Transcripts: Week 1: Bengals Conference Call

Head Coach Marvin Lewis

On what it's like to have a weapon like RB Giovani Bernard out of the backfield:"Gio did a good job in his first year. When he touched the football, he made positive things happen, and he wanted us to pick up where we left off."

On what challenges RB Bernard Pierce presents to the Bengals' defense:"Bernard is a very good downhill runner. You have to get in great position and really do a great job of tackling. He's a strong, strong runner; he's a good screen runner. He does a lot of good things."

On if he always saw the potential in LB Vontaze Burfict:"I thought he would be a good player. I didn't know it would be literally in his rookie year, because we had that injury that really pushed him to the front quicker. He began the season where we were just going to work him in, and then we had the injury to Thomas Howard that led to him playing full-time right away. He did the things that [we] asked him to do from the time we brought him here for the rookie camp after the draft, which was really good."

On if there are any uncertainties to deal with when preparing to face Gary Kubiak's Baltimore offense:"Anytime that you have an opening game, there is some uncertainty. There's no question about that. Yes, we have some uncertainty of how things are, but Gary is an excellent football coach, and he's done a great job. We have to really be ready to play great defense."

On if he looked at Houston tape or the Ravens' preseason tape to prepare for Baltimore's new offense:"We've done everything. We've done it all."

On the struggles of QBs Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton against their respective opposing defenses:"Both quarterbacks, as young players, have done a good job for their football teams. Obviously, we're trying to get Andy to where Joe has been. Joe is an excellent player, and we just have to do a great job of defending him and their offense."

On how they prepared with questions surrounding the health of the Ravens' secondary:"I expect them to be out there, so we prepared to run our offense to the best we can do. We have to do a great job of executing."

On how the Bengals' wideouts have performed without WR Marvin Jones:"We've been pleased with the guys. Yes, we're without Marvin, and that's what we have. We're pleased with where we are, and we have a big challenge ahead of us."

On if he expects to see a much improved QB Joe Flacco and Ravens offense this weekend:"Yes, I do. I expect to see the very, very best. It's the opening week of the season. They're high-flying, so I expect [them to] be very, very good. Joe is an excellent player, and they have great offensive personnel. We're going to have our hands full."

On how DT Geno Atkins is doing after recovering from injury:"Obviously, when a guy has an injury and comes back, he's still working through it, but he's done a nice job in the limited plays he's had in games and he's done a good job in practice. He will continue to progress as he goes through and continues to keep playing football."

QB Andy Dalton 

On the struggles that arise when facing the Ravens' defense: "The Ravens have been good for a long time on defense. They have a really good scheme with really good players; they present some challenges. They do a good job in some of their blitz packages getting guys free, and they're able to do it with just four guys up front as well. The big thing [is] you have to stop the pressure up front to have a chance to get down the field on them. They do a really good job up there."

On what types of challenges are presented not knowing who will be out there in Baltimore's secondary: "We expect those guys to be back – you have to prepare for that. Not knowing who's going to be out there … At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who's out there. It's just [a matter of] getting the scheme down of what they're trying to do. Obviously, they haven't had guys practicing and doing things throughout the preseason, but we fully expect those guys back."

On how he feels about the comparisons to QB Joe Flacco: "The biggest thing that Joe has done is he's won the Super Bowl. He's had a really good career, and obviously, the goal of everybody playing this game is to win Super Bowls. That's what I'm working for and working towards, and hopefully [I'll] be able to accomplish it in my career." 

On if the first step to that is winning a playoff game: "That's the main thing that everybody is talking about right now. Until we win one, people are going to keep saying that we haven't done it and we can't do it. That's definitely a goal of this team."

On if he thinks he's a similar QB to Joe Flacco: "If you look at the start of our careers, I think they're similar. Obviously, we're a different type of player, but there definitely are some similarities in what we've been able to do since being in the NFL."

On where he feels like he's making progress as a QB: "My total understanding of what we're doing, of what defenses are throwing at us. I feel like I have really good control of the offense being able to do different things at the line of scrimmage, and just my overall understanding of the game. I can keep improving in different areas. I try to be more efficient; try to get the ball our guys' hands quicker; let our guys make plays. But I definitely feel I'm a lot better player than I was starting off my career."

On how he views the Ravens-Bengals rivalry: "It's a big one. I think, obviously, anytime you play in-division – a division team – it's going to be a big game. There's a lot on the line, so I think it is a big rivalry."

On what it's like handing off the ball to RB Giovani Bernard: "He's a special player. He can do a lot with the ball in his hands. So for him, it's getting him in space and [letting] him do his thing. He's really talented. And it's when you either throw short passes or hand [the ball] off and watch him do all the stuff he can do with it. Like I said, he's a special player."

On rookie RB Jeremy Jill: "He has done well. We're expecting a lot out of him. He's a big back, a lot like 'Benny' [BenJarvus Green-Ellis], and he's a guy that can catch the ball in the backfield as well. So, we have high expectations for him. He's a really good complement to Gio [Bernard]."

On WR A.J. Green and his contract status: "A.J., he's one of the top guys in the league, so he deserves everything that he's going to get. I think at the right time, it's going to happen, but he's … To have a guy like that, he's rare – a tall guy with speed that can get in and out of brakes and has some of the best ball skills in the league. I think he's so talented."

On rookie C Russell Bodine starting against the Ravens: "I think the big thing [is] we're trying to get him comfortable with seeing everything. It's obviously going to be an adjustment for him, but he'll adjust quick. Might was well start off going against [Haloti] Ngata and some of these guys up front [to] get his feet wet a little bit. So, I think the biggest thing is we're trying to make him comfortable and let him go play. At the end of the day, he's still playing the game of football."

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