Mike: "I think, given the opportunity to play and play a lot, to me he looks very rhythmic, he looks very in control when I watch him play now. In his defense, he has had to learn three systems since he's been in the league as a quarterback and he appears to be comfortable with the team he has around him. He always had good leadership ability and things like that, and clearly, heck, when things needed to be said there in the last few years, he has said them and people listened and it was a good thing for his team. He is just playing well. He's throwing the ball with confidence and he has some good people to throw it to."
Q: Your thoughts on
Mike: "He is one of the best backs in football. Clearly, he is a big, strong, outstanding inside runner. He is a physical guy who will pile it up in there pretty good, yet he is still elusive enough to do some nice things on the edge. Like teams that have pretty good passing attacks, when they get their running games going, that opens up a lot of stuff for them. He was very much a key to how they play. That's not to say they can't do it just throwing it and doing some of that stuff, but much like we have Shaun Alexander, the teams that have their back and can get them going to be a threat, then it opens up a lot more things. He is an excellent, excellent player."
Q: This is your first
visit to Paul Brown Stadium.
Mike: "I haven't been there. I hear it's beautiful, I hear it's a great place. They have had some problems with the turf, that I know about and we have talked about. I want to make sure we're wearing the right shoes, very kind of basic things. You expect noise. You kind of know what the noise problems are going to be. I hear it's a beautiful, beautiful place. The new stadiums that have been built in the last 10 years, they're all pretty sharp now. Compared to some of the other places we used to play, they're really something. I think they are happy with it, although there have been some complaints about the turf."
Q: What's wrong with
Mike: "It was soft. Clumps of it would come up. I'm pretty sure it was just regular grass and then I don't know what it is now, I think it's regular grass, but they had to replace that a number of times. It was soft."
Q: Where is your
offense right now?
Mike: "Oh, two doors over. They're having a meeting right now." (laughter)
Q: But really, where is your offense?
Mike: "It's very clear in their minds how I feel about them at this particular stage. I expect a lot from them, I really do. and I think we've been very good at times. We have been very good at times. And we haven't been nearly consistent enough throughout an entire game. But I'm not down on them. I just think things happen and we can play better, which is encouraging to me. We're 5-1 right now and I really believe we can be much more efficient on offense. But, at times, we have made big plays and we've done some very good things. But I'm a little harder on them than I am on the other side of the ball. I let Ray (Rhodes) worry about the other side of the ball a little more. I'm not totally happy with how we're doing things offensively right now."