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Cutting Through The Chuckles: Post Baltimore Edition

Our Marvin Lewis translation skills are back by popular demand. It's time to figure out what he was actually talking about this week.

C'mon and laugh Marvin, we know you want to.
C'mon and laugh Marvin, we know you want to.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We take a crack at decoding Marvin Lewis' Monday press conference in response to the Bengals' win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Opening Comments

"We had a lot of good strong performances yesterday, and you don’t want to take away from what a lot of guys did, but we still have a lot of improvements to make. We need to really do a better job of coaching them. On the other side, we have to do a better job of playing and executing. We have to play better; we can and will play better.

"We have to eliminate some of the penalties we’re having. Overall, we need to play better situational football; understanding a situation fully whether it be field position or time. Our guys are well schooled on tendencies, personnel, and formations defensively. Same with the offense on the variety of looks. We make a lot of positives, but we need to nail them 100 percent. We can take strides and improve with that moving forward. Those are the biggest things coming out of yesterday, that we have to coach hard, and work harder to get things right."


We had some guys play well, and we also had some guys play like utter garbage. Steve Smith is good, but he isn't that dang good. Andre Smith's butt injury needs to be monitored (laughs), and it'd be nice for Russell Bodine to quit doing his best Marshall Newhouse impression.

The amount of penalties has to be addressed, but I'm going to have a hard time doing that when it's hard to define what is a catch, let alone a penalty. Also, I should probably not be talking to the pool-cleaning guy during the last minute of the first half, especially since you don't get a bonus point for having a timeout left over. NFL rules are hard.

Q: You talked a lot about great players making great plays. Was this game an example that?

"Yes. I thought with the two touchdown drives when we were behind, what the offensive players did was great. We stepped up the protection, the quarterback improvised, and Gio (Giovani Bernard) made a great run after a catch. A lot of those were big plays."


I'm going to mess with your head and not talk about A.J. Green at all.

Q: There was some shaky tackling. Is that more their ability, or your team’s mistakes?

"Steve Smith is a good, strong runner, we know that. We have to stay in the right leverages, and we cant miss and leave our hips behind. We have to be technically sound when we tackle. We got him on the ground a bunch, but the couple of times we didn’t, he made explosive, important third-down plays."


A 36-year-old exploited our tackling woes. It's definitely our mistake. At least Vontaze isn't out there kamikaze-ing fools with the crown of his helmet though.

Q: So you’re still okay with Steve retiring after this season?

"Yes. (Laughs.)"



Q: You shut down the running game well …

"I think the way the game went, them falling behind, led a lot to that."


That's because Steve Smith isn't a running back.

Q: First glimpse of Brandon Thompson, how did he look?

"He was part of some positive plays for the defense. He did a nice job staying on his feet in the running game and made a couple plays there; like the screen play. There were some positives from Brandon yesterday."


Brandon did a good job of not falling down... I'm not very good at compliments.

Q: Is this about as well as Andy has played?

"He’s done that a lot. It’s just another one of the string of good ones he’s had. He had one throw we need to take back, and one he needed get rid of a bit quicker. It still holds true that if those possessions end in a kick, then we’re in good shape."


I mean... yeah. But if he plays bad next week, everyone on Cincy Jungle is going to want me fired and him released, so I'm not going to be too complimentary just yet.

Q: Have you seen anything different from Andy during this stretch?

"I can’t evaluate that. He played a nice ball game yesterday."


This question is so vague that I cannot even attempt to answer it.

Q: Do you sense there is more confidence from the team in general?

"We’ve had this start before. The guys feel good about it, they’ve worked hard to be here. They know the work ahead of them week to week and day to day. They have history with this, and know how to build upon it.

"They know what it takes, and I think that gives you confidence. It’s like going to take an exam; being well-prepared and sitting in the front row as opposed to not and sneaking into the back of the class.  That’s the way they should be; prepare well, play confidently, and expect the guy beside you to make the plays, so you do your job to the fullest of your ability."


If you sneak into the back of class, you better hope the guy next to you brings his A-game. Wait... that's not really it but sure, close enough.

Q: Is it easier for players to buy-in to what coaches are selling when you are winning?

"I think the coordinators in all three phases have done a nice job of previewing the openings of the games. Through execution, it gives you as a player confidence that the time spent on task during the week will pay off. Then it’s about handling the unknowns; what happens outside the box. You have to make the proper adjustments, revisions, and additions on the sidelines, and move forward. I think those things are all positives that we should continue to build upon."


I know this sounds crazy, but if someone tells you that something is going to happen a certain way, and then it actually does happen that way, it is easier to trust them in the future.

Q: How do you explain the hot start to the game?

"Let's keep that up, but it’s to their preparation and knowledge of the opponent."


That's all on the players. Have you ever seen me get a team really hyped up? Have you ever seen me get excited? No, you haven't. That because you've never seen me on Christmas morning. I got a pair of Zubaz pants last year, Rex Ryan was hellajealous!

Q: Do you think the penalties are getting overly judicious?

"I think they would think so. The officiating departments are working hard to get things right. They’re trying to find their strike zones as well. That’s a common thing at the beginning of each season."


I think they think that I think that they think the strike zone is too big so let's talk about other sports.

Q: What have you seen from Andy’s decisiveness lately?

"He’s been the same with that throughout. Every year is a new year. Everyone wants to compare year-to-year, but that’s one of Andy’s best qualities, his decisiveness and his ability to feel the spacing on the field. Those were good throws. He has to continue to do that and make sure the ball goes to the right spots."


Andy always makes good decisions. The difference is that the football is actually going where he wants it to go, which is what you want from your quarterback unless they have a BAC three times the legal limit. AMIRITE COACH PETTINE?

Q: Did the amount of explosive plays surprise you?

"Well, you don’t get many 80 yard plays. It was a great effort by AJ. The ball was on the money, he was able to break a tackle and spin out of another and keep rolling. Those are big, and you don’t see it happen often. You always strive for that, but those are difficult things. You don’t see that happen many times versus the Ravens defense."


Remember how I didn't talk about A.J.'s play earlier? This is proof that I was actually paying attention, making my earlier answer even more nonsensical.

Q: How underrated of a quality is Andy’s ability to make a change or see a defense?

"That’s a part of his description. It’s based on the role we give our quarterback in certain situations. It’s important that he has a couple of options, and he has to take advantage of those options when he gets a chance. To me, that’s so important for the quarterback to do that and nail something like that."


That's something that all NFL quarterbacks should be able to do, and that's the main reason we selected Andy instead of Colin Kaepernick in 2011. On that topic, have you seen that guy's Instagram? Can you say disaster averted? SHEW.

Q: How is the dynamic in the AFC North now that Ben Roethlisberger is hurt?

"I have no idea. Not my concern. Ben doesn’t play for the Chiefs."


There are a lot of Yinzers upset that they're going to have to actively root for Michael Vick now.

Q: What do you want to see from the running game going forward?

"We’ve had penalties that have hurt us in those situations. They put you behind the count, but also take back positive yards you’ve made.  You want to eliminate those and avoid have guys falling off blocks, and continue with yards at the line of scrimmage. We have to keep it up, and we’ll be better."


I would like to see it not suck.

Q: Gio Bernard played more than Jeremy Hill in the second half, was that because of his blitz pickups?

"No. Both do a good job of that. It was just the personnel Hue wanted at that time. We were behind, so in that situation It was going to be Gio."


When the game is on the line, we like to go with the guy who hasn't already fumbled two times this year.

Q: Your advantage in field position to start drives was big yesterday …

"It helped that area that they had to start at the one or two-yard line after we didn’t convert the fourth down. I thought (P Kevin) Huber had a strong game."


Well, if we did any worse than them, we would've been starting from the first row of the bleachers. Not hard to have an advantage there.