Titans/Bengals post-game quotes

Initial comments ...*
"Someone pointed out to me a few minutes ago that this is the first time we've started out 2-0 since 1999. It's hard to believe that, but the reason we're 2-0 is because we had everyone contribute for the second consecutive week. Today was a great effort in very unusual circumstances. I've been in a lot of games, including games at the Meadowlands, and never can I remember a game where wind was more of a factor than it was today. I thought for the most part that both teams did a nice job adjusting to the wind and respecting the wind. Overall, we liked the game plan going into this week. Despite some stuff we had going on earlier in the week, the guys stayed focused. I give my congratulations to them because this game was important for us to win. Injury-wise, we have some bumps and bruises. I'll have more information later, but I don't think anyone is at risk to miss playing time next week."

How much impact do you think the wind had on the game?

"Obviously it affected the kicking game. We adjusted and went to the tight punt. We narrowed down Craig Hentrich's distance, and just one-stepped it out. When you do that, you hinder your ability to cover because everyone is so tight. We felt like we had a shot to get our hands on a punt if we had them backed up. We just made a push and Keith Bullock made a great play. I don't think we threw a pass in the fourth quarter because we couldn't afford to. Both offensive game plans were shrunk down do to the wind."

You guys seemed to be persistent when it came to sticking with the run ...

"You've go to stick with the run, especially when you're protecting a little bit of a lead and trying to run some time off the clock."

At what point did you know the wind was going to be such a big factor in the game?

"It was during warm-ups. The wind was swirling, primarily from the south. We knew it was going to affect the passing game either way. They elected to take the wind in the fourth quarter, which didn't end up working to their advantage. I would have made the same decision Marvin Lewis did, because we had talked about it before the game."

Does the fact that Kerry Collins has such a strong arm help in a game like this?

"Mike Heimerdinger did a good job with Kerry, not asking him to do too much. He didn't want to take too many chances down the field because the ball sails." You brought Chris Johnson in to change games, and that 50-yard run at the end of the half really changed this game, didn't it?
"That is why he's here. That was a huge play. The way Carson Palmer is (with less than two minutes left on the clock), you don't want to give them the ball back. We were just going to be patient. It was the first false start where I can almost thank a player, because we had a different play called. So we ran the draw and got a big play."

Are you potentially a better team with Kerry at quarterback?

"We won this game with Kerry, and we won last time he started. I think Vince is 18-11 as the starter."

You have to be happy with the defense's play in the red zone ...

"I'm pleased with the defense's play overall. We gave up a touchdown by missing a tackle, and that can't happen."

Were you worried that the situation with Vince Young would be a distraction to the team this week?

"No, I wasn't worried about it at all. I watched these guys practice, they met with him, and they're his teammate. They care about him, and they just went about their business."

How good a job did Kerry do in these conditions, managing the game and not turning it over?

"Kerry played well."

What do you have to see from Vince once he's healthy in order to get him back in the lineup?

"He's going to have to grasp the game plan and be the quarterback we drafted him to be. I felt all along that he had a good training camp and a good preseason."

Is that something he must show you in practice?

"I think this is going to be a good experience for Vince — to sit here and watch Kerry do what Kerry did. He's never really had an opportunity to sit behind a veteran quarterback and watch him grasp a game plan and put it into play. That experience will be very useful to him over the next week or so."


Easy day for pitch and catch right?

"That is one of the toughest game conditions that I've ever been in as far as throwing balls against wind like that. I've played a few games with some bad conditions when I was with the Giants, but I don't remember it being as bad as this. It was borderline impossible to throw the ball where I really wanted to throw it."

How much of the offensive playbook did you have to condense because of the conditions?

"I didn't think we took anything out. I felt like everything was still in play. We called a lot of plays from the playbook we practiced all week. You have to able to adapt and make some plays and I think that is what we did."

What changed from the first quarter to the second?

"I think the Bengals came out playing really hard. They were making plays on third down, and we weren't adjusting early but got some things worked out. We thought we had to just keep chipping away and call plays we believed in, and that would make us successful. We just started making some plays. Obviously, Chris (Johnson) breaking that big run really helped us out."

The first couple runs weren't getting anywhere, but with this line do you feel you just have to keep going?

"I just think that's the way it is when you run the ball in this league. You will have several runs where you will not gain anything, lose yards and then bust a big one. With Chris we had that happen. He was stopped a few times, then just busted a big one. That's a huge play in a tight ball game. We don't get that play, and it's different feelings going into the half. The important thing was capping off that big play with a score."

How much pressure does it take off of you knowing going into preparation for the next couple of weeks, you're the starting quarterback?

"It is so much easier. It changes my mindset going into games. I just want to continue to have good weeks of practice and take the focus on the next opponent. I think today was a good start. By no means was it great, but it was a good one. I didn't feel like I had a perfect game, but I made good decisions and held onto the ball for us."

What does it feel like with everything that was happening this past week, to come in and lead this team to a victory?

"I think at, the end of the day, you just want the other guys to go out there with you and make them believe they can win with you. As an NFL team, you have to be able to put certain things behind you, and move on and control the things you can control. I thought the guys did really well this week. You have to focus on what's going to happen on Sunday and get as prepared as you can."

How did you feel personally?

"I was excited to play. Given the choice, I think any of us would rather be out there playing. I was fired up for the game and just wanted to play well. I had a good week of practice and, like I said before, played well today."

You've probably played some hectic weather games in the Meadowlands. How does this compare?

"I've never had to play in anything like this. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of bad days weather-wise up there as well. In Oakland, we had a few windy days as well, but nothing like what I had to experience today. It just wreaked havoc on anything we tried to do in the kicking and passing game. I've been fairly confident in my ability to throw in this kind of wind throughout my career, and I just tried to drive the ball through the wind." BENGALS POST-GAME QUOTES

Initial comments ...

"I think to start with, after the way we played a week ago, to come back and have some of the same things bite us in the butt — to be inconsistent on offense, to be inconsistent on defense and obviously special teams ... We lost as a football team today. There was not one phase that played consistently for 60 minutes. We played well at times, did good things. We ran the football. It was difficult to throw out there today with the wind. We stopped the run, but then we had the boneheaded play before halftime, and the play later in the third quarter where they got field position and their punter puts it down on the two- or three-yard line. Those are the kind of plays we have to ultimately stop. We had a punt blocked, which was just ridiculous and just poor play. We block a punt, but then we have a chance to make a play. We don't make enough plays consistently enough and we're sitting here at 0-2, so that's where we are."

How do you move on from this, Marvin?

"We go back and grind harder. We have to grind harder, we have to grind smarter, we have to play smarter. I told them, whether it be our quarterback; whether it be our wide receivers; whether it be our back who fumbled the ball twice early in the game, whether it be our cornerbacks who have coverage and haven't covered, whether it be allowing them to catch the ball right at the very end after we've got the quarterback scrambling ... We have to go back and grind harder, coach harder and play harder."

What happened when there were 12 men on the field? It looked like there was a lot of confusion there ...

"We had a guy injured, but that's no excuse. We were down a sub, and we had to go back another sub. We had a guy on the field that wasn't supposed to be out there, and it was unfortunate."

In your mind, what has happened to this offense?

"It goes to the fundamentals of what you're doing. You have to block, you have to throw and you have to run. You can't be one-dimensional. We're not consistently executing well enough right now. It was hard to really get the passing offense going today in the wind, so that one is hard for me to evaluate today. Other than about three snaps all day, we ran the football pretty well, and that's a start, but we have to be more consistent. I may have said this three or four times already this summer, what you did last year or the year before doesn't matter. You have to come and get ready to play. You have to put out what you're doing this year. This is the '08 version and you have to be up to that. I do think that the guys who were our perimeter guys and hadn't had much time were back and played better and faster today. We have to keep building upon that. We just didn't get many opportunities because of the wind. I thought Chris (Perry) got some things going and got to feel good and comfortable in there today, and we just have to keep him going."

Was it disturbing that on Tennessee's last drive in the first half, there were seven plays and five of them were runs with one long run in there?

"We have an opportunity, and we have to play smarter. I think everybody, maybe other than the 11 guys on the field, knew they were going to run a draw because they didn't want to give us the ball back. It was going to be a running play because of the timeout situation. They had the lead, they were getting the ball coming out after halftime, so they were probably going to play a little more conservatively. So, as I said already, we have to play smarter. Then we missed the tackle, which could have made it still third-down-and-three or four. At that point, we ended up giving up not three points, but seven points before halftime."

It looked like you knew they were going to run it, because you took a timeout hoping to get a punt ...

"We have to play smarter. Obviously we have to play better physically, but we need to play smarter and understand situations in the game and make better plays in critical areas."

You have a lot of road games coming up, starting with the New York Giants ...

"We're 0-2, and we're going to get to work and go beat the New York Giants in New York and that's all we can do. We're not going to sit here and whine about it. We lost the football game and didn't play well enough to win, point blank. We didn't deserve to win. We're going to take the criticism and we're going to get it corrected. We're going to get back to work and we're going to get better and get after it. It is what it is, and I can't change that now."


How bad was the wind?

"I've never played in a game like that before. I don't know what the miles per hour were. I've never seen it before. I've never played in it before. It was definitely interesting."

Was it difficult to figure out where the ball was going?

"In the middle of the field, it was all right to left. Once you got down to the end zones, it felt like it was just coming in off the river and swooping in a circular, clock-wise motion. But it was so gusty, it was never consistent. You never felt like you had it down — had it judged — because the gusts came in so much."

Is this team in a fragile state right now?

"I think so. These first two games, because of how bad we've been on offense, when you give up a big play before the half, it puts you in a bigger hole. We just need to try to find a way to stay positive. I think the best way to look at our situation is that we're 0-2, we're by no means out of the playoffs, and we've got a definite uphill battle ahead of us. Who better to get your mind set back than going into the defending world champion's home and getting a win? For confidence, for momentum, for the rest of the year, (we want to) just to find a way to go into the defending champ's home, get our first win of the year, try to get on a roll and see what can happen."

What's it like facing boos from the home crowd?

"It definitely doesn't feel good. You just can't let it distract you. You can't let it affect your focus. You need to go out there and play and I need to do a better job of that."

Can you explain the early timeouts taken and the 12-men-on-the-field penalty?

"On one of the timeouts, it was miscommunication with the personnel we had in the huddle. The 12-men-on-the-field (penalty) — I felt like I saw Kenny (Watson) step outside the huddle, and one guy came in. As the player left, he stepped back in the huddle and the flag went down. I'm not sure what happened on that. I'm not sure if it was a judgment call by the ref, or if we did have 12 guys in the huddle. But, to my best recollection, I thought I saw Kenny (Watson) step back five yards away from the huddle, (and then) into the huddle and I saw the flag go. So I'm not sure."

Did Utecht's injury mess up your offensive game plan?

"Yeah that was the first play of the game. We had a big game plan with him being in the game and a big package. It's something we were planning on using a lot, and we had to adjust and try to make the best of it and move on."

Do you feel like opportunities keep slipping away from this team?

"In two games, yeah. I think we've definitely missed some opportunities. We didn't capitalize on some opportunities we were given and some opportunities that we were in. But like I said, we've got to find a way to stay positive. We've got to find a way to get back on track. The good thing about it is, this early in the year, one win can do that, especially when it's at the New York Giants' home stadium. And we've got to find a way to fight through it this week. We've got some guys banged up and some injuries, but we're still a good enough team to go to New York and get a win. We've just got to find a way to do it."


You and Corey Lynch were able to create a turnover after a bad snap on a punt by the Titans to create a momentum change ...

"It was a well-designed play. It wasn't one certain thing that I did. It was drawn up well by the coaches and it was executed, and the ball just happened to fall my way."

You guys did a good job during punts and kicks. Did you feel like that was going to be a big factor in the game?

"We felt like special teams was going to be a huge part of this game after what was done to them last week. We executed well, but we still have to do a little bit more. That wasn't enough to get it to the end zone. We have to finish the play."

When did the momentum switch to the Titans in the game?

"Being at home, I don't feel like a team can come in hear and get momentum. We have the extra man. We have our fans behind us. They are giving us what we need for momentum at all times. No matter what they do, we have to continue to do what we're taught to do and what we work hard to be. And that's a better team than what we showed out there today. We will get better."


The wind was a big factor. Was it difficult to judge out there?

"I don't know that there have been too many times where I've actually had to judge that type of wind before in a game. It is definitely one of the hardest situations to have to kick in. Kicking into the direction of our tunnel, the wind was in your face, then it was blowing hard right. Sometimes you would feel it change up. With the gusting that was going on, it was definitely difficult. Our job as professionals is to deal with that kind of stuff because you never know when you're going to get it. It wasn't the optimum of situations, but it was what it was."


How frustrating is it when you have chances with short fields, but still can't move the ball?

"It's rough. They're a good team, and their defense came to play today. We have to come back and get ready for the next game."

When Chris Perry scored the rushing touchdown, what was your mentality?

"We knew that, if we kept pushing, that it was going to come. We know that if we keep working hard, and keep doing what we're supposed to do, then the big runs are going to come."

What was Marvin's message to the team after the game?

"Pick it up. We have to stick together as a team and push towards New York. What happened, happened, and we have to work harder to get better for next week."


What can you say about today's game?

"What you saw out there on the field from the Cincinnati Bengals speaks for itself."

What does it say?

"We're inconsistent, and we're not getting the job done. We have to do better, plain and simple. There's not a whole lot of explaining to do. We put it out there on the field, and it's not pretty."

You talked about this being a desperate situation coming into this game. How do you feel at this point?

"I still feel like the pressure is on us. Everything is on a heightened alert. We're inconsistent, and we have to do better. We're 0-2, and we're not getting it done. That's it.

Could this be getting close to a finger pointing situation?

"No. There's not going to be any finger pointing. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We have to go out there and do it ourselves. It's not going to be given to us. We have to make plays, and until we do that this is going to be the result."


How much of a factor was the wind?

"It was a tough situation today, but we both played in the same conditions. Obviously, they played better in the same conditions that we played in."

Would you have ever though that this offense would be in this position after two games?

"I would never have thought that we would have done that in the first game. So, I though this game would definitely be better for us offensively. We go out and practice every day. We bust our ass, run hard, complete everything ... and then in the game, for some reason, it just doesn't go down that way. I don't know why.

"We get 200 yards of offense when our defense has pretty much played top notch two games in a row. We're just not helping them out offensively. I couldn't really give you an answer of why we're not performing on offense. If I knew, then I'm sure everyone else would know, and we wouldn't be playing bad."

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