Cincinnati Conference Calls

Transcripts of conference calls by Marvin Lewis and Chad Johnson with New York Jets reporters on Wednesday:       

CINCINNATI HEAD COACH MARVIN LEWIS

On the reason for their 1-4 start …

I think, number one, we haven't run the football effectively and we've turned the ball over more offensively than we've done in the past. Defensively, we have not defended the run at times and we've given up some explosive plays. On special teams we really seemed to struggle early in the year with all of the injuries we had and we were putting guys out each and every week. We've had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys have missed time and as we go we will continue to improve as a football team as we get guys back. It's the hand we've been dealt and we have to deal with it.

On where things stand with the linebacking corps …

I think we're lining up a group where we have one guy in and maybe one guy out and maybe one or two in from last week's game. That's kind of the thing we've been working on, but as long as we keep adding to it I think we'll be fine.

On how Anthony Schlegel is doing …

Anthony has worked very, very hard since he got here and unfortunately for him he got thrown in there right away to the wolves as quick as you can. He's done some good things. There are always some things you would like to have guys to do better and I know Anthony would like to do some things better, but he's given everything he's got.

On coaching with Eric Mangini at Baltimore …

We go way back. His office was across the hall from my office. I don't know if you could have been closer to a guy and I'm just so happy for him and Julie and their success and everything they've done and their family. He's a great person and he's been a fine, fine football coach and he's worked very diligently at this and very hard and he took all the steps along the way. He never left any stone unturned.

On what his best Mangini story is …

Just ask him about the watch [laughs]. You'll get a chuckle out of him.

On what his thoughts are on Chad Pennington …

When we played the Jets, four years ago, I can't tell you how impressed I was with him as a quarterback and his accuracy and velocity on the ball. When you don't win, the two people that get attacked are the quarterback and the head coach. It's unfortunate that he's going through that right now. He's the player they were cheering not too long ago.

On what he sees in Pennington's velocity …

Again, I don't think that's something you lose as quickly as people would say and anytime a ball is picked off then it's got to be something wrong or some fault. Sometimes it just comes off of your hand wrong. This guy has been a fine quarterback and he's won football games and led his team to the playoffs a couple of times, so I think they should give him the benefit of the doubt.

On the problems WRs Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh present to a defense …

I have to defend all the time that we don't have three of them [laughs]. They're both very competitive, as everybody knows. You can't put a wedge between them, as close as they are. They feed off of each other. They're like two brothers and sisters, there are always spats when they're together but when they're by themselves they're as close as they can be. If I attack either one of them, the other comes to their rescue. They're competitive, they do a great job of running routes and catching the ball and they both run well after they catch the football. I think both have really improved as blockers.

On whether he thinks either would be as productive without the other …

I think they could be as productive. I tell them I don't know how productive they'd be without their quarterback.

On the status of CB Johnathan Joseph …

Johnathan will be fine and he'll start the game.

On scouting Jonathan Vilma at the University of Miami …

I think he's as fine a prospect that's come out in a long time, in the caliber of where Ray [Lewis] was. He's a pleasant guy to get to know through that period of time and his success has not surprised me.

On his thoughts of Vilma in the 3-4 …

My theory on that is that linebackers are linebackers. They said Ray Lewis couldn't play in a 3-4, either, and I think the last three, four years they've done pretty well on defense there in Baltimore. I think linebackers can play in whatever you want them to play in and go. You can still tailor things to people's abilities.

CINCINNATI WR CHAD JOHNSON

On the Bengals' 1-4 start …

We have to make sure we get the taste of losing consistently out of our mouth and not let it sink back in. We are doing what we need to do to make sure we get this boat moving in the right way. We are going to be all right.

On whether he has any touchdown celebrations planned …

If you think about all the past antics that I have done, they are always done while things are going well. The situation right now isn't right. If I do score, I will just give the ball to the ref. The time isn't right. We aren't winning and we aren't on the right page for those type of things to go on.

On if he still has his list up in his locker …

The list is always up. That is an every-year thing. Nobody is on it, just the team itself.

On Jets CB Darrelle Revis …

I haven't had a chance to watch film on New York yet. We had our schedule change, so we practice early now. We are just getting out of practice, so I have film time right now. I will be able to tell you more about the defense, but I have not been able to watch them. We are getting ready to watch them in the next 20 minutes. I'm looking forward to the challenge. It should be fun.

On Jets CB Andre Dyson …

I went against him when Samari [Rolle] and he were [at Tennessee] at the time. He is a very good corner. He is quick, smart and he plays the game very well. He is a very smart corner. It is going to be a good challenge, regardless of the side of the ball that I'm on. It is going to be fun.

On his relationship with QB Carson Palmer …

We never go at it. You can't mistake emotion and passion for the game. We like to be perfect in everything we do. When it isn't right, he jumps on my butt. When he isn't right, I jump on his butt. We have a relationship that is so different from any other quarterback and receiver tandem in the league that me sitting here and explaining it to you, you wouldn't understand anyway. It is something that he and I do to keep us at the top of our game. That is why the numbers are what they are. I can't get what I do done without him and he can't get what he has to do without me. We want to be perfect every time we touch the field.

On whether T.J. Houshmandzadeh and he are the best receiving tandem in the NFL …

We are very good at what we do. We need to continue to put together multiple years, maybe two or three consistent years, and then I will say, "We have done this a couple years straight and we are the best at it."

On if he is excited to go against a Jets defense that has given up some big plays …

I don't get excited anymore. Every time I get excited it doesn't work out the way I thought it would. I'm sure they are going to be ready for the big play.

On why the Bengals are struggling …

I'm not sure. The coaches really have all the answers why things are going the way they are. I just listen and try to be the solution to fixing the problems. I don't want to know what is going wrong. Tell me what I can do to fix the problem. That is where my focus has been and not on what is going wrong.

On the benefits of having Houshmandzadeh lining up opposite him …

It helps a lot. It takes a lot of pressure off of me. For those teams that do want to double- or triple-cover me, he will do his thing on the opposite side. He will continue to hurt them as long as they do so. Basically, you have to pick your poison. Have it anyway that you want it. You can take chocolate or you can take caramel.

On whether he would be as productive without Houshmandzadeh or vice versa …

We would. The simple fact is that we are very good individual receivers regardless of who is on the other side of us. We can beat what is in front of us. We can beat coverages regardless of what is shown. Based on the system we are in, you do not force the ball. You take what is given to you. That is why I think we would be successful if we weren't together.

On whether he has any bulletin board material …

I would love to, but Marvin [Lewis] would probably take my entire paycheck for this week. You know I would have so much to say if we were on the right track. I can't touch it until we get things rolling over here.

On his team's mood …

Everybody is smiling. Everybody is ready and focused. We had a great practice just now. We just got out. We are practicing hard like we are 4-0. We are doing what we need to do to get this thing turned around.

On Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma …

Vilma is the real deal. You tell Vilma I say hello. Tell him ahead of time, don't hit me. I will make sure they fine him if he does. That is a good friend of mine. I have watched him since he has been in the league. He is one of the best. Top five most definitely.

On critics saying Vilma can't play in a 3-4 scheme …

You can't say there is a defense that is not suited for him because a linebacker like that can do all type of different things. He is not a system linebacker, not with some of the things that I have seen him do.

On Bengals LB Anthony Schlegel, the former Jet …

I'm sure he is doing what he is supposed to do. I don't pay the defensive side much mind. I'm trying to get my offense rolling.

On Jets QB Chad Pennington …

He is a good quarterback as far as I'm concerned. I don't watch quarterbacks enough. He is a good quarterback. I don't know what is wrong with him. I have no idea. I don't watch quarterbacks.

On what it will take for him to start celebrating touchdowns …

We have to get to .500. If we get to 500, it is on. It may be past the New York game, but I will give you some great material to talk about.

On whether he is affected by having to hold back …

Not really. One of the things is that I don't want to do anything that puts the focus on what I'm doing. The focus right now needs to be on all of us trying to find a way to win games consistently. We are trying to find a way to be consistent at what we do. That is where I'm at right now. Once the fun gets back and we get our swagger back, I will continue to enjoy the game the way I always do.

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