With the Ravens preparing to head to Cincinnati take on the divisional rival Bengals for the second time this season, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad.
BR.com gives you head coach Marvin Lewis and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Head Coach Marvin Lewis
What differences do you see in the Ravens and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco after facing them in Week 1?
Marvin Lewis:"I think he's very confident with the football when he's having to throw it, and they've obviously built and designed some runs for him to carry the football or to hand the football off based on his read. They've continued to expand the offense as the season has gone on for him."
How strange is it will be to see former Bengals tackle Willie Anderson on the other sideline?
ML:"Well, it will be strange but I'm very happy for Willie. Willie is an extremely hard worker; he's meant a lot to this organization and a lot to me. I'm very glad that he's getting an opportunity to play again. He's playing on a team right now that's winning, and that's all that Willie has strived for his entire career is a chance to play on a winning football team and contribute to a winning football team, and he's doing that again."
**What is your impression of how safety Ed Reed
is playing and do you feel his nerve impingement affects him?**
ML:"I think Ed has continued to be the guy that can really track and go after the football. He has a great awareness. I'm sure in [this] year [the neck] probably bothered him more, but I think the more you play when you have something like that you're dealing with, the more you put it behind you."
How do you feel John Harbaugh has handled the Ravens in his first year as head coach?
ML:"He's done an outstanding [job]. I told John, even prior to us playing the first game, I admired how he's kind of gone about it. Obviously, when you take over somewhat of a veteran football team with some veteran players, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, it can be a difficult adjustment. We kind of went through a little bit of that here, offensively, on the other side. He's done a great job of handling it and then putting his stamp on it, doing it his way, and obviously they've been successful."
How are things between Chad Ocho Cinco and his teammates?
ML:"I took Chad out of the mix. Chad was a little bit late for a meeting, and so I chose to deactivate him and kind of took him out of the mix after that point. So there's really not much else to say. He didn't effect them in any way, he wasn't going to be able to play, so there was really no reason for him to sit there being on the sidelines."
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Do you sense an advantage playing against the Ravens' secondary, which has been troubled by injuries this year?
T.J. Houshmandzadeh:"Their secondary is not [in trouble]. What really makes their defense go is they have so many guys with [Terrell] Suggs
** in the back, it doesn't matter."
What has happened to the Bengals that has brought them to this unsuccessful season?
TH:"Man, it's hard to put a finger on it. Obviously, we have different guys on the offensive line. You guys have got one of our linemen [Willie Anderson] up there playing well for you all. But I don't know, man. It's frustrating, to say the least, to go through what we're going through right now. You can't even put it into words, really. But football is fun, and so that's what I plan on doing Sunday. But to answer that question, it's hard to put a finger on it, man, because after 2005 – you look at all our guys were all young, we're all just now getting into our prime or the middle of our careers, and for me it was just starting – you would have thought that for the next four, five, six years it would have been somewhat like Indianapolis and it hasn't been that way."
**What have you seen Ed Reed
do since he's been in the NFL, and do the Bengals game-plan for him more than other guys?**
is the best safety in football, followed probably by [Troy] Polamalu. Ed is just a receiver playing safety. When he gets the ball he's like a running back. Then, he's not just going to come up and bang you, but if you don't see him, he will hit you, because he did that to me last year and I've got a scar on my face that every time I look in the mirror [I] remember who did that. But he catches the ball so smooth – great hand-eye coordination, great understanding of the game. I think that comes from playing with Ray [Lewis] and Ray helping him understand the game and offenses' tendencies and things like that. [Ed] will probably go down as one of the best safeties ever to play because of the way he's changed the game. When Ed came into the game, safeties weren't getting big deals. Safeties were looked upon as guys that were safeties; they weren't big playmakers. When Ed came into the league all that changed, and I think it was because of him."
TH:"Yeah, I talked to big Willie last night. I talked to Will. It's funny because when Will left I was kind of upset about it, you know, that he was leaving. He was like, 'Man, T.J.,' when he was deciding what he was going to do he [told me], 'It's between Baltimore and San Diego.' When Willie was here all he kept saying was, 'I want to win, I want to win.' I [told him], 'If you want to win, why are you thinking about going to Baltimore? Why wouldn't you go to San Diego? It's great weather and you're going to go to San Diego.' I told him yesterday, 'You're almost a prophet,' because when he went to Baltimore he [told me], 'T.J., we can win here. With these guys on defense, we can win here.' And he's right. Look at the record of Baltimore and look at the record of ours and San Diego. I'm glad. I'm glad he's had an opportunity to go to the playoffs if [the Ravens] continue to play the way they're playing. Hopefully, we can throw a monkey wrench in that. But it's good to see somebody like Willie [have that success] because Willie busts his tail, he takes care of his body and it's good for him."
What was the feeling like on the team when Anderson made the move to Baltimore?
TH:"I think a lot of guys [were disappointed]. Willie is like a big, old teddy bear. He's cool. Willie was one of those guys [who] was a lineman but he was the face of the Bengals for a while. He was the mouth of the Bengals, [even] with being a lineman. He never shied away; Willie likes to talk. It was tough, man, because I was here when Willie got here, and there are not very many guys that have been here as long as I have with Willie, and Willie taught me by the game. He was teaching guys the game, and you don't realize how much a guy like Willie does until he's not here. You say, 'Oh, OK, he did more than we thought.'"