Opening Statement:
Alright, obviously really disappointing game for us. But when you look at it you are not going to win many games when you are zero for four in the red zone on defense. Four touchdowns, average starting point for their drive in the first half for the Bengals the plus 47. You ain’t going to win that way. And then just inconsistent on offense. I thought at times we did a great job, and then other times too many three and outs. There are some things we clearly got to get better at. Still too many penalties, like dumb penalties you know still. It seems like on special teams we can’t run a play on special teams without getting a penalty for some reason. So we got to take a hard look and get that area fixed. But with that I will open it up for questions.

Q: When did you decide to start EJ Manuel, did you ever seriously consider starting Tyrod?
A: No, I was definitely considering Tyrod [Taylor], but I think when I looked at him he is not…I just never felt he was fully ready to play. And that is why I decided to go with EJ and we have confidence in EJ. That is why I made that decision.

Q: Your defense needed to play really good with your offense hampered by injury. What happened?
A: Well the opponent is one of the problems. That team has lit up everybody in the league. It looks terrible when you give up 17 points in the first half and that is like you are getting crushed. Gave up like 120 yards it wasn’t like…believe me I thought we were competitive. It is just the starting drive point was killing us. You know so obviously that team is difficult. You take away this guy, take away that guy, and this other dude beats you. So it is kind of what happened. [Andy] Dalton got hot, made a great pass into a single coverage, other than that I mean it was tough sledding. We knew it was going to be tough. That is about, you know, about as good as an offense you can play in this league.

Q: There is a report from a local radio saying Kyle Williams is out 3-4 weeks with a PCL injury?
A: I can’t confirm it. I know he went out with a knee. The reports that I have heard a lot when they come here it seems like there is not a whole lot of truth to them. So we will kind of wait, wait on that. I don’t know where these reports come from.

Q: Can you comment on the other injuries?
A: Well yeah, we got Sammy [Watkins] with an ankle. Then we had the ribs for [Marquise] Goodwin. And then Kyle [Williams] with the knee, and then [Seantrel] Henderson went out with a concussion early.

Q: Is there an update on how serious any of those might be?
A: No. Just got off the field. So I haven’t heard anything. Maybe we will have to ask that expert.

Q: Are you past your breaking point with these after the whistle penalties?
A: Yeah. Well I mean believe me….the kid makes a great play and then we get a taunting thing over it. You can’t have those things. And it just seems like that was the one we had, but it just kills you. It is a 15-yard penalty. You make a great play, now they are across the 50 again. You know some of these other penalties we are getting a majority of them are on special teams, and I just don’t understand it. I mean we talk about them over and over. And it is just…we had a facemask and you know sometimes that happens when you make a tackle. We got to really look at it and ask ourselves why. Like I don’t understand how we can keep getting penalized.

Q: Does it make you question the people that you have and maybe they just aren’t going to get this?
A: Well, I will never give up on a guy learning or whatever. But it is like what do we have to do. How much more emphasis can we make until we got to just start making changes at people. And that is something you can certainly look at.

Q: You have been crisp on your opening drives then some thing happened what is the common thread there?
A: I mean that…I wish I knew that answer to that because you are right. I mean against New England, against this team, against whoever. We have had some great opening drives and then for some reason it doesn’t look like we can get a first down. Like it just…I don’t understand. Obviously it comes down to execution and things. But I wish I could tell you.

Q: Do you script your game plan and stay with it or when things change what happens?
A: Well I mean just like anybody else you generally have openers and all that stuff you work on all week. And those are the things you clearly do, like any team. I don’t think we are different in how we approach things than other teams do.

Q: How frustrating was the red zone defense when you held the Titans last week to field goals?
A: Well that is what you got to do. To a team like this that you know is going to move the football on you, you got to be super efficient in the red zone. Albeit against one of the better red zone offense’s in the league. But the one pass I get it, that is fine you are down inside the five. You don’t want to give it up, but I certainly understand it. But there is other things there, that big run on us. Which was almost like a Ripley’s believe it or not. Somebody can run 17 yards that one is tough to over come.

Q: The Bengals have good weapons, but you are supposed to have good weapons on defense?
A: Well I think we do. I think we do have good weapons on defense. But this team…you know I think if everybody thought we were going to shut them out, or whatever. That probably wasn’t realistic. I think our guys… quite honestly if we do a better job on third down getting off the field, that is what killed us. That was the difference in the second half. We would have them backed up, and never got off the field. And to their credit they made plays.

Q: Do you think mistakes are being made within the system?
A: Well no I mean we make a couple mistakes or whatever. But that’s…you know I think, I can’t count like right now how many real mistakes we made. Maybe one or two on defense. But you know that’s a tough…You know this is more of a combination. I think our guys at times played really well. I mean our corners are playing outstanding. You know the two main corners are playing great. We got a good defensive line. Some other parts, we got to make some work right now.

Q: What do you feel like you got out of LeSean McCoy today?
A: Well I thought obviously he’s…you know that’s a huge weapon. We’ve been certainly missing him but to get him back out there, that was impressive. He had, I think 90 yards rushing or something like that. Yeah, 90 yards rushing. You know that’s great to see him out there. It’s great to see Sammy (Watkins) out there until he got hurt. I mean it’s just…you know I think the thing that’s killing me right now, I mean it’s frustrating. Injuries are part of the game, there’s no question about it, but it’s like we’ve been so snake bit. It’s just unbelievable to me.

Q: Do you think it’s to the point it’s affecting team morale at all?
A: I think it’s affecting everybody’s morale, mine included. I mean, cause you know what…you have a vision of what this team can be when we’re healthy and it’s just frustrating cause you don’t have your parts. I know we can compete with anybody but it just seems like we take a step forward and then we end up taking two steps back. It’s been a frustrating year and these injuries, it’s just amazing. But hopefully we can right the ship, we can get out guys back and I truly believe that we have a very talented team. But I’d love to have that ability to get them back healthy.

Q: What was your overall impression of EJ Manuel today?
A: I thought at times he was outstanding. Then other times he probably wishes he had a couple throws back. But overall I was pretty happy with EJ.

Q: What’s your early outlook on Tyrod Taylor for next week?
A: I mean, no idea. If he would’ve been healthy enough to go today than I would’ve played him. But I never felt he was all the way back so we’ll see how the week goes.

Q: Can you shed any light on the report that Percy Harvin’s hip injury is long term?
A: See again, so was Shady’s (LeSean McCoy), so was whoever’s and I don’t know if it’s the same guy that keeps reporting all that stuff, but I guess we’ll find out.

Q: How much does the offense miss Tyrod Taylor’s ability to make something happen after a play breaks down? It seemed like you didn’t see that as much with EJ Manuel.
A: Well Tyrod I think is a special guy, there’s no question about it, with his escapability and all that. I would disagree a little bit. I think you did see some of that with EJ as well. He made a couple of big runs when he got out of the pocket so, I mean he had a 16 yard run. I just saw it here. But they…But you know is he as allusive as Tyrod Taylor? No, absolutely not. But I don’t know how many of them in the league are.

Q: Why do you think the defensive line couldn’t get to Andy Dalton today?
A: Well, cause a couple of them are my fault. I went with some three man rush stuff and never let my guys go as much as I should have. I think, you know we…on the one third and long we thought we had a pretty good call on the guy, sat back there forever, and that was on me. There’s no doubt. I thought we had great coverage down the field, I wanted to put our cover guys out there and we did. But I don’t think our guys had enough shots on him, so we’ll see. We gotta take a long, hard look at what we’re asking our guys to do.

Q: You feel like this defense has a true identity yet?
A: Well no I don’t think our team does yet. I think when you’re looking at it it’s just we haven’t been healthy, number one. Then we’ve also had some guys in and out of the lineup and things like that. I think we lack some consistency on both sides of the ball. Been penalized way too much on special teams in particular. So we’re a work in progress right now. But I still think when it’s all said and done, I think we can be special. It’s just we got to get guys healthy and we got to really focus in and hone in on what we’re doing.

Q: Did you expect this team to be better on defense, and have a better running game by week 6?
A: Well see I think statistically you can look at it that way or whatever. We gave up the 100,000 yards to New England, so I think that kinda skews it. I mean I don’t know what it was today…355 yards to the Bengals. Yeah, you know that’s below their average. Well below their average. So if you think we’re poor on defense, then that’s your opinion. I don’t believe that for a second. I’ll be honest I thought we’ve been a hell of a lot healthier then we’ve been for six games. You know we’ve had guys in and out of this roster forever. So we lack some consistency that way. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.

Q: I’m not suggesting you’re poor on defense, I’m asking your opinion.
A: Yeah I…Well would I think we’d run the ball better? Yeah. I thought LeSean (McCoy) would be healthy. I thought Karlos Williams would be healthy. So I think yeah it’s…you know even though we’re one of the better running teams in the league, I thought we’d be number one in the league in rushing. You know and I thought defensively, especially scoring defense, that we’d be better. But I think I know where this team can go and I’m very confident that we’ll get there.

Q: Are there any players not traveling to London?
A: I’m not aware right now. Obviously we’ll check with our docs and everything else. I don’t know about the specific injury’s now. We got one player with a visa situation that might not travel with us tonight. But…

Q: Who is that?
A: I don’t know…I’m not gonna, I mean…Well we expect him to be with us though anytime soon, but he won’t travel. So, we’ll leave it at that. Alright, but we’ll check these injuries out. I think you guys can figure it out. You guys, well some of you are smart.


Opening Statement:
Obviously there are some things I wish I could have done better. As a unit on offense, I wish we had done better on third down conversions early in the game around the second quarter time. I was very proud of the way we fought towards the end of the game but there are always some things to clean up when you look at the tape.

Q: How long did it take for you to get into a rhythm in the game?
A: Not long. I thought the first drive went well. Obviously Shady [LeSean McCoy] set it off with a great run and a great catch by [Charles] Clay and we were able to cap it off with a touchdown so rhythm wise I don’t think it was an issue. I think as a whole unit we just have to continue to fight against the penalties and things like that so we don’t push ourselves back. But, personally I just have to be more accurate and continue to work on those types of things and allow guys to catch and run.

Q: You’ve had a lot of time to think about your first start in a long time. How did you think it went today?
A: It’s been a long time. I thought it went alright, but at the end of the day we didn’t win, and that’s the toughest part. Performance wise, of course there are some things I wish that I could have done better but I thought it was solid.

Q: What was the difference between the opening drive and the rest of the ball game?
A: I can’t really say specifically what was the difference. I thought we had some chances in there where we were going three and out and the interception to [Chris] Hogan, would’ve like to have that back of course, but throughout the course of the game, that’s going to happen. I’d have to look at the tape first and see.

Q: How much did field position impact how Greg [Roman] called this game for you, knowing what the game plan was going in?
A: I don’t think it affected it too much. I think Coach Roman allowed us to take some shots and he allowed us to move the ball down the field. Obviously we consider ourselves a running team and we think, “run first, pass second,” and I looked at the stats—263 (yards), 42 attempts. So he allowed me to have the chance to throw the ball down the field and I was really happy about that.

Q: What do you think you got out of LeSean today?
A: I thought Shady played great. He’s very energetic and I was happy to have him back and healthy. Obviously we can see little sparks of what he can do. As time goes and he continues to get back in his rhythm, he’ll continue to get even better, but I thought he played strong today.

Q: How frustrating was it for you to see Sammy [Watkins] go down?
A: It’s tough, but I was proud to see Sammy go out there and fight. He has something going on for a while and I was really proud of him to tough it out and get out there and play. Obviously anytime we have Sammy on the field, he’s one of those guys that the defense always thinks about and always cares about, so you’re bringing an extra defender and open up somebody else. I think that’s why Charles Clay and the tight ends had such a good day.

Q: When did you find out you were going to start?
A: Today. Actually, I’m sorry, I found out kind of in the middle of the week last week.

Q: Did you get most of the reps the whole week?
A: Yes sir.

Q: Do you think it would have been better if you knew all along that you were starting?
A: I can’t really see a difference. I can’t really say.

Q: How did scoring that first touchdown feel?
A: It was great. It was a great call by Coach Roman and it was something that we worked on in practice and I had the opportunity to run it. It was the perfect time to do it and it was a walk-in. I thought the guys did a great job up front all day. I think I might have gotten sacked once or twice, but the whole line did a really good job. I was proud of Cyrus [Kouandjio] for coming in when Seantrel [Henderson] went down, and he played strong too.

Q: I know the motto is “next man up,” but how are you protecting against the injuries from affecting the morale?
A: Like you said, it’s next man up. With Tyrod [Taylor] going down last week, it was the same for me. I felt the need to continually be ready and be prepared. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next week but it’s the same status quo for all of us. I said last week, if you’re on this team, you’re still considered a starter because if somebody who is starting goes down, you have to go out there and still do the job. It’s part of the game. There’s a 100% injury rate in football so it’s always going to be next man up.

Q: You’ve had a lot of time to watch the game. Did you feel like a different player from week four last year?
A: I did. I think the biggest difference for me, is when we were down, not allowing the flow of the game to necessarily change my confidence or change my flow of how I felt about my performance or what I was going to do the next drive and things like that. As a quarterback, you need to stay even keel and that was probably the biggest thing that I felt was different.

Q: Have you been told that Tyrod is going to be the starter when he’s healthy again?
A: I haven’t been told that yet.

Q: How do you feel you did today with your chances of keeping the position?
A: I thought I did strong. This is my first start in a long time, not an excuse, but as a performance I would have wanted to win the game. As a quarterback, that’s how you’re rated. Stats are one thing, but you want to win the game and we didn’t get that done today.

Q: Are you going into the Jaguars game under the presumption that you’ll be starting?
A: It’s the same thing for me. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out this week with Tyrod’s health, but I’m going to prepare like I have to start next week as well.


Q: What was it today? First half you guys got going and then the second half when hey got rolling it was just tough for you guys offensively
A: Yeah, it was just really tough. I’m not sure what it was. We just couldn’t get it going like we wanted to. Next week we’ll go back to the drawing board and try and get it right.

Q: You, individually, you’ve been waiting to get out there, your first carry you make a big play, how did you feel out there?
A: I felt okay. Certain plays I wish I had back. I feel like I could of done some things different on some different runs. But we, as a unit, we’re trying to get better each game and we just got to put it together. We’re a good team. Offensively we just have to find our groove and get to it and stick with it.

Q: How close did you feel to 100% out there?
A: I felt close. That first play man, that should have been the distance. I’ll get back. I’ll be around. I’ll be my normal self. I’ll be alright.

Q: Do you feel like you guys are still trying to find yourselves offensively a little bit?
A: Yeah, I mean we are. It’s like we never have our whole group together. You know, there’s one person out, two people out. And every time we kind of get back together, another injury happens. Or we get moving, and driving, and penalty. So we’ve got the talent there, man, we got the right play calling, we just, it’s a matter of just doing it.

Q: You look on the other side, they’ve got that right now. Don’t they? They’ve got all their guys together, their healthy, their offense was really moving.
A: Yeah, I mean, they played well today.


Q: How does the loss of Kyle Williams affect things?
A: It’s huge. I mean Kyle is a veteran leader, he means a lot to our team. But you know, it’s the next man up. We just have to get the guy behind him ready so we can keep it rolling and just try to get a win on Sunday.

Q: Do you think you can do some things to improve the pressure on the quarterback?
A: Yeah I’ll let the coach, coach, and we’ll play. So whatever he runs, we’ll run it.

Q: How frustrating are the injuries?
A: I mean, injuries happen. It’s part of a football season. Us as players we prepare throughout the offseason, so we know it’s going to happen. We have faith in everybody in our locker room to come out there and get the job so I mean, we have faith in all of our guys.

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