Q: Why are the Bengals off to the slow start?
A: All I could do is just mention what Marvin said. Those two wide receivers are extremely talented – one with 112 catches a year ago, the other with 93. They didn’t have much preseason and now they are back at it. This will be the third game and they expect that they are ready to perform like you would in the third game if you had been playing in the preseason as well. So they have gone against two very, very difficult opponents. They have been very physical games. The one game – the Tennessee game is obviously in a gale. It is amazing watching the tape of that game. And because of that there were certain things that happened; good things for both teams. The Bengals weren’t able to take advantage of their opportunity with the high snap from center. And, of course, the Titans blocked the punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. So I just think they have played against two really difficult opponents; very physical games; very close games. And their opportunities were there. They just weren’t able to capitalize on them.
Q: Dangerous part of team is their passing game?
A: Their offensive line performs very well. If you can remember last year, they threw for 4,000 plus yards and had 17 sacks. That is all they had. So Perry is quick and illusive. He gains in experience and maturity as he plays. They have tremendous threats in those two wide receivers. In Carson Palmer they have a guy that has an exceptional arm. He does move well in the pocket. He can escape, he can slide. So they have a lot of weapons. You are talking strictly offensively. They certainly have demonstrated as a result of last year --- the numbers --- they were 10th in the league on offense last year.
Q: Do you just focus on yourself this week, instead of a struggling Bengals team?
A: Our approach is exactly the same as it is every week. And our concern is with our team and the improvement of our team. The challenge being to our team and our players to be the best they can be individually and the best we can be as a team. We look at the previous performance. We isolate some t hings that have to be improved upon. If it is penalties, it would be one of them. And then we challenge ourselves to incorporate that into our play and to do a better job with that. So our concern is always on our team and our team being as good as we can possibly be.
Q: Is there more presentation on a team like this since you haven’t played them in a while?
A: We always have to do that when you play an opponent that you haven’t played for a couple of years or however that comes down. So the players all have their DVDs, which they take home at night and they look at. We introduce on Wednesday mornings. We might take a little bit longer, as it did a few minutes longer this morning, to really spell it out. We showed them at their best. We show what they are capable of doing. We talked about each individual and their contribution. And then the coaches then go into great detail about the individuals and the schemes and the players take that information home with them at night and look at it also. But we will do as much educating as we can. And quite frankly, it is the same no matter whether there is a common opponent --- somebody that we know well or not. There are always small details about the preparation that are critical.
Q: Do you believe that the offensive line can have a rhythm like the quarterback can have a rhythm?
A: I think a team can have a rhythm and I think the team --- when all 11 are meshing at the same time -- can be productive and can appear to be in rhythm. I don’t know that we are always --- I don’t know that you have that in Week 16, that everybody is in total synch on every play. But you are striving to get there because on the offensive side of the ball you can have one person who is not performing as he should and it will throw the whole offense off. So we are striving to get there. I wouldn’t say we are there. But we are making an attempt to do that.
Q: Is motivation a concern when your team is hearing from the outside world that you are playing a “bad” team for the second week in a row?
A: We have to be focused and mature enough to understand that is all fine and dandy what everyone says on the outside. But come Sunday afternoon we have to take the field and perform. And the only way to be able to do that is to have a great week of preparation, to pay a price so that you have what is necessary invested and then you can call upon that on Sunday. If you want to reflect back, you look at a fourth- quarter win, basically, last weekend. So you have to be in a position where you are persistent and you are pounding away and you have done all of the necessary work. And quite frankly, we have great respect for, in this case, the Bengals organization, the players, and their talent. And we know full well that what you did yesterday doesn’t necessarily apply to what you are going to do today or tomorrow. It can, provided you prepare properly, and that is what we always try to do, is make the necessary preparation.
Re: a game in which Eli Manning is playing as well as anyone in the league in the fourth quarter.
A: We have talked about Eli and his development and his maturity; the fact that he is an ascending football player. And we just have to continue that he would do that.
Q: How has Jerome McDougle adjusted to this team and his role?
A: He made two really good plays the other day, as you saw. He squatted in there and took the shovel pass away and then he got up the field and tipped the ball. We use him on special teams as well. So I think he is naturally evolving into feeling good about the role that he plays and understanding, as soon as the defensive huddle call is made, exactly what his assignment is.
Q: Will he be an asset in preparing for the Eagles down the line?
A: I don’t know. We are talking about the Bengals, I hope.
Q: Injured players practice status?
A: Yes, I think McQuarters will be on the side until we get him fully able to utilize that calf. The other guys we are going to figure out early on and in individuals to what extent they can play. Some of the guys will be limited. Terrell Thomas -- we are going to take him through individual and then see what he can do today. Hopefully he can take a few snaps, which will be a lot like Goff. If we can get him to just come along, do you follow me, and give us some good quality time for an extended period to get him back in synch, to know that down the road we would have his contributions.
Q: Is Mathias Kiwanuka’s injury still lingering?
A: Yeah, I think it is going to be. Let’s face it, I don’t know that those things really ever get cleared up. But we hope that we have an opportunity to maybe shut him down a little bit. And then maybe he can pla y without the ankle swelling up on him.
Q: …..during the bye week?