road, so they have their crowd behind them, which will make the task that much more difficult. We'll be ready."
(on if shuffling the line is a challenge) "Every guy is prepared to play, whatever position it is, and I think our guys have done a great job of being plugged in to different spots and performing. This week is no different. We're trying to get everyone healthy and that's the main thing is having everyone healthy going into it so we can have guys playing at their position. Whoever is out there, we'll get the job done."
WR DeAndre Hopkins
(on if he did anything fun during the bye week) "No, not really. Hung out with the family, that's about it."
(on what he thinks about the Bengals defense) "They're undefeated, so they're doing something right."
(on the challenge of facing the Bengals) "They're one of the best teams in the NFL. We have to come out and stick to our game plan, not get off course. They're a good team, so if we go out and we play our game plan, hopefully we can come out with the results we want."
(on playing on Monday Night Football) "A lot of guys on this team have played in big games, Monday night and Thursday night, so it's nothing new to us."
(on the biggest challenge the Bengals defense presents) "They're very athletic from 1 to 11. Everybody on their defense runs around very well. They've got older guys and young guys, so they've got a good mix of guys on their team. You can tell that they've been playing together by the way they do things and the chemistry they have with their defense."
(on if there's any added pressure to get off to a quick start against an undefeated team) "No, not at all. We'll go out and play our game plan. Hopefully things will take care of itself."
(on his chemistry with QB Brian Hoyer) "We stay after practice and do things to work on our timing. Brian is going to make sure that if he see's something out there that I did wrong in practice, he is going to keep me after and work on it."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on if the Bengals are the toughest offense they will have faced so far this season) "Probably so. It's kind of hard to compare teams because everyone has a different philosophy and a different way they attack you, but I think if you look at it on paper, you can probably say that. For us, it's just about doing what we are doing and trying to execute our scheme also."
(on what he sees from Bengals QB Andy Dalton) "I think he's been taking care of the ball really well this year. He has like four interceptions versus 18, 19 touchdowns, so there's a big difference there. I think overall he is getting the ball out and spreading it around to different guys so you just can't key in on one guy."
(on the Bengals having a lot of different targets and the challenge it brings) "It kind of dictates what type of coverage you can run at times because you just can't key in on A.J. Green or the tight end. He spreads the ball around to (Mohamed) Sanu, (Marvin) Jones, the running back, all of those guys, so I think he makes you play, pretty much, honest."
QB T.J. Yates
(on if he has any good memories playing against the Bengals) "Back in my rookie year, it was just a whirlwind. It's kind of funny because when we went up there to clinch the first time, I didn't even really realize the ramifications of the game or what was on the line. I was so busy trying to learn the game plan and getting ready to play. I didn't really realize how much it meant to everybody until after the game when everyone in the organization was so happy. It was a good time for the organization, the team, the coaches and everybody at that time."
(on his parents reaction to the game) "My mom was up in there in the nosebleeds, freaking out the whole game. She couldn't even watch. No, that was cool, it was a good time and I have some good memories up in Cincy."
(on the playoff win here against the Bengals) "That was a good game. I just remember the energy in this building, it was unreal. When our defense was out there, it was super electric. They are kind of the same football team as they were back then defensively, so a lot of familiarity with their defense going into this week."