Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis addresses the media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 8, 2010.
Q: How prepared do you think you guys are for the season and how much motivation is there for doing this year what you could not do in 2006 and that's get back to the playoffs?
ML: This is the kickoff of the season, so we are excited about that. And we've been working since March 29 with our football team. We're anxiously awaiting the kickoff of it.
Q: Marvin, I think the Patriots might have an identity to fans, but how about to an opposing coach?
ML: Tom Brady starts there. They obviously have offensive weapons. They have retooled a little bit, but they still have them. Defensively, they are making the transition into younger guys than some of the older guys last time we faced them in the regular season in '07. So they are going to that. This is a well-coached football [team]. We have learned a lot from past and former Patriots players up until even Eric Ghiaciuc, who just spent a couple weeks up there. Our guys have learned a lot from taking some of the things they have done through their success and so forth and learning from the things that Bill [Belichick] does. So it's a good learning experience for our players to strain some of the knowledge out of these guys.
Q: You've seen Tom Brady I'm sure a little bit on film. Year after year does he look any different to you? Does he look better? Has he changed something from how you've seen him in the past?
ML: I think that the skills that Tom Brady has and his ability to deliver the football very accurately, very quick out of his hand, knowing where to go with the football, his ability to slide and move in the pocket, and those things haven't changed.
Q: With [Leigh] Bodden down for the year, the Patriots are going to be starting probably two of the youngest corners they've ever started. How does that affect or increase the possibilities of what you can do offensively especially with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco?
ML: We're going to go out and do the things that hopefully will be successful against the Patriots. We don't spend a whole lot of time. We know there are going to be guys on the other side of the football there and they are going to be well-coached guys. These are two very talented young players that we've spent a lot of time evaluating in the draft and they have a lot of ability.
Q: You talked a little bit earlier about retooling. Your team, especially offensively, has been retooled, reshaped. What's it been like dealing with the personalities of Owens and Ochocinco?
ML: These guys have personalities outside of this building other than the personalities inside this building of football players. You guys see more of their personalities and the things that you watch and do and so forth. I don't pay attention to that. As football players, Terrell has [been] a real pro. He's helped uplift that room with his level of professionalism as far as his running and his ability to adjust and be able to learn a new offense and new responsibilities and so forth. And I'm excited for what he's done thus far. He's helped Chad be a more disciplined player. So it's been a good thing thus far.
Q: Do you follow Ochocinco on Twitter and what is your handle?
ML: I get copies of their stuff each day. I don't follow him because it's just a bunch of nonsense. I don't really care where he goes to eat and so forth or who he buys dinner for. But I guess [for] a lot of people that gives them something to do during the day. I have no problem filling my day up.
Q: Marvin, what have you thought of Wes Welker and how he's looked on film? Does he look like the same player to you?
ML: I've really been impressed with Wes. He has worked extremely hard with his rehab. And he's come back and shown quickness and the ability to move away from coverages and so forth. But he's so special. I'm sure as he got into the Atlanta game and had the opportunity to get tackled there the first or second play, I'm sure for him it was a sigh of relief and felt good and 'okay, here we go now.' It just shows what kind of pro he is. You're happy to see a guy come back like that.
Q: What do you think of the fact that he came back so quickly?
ML: It shows you how hard he's worked. And that's a good thing. I'm sure when he was injured, that's been the focus of his whole offseason to get there for opening day.
Q: With the additions that you made offensively, how quickly did Carson [Palmer] thank you? And how excited is he to get it started?
ML: Well, he's been excited. Carson is a player who wants to be successful. He did a great job of leading this football team a year ago. He's had a lot of opportunities to win a lot of games again last year, and he came through in those opportunities. And so we've hopefully added some pieces that I hope will do some of the things that I thought we were a little short at last year. And hopefully as we enter into the 2010 season, we just have to keep working on it.
Q: Marvin, obviously with your background, you can appreciate a dynamic defense with your days in Baltimore. How dynamic do you think your defense is or has the potential to be this year?
ML: We grew a lot a year ago. I think we are taking some strides and steps again this year to continue to grow. I think it's as much physical growth as it is mental growth. I think that's been the impressive part. I think that Mike [Zimmer] and the defensive coaches have done a great job of impressing upon our guys learning and studying and so forth. And then playing together. And playing within the scope of what he's trying to get done or what we're doing on defense.
Q: Marvin, this is a team up here that typically doesn't hurt itself with penalties and turnovers and whatnot. I know any opener is difficult. Coming up here and playing the Patriots, will it give you a good gauge?
ML: I think it's a great gauge. We're playing a fine football team on the road to start the year. That's a great kickoff for us. It is going to be a good barometer, a good gauge like you said. It's a very low penalized team. I think last year in the opener, they had six penalties last year against the Bills. The Bills committed 11 last year. So I think that's the kind of thing you're looking at that way. When they win football games, they play pretty low penalty. That's the way they play the game. Last year in the playoff game against Baltimore, they committed five penalties. That's the way they play. Against Houston they had four. Against the Jets last year, they had six in one game and in one game they had 11. Generally though, they are going to play penalty free.
Q: Does that worry you?
ML: That's one of the things we're always working at. That's important to me. I think that's part of being a successful football team is being disciplined and low on penalties. And we've had some careless hands thus far this preseason and some things we need to get cleaned up. So we've worked very hard at that. And we'll continue to. But that's part of how we've been. Last year, we had early penalties, we were able to overcome then. But you don't get so lucky that often.