Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Defensive Coordinator Mike Vrabel
Quarterbacks Coach Sean Ryan
ILB Dylan Cole
ILB Zach Cunningham
QB Tom Savage
WR Jaelen Strong
DE J.J. Watt
Conference Call with Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis
Conference Call with Bengals QB Andy Dalton
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Have you made a decision about your starting quarterback?
What are you still evaluating?
“A lot of things. A lot of things.”
You said you have not made a decision?
How much does QB Deshaun Watson’s health play a role in the decision?
“The health of any player is the first determinant in whether they play or not.”
How would you say the guys have been bouncing back on the field?
“It’s been good. These guys are into it. It’s hard to have a full-throttle practice, but they’ve been very focused. Good meetings. (We) had a little bit more of a fast pace, more of a jog-through today, but it was good, very good.”
Do you anticipate that this might be a game time decision?
“Maybe, yeah. I don’t think there’s a rule that says I have to publicly announce it.”
When you have all of your tight ends out and you have inexperience at receiver, how important is it for WR DeAndre Hopkins to have a big game?
“Hopkins will be targeted several times in every game we play this year. At least we will try to do that. So, whatever that means, that’s my answer to that. Regardless of who’s out there – three tight ends, four tight ends, one tight ends, no tight ends – the ball will be thrown in his direction quite a bit. I think everybody knows that. He was targeted 16 times and I really wish I targeted him 20 times on last Sunday.”
How is it to have WR Jaelen Strong back this week?
“Any time you get a guy back that’s been out for a week with a suspension, that’s good. You want your full complement of players as much as you can at every position.”
When it comes to offense, how much would have to change if QB Deshaun Watson starts versus QB Tom Savage or are they equal enough that you don’t have to drastically have to alter anything?
“Yeah, I don’t think it really changes that much for either guy. They both obviously have different skillsets. There’s maybe three or four different plays that we run and vice versa that the other guy doesn’t run, but it doesn’t really change too much. A lot of it’s based on health, it really is, with every player. Whether it’s a tight end, a quarterback. With any player.”
Are you expecting to make a roster move with the tight end position?
“I don’t know. Yeah, maybe. Not sure. I mean, it’s a short week, so we don’t have to make that today. We can wait up until a certain time to make a move. You can train a guy during the week, you know what I mean? Get him ready for the game plan and then make that move, if you think you need to make that move, right before the game, basically.”
Do you have other guys who can step into the role of a tight end, at least as a blocker?
“Absolutely. Yeah, there’s plenty of guys that can play the role of a blocker close to the ball. Meaning, like in a tight end area. There’s plenty of guys that can do that.”
What did you think of TE Evan Baylis and what he did during training camp and the preseason?
“He did some good things. He’s a smart kid, caught the ball well, worked very hard. A guy that – he’s a little bit light, but he blocked OK for what we asked him to do. So, I think he’s a promising young guy.”
With WR Braxton Miller missing so much time in practice, do you think that set him back?
“I think any time you miss a lot of time, with any player, I think – I don’t know if it sets you yourself back, but at that position, it sets the timing back. You have to work hard to get the timing back with the quarterbacks with that wide receiver position.”
With G Jeff Allen being hurt, is C Greg Mancz going to start at right guard?
“Mancz will start, yeah. Mancz will play.”
What do you like about C Greg Mancz, going back to last year?
“He’s a very bright guy. He can play all three inside spots. He’s a really tough guy. He’s come back from a lot of different injuries. He’s played through injuries. This preseason, was out there quite a bit. Obviously, can play center, right guard, left guard. So, there’s a lot that I like about Greg.”
Other than scoring points, what could QB Tom Savage have done in the first half to not have been on the bench?
“I would say that game is over. Really, I’m sorry, but that game’s over. I’m so far gone from that game. It’s a short week. We’re trying to get ready for Cincinnati, so for me to stand up here and evaluate that game – it wasn’t a good game. It wasn’t a good game.”
What needs to be better when you play on Thursday?
“I think everybody needs to do better. I need to do better. Anybody that plays in the game on Thursday needs to just do their job a little bit better, whatever that job is.”
You have five players out with concussions and you said they are likely not to play on Thursday, do you still expect them all not to play?
“I would say they would not play. I think it’s almost impossible with the way the protocol is set up for them to be able to play. I would say if there’s anybody that would have a chance, it might be (Ryan) Griffin and maybe Bruce Ellington, but probably not. I’m just trying to be honest with you. Probably not.”
You talk about the health of the quarterbacks, but what about everything else around it? Your offensive line, your opponent – does all that impact the decision of who is at quarterback?
“Sure, yeah. You try to do the best, really at every position, but especially at that position. You want to try to do the best you can for the player, you want to try to do the best you can for the team when you make those decisions (and) what’s best for the team. Every time you make that decision you’re trying to – in your mind, you’re making a decision that affects the whole team. So, you have to do a good job of evaluating not only the player, but everything around the player.”
How do you find the balance between sticking to the plan that you guys develop and cultivate in the offseason versus stuff happens and you need to do whatever you need to do to make a win?
“You have to make decisions. You have to make decisions. You can’t just sit there and go – I can tell you that we’re pretty close to making a decision as to who’s going to play, I would say. In this case, a lot of different factors go into it that aren’t really in our control, maybe. And so, I think that we’ll make a good decision for the team, but you just have to say to yourself ‘OK, evaluate it.’ You have to evaluate it quick in the NFL and you have to look at a lot of different factors. At any position you have to say ‘OK, we’re going to stick with this plan,’ or ‘this needs to change a little bit for us to be successful.’”
With TE C.J. Fiedorowicz missing time from a concussion in the preseason, do you think it might take him a little longer to come back from this one?
“I would say that it might take longer.”
What do you like from guys like ILB Zach Cunningham and ILB Dylan Cole? What did you see from them in the first game?
“Both guys made plays on special teams. Zach (Cunningham) made a really nice play on a punt down towards our bench and I thought he made a real nice tackle on that play. I thought Dylan (Cole) made some nice plays on both special teams and on defense. Same with Zach. They’re young. They’re learning. They’re very active players. They’re tough players. They’re smart players. They’re good, young players that I think have a real good future.”
Is this quarterback decision just for Thursday or also past Thursday?
“I try not to look too far into the future. It’s definitely, obviously, for Thursday, but you’re also saying you’re going to try your best to stick with the decision.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE VRABEL
In terms of bouncing back in a short week, what are you trying to get done in a couple of days to try to help prepare for this Thursday?
“Win or lose, every week in the National Football League, what you try to do is make corrections, coach, fix things and then prepare. So, we’ve done all that in a quick amount of time. I think our guys have responded in practice. We’re trying to show them a lot of stuff in a short amount of time and we’re going to do that here in a little bit.”
Looking at your linebackers and with ILB Brian Cushing in concussion protocol, who will play?
“Everybody’s going to play. Everybody that’s active for the game is going to play. Zach (Cunningham) will be in there. Dylan (Cole) will be in there. I’m sure Brian Peters will play in the game, too. So, all hands are on deck. If you’re on the 53-man roster and if you’re on the practice squad, you have to be ready to play in the games.”
What stood out to you when you watched your defense on film?
“What stood out to me is – the only film I’ve watched the last two days has been Cincinnati. I watched ours at 4 p.m. on Sunday, prepared the corrections, talked to the players on Monday morning and then we really, honestly, moved on to Cincinnati. We are talking about a team that can play 12 with three different tight ends, three different backs, 11 personnel with three different backs. A.J. Green, (Jeremy) Hill, (Joe) Mixon, (Giovani) Bernard. So, we’ve got plenty to worry about.”
What did you see in terms of gap control and the stuff that was going on with the front seven?
“We preach – that was something that as a player I believed in, that is what allowed me to play outside linebacker in this league, was the fundamentals. It was getting your hands inside, hitting on the rise, shedding, not throwing off too soon, waiting for the ball to declare, being square in the run game. Talked about the DBs and anybody that has a technique that’s related to their position. Whether it’s running or throwing the football, we’re trying to concentrate on that and just do the little things a little better and cover your guy. If it’s a zone coverage, correct drop. If it’s a pressure, correct gap. All those things.”
What do you see from Bengals QB Andy Dalton?
“A guy that knows where he wants to go with the ball, has good command of the offense, gets the ball out quick. It’s going to be important for us to recognize where he wants to go and try to get enough coverage over there and enough guys over there. But, he does have good command of the offense. He can run a pro style as well as a spread offense, which they can go to as well.”
What did you take away from your first game as a defensive coordinator?
“I think listening to Bill – Coach (Bill) O’Brien and Bill Belichick – obviously never can anticipate how a game’s going to go. You think in your mind, maybe, ‘Hey, this is how it’s going to go,’ but at the end of the day, you really don’t. And so, you have to just be prepared for everything that could come up. Whether they’re having success with a certain play, being able to come over there (and) make corrections on the sideline – we don’t wait for halftime, we have to get these things fixed – or here’s what they’re doing, this is new, this route concept. Just never anticipate how the game is going to go on Friday or Saturday until the game comes.”
Did anything surprise you on Sunday?
“I don’t think we tackled very well. We missed tackles. That’s frustrating. But nothing in the game that necessarily came up. We try to play a clean operation. We need to play better, but as far as too many guys on the field, rushing around, not having the right personnel out there, that was OK for that, but we’re pros so we should be able to do that. We just have to play better.”
How do you think ILB Dylan Cole did in his first NFL game?
“You never forget your first game. I can remember my first game against the Cowboys. I could name the whole starting offense right now but I’m not going to bore you. You guys can find it on the internet. It was 1997. They were eight All-Pros. But I told those guys, they’re never going to forget their first NFL game. He was able to go in there. That’s what we do. When somebody gets hurt in the National Football League or goes down, the next guy has got to be prepared to play with probably not as many reps as the starter. It’s just how it goes. He’ll get some more work this week and so will Zach (Cunningham).”
QUARTERBACKS COACH SEAN RYAN
What did you see from QB Deshaun Watson and what are some things he needs to show you to be your starter?
“I think in the time that he played on Sunday, he’s shown since he got here. He’s got the ability to make plays. That’s what he is, he’s a playmaker with good instincts and he’s young. He’s going to make some mistakes, and it’s on us to keep working with him and minimize his mistakes and get rid of them, not repeat them, and keep moving forward with him. But he’s shown what he’s shown from day one, I thought.”
Was QB Tom Savage inaccurate on Sunday or was there more to it?
“I think in the passing game, whenever there’s drops, incompletions – so many things go into it. You know what I mean? It’s not always a perfect throw, and the receiver has to adjust and make a difficult catch. I think there’s a lot of things that go into it where we could be more accurate at times, and that’s just part of it. So, there’s a lot of different things that factor in on those situations.”
Was QB Tom Savage inaccurate?
“Like I’m saying, I think Tom was like everybody else, there were times where Tom could have been better and times when everybody – we all shared responsibility in that. I think Coach (O’Brien) has hit on that, that we all need to improve. Every single one of us. No more one group than another.”
Was there anything the quarterbacks could have done better to avoid the pressure they received?
“What we talk to quarterbacks about all the time is put us in the play that you can. We preach that all the time to those guys. They always do their best to see what’s going on defensively and get that done for us. And then the next thing for the quarterbacks is let’s have that clock in your head. Know when it’s time to get the ball out of your hands or know when it’s time to tuck and go. It’s something that you’re constantly working with the quarterbacks on and we still work on it and always will.”
What factors go into choosing a starting quarterback?
“I’ll tell you this, that we go into the room every day – here’s my job as I see it, to go into the room every day and I’ve got to prepare the two guys that are going to have uniforms on, on gameday and prepare them both like they’re starting, because that’s what they have to be prepared to do. They both have to be prepared to play and start and have that mindset. That’s all I can do. At the end of the day, that’s what we do in that room, that’s what we get ready for and then we’ll figure that out when the time comes. Coach (O’Brien) will make a decision and we’ll go from there and we’ll just make sure we’re ready to roll.”
How much does their different styles of quarterback play factor into who starts?
“There’s probably a few specific things that we do for one guy, not another, and vice versa. But really, to be honest with you, it’s our offense. We run it, we expect both guys to get in there and execute it. That’s really our philosophy.”
ILB DYLAN COLE
This is a moment you’ve been waiting for, right?
“Yeah. I mean, I’m still playing football, so it’s nothing different. I’ve been doing this for 17 years. Just have to do a little bit more this game. Last game, I was primarily special teams but it may change a little bit. Still focused on special teams but I know I have a role on defense as well.”
How does your mentality change as a rookie who will have to go out and play with the veterans?
“The first game’s out of the way, so all the jitters are gone. I know what to expect and everything. So, like I said, I’ve just got to play football. I’ve been doing this for a while, so I’m not nervous or anything. I’m just very confident in what we have going. The coaches have laid the foundation of what we’ve got to do this week. My job is just to execute it.”
The Bengals got shut out on Sunday. How much energy do you expect them to come out with?
“I think they’re expecting to do a lot better, bounce back. Baltimore did a great job forcing a lot of turnovers, so that’s what we’re planning on doing, playing great team defense, forcing turnovers and getting the ball back to our offense so they can do what they do.”
How crazy is it for you to go from undrafted to potentially starting Week Two?
“That was my expectation. I set high expectations for myself. It is what it is. Things happen in the NFL, people get hurt, people get dinged up but it’s the next man up. It’s a professional sport. It’s presented like that and it is what it is.”
What does your confidence do for you?
“Like I said, it’s just confidence. That’s all you need. When you have the ability you just have to have the confidence to put it out on display. If you’re ready, that means you’ve studied, you know what you need to do. You don’t have to think on the field, you just play.”
ILB ZACH CUNNINGHAM
Thoughts on potentially having a larger role this week?
“For me, like you said, it’s a good opportunity for me to get out there and do what I can do for the team to the best of my ability. That’s what I plan on doing when I’m out there.”
How much did the first game help you?
“It definitely did help a lot to get out there and get acclimated to the game. Just going out there and getting those plays in will definitely help me going into this next game.”
How excited are you for the opportunity this week?
“I’m really excited for it. Like I said, with the last game I feel like I got more acclimated to the game, so it’s going to help me going forward and I’m really excited to have that opportunity.”
QB TOM SAVAGE
What did you learn from the tape?
“It’s a team sport. You just – I don’t know. Obviously, you don’t want to lose like that and you don’t want to play like that, so that’s just what it is.”
The obvious question is do you want another shot at going out there as a starter?
“Yeah, I do.”
We haven’t heard yet what’s going to happen, but it’s just a matter of whoever is out there has to get it done, right?
“Yeah. Like I said, it’s a team game. As long as we win, that’s the most important thing for me and obviously I want to be out there.”
Are you still waiting to have that conversation with Head Coach Bill O’Brien?
“No, I’m not waiting to have that conversation. I don’t think he owes either of us any explanation. We just have to be ready. That’s called being a professional.”
Is the uncertainty difficult at all?
“No, I’ve kind of been down this road before, so I’ll be ready to go.”
Speaking of professionalism, after QB Deshaun Watson went out and started the second half, you were seen on the video cameras being on the sideline trying to be encouraging. Is that something that comes naturally to you or is that difficult?
“Like I said, that’s part of being a professional. The most important thing for me is to win. Obviously none of that stuff matters, it’s just – I don’t feel like me wishing ill-will on anyone else or not helping someone is going to help me get to where I want to get to. I’m a firm believer in the cream will always rise to the top and if you do your job and you do it right, you’ll be out there.”
WR JAELEN STRONG
What are your thoughts on being back and with your teammates?
“I’m just happy to be back and glad to be back with my teammates. It was a long week, but glad to be back (and) glad to go to work.”
How hard was it for you having to watch the game?
“It was just hard not being here the whole week. But we’re past it now, so time to move forward and go to work with my guys.”
You had a good preseason, what do you hope to do to build on that?
“Like I said, it’s a new week, new day. Just glad to be back, trying to go to work.”
What do you hope to bring these guys this week?
“Whatever I can. Help my team win. Pretty much what I’m here to do, just work every day. Like I said, I’m just happy to be back.”
DE J.J. WATT
In terms of bouncing back from Sunday, how do you go about it?
“We’re looking forward to going out there and playing a game. Obviously, it’s a good opponent on the road, quick turnaround. You just want to get back out there and put a good performance together so you can get this taste out of your mouth.”
What are some keys to bouncing back?
“Learning from your mistakes and then putting it behind you. Understanding exactly what you did wrong, fixing it quickly and then moving on and having a short-term memory.”
After a game like that, is it good to be able to play so quickly?
“Yeah, it’s very good. We’re very excited to get back on the field and be able to put some better football on film.”
Did you talk to your teammates after the game about moving on and learning from their mistakes?
“I think we all had a message for ourselves. I don’t think anybody needed a message. I think we all understood what happened and what we need to do now.”
You’ve played against Bengals QB Andy Dalton before, what do you see from him as a quarterback?
“He’s a good football player. He’s obviously been a quarterback in this league for a long time. He’s a good player. Played against him in college, played against him in the league. He’s a good competitor.”
With ILB Brian Cushing on concussion protocol, guys like ILB Dylan Cole and ILB Zach Cunningham are going to be out there. What have you seen from them and the other young guys?
“I think it’s very important, obviously, for the young guys to step up. There’s no more time to be a rookie. It’s time to come out there and play at the highest level possible and I think that the rest of us around them need to give them the confidence to just – they just need to go out there and play free and play loose and have some fun.”
This is the first time you’ve seen playing time in a long time, how did you feel coming off of it?
“I feel fine, thank you.”
How’s your finger?
“Better. It’s inside my body, so that’s all that matters. It’s still attached.”
Nothing really simulates starting the regular season, how was it different than the preseason?
“I think the emotion of it more than anything. Playing is playing. You have training camp, you have preseason. I think the emotion of it and just settling down is something that’s probably the biggest thing. Just settling down, trusting what I do and not trying to do too many things at once.”
You said there’s no time to be a rookie. Is that easier said than done for the young guys, to play and act like a veteran?
“Obviously, it’s much easier said than done. It’s the best league in the world. It’s very difficult to play at this level, but it doesn’t matter how hard it is, it still needs to get done. And all of us – some of us played like rookies last game. I think that all of us, we just need to settle in, play some good football and just do what we know we can do.”
How good do you think this defense can be?
“I think we have to go out there and show it. You can’t say anything. You have to go out there and prove who you are, so that’s what we need to do. We just need to go out there and play good, sound football together as a team.”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH BENGALS HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS
How nice is it to have a short week after having a rough performance?
“I think it always is good to get back to work and get at it. I don’t know if, short week, long week, whatever. Obviously neither one of us were happy with the outcome of Sunday’s games.”
You guys have played the Texans so much recently. Does it kind of feel like a rivalry and is there anything that they do that makes your job more difficult?
“Well, we know that they’re a very sound and well-coached team. Bill (O’Brien) has done a great job since being there and we’ve had same ball games that seem to be close all the time. We know it’s going to be close-knit. They’ve got some outstanding players, we know that, and we’ve got to play great football and stay error-free in order to have an opportunity to win.”
Can you talk about the advantage of having a Thursday night game at home?
“It is. These Thursday games when you’re having to have such a quick turnaround with the football team and their rest and their health and so forth that way. I do think that obviously when you have to play them, you hope when the schedule comes out, you’re at home.”
The Texans are dealing with a ton of injuries after last game. Have you ever endured something like that where you had to throw something together on the fly personnel-wise?
“Yeah, we had it a few years ago. I think it was the 2010 season when we had to play a Thanksgiving night game and the Sunday before we lost a bunch of players in the secondary and other positions. We literally talked a guy out of the Lions building on Monday because he had an opportunity to come here and start for us on Thursday in the game. So, it’s happened before. It gets to be a quick turnaround, particularly when you get injuries at one particular position. We can’t account for that. With the 53 guys and the 10 practice squad players, nobody’s equipped to go down two or three players at a position.”
What did you see from both Texans QBs Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson on film?
“Well, I think from Tom Savage, what he’s done this preseason and in the first half on Sunday. He tried to get the ball off on rhythm and at times held on to the football a little bit and ended up taking some sacks. With Deshaun, when he comes in, he’s very – what’s the word I want to say – you can tell he’s precise of what he wants to do. He’s going to try to get rid of the football and if it’s not there, then he’s going to try to extend it with his feet. He did a nice job of that and has done that this preseason. A nice run against Carolina in the preseason. He’s done that a lot. He’s extended the down a little bit and he’s made some first downs that way. We’re kind of planning on it being Deshaun because if they made the change like they did at halftime, I would imagine it would be him coming forward here, at least this week.”
What do you see and expect from rookie RB Joe Mixon after a quiet first week?
“I was pleased with his play. He was good with his tracks, he was good at the things that he needed to do and it’s just stay consistent and keep playing.”
Was there something about his game that was either different or better from the pre-draft process and when you had him?
“He’s way better than I expected. He’s very, very talented. As a football player, he’s excellent and as a young man, I’m really impressed with him and just the way he carries himself and does things. That’s good. He’s going to have a fine pro career and he’s had one game under his belt now.”
Can you elaborate on how you’re impressed with RB Joe Mixon off the field?
“He’s a very positive 21-year-old. That’s what’s been great about him. He’s into his teammates, he's here a lot, around here a lot. He’s got a great personality, a very upbeat personality all the time. It’s impressive. He’s like a 21-year-old child and he carries himself as a good, upbeat, positive young man, and that’s what you want to see from him all the time. He’s a great worker, he handles the work. He doesn’t shy away from anything, he’s involved in every aspect here, special teams and on offense, providing looks for the defense and all the things that a young player has to do in the NFL. I’ve been pleased with all that.”
How confident are you that QB Andy Dalton can bounce back?
“I’m very confident that Andy will. We had two tipped balls and we have a ball probably we should hang on to and then we get trapped in the pocket and lose the ball. That’s uncharacteristic, as you said, to his play. We need him to play better and I expect him to play better as we move forward.”
How do you attack an offensive line that struggled but might have an elusive quarterback on Thursday?
“It’s like chasing a rabbit. We’re going to shoo a rabbit around. He’s got great ability that way. But the thing that is impressive for him and as you watch him is he keeps his eyes focused down the field and he does what you want to see a quarterback do.”
You guys made the decision to keep QB A.J. McCarron despite interest there may have been in him…
“You’re speculating, so I’m probably not going to have a good answer for this. You’re speculating.”
Can you just speak to QB A.J. McCarron and what you see in him as a player?
“His exposure here has been great as a backup to Andy Dalton. Very valuable member of our football team that way.”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH BENGALS QB ANDY DALTON
What’s your mentality on trying to right the ship this Thursday?
“You want to bounce back. Obviously both teams are having to deal with that right now. It’s a short week. You have to prepare and get everything in as quickly as you can and go out and play your best. You’ve got to put what happened on Sunday behind you and move on.”
Can you describe what happened on Sunday?
“It felt like everything that could go wrong, kind of did go wrong. For me, I’ve got to take care of the ball. A couple of tipped passes and different things happened that got away from me and from us. For me, I’ve got to do a better job of holding on and keeping it our possession. It happened. Not the start that we wanted to have but for us, our mindset is we have 15 more. There’s a long season ahead of us, and so we’re pushing to do whatever we can to get a win this week on Thursday.”
What did you see from Texans DE J.J. Watt?
“We obviously know the type of player that he is. He’s back to what he was. For us, we obviously are going to know where he’s at, but he’s not the only one on that line that can cause problems. They’ve got other guys that can make big plays for them.”
What’s the challenge of preparing for a defense that has a lot of talent and moves around quite a bit?
“I think you just have to know where the guys are. There’s some stuff where you have to see where they’re lined up, they’re in different spots. Like I said, they’re moving around, so for us, we just have to have that constant communication of knowing where we’re going on certain things and just be able to communicate where they’re at.”
What do you think of Texans QB Deshaun Watson?
“I mean, obviously he had a really good college career. For him, he’s really talented. He can run, he can throw, and obviously winning the national the championship and the way they did, he’s definitely a talented guy.”
You and Texans QB Deshaun Watson both had extensive college experience before going to the NFL. Can you speak to how important it is for young players to have that many reps in college?
“I think it’s big. It makes that transition easier. At the end of the day, you’re playing football and you have to just understand that and realize that. Yeah, I think the experience will definitely help him out.”
Being from the Houston area, how was your family and community during Hurricane Harvey?
“I was fortunate to have my immediate family, everybody was safe. Everybody was good. No flooding in their homes. Their streets flooded, but nothing got in the house. I had an uncle, though, that his car got flooded and his house got flooded. He’s having to deal with that right now.”
How has the versatility of defenses changed from when you entered the league to now?
“I think it just kind of depends on the guys that you have. For them, a guy like (Jadeveon) Clowney, his athletic ability allows him to do that kind of stuff, to play outside, to play inside, to play standing up at linebacker, all the different things. When you’ve got guys like that, it makes it easier. So, I think it just kind of depends on the teams and the guys that they have.”
Given your experience at TCU, do you think the narrative of transitioning from a college system to a pro system is overblown?
“For me, the offense was different than what it is at TCU now. When I got into the NFL, I was fortunate that the way we did things at TCU was very similar to what we were doing here at Cincinnati. Just the way that we called plays, the way that we were doing things in the huddle. I had played under center, it wasn’t like this was my first time playing under center. I think we had some spread concepts, but the way that we were doing things on offense were similar to what we were doing here my rookie year. I think that made that transition easier for me. Some of these guys have never taken a snap under center, some of them maybe don’t know coverages as well because (with) the style of offense, you’re not worried about the coverage. I think there is some stuff that makes that transition harder, but for me, I was fortunate that we did things similar to the way that we did things here in Cincinnati.
What do you expect from rookie RB Joe Mixon moving forward?
“He’s really talented. He’s got all the ability, so, for us, we’ve just got to give him a little space and let him go do his thing and give him opportunities. I’m excited to see what he’s going to be able to do this year.”