Lewis Talks Seahawks, Bengals Talk Bengals

Words from Marvin Lewis, Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, John Thornton, Justin Smith, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Kevin Coyle, Dexter Jackson, Deltha O'Neal, Domata Peko and Bob Bratkowski.

Head coach Marvin Lewis, with early-week impressions of the Seahawks:

"I have seen them a little bit. They've been an explosive team offensively in the past few years. The ball comes out of the quarterback's hand quickly. They do some things to create formation stuff. They're probably more of a two-back team than some of the other teams we've faced. Defensively, they do a good job in the secondary with their two corners. They have a good front four. Their linebackers have done a good job. They play very sound. They're not real exotic, but very sound and aggressive. It's a big week for us, an important game for us."

Lewis, on whether negative publicity will motivate the defense after last week's sub-par effort at Cleveland:

"I don't worry about what kind of publicity we get. We just need to play football. Practice well, prepare well, play well. We need to play better through crucial moments in the game. In the first half, we allowed two-third-down touchdowns. We let an interception go through our hands. We understand that. We didn't play well enough to win. We'll take our medicine and move forward. As I've always said, you're never as good as you seem to be after a win, and never as bad as you seem to be after a loss."

Lewis, on the team's kick coverage in the first two games:

"We haven't played well enough. We have to do better. We have to run with better speed. We have to shed, get our pads down and use our hands better. We have to tackle better. At Cleveland, we had three missed tackles with clean defenders in the hole. We have to make those tackles. We will. Because of some guys missing with injury, we had some guys playing in different spots. They have to respond and go do that. They're getting an education by fire. We actually did some things a lot better this week than last week against Baltimore. We just have to reap the benefit of it by making the tackle. We're in the right spots, we just need to finish the play. We have guys who are more than capable of making the tackles. We just need to make them."

WR Chad Johnson, on becoming the franchise's all-time receiving yards leader (7229) in the Cleveland game:

"It didn't really mean anything. I respect records a lot, but we did lose, and one of Carson's interceptions was my fault. Overall, I've done all I can do as an individual player. Right now my thing is getting a ring. That's all that really matters."

DT/team captain John Thornton, on the defensive leaks at Cleveland:

"It's a players' issue. Players need to get their stuff together. The good thing is, this is a business, and if you keep screwing up, you're not going to be out there."

Lewis, with a three-step formula for success in the NFL:

"Win the running game, play well on third down, and win the turnover battle. Do that, and the other numbers maybe aren't so important. You keep the ball in your hands with an opportunity to score, and you keep your defense staying fresh on the bench. Look at the end of the year, and the teams that have done that are probably still playing. They're the keys to a season."

Lewis, on DT Michael Myers, a '07 free agent signee:

"Michael is looking like a great addition. He plays stout and just has a great grasp of pro technique in interior line play. I've been a fan of his ever since he came out of college. When I learned he might be available, it took me about 30 seconds to decide we should give him a call."

Lewis, on last season:

"To a person — coaches, players and myself included — we were disappointed with the finish of last season. We have an opportunity now to do something about that. We've learned a lot of lessons. You learn about finishing the plays and making the plays at critical times of the football game that in the end give you the victory. That's what it's all about."

Lewis, on what he considers his ‘greatest accomplishment' as Bengals coach:

"That we expect to win every Sunday. That we're expected to win each and every Sunday we go out there. That's the thing the players can be the proudest of. They're looked upon as a good football team, and it's not a surprise when we win."

Lewis, on QB Carson Palmer:

"He's talented, he's extremely smart, he's a very, very hard worker. We've seen him mature and evolve into not only the talented player he is, but a leader — wanting to know how everybody else is doing and touching bases with other guys. So we've seen him grow a lot."

Thornton, on the challenge of '07:

"It's not about the defense or the offense playing well. It's not time for one group to shine. It's time for this team to really grow up, and play well on the big stage."

DE Justin Smith, on accepting the franchise player tag for 2007 with a one-year contract:

"I'm just thinking about this team and happy to be a part of it. I'm having a blast with good guys, and hopefully we can win a ring."

QB Carson Palmer, on HB Rudi Johnson's improvement as a receiver:

"When you're not sure of your hands, you catch a lot of balls with your body; trapping the ball. But Rudi's snagging everything with his fingertips. That just shows he's been working on it, how he's made a conscious effort to improve."

Palmer, on the development of fourth-year G Stacy Andrews, who played very little college football while starring in track and field:

"He can be as dominating as anybody we have on the offensive line. He's vastly improved from last year. He's improved from year to year, but this has been the most improvement. He's always had the God-given talent and the work ethic. It's just a lack of playing football. You get a feel for the game, and he's finally getting that feel. He's so versatile and he can move, it's amazing for his size."

WR Chad Johnson, on his blocking
:

"I'm not going to lie. God made me close to perfect, but the one thing he missed was my blocking. But I've been working on it."

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, seventh-year pro who turns 30 on Sept. 26, on plans to play beyond age 35:

"I guarantee that barring an injury I will play 13 NFL seasons. This is really only my fourth year (of significant playing time). I barely played my first three years. I haven't played much football at all, and it's all about snaps, not number of years. I don't have any wear and tear. I'm still fresh."

Defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, on the overall picture in the secondary:

"I think all of us in the secondary, including myself, have something to prove this year. That's something we're going into the season with a chip on our shoulder about. I know that our talent level is probably as good as it's been, certainly, since I've been here."

SS Dexter Jackson, on dropping some weight and on his goal of reaching the Pro Bowl:

"I want to bust my butt and be the best. With the offense we have, if we can come out on defense and get turnovers, I'll have an opportunity to get there (Pro Bowl). Last year, carrying some extra weight, I wore down in the fourth quarter. Now I can cover more ground and still have the attitude and the pop. Because it's not about how big you are, it's about the attitude you have inside. I want to go out and show the guys the difference it can make."

Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, on the challenges of 2007:

"We need consistency. We need to make sure we're playing well at the end of the year in critical games, making sure we're moving upwards instead of sliding backwards, and we need to be able to overcome some adversity. Things like guys getting hurt, guys being suspended. We've got to overcome it. We can't use it as an excuse. Somebody has to step in there and play. The good teams have a tendency to do that."

CB Deltha O'Neal, on looking to regain his 2005 form after an injury-plagued '06 campaign:

"My knee feels 10 times better than it did last season. It was my shoulder late in the year, and I had a tough time the whole year with my knee. I never said anything about that in the paper, but it's a new and improved Deltha this year. I'm going to get what I can get. If I can surpass 10 picks (his team-record 2005 total) or get half of that ... as long as I can get to the ball and hold on. Last year I only had one, and I should have had over five. If I get the opportunity, I'm going to take it."

DT Domata Peko, on the team's three Samoan defensive linemen (himself, Jonathan Fanene and practice squadder Matt Toeaina):

"I guess we're built for it (playing defensive line in the NFL). One of my teammates asked, ‘Are there any small Samoans?' It's in our genes. We're just known as being really big guys, warriors. That's how it is on the field for us. Samoans are relentless out there. That's how I like to be — every play, give it my best."


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