Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis: Titans Have "Explosive Defense up Front"

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BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS

(On the Bengals' success in the first two weeks)

I think the key elements are doing a good job of taking care of the football offensively and really limiting the catch and the run on defense. We've done a good job and have to continue with those things, which are vital.

(On defending Dexter McCluster and Kendall Wright)

They're both great athletes and great with the ball in their hands, so we've got to do a great job of tackling and getting all 11 guys to the football, whether it be defense or special teams.

(On what he sees from Jake Locker)

I see a young guy that's really, I think, continuing to develop, and when you look through his seasons there in Tennessee, what he's done last year, even though he wasn't the full-time starter, when he played he didn't have a lot of turnovers. He did a nice job with that. I think that's the key thing of the quarterback position is you want to maintain the ball for your offense. He's completing a high percentage of his passes, so we've got to really do a good job around him.

(On QB Andy Dalton's quick success)

We had no other choice. We put Andy (Dalton) in from day one and built everything around him. I think our coaches did a great job with him. I think Andy (Dalton) was very mature as a person, and he was ready for it. He had played at a high level. He had played a lot of football in high school, in college, and we just kind of built things around him all the way through. We knew defensively we had to do a great job around him and continue to put the pieces that just allow him to do his job as well as he can do it.

(On qualities in a quarterback that lead to success)

I think you're looking for guys that can block out the noise, number one, and secondly, have that presence about them to lead an offensive team and then eventually the whole football team. We really felt confident that Andy (Dalton) had that.

(On injured starters returning to practice)

We haven't hit the practice field yet, but we'll see how we do going through the week. We're going to have 46 healthy and ready bodies ready to go. We've had some injuries, but that's part of the NFL. We've got to continue to work hard at overcoming them, get guys up and ready to play, and I think our coaches have done a good job at that.

(On WR A.J. Green returning this week)

I would say A.J. (Green) would be one of those 46 bodies.

(On defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson)

Both coaches have been here with me for a long time. We all three coached together in 2002 in Washington, so they know my expectations of things. They were on the staff, ready for this, to ascend into these spots. They've done an excellent job. They've really gotten the attention of our players. They've done a great job of installation all spring and then through training camp. We're doing things, applying it pretty well. Obviously, we've got improvements to make, and we'll keep working at it, but both guys have gotten off to a good start.

(On which run defense he expects from the Titans this Sunday)

I think this is a team that has really good people up front. They have a fine, fine scheme, and we've got to do a great job of being able to get bodies on people. They're an explosive defense up front with guys that are strong, and it's going to be important that we do a great job. I can't tell you how they're going to play, I just know we need to play well up front.

(On the challenge of taking over a team that's transitioned from a 4-3 to a 3-4)

I've coached in a 3-4 in Pittsburgh for my years there, and since then I've been in a 4-3 scheme. I think what they did is they went out, and (Kamerion) Wimbley was able to make the transition. They've gone out and got outside rushers that could play on their feet and make a good transition, and that's important. I think that's your first step in it. Then you'll develop the other bodies as you go, but those are the main points.

(On working with CB Adam Jones)

I think, obviously, Adam (Jones)'s story is too well known. He basically hit rock bottom, and he found himself out of the NFL, and he was a guy looking for a chance. He had a lot of support from a lot of people there in Nashville, and that was a lot of our convincing to give him the first tryout opportunity was from a group of people there in Nashville who believed in him. Jeff Fisher believed in him, who I'm pretty close with. We gave him the opportunity, and he's continued to make good on it. He's grown as a man, as a father, and it's been fun to be a part of. He still gets as angry at me as I'm sure he got angry at people all the time, but I'm going to coach him every day to be better. When he doesn't have a good practice, I'm going to tell him that, and we're going to work at him to get better. I think, watching him going through his wedding this summer and seeing him get married, it's gone full circle, and it's been a wonderful thing. I'm just so happy for him. This guy unfortunately early in his life, he just didn't have the people around him to help him with right and wrong. He knows that now, and he's such a good person, good-hearted person, and that's what you love about him.

(On what Cincinnati means to him and his career)

It means that I haven't finished the job. I came here to do a job. I came here to win a world championship and haven't gotten us there. That's what my task at hand. We've built the team with certain kind of players and so forth, and I've been fortunate in the league that I've worked for pretty much family owned businesses with my time in Pittsburgh and my time in Baltimore. They're all very small family-owned-type atmospheres and very similar here. I've watched the place grow here, but at the end of the day, my boss is here every single day, and that was similar to what I knew from Washington and coming from Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It's been good. I think that's helped me, how things were done in Pittsburgh, how things were done in Baltimore. We've dealt through the draft. I believe in that and developing our guys and allowing my coaches to coach, and can be always that influence. I know when our guys get here I spend my time working with our players and coaching them to be better all the time.

(On RB Jeremy Hill and HB Giovani Bernard)

We had Corey Dillon, Rudi Johnson, we've been fortunate with guys, my first year in 2003. I've been fortunate with some guys, but I think these two young guys, and they're young, they provide a special spark. Giovani Bernard is a special runner. He makes people miss. He's strong to run in between the tackles. Jeremy (Hill) has really special feet. They're both great kids, and it's fun to watch them each and every day, how they work.

(On going against Ken Whisenhunt and Ray Horton)

I'm not looking forward to it because they're both excellent coaches.  A lot of the coaching staff there I've coached with. He's got a great staff, and (Ken Whisenhunt) is a very good friend. I've gotten to know Ray (Horton) over the years. I think they're both excellent, excellent football coaches.

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