CINCNNATI (WKRC) - Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis held a press conference on Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium as the team prepares to play Sunday night at Jacksonville in the third game of the preseason, and here is a transcript:
“This week has given us an opportunity to go back in to training camp, focus on the players, and try to bring young guys ahead to keep competition going at positions. Its good, because with the quick turnaround between some games, you’re more about getting rest and just getting ready to play. Now we’ve had a couple days of good practice, and yesterday a day off, and these three to four days prior to the game are good for us as well. Its also helpful for the young players, new players, and the draft picks particularly, to get a feel for what the regular season schedule will be like. Those are positives.”
Is there a shift in tone toward the regular season, or does that only occur when the roster is cut down to 53?
“I don’t think the real shift comes until then. I think it’s about the third year in a row where we’ve played the third weekend on Sunday night. It’s a little bit of a different focus for players that way.”
What impresses you most with the defensive line performance?
“The thing that I’m most pleased with is that when it comes time to play football, they play football. All those guys up front; they’re ready to go. It comes from their degree of experience. Carlos (Dunlap), more than anyone, has matured into that. I think it was inbred in Domata (Peko), Michael (Johnson) and Geno (Atkins). Carlos has grown into it, which has been great. Then you add Margus (Hunt), Will Clarke, Pat Sims and the other guys, that’s a really good thing. They know when its time to go play, they get ready to go play.”
How important is it to have that championship mindset toward every snap and down?
“Its important to the big people in this building that have run the football team for a long time now. That’s always good; big physical guys on both sides of the football that take care of their business.”
Is it impressive to see the younger guys transitioning to become pros, and taking the lead from the older guys?
“I’ve been very pleased. Unfortunately we’ve been without two of them, but the other guys have done a really nice job. Tyler Boyd has been tremendous that way, and has really made a step of progress from when we got started.”
Why is there a cut to 75 players before the final cutdown?
“I think in theory, which I kind of agree with, it’s an opportunity if you were wanting to claim people. It puts people out there. It gives an opportunity for other teams, if they’re looking for certain positions or players. It becomes 15 players by 32 teams, so in theory there is something there. If you’re a team that’s looking for a guy, there may be a good one who can get an opportunity to be put in a game for a week. Particularly if you’re playing in an early game. Its a little more difficult on us playing Sunday night. I think there’s opportunity for that, so I’m still for that way. We did this with 60 and went to 15 more. It makes week four doable.”
Do you approach this third preseason game with a set number of snaps you want the starters to play, or does that change depending on how they do in the first series?
“I base it on each guy. Each individual player. I don’t go in saying, ‘You’re going to play this much.’ Our approach is based on our players and what we need to get done by position. We know what level of conditioning work we monitor. We use the numbers from previous games, so we feel good about where we are. Some guys will get extended a little bit longer, other won’t this week.”
The three-day stretch vs. Minnesota, the practices and then the games, did that set the tone as far as the quality of work?
“It was great. It was three good hard days, with two practice days then a football game. Our guys handled it very well. I thought it was great, and Mike (Zimmer) felt the same way. We got great work in, and developed a foundation. The first groups got a majority of works in those practice days, and the other guys got great work in the game.”
Are you optimistic about Brandon LaFell and his hand problem?
“Nothing has changed in my mind with Brandon LaFell for us. I have not been other than optimistic about Brandon.”
How important is it to get game chemistry between him and Andy?
“They’ve practiced together for three and a half weeks, but the game is a little different, because you can get tackled. That’s the biggest difference. It’s a positive for him to get an opportunity to play. He hasn’t played yet this preseason in a game, so this will be good for him.”
How would he be designated in the new injury report?
“I don’t handle the injury reports, I don’t have to worry about it.”
Is Darqueze Dennard progressing well? Are you optimistic?
“He’s progressing well. When he gets out in practice, we’ll have an idea where he is. He’s doing well. All of our injured guys our doing well, I’m pleased with that.”
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