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Week 16 Cincinnati at Denver: Cutting Through Chuckles

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Coach Lewis spent time discussing Christmas trees and eggnog leading up to the most important game of the season. Seriously, that's not the joke.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Comments:

"With the football game at hand, we are playing against an offense that's well tooled. The young quarterback, last five or six weeks, has done a good job playing for them. He has great vision of the field.

"They have an excellent receiver group and tight end group. The backs, (C.J.) Anderson and  (Ronnie) Hillman, do a great job of staying behind that line and running behind their pads. It's well put-together offense, and then defensively, the numbers they're putting up have been consistent throughout the season. We have to play great football in all three phases."

Translation: I am subconsciously rating their players by the amount of words I use to describe them. Osweiler: Not very good. Everyone else: very good.

Brock Osweiler at 6'8". not a whole lot of guys with that height, so he stands tall in that pocket, and it's hard to obscure his vision. Is that a big deal?

"Well, it's a plus that he's a three-quarter delivery guy. He does get some balls tipped. We have to do a good job. We set out each week to go through the fundamentals, and take care of things one step at a time. Obviously, that is just as important this week."

Translation: Brock negates his genetic advantage as a quarterback by throwing the ball incorrectly. We can still tip passes. That's why every defensive end we have has to be able to dunk on a 12-foot tall rim.

How about this team being well represented for the Pro Bowl?

"I'm excited for our players. It's kind of a reflection of the success that they've had as a group this season, which is great. Happy for the guys with returning trips, with A.J. (Green), Geno (Atkins), as well as Whit (Andrew Whitworth). Then, the new guys with (Tyler) Eifert and Reggie (Nelson), and some of the alternates. We've had some good recognition, so it's great that way. But, the ultimate prize is still out there."

Translation: I'm very happy for all of our guys. I'm happy for me too, though. Having a group of talented players makes my job a heckuva lot easier, and I'm all for making things easy.

Particularly a guy like Reggie, who's put a lot of work in to get that recognition. Is it extra special for you from a coaches' standpoint, when a guy who puts in that much work finally gets recognized?

"Well, it's always fun to notify guys like that. In fact, all of them were very flattered and honored when I spoke with each of them yesterday. Obviously, to Reggie, it's something I'm sure he's hoped for, and it came true."

Translation: I was very happy Reggie made it. I actually screwed up and forgot to buy him a Christmas present this year, so my present to him was telling him that he made the Pro Bowl. It really worked out for me. Now I'm going to go buy myself a gift card to Outback Steakhouse.

How unique is it go against a defense that is number one against the run and pass?

"I'm sure it's happened before. Sometimes it happens that way."

Translation: I have no idea, and I don't really care. Let's go back to talking about Reggie.

Back to Reggie. What do you think clicked for him since he's been here?

"I think one of the things that Gene Smith (former Jacksonville Jaguars general manager) said, is that they really felt it would be important for Reggie to settle in, to keep him at one spot, and we've been able to do that. It's enabled him to excel."

Translation: When you've been playing the same position for the same team for six years, either you're good or the coach needs to be fired.

Do you have any special plans for Christmas?

"No, I don't."

Translation: Bahumbug.

Do you prefer hot chocolate or eggnog?

"Probably eggnog."

Translation: Eggnog with Rumple Minze. 100 proof booze is what I need to get through the holidays.

Do you have a real tree or a fake tree?

"We have fake trees."

Translation: Do I look like the sort of man who wants to deal with a real tree? I'm too busy with the eggnog to handle a real tree.

Is it easier having a fake tree?

"I don't know. I have the Christmas angel who takes care of everything (laughs). I'm not very helpful, I have one job."

Translation: My wife takes care of everything and I sip on nog. Have I not made this clear enough?

Do you have anything on your Christmas list?

"It comes after Christmas (laughs)."

Translation: Watching the Steelers lose to the Ravens while finishing off the eggnog.

When you play a game that has two teams up at the top, how much more important are the hidden yards and unorthodox scoring?

"We have to prepare to grind. In that kind of game, those things are important. We're going to have to play the hardest, longest all the way through. It will be fun, it's a great opportunity. Both teams have earned it, and we've got to have at it."

Translation: We are just going to have to play our asses off because we are without our MVP candidate, we're on the road, and I may or may not have a hangover from all of the eggnog.

How much more does your confidence change when you have Adam (Jones) back out there and returning punts? Is that a big lift for the possibility of those kind of plays?

"Well, I think any time Adam gets the ball in his hands, his ability to take it the distance and flip the field is so important. He has that kind of confidence in it. The rest of the group really thrives off of his confidence, and it's really great."

Translation: Absolutely, and especially when you are relying on a backup QB. No disrespect to AJ but he hasn't exactly lit it up to this point.

You have a chance to go 7-1 on the road, which would be a franchise first. What do you think is the biggest factor in having that kind of success on the road?

"The players (smiles). I think the question was asked of me Monday when we were here, and I think our guys have done a good job - coaches, players, and staff- of making sure everything goes smoothly when we travel. Everything is the same, preparing the guys from Monday all the way through to next week. Taking out any of the anxiety, and we know when we get there, it's going to be 100 yards, and we have to go from there. How you prepare throughout the week, and dealing with crowd noise, those things are all important. Our guys have really done a good job with the maturity of that and handling that."

Translation: The key is to make road games as much like home games as possible. We've gone as far as having Skyline Chili served in-flight meals, but I'm not even going to get into why we don't do that anymore. You'll have to ask Domata and Whit about that.

You've done a great job with the culture, getting multiple leaders at every position group. Do you think the self-policing aspect of when you travel has played a big role?

"Well, our guys know it's a business trip, and this weekend we have a championship trip. We've got to make it that way."

Translation: I don't feel like answering that question, so #BusinessTrip.

Adam (Jones) was saying this is a playoff game...

"Very similar. Those are the stakes out there."

Translation: Well... We've already clinched a berth so even if we lose, we still have an actual playoff game to play. So it's not technically true, but I'm definitely picking up what he is putting down.