*With the Ravens preparing to take on the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad. *
BR.com gives you Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and WR Chad Ochocinco.
Head coach Marvin Lewis
Why is your defense so improved this season?
ML:"I think guys understand their responsibilities, and where they need to be and so forth. And I think they made that… [They were] pretty consistent most of last season, and as the season went on last year they prevented big plays and so forth for the most part. That's how you get better on defense."
Is the tackling what has really improved this year's run defense?
ML:"I think, again, you've got to get guys in the right spots, and then they've got to tackle when the ball comes. You want the ball to roll back to the free defender, and the free defender to make the play. I think we're doing it. It's early yet. We've just got to keep getting better and better at it."
Is this the best the defense has played since you've been in Cincinnati, and if so, what has led to that?
ML:"Right now, it's early in the season. I don't know that we've played real good yet. And so I'm anxious for each and every Sunday so we can play better and better. Again, I'll say I think the reason why defenses play better is when guys understand responsibilities, and what they're doing in each front, each coverage, they put the ball where they want it, and they tackle him when he gets there."
Is the model for your defense the defense you had with the Ravens?
ML:"I'm not the coordinator here, so this is Mike's [Zimmer] defense. Mike does the coaching of them day-in and day-out. Mike calls the game. Again, I don't know why this is the line of questioning for me right now. I coach the football team and both parts of it. I spend a lot of time making sure we're doing the things I want to do offensively as well."
What do you think of the Ravens' offense?
ML:"I think they're doing a fine job. I think Joe Flacco's doing a great job of delivering the football to the open receivers, and they're pushing the ball down the field. They've got good route-running receivers that do a good job of the double moves and the verticals, things they do within their offense. They've got three backs that can all hurt you carrying the football, and they've still got threats at tight end. So, it's a well-rounded offense."
WR Chad Ochocinco
What do you attribute the turnaround in Cincinnati to this year?
CO: "Man, you know what, we've been exciting man. We've been plugging and it's just a new attitude. Our mental state is superb right now. The way the defense is really saving our ass, man… Excuse my language, I'm sorry. The defense is really saving us big time. Offensively, we've been really, really good in the clutch. We've been superb in the clutch. Now, for us, we just have to find that consistency where we can be good through all four quarters, and it would make these games a lot easier and not nail-biters toward the end."
Who is the guy now that you like to target with Bart Scott and Chris McAlister gone?
CO: "Well, I'm targeting Ed [Reed]. I'm targeting Ed and [Dawan] Landryand [Domonique] Foxworth and Fabian [Washington]. And I'm really looking forward [to it]. And I said this before, every time I do this call, this is the most exciting game for me, every time we play Baltimore, because it's the only game where you have to account for all 11 people. I don't play all 11 positions, but the excitement that I get knowing that I have to be at the top of my game, it just gets me going. And that's just respect for that defense and all the players that play. I mean, everybody is awesome. There is no way to game-plan for the Ravens. You've just got to go. You've got to go, and whatever happens, happens. And just the thought of being able to compete with those individuals, it just gets me hyped."
What is your relationship with Ray Lewis like?
CO:"It's been the same. That's my spiritual father, man. When things are going wrong here, especially at work, especially last year, I know he got sick of me because things were going so tough, and the only person I had to turn to was him, that really understood the game of football, the business side of it, which got to me. He's really close to me. He's really close to me. There's no other way to explain."
Why are you a happy man this year?
CO:"That talk with Ray. I'm not lying to you, and he'll tell you. Everybody wants to know why I'm smiling, why I feel so good, why I'm so happy now, what's the difference from last year to this year. Ray Lewis. I'm not trying to play around just because I'm sitting here talking with you all. I've said it on every media outlet I've been on since the season started, everything I've done. The words, I've never talked to a man that's so powerful like that to actually change my entire mindset on what I'm doing."
If you could box anyone on the Ravens, who would it be?
CO:"Right now, knowing that I would probably win anyway because I'm faster and quicker than anybody on the Ravens team… I've got to be smart about that. I'm going to fight Terrell [Suggs]. I'm going to fight Terrell Suggs. Why are you all laughing? I'm serious, because boxing and playing football and using your physical strength is not going to work in the ring. I just know in the ring I can embarrass him. Yeah, I'd put Terrell to sleep."