This week, Marvin Lewis talked about Ben Roethlisberger, the health of the Bengals and preparing to play a division rival. But, as usual, not everything he says is easy to understand. So, we've broken down the coach speak for you.
"The task at hand is a football game that gives us an opportunity to win the division. With playing it at home, we have to have great preparation this week, take care of our business, and handle things in all three phases of the game. We need to really work hard at playing error-free. When we played up at Pittsburgh, we didn't play our best football. We need to play a lot better this time around because they're a lot better football team now than before. We have to put our heads down and go to work."
Translation: Most of you know that my job title is "Head Coach," but I have recently been promoted to Captain. I felt it was my duty to change my last name to "Obvious," so now my name and title match the answers that I give you. We are playing a football game, against a division rival, and we want to win.
What is it about their offense that has been taking off lately?
"I think Ben (Roethlisberger) has maybe missed a little of one game, so he's played most of his games since returning. When we played him last, it was his first game back. They've settled in with their running back now, and they have the full complement of receivers back. Everyone has been playing back together for a bit, which has made a difference for them."
Translation: Surprisingly, Ben Roethlisberger is better than Mike Vick and Landry Jones. When he is healthy, it should be no surprise that the Steelers are better. Or is it a surprise? Just write down the one that makes me sound more like a robot.
What is the key to getting Ben on the ground?
"We just have to keep wrapping up, stay strong, and tackle up high. He does a great job of avoiding pressure in the pocket, moving away from it, extending the play, and creating opportunity."
Translation: In our defensive meetings this week, I have simply queued up YouTube and searched "form tackle." I will now tell you what those videos have told us.
How do you play with emotion but not too much emotion?
"We just have to play football, no different than any week. We have to play with poise."
Translation: If this question were placed in an art museum that is divided by styles, I would say that it is an abstract expressionist piece.
How do you play with poise?
"As a player, do your job. Simple as that."
Translation: Is that rhetorical?
What are the challenges with stopping someone like Martavis Bryant?
"He's a very good vertical threat. You have to know he has both the speed and length. That's part of his makeup and the design of things they try to work with. A few weeks ago Markus Wheaton had some big-time games. They have three very good weapons, and their tight ends are good receivers. They're doing a good job in the passing game."
Translation: You mean, challenge. He does one thing, but he does that thing well.
Does their defensive scheme cause more trouble for offenses in the red zone?
"I started it there, and was part of it. So you know with the outside linebackers, they're so well trained. They understand the pass game, so they're able to do things in coverage as the field gets compressed to make it more difficult on the offenses. Teams then have to be more precise and on point, and you have to fit the ball into some tight windows. They do some things with a drop-eight-package, which they've gotten very good at, and they change up who's at each spot very well, because they have some smart guys who've been in the system for a while, like Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison. One time James is the inside middle, dropped. Next time he's the outside flat dropper. James is such a smart player, he's able to move to different areas and create different issues for the offense."
Translation: I'm just going to go ahead and take credit for the only good part of their defense even though I haven't been there in 20 years. I will now tell you what I told Steelers linebackers in 1995, which is surely what they are still doing. No need to verify that fact.
What is the plan for Tyler Eifert and Adam Jones?
"We'll see if they're healthy enough to play. That's a big we'll see."
Translation: The plan is to implant a bionic foot onto Adam's leg and to give Tyler a neck brace to match that mechanical masterpiece on his arm. I'M KIDDING. It's a joke! See, I can do jokes and stuff!
Adam is in a cast? So he's not practicing?
"Adam is in a cast. I don't want him to damage his foot anymore. I would assume, until I get the saw out later (laughs.) I'll save that until Saturday."
Translation: If I answer the first question, is the second one absolutely necessary? I just want to not answer anymore questions.
Is there talk around the team about controlling your own destiny?
"Zero. It doesn't really matter. We just take care of our business one at a time. There wasn't any talk earlier, there isn't any talk now."
Translation: Nope, destiny has been out for awhile. I think most of the guys are playing Fallout 4 now.
Is it meaningful to possibly 'flip the script?'
"It's an important football game. It's a home division game, so it fits our two bills."
Translation: Yeah, we'd love to "flip the script"... And something about two dollar bills. I don't even know, man.
Is it best to not put the stakes out to the team?
"It's never my approach to worry about it. It's one game at a time, and this is the next game up. It's a division game, and its at home."
Translation: I prefer to serve the steaks after the game. In my experience, if you give them the steaks before or even during the game, it leads to bad results.