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Bengals: Marvin Lewis Conference Call Transcript

Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

Q: How have you been deploying your defensive ends and how have you been treating the rookie Margus Hunt?

ML: Well, Margus hasn't had an opportunity to play in a regular season game yet, but his development has been great and I am excited for his future.

Q: What have you taken away from the Patriots' first four games, particularly their defense in the red zone?

ML: Well they are a very physical defensive group and a very physical football team in general. Obviously they have done a great job in the red zone. They are going to try and take away what they perceive as your threats, and they make you try to beat them with others.

Q: What are you seeing from these young Patriot rookie wide receivers in terms of stepping up the first few weeks?

ML: The game hasn't looked too big for them, so they have been able to handle the situation of it. It's not too big, they just keep playing and that is part of it. I think as the year goes on they will just continue to mature and grow, but it hasn't seemed too big for them. They have been up to the challenge.

Q: When you do your offensive planning you have to go against the entire defense, but when you see a player like Vince Wilfork go down, how does it affect the way you plan?

ML: I mean, again, he has been a good player, a very good player. He has been the center point of that group for a long time. They obviously in their minds have planned, you always plan for the loss of a player, so they're going to have the next guy step up and go with the addition of Tommy Kelly that they had in the offseason and they have the young players in there also that played when Vince was out and have been rotating in throughout the season. But, he is obviously a good player. I'm sure they have guys that are excited to get their opportunity.

Q: You guys are 2-2, how would you characterize how your team has performed so far?

ML: We really haven't performed to expectations totally throughout an entire football game. We can play brilliantly and we can play with a lot of error, and the error gets you beat. So we have to do a better job of taking care of the football, we have to do a better job of converting third downs and we have to get takeaways on defense.

Q: Considering where Geno Atkins was drafted and how he's developed into a top defensive lineman, has he surprised you at all and what stands out about the way he has progressed?

ML: Actually, when we drafted Geno we thought he was one of the better interior rushers coming out of college. So we were excited to get him and he was a guy that we really targeted for that particular thing. His development over his first and second years and his ability to play and be productive on first and second down, he has continued to grow and be great at that.

Q: What has BenJarvus Green-Ellis brought to the team during his time there?

ML: Benny has really been a stabling force to the offense, to the football team. He's got just a great personality, a great work ethic and he fits well with the guys here. When we bring [in] a guy from another team, a team that has been very successful, they watch how he goes about his business and it really is a great reinforcement for the things as coach that you're always trying engage your guys in and reinforce to your players.

Q: What would you characterize as being the problems on third down?

ML: Last week we didn't execute very well. Prior to that we were pretty good, and if you don't execute on third down, as far as, everything has to match up – protection, route discipline, throw – everything has to be coordinated. You have to have all three things coordinated and put together.

Q: How has A.J. Green been dealing with the increased attention years after year?

ML: He has to continue to develop the ways to move and shake free. That is the constant challenge for a receiver. If you just stay stationary and stay in one spot it is pretty easy for people to take you out of a football game, so we have to create ways to move him around. We've got to create chances for him to be one-on-one, and A.J. has to continue to embrace those opportunities and get better with them as time goes on with different ways to move him around.

Q: How much time do you have to spend preparing for if Rob Gronkowski plays?

ML: Rob is a fine player and he makes a difference to their offense. Yeah, you have to be prepared that if he is in the football game, it makes a little bit of difference as you put together your defensive plan.

Q: Speaking of tight ends, you have a good collection over there as well. How has the Patriots success with multiple tight ends influenced your plans at the position?

ML: We've constantly looked for another player that can be a productive guy and can help us as a blocker and a receiving threat. They've had a great model of it. It's not so much what we envisioned that way, but just the fact that we play against a lot of 3-4 defenses in our division, we have to feel like we have to button up both edges and also be able to get a mismatch when we can get those guys put on a linebacker.

Q: I'm sure you use both tight ends at the same time, but in general, do we frequently see them on the field together?

ML: They're on the field quite a bit for us, yes.

Q: What do you think of Aqib Talib so far? What have you seen from him?

ML: I think he's playing very well. I think it has been great for him to get his career back on track. He had great skills when he came out of Kansas, and he is really – sometimes it's good to get a change of scenery for a player. He has done a nice job and he is playing very, very well.

Q: You have a couple defensive backs banged up, how are they doing?

ML: They're doing well.

Q: Do you anticipate them playing on Sunday?

ML: We'll see Sunday.

Q: It is rare for someone in your profession to stay in one spot for so long. Can you speak about your time in the organization and the process of rebuilding the team?

ML: I think the opportunity and the things that you do you just work at each and every day. On both ways, the people that I work for and work with, I've been blessed with good coaches and we keep grinding at it. We made a huge overhaul in players and so forth and the coaches did a great job of that, accepting that we were going to get young in a hurry. They did a nice job of that, and now we are coming out on the other side of it. We have to really continue to press hard on our guys and coach them and get us to really round into a great football team.

Q: Has there been a time or two where you thought it was going to be the end in Cincinnati and time to move on?

ML: I made a decision to come back here, and I've stuck with it. A couple years ago, I decided that's what I wanted to do, we were able to come to an agreement, and it's been good.

Q: Kenbrell Thompkins played right there in Cincinnati, and I was wondering what type of interaction you had with him before the draft and whether you were interested in him?

ML: Actually quite a bit. He came up and introduced himself to me at the combine over in [Indianapolis] and I was over at UC [University of Cincinnati] a couple times for work outs. We had him here for our local day, so we had quite a bit of interaction with him.

Q: Was there any interest in signing him after the draft?

ML: That's not what I do, so I can't tell you that. You know what I'm saying? I'm sure we had interest. We felt he was a really good prospect. Our receiver coach felt really good about him.

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