Jim Johnson press conference: 8-23-05

On whether having defensive tackle Corey Simon here makes the defense better: "I think we are playing pretty good defense right now. To say I wish Corey was not here, no I wish he was here, but he's not here and I said it before, we just move on. It's an opportunity for those other guys that are playing pretty well. We are just going to see what happens with Corey. I have no idea."

On what he is looking for from his unit on Friday night:
"I think we want to make sure that first unit defense gets a little more playing time. They will probably play a half or a little more to get them in playing shape. There is a difference between practice shape and game shape. I want to make sure that we don't get too many bumps and bruises. They all are out there at least the whole half. Hopefully we get that done and get different situations. Of course we are all looking for that depth. The guys are all still fighting for positions, 2nd and 3rd linebacker, backup defensive linemen and the secondary. I think that every game is going to be different. We are always looking for improvement. I think we could improve a little bit in some of our tackling last week. Hopefully we will get a little better from last week."  

On whether there are still jobs that are up for grabs:
"Well, I think there are obviously certain guys we know are going to be here. I think there are still some things we want to see out of our linebackers. They are still fighting for different positions. [LB] Keith [Adams] and [LB] Mark [Simoneau] are still battling over that WILL linebacker and weak side linebacker. We know the secondary pretty well, but are still looking for some depth at the safety and we will see how that goes. But there are always surprises. Every game there are guys that step up. Just like [S] Jeremy Thornburg. He looked like [ex-Eagle] Tim Hauck out there. He had a great game last week. The name of the game is production and making plays. Last week he was very productive. So, you always look for things like that, guys stepping up and play better in a game than they do in practice. To say I'm set, I'm set for practice, but guys pop up in the game and hopefully in the next two weeks we will give these guys a chance to show their stuff."  

On whether he uses game situations where his players face formations that they have not faced as tests:
"I think it is still early. I wish I could say that I think we are doing a good job against the run. I want to be good against the run; there is no question about it. This is still camp and we are still developing. I think guys like [DT] Hollis [Thomas], [DT Mike] Patterson and [DT Darwin] Walker have done a good job. Of course with [LB] Jeremiah [Trotter] our first group of linebackers are playing the run very well. But it's still early in camp and we want to be consistent. But I am happy with our defensive front, no question about it."  

On whether he uses the plays that he develops as quizzes for players in practices:
"I think one of the things you like to evaluate, especially the young guys and the vets too, is how they react to things that we have never practiced before. It's still a learning process, just like that second group who went up against a couple of formations and plays that we have never even worked against. They didn't play very well. The first group did the same thing and they reacted well. So, part of the thing, I have said this before, we don't put our game plan in until the day before the game. Basically, for Cincinnati we just do our defense and a lot of times you want to see how your guys react during pressure situations and how they react against things that they have not seen. I hate to see our offense get a turnover, but sometimes I like to put pressure on the defense during the preseason. All of a sudden there is a fumble on a kickoff and we have to go in and stop them. We have to react to that situation because it is going to happen during the season."  

On the play of Mike Patterson:
"Like I have said, I think he is everything that we thought he was, except I think that he has picked up this scheme very well, faster than I thought he would. He has not made very many mental mistakes. He's shown he is very quick, aggressive, he has great balance, but so far he has picked up the mental part of it. And like I have said, he has a lot to learn and he is still trying to prove himself. I think he is right on par for a rookie right now, maybe a little ahead as far as the mental part."  

On whether he is in line to play a lot during the regular season:
Well, we have two more preseason games. Right now, he had a nice game the other night. He will play a little bit more and we will see. Hopefully, that is what we drafted him for, he will fit in that rotation and right now he has proved that he is capable of doing it. He's going to play a lot on Thursday night and the following week as well."

On whether he has seen a nastier attitude in the defense so far:
"Yeah, I don't know how that got out. One of our biggest goals is that we felt that we needed to get more turnovers. All the things that we have done over the past 5 years with this defense, the same guys, [S] Brian Dawkins and a lot of those guys, some of the things are very good as in points allowed. I just felt that one of the things that we needed to pick up, that we lacked in the Super Bowl, is turnovers. Part of that is pressuring the quarterback. Ripping the ball out like we did the other night, causing fumbles and I think that comes with the nastiness as far as a bunch of wild guys getting around the ball carriers. Turnovers are a big thing. We really think that over the past few years we have not done a good job. So we are emphasizing it, we talk about it and players have to believe in it too. When good things happen we can keep striving for it."  

On whether players need to gamble to create turnovers:
"I don't think so. I think it comes down to pressuring the quarterback. You think about the 3 turnovers we had last week, they all were from pressuring the quarterback. The sack was caused by pressuring the quarterback and it caused a fumble. The two interceptions were from pressuring the quarterback. Part of that comes from getting after people, especially pressuring the quarterback and also ripping the ball out, getting a lot of people around the football. That's what we are trying to get, a lot more people around the football. We just keep emphasizing it and hopefully those things will happen. They come in bunches, we all know that turnovers come in bunches. We might get 4 one week and might not get any the next week. But I think that we need to keep on striving. We have good skill athletes; we just need to make more catches on the ball. We dropped a bunch of turnovers last year. It's concentration too."  

On whether there is a conflict between being a cerebral defense and a nasty defense:
"It's a swagger they have to develop. I have said this before to the team and maybe this stuff got out, but you develop your personality during training camp. Whatever we are going to be during the season is developed in training camp. That is again, continuing aggressive play, maybe a little nastier, in terms of getting to the quarterback and getting the balls out. It's a little bit of a mental thing, like playing with guys like Dawkins and Trotter. They set the tempo. You want more and more guys to have that attitude. It is an attitude."  

On whether he has seen what he needs to see from defensive end N.D. Kalu:
"No, I think that N.D. is still a work in progress. He probably needs more plays because he has been out for a while. But I am happy with N.D. and we would like to see him get more reps this week and more the following week. It's just playing the speed and stuff like that. I think that is all he really needs, is the playing speed in a full game."  

On whether he has heard anything new from defensive end Jerome McDougle:
"No, I wish I did."

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