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Press Conference Transcript - Practice 9/16


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On what he has seen from the Bengals' special teams: "They've had a great preseason. And while the first regular season [game] had one unfortunate incidence, the thing that stands out to me is that all through four preseason games, with a number of new players, they were effective in the return game, and they covered well. And, as you saw, [Bengals kicker] Mike Nugent has made some long field goals, and he's been very effective for them as well. That's what stands out to me. And the obvious addition of [Adam] 'Pacman' Jones makes them very explosive in the return game."

On if he expects S Tom Zbikowski to bounce back in the return game:"I expect 'Zibby' to bounce back. I liken it to a lot of other positions. Now, remember, 'Zibby' hasn't been doing this for us yet. When a good player makes a mistake, he learns from it and becomes a better player. And we expect that from 'Zibby.'"

On where CB Prince Miller fits on special teams:"Well, we're practicing today. Prince is here to play corner, he's here to play gunner, he's here to play returner, he's here to play a number of different things. But today we'll practice, and we'll see how it goes at the end of the week."

On the tackle P Sam Koch made on Jets S Jim Leonhard:"It was a very good play. It's unfortunate it came to that. We had a few form tackles that weren't so pretty prior to [Sam's tackle] that led to his form tackle. So, we'll try to keep him out of the tackling rankings if we possibly can, going forward."

On if he was surprised at his ability to tackle well:"No I wasn't. Sam's a football player. You look back at his high school background. And in Nebraska they don't shy away from contact back when he was playing there, I'm sure. We do practice tackling with our specialists during training camp and during the offseason moments, so the opportunity presented itself, and he came through for us in a big way."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison

On whether defending the Bengals starts with stopping RB Cedric Benson:"Yeah, by what they've done to us the last two years… Or the last time we played them, last year, twice. You know, obviously that's something we've got to address. He's run the ball better than you're supposed to run it on our defense, and that's a big thing for us. We've got to stop that run."

On what makes it tough to bring Benson down:"They've got a good offensive line. Their offensive line is big guys that get on you. And now it's getting off the block, and when you try to get off a block and make a tackle when [Benson's] hitting you, he sometimes falls forward for a couple more [yards], and we can't allow that to happen."

On what his first thought was when the Bengals signed WR Terrell Owens:"To be honest, I really didn't think that much of it, because I think the wide receivers in this league – and obviously he's a great wide receiver – but the wide receivers in this league, most of them have three of them. I just said, 'Well, I guess they've got three or four now.' But he's a great wide receiver, and Chad [Ochocinco] is a great wide receiver, and I happen to think [Andre] Caldwell [is a great receiver]. You know, Caldwell played well against us last year, and [Jordan] Shipley… They've got a lot of weapons that way. And they've got a quarterback that I've always felt is one of the best in the league. So, it's another receiver."

On whether it still amazes him what LB Ray Lewis can do at such a high level even at 35 years old:"It doesn't amaze me. You know, I'm sure it amazes a lot of people, but when you come to work every day with the attitude that Ray has, and you practice the way he does, then that's what's going to happen. And I would just hope that every young player in the league, or every young player playing football, would sometime try to watch him and try to understand what Ray Lewis does to get himself ready to play at that level. It's not just because he's Ray Lewis and because he's strong and athletic and all that kind of thing; it's because of the way he prepares and his passion for the game."

On whether the way Lewis motivates players is almost as important as what he does on the field:"Yeah, and the thing about it, I don't think he does it vocally. You always hear him once in a while, but I don't think that's the thing. I think everybody looks at him as being a guy that's played as long as he has at the level he's played at, and then they see him come out to practice and do the things that some guys might not want to do, and he does it. And they say, 'Well, if he does it, I better do it.' And I think a lot of Ray is by example."

On how LB Jameel McClain did in the first regular season game:"He did a good job. He did a good job. I thought he was very physical, and he helped us. The thing [is] the stats in that last game on the run, it happened on three plays. And we don't want that to happen, but for the most part he did a really good job on the run, and we're excited about it. The good thing is we rolled three guys; Jameel started the game, but [Dannell] Ellerbe played, and then Tavares [Gooden] played. So, you've got three guys that we feel very strongly about."

On the progression of DT Haloti Ngata:"Well, I had made the comment after OTAs and then after camp [that] I really felt he was going to have a great year. And again, it's because I just stand there and watch him practice. And when a guy that talented practiced as hard as he did during camp, you've got to say, 'OK, he's going to have a great year.' And so far, in this first ball game, he showed the same way he practiced. He's played extremely hard."

On whether Ngata's shown the whole package as a defensive lineman at this point:"Yes, and we've always felt that he could be… You know, his pass rushing at times is as good as he [stops the] run. And it's just him, I think, turning the switch on and saying, 'This is a passing situation.' Probably sometimes he's too unselfish. In other words, he wants to make sure he does his part on the run and doesn't turn it loose like some guys will."

On what the Patriots' defense did so well against the Bengals last weekend that shut down their offense in the first half:"Well, they played good defense. And I think the biggest thing when you're playing the Bengals is you've got to make sure they don't get big plays on you. They've always shown the ability to get big plays with their wide receivers, and that's anybody you play up against. But, they're a team that if you give them cheap ones or give up big plays, now you've got to put up with them running the football and moving the chains as well as that. So, again the big thing for us – it's going to be all year – that we can't give up big plays."

On whether NT Terrence Cody's size makes him a little more apprehensive about how quickly he returns to the field:"No. In fact, the reports we hear on Terrence Cody is he's worked extremely hard. He's doing very well. In fact, I think he's very close, and he's really worked hard at getting back."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On what he's seen from QB Joe Flacco as far as escaping pressure:"He's good. I think we saw that a couple years ago, maybe at Pittsburgh or wherever that was. But he's a good athlete; he's mobile. I think [quarterbacks coach] Jim Zorn has done an outstanding job. Jim was kind of that way, if you can remember back. He's got some drills, and it was nice to see some of the drill work that they do in training camp work [in the game]. Joe stepped up on that first third down and found Anquan [Boldin] inside. That's a very specific drill that I've seen Jim do with those guys. Obviously, [Flacco] is paying attention."

On whether it's easier preparing for an opponent that they know well and play often:"No. Actually, they're basically all the same because you're continually, as the week goes along, you're always looking to uncover something. Because every team, with free agency, every team's different than they were the previous year. Coaches change; people have additions to their staff. So you're looking at a lot of factors each year. Actually, that's what makes it a lot of fun game-planning in the NFL – there's so much change every year. And then with injuries and inactives, we really don't even finalize… I really don't, in my mind, finalize a game plan until I know who the inactives are. It really comes down to that point, because you've got to know who they have active to really know how you want to attack somebody."

On whether it was the Jets' defensive game plan or something the Ravens didn't do well that stifled the run game:"It was both. It was a little bit of both. I think good defenses can make you not do some things well. But that's in no way, shape or form how we want to run the ball, but it is how we wanted to attack that defense. We were able to maintain our approach throughout the course of the game, and I think that's important. We have a lot of respect for, obviously, that defense. But I've got equally as much respect for this defense coming up. All you've got to do is look at the two games last year. They defended us extremely well; we had opportunities and didn't take advantage of them. We've got equal the challenge this week that we did last week, irrespective of a short week."

On whether he was surprised to get a quality player like WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh less than a week before the season began:"I would say 10 years ago, yes, but here, no. Boom, Lorenzo Neal shows up. Bang, Willie Anderson shows up. I marvel at our personnel department. Obviously, they definitely have their hand on the pulse of this league and where the players are, where guys may be coming available, and then the type of guy that might be able to help us. There's a lot of guys, as you know, that become available that just, in our mind, aren't a good fit. But Ozzie [Newsome] and his staff, and along John [Harbaugh] – obviously John's a big part of that with Ozzie – they've just got a knack for striking when we need somebody."

On how Houshmandzadeh is fitting in:"It's like I told him – we really don't have any other choice. No. 1, he's been in the system to some degree. And I just… You pick up a guy [and] tell him, 'Hey, I'm going to act like I've known you forever. Let's play ball.' Boom, that's it. And that's what you have to do, because we had a game coming up. And he played very well in the game, and he was a factor in the game, which I think I've shared that with you guys. Does a guy always get the ball as much as they want? It's hard to get everybody the ball, but if they can impact the game, I think they usually feel pretty good about it. He didn't get the ball a lot, but as we all saw, he impacted the game tremendously."

On if there were any problems with Houshmandzadeh in his first game:"He graded 100 percent. There's a lot of things you guys don't see. He was in here in the evening. He's one of those players that's not afraid to come up on the second floor and come and sit in his coach's office. Some of these guys in this younger generation think you can't be doing that. The veterans get it – you switch teams, you become part of the coaching staff. That's the only way you can pick things up and get the new system quickly."

On his opinion of Bengals LB Ray Maualuga:"He's just a good football player. I think we all saw it in college, and he's played well since he's been in the league. He plays hard. He's not afraid. He's aggressive. He's downhill. Good football player."

On whether it's comforting to have TEs Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta on the roster while TE Todd Heap is recovering from an injury:"Obviously, you don't want to lose Todd Heap on any down or at any point in time. As everybody's seen throughout this preseason, we've got three good tight ends. We'll adjust accordingly, and we'll just let it play out. Dennis and Ed are coming along, but as we've said, Todd Heap is a very good football player."

LB Ray Lewis

Opening statement: "I'm calm this week. What's up?"

On whether he is surprised that Cincinnati hasn't tried to rile him up: "No. I think Marvin [Lewis] has his team ready to play. Everybody is talking about the way they played against New England, but the bottom line – if you've been around the business long enough – if you fall for that, you'll fall for anything. They're going to come out and give us their best game, and we know that. [It's] their home opener, [in] the division. They swept us last year in the division, and why wouldn't they try to go do that again? So, we know the importance of this game, and we know they know the importance of this game. So, we're definitely prepared for that."

On whether he was trying to inspire his teammates in addition to sending a message last week: "Well, I think if you take it from them, it only inspired them because I just jumped out there and said what most of us were probably feeling. So for a team, me being the appointed leader, why wouldn't I do it? To really click my team in, to get us to register, to understand how important that game was going to be Monday night. And the bottom line was: It's just one family. It's just us. So, that's what the message really was for."

On Bengals RB Cedric Benson and how to stop him: "Very patient. Very patient. On film I've watched so far, he's OK with taking a 3-yard gain, 4-yard gain, 5-yard gain. But then the one time, whether it's me, whether it's whoever it is, jumps out of a gap, then he pops a 14- or 15 [-yard gain]. So the bottom line is defensively, we've just got to make sure to stay in our gaps to keep him contained. He's a very, very patient runner, stutters a lot to read his keys, to read his holes, and then bounces it or cuts it inside. I just think in that zone scheme they've got it's really kind of created for him and the way they run that. As far as defensively, we've just got to attack our gaps and stay on him."

On P Sam Koch's tackle last week: "Perfect form. Perfect form. That's what I told Sam. Any time that you can use perfect form as any form of kicker, that's a good thing. Sam is a good guy, man. We've been messing with him about that, but for him to make that tackle that was a big, big play."

On whether he was surprised Koch made that play: "No, no, I'm not surprised. If you know Sam you wouldn't be surprised."

On how DT Haloti Ngata makes his job easier: "I always tell Haloti… It's always funny, because the longer we're together the better our chemistry is together. From the first time he came in here, just seeing his talent was overwhelming, and [I] understood once he grabbed the knowledge of the game it was going to go to a whole another level. It's kind of reminds you of Sam Adams, of that quick explosion and just can get off the ball and destroy anything in front of him. Their feet are so good. Sam's feet were as good as Haloti's, and Haloti now has taken D-tackle to the next level, as far as athleticism. But I just think as he keeps playing the game and keeps learning more and more, that's what's going to make him way more dominant. He's already a physical specimen by itself. But to just play behind him, I'm the quarterback behind him and I dictate, I go off him. I go off him and Kelly [Gregg]. I think with the chemistry we have we do a great job playing off of each other."

On being a mentor to WR Chad Ochocinco and if he ever tells him to tone it down: "Yeah, I do. I do. There's certain times I talk to Chad as a true brother. Anything he needs, whether it's something about a game, if he needs a script sheet, if he needs prayer, if he just needs a conversation or even if I just call him and say, 'Alright now, you're going too far. Just calm it down a little bit.' There's never a rebuttal; he doesn't fight me. [He says,] 'I got you.' Then the excitement is always when you see him do it, when you see him change because everybody and all this hoopla about him. I think he just loves the game, and it's the way we grew up playing in the street yard. Nothing has changed from that. Even though you're amongst all these fans and TVs and stuff, he still plays the game and is very loose. So, I've been saying this for years: I don't ever get mad at him, no matter what he does. Let him do what he does, but the bottom line is it's kind of my duty to be a brother to him, to be a big brother to him, and just help him out in any way I can."

On ignoring Ochocinco's Tweets: "Yeah, I don't do any Tweeting now. I've got kids, I can't do Tweeting." (laughter)

On his son gaining 504 total yards in a high school game: "It's funny, man, because my kids are putting pressure on me now. I'm telling them, 'I'm getting ready to one day tailgate so I can chase y'all.' You know? But to listen to my son… My oldest boy had his game Friday night, and then my 10-year-old had his game Saturday, and both of them scored three times, and the text I get and the phone call I get is, 'It's your turn.' I'm like, 'Well, how do I show up 500 yards?' You can't show up 500 yards."

On his son being good enough to attend Ohio State: "Now you know what? You're trying to make me depressed today. (laughter) He's a great kid, a great kid, all of my boys. And they buy into… I give them hard criticism even when I watch their films and watch the things they do on tape. Whether it's the ball is in the wrong hand, whether you should have used a stiff-arm, whether you should have went outside, inside, whatever it is. And just to see the effort… I don't critique them to down them, but the effort is kind of what I always keep up with. And just to see what I saw on tape about what he did this last week, just his effort and his leadership on how he kept his team involved, there's no greater reward for a father than to see that, than to see your son."

On whether he makes it to any of his games: "Oh yeah, oh yeah, every bye week I usually see him. I'm faithful to it. I'm not the parent that's going to sit back and be quiet. I'm the one that runs all the way. If you run 100 yards, I'm running 110. So, good thing."

On his hit against Jets TE Dustin Keller and whether he thinks about the penalty he received for the hit on Ochocinco last year: "No, no, I don't. If you do my job, you've got one way to go – just go. Whatever comes out of it, comes out of it, because if you start doing that, man, you're going to hurt yourself. You see all of these guys, even when you watch the games on TV… Even [DeMarcus] Ware in Dallas, he didn't respond and probably changed his number, but even when he dropped his head in that game against the Redskins, it's just a bad thing to do to ever drop your head as a defender. When you start thinking about things like that, you do start to drop your head, so I don't think about that."

On how it feels to deliver a perfect hit: "It's like a quarterback throwing a big touchdown. The same excitement of him reading that perfectly, hitting the man straight on his hands. That's what a linebacker's touchdown is – when you've got that perfect setup and you see this man coming and you go, 'Bah!' and you hit him right on the button. And when you get up, you know it was the play, so it's what you work for. It's what you work for. And playing my position, man, that's my touchdown. That was my touchdown."

On whether he had seen that play coming before the ball was thrown: "Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I saw that. The anticipation of it came [at the] beginning of the week, just seeing what he does from the 'three' position. You kind of confuse him with our defense – I won't go too much into it because we've got a long season ahead – but once he thought he beat Tavares [Gooden], he thought he was totally free. And if you went back and studied some of his film, he's done that before to really throw a yogi route, stop-and-go or whatever. And I just zoned in on him, saw where he was coming – and perfect hit."

On whether the last game is one that he'll remember for a long time: "Oh yeah, that's one of those ones. And build it up how you want to build it up, and that's what I told the guys, 'Don't try to get to where everybody keeps talking about the Super Bowl. Take one game at a time. Enjoy the ride, man. Enjoy the ride, because that's the funnest part of the year, is the ride along the way.' And that game right there will be remembered amongst some of these babies for the rest of their lives. And for me, you can't win a game… As a defensive person, playing against your old defensive coordinator, you can't win a game like that and not put that on your top shelf. It was just that type of game."

On how the Ravens can avoid a letdown this week: "Oh, you go to the next game. It's over. No, I don't think it's a natural letdown, not when you got swept by the Bengals last year. We've got another week coming up this week, and the Bengals are a very quality opponent, and we've got to go in and have our game ready. That's behind you and celebrate it, do what you've got to do with it, but now it's over, so move on."

On his choice of shirt:"Look, man, it was in my locker, I put it on."

On any special meaning with the shirt in regards to the Players' Association: "No, not for me. I just put it on today. But whatever meaning behind it… What's it say? Echoes in eternity. Oh yeah, they took that from a quote from one of my movies, but I'll let them get away with that one." (laughter)

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