The Bengals came into the 2011 season with a number of question marks and for the first part of the season they were not only answering those questions but they were silencing a number of their critics. Behind a stout defense and the dynamic rookie duo of Andy Dalton and AJ Green, Cincinnati put themselves right in playoff contention with a 6-2 record through the first eight games. The team that had been the recipient of so many jokes looked like they were going to have the last laugh in 2011. Unfortunately, that may not be the case after all. Cincy has hit a bit of a rough stretch and since their tremendous start, they have just one win in their last five and are no longer in control of a wild card spot in the AFC. The Bengals playoffs dreams haven’t died yet and two of the next three for Cincy are very much there for the taking, but now they need help from the Jets.
The Bengals might look back to last week’s game against the Texans, a game in which they squandered a 13 point halftime lead, as the moment when they lost their shot at postseason football.
Marvin Lewis joined WLW with Lance McAlister and Dave Lapham to talk about the fight that the Bengals showed last weekend against the Texans, how important this weekend’s game is after the loss against Houston, how tough it was to lose starting offensive lineman Bobbie Williams, and what he thinks of the upcoming game against St. Louis.
How proud of his guys he is based on the fight they showed against Houston:
“That’s good and they played very hard, but we just have to play smarter at times and put ourselves in position to close the game out in all three phases.”
Whether or not this weekend’s game has lost or gained importance after their loss this past weekend:
“Still important. Every game is in important. This week will be no different but it was an important game for us. If we would’ve won it we would’ve continued to control our own outcome and what’s in front but in order to get back in that situation we have to win the next one.”
On the loss of Bobbie Williams:
“It’s an unfortunate thing to lose a guy like Bobbie for the rest of the season but we do kinda go back to the way we started the season where we had Clint Boling and Mike McGlynn both playing. We will eventually get Otis Hudson up to the roster. It’s not a thing you want but provides another opportunity for someone else.”
On the progress of Taylor Mays:
“I think he’s kinda worked hard to understand the techniques and the things that we want him to do. It’s a hard transition when you don’t have training camp and you’ve been trained in another system and in his case he was trained in two systems in two different years. As a young player he is already on his third different coordinator and I think that can sometimes be a difficult thing. Yet he’s made good progress and he’s getting an opportunity to play more and more and he’s done a nice job on special teams. He continues to learn and grow and that’s why we traded for him. We thought he had a bright future.”
On the upcoming game against the Rams:
“They’ve been without their starting quarterback for a couple of weeks but he’s back. They are a very, very strong running team. Steven Jackson is excellent; he is a hard, hard runner and has had a great NFL career. They made a trade and we get a chance to play against oh gosh Brandon Lloyd again who was in Denver. We prepared for him once and they’ve got some other young guys they play at wide receiver. Then defensively they are very stout up front led by Chris Long, they have some athletic linebackers, and they have a younger secondary and they try to give you a lot of pressure. It’s gonna be a great challenge. We have to go there and play and it’s gonna be a key that we get off to a great start and get after them.”
Listen to Marvin Lewis on WLW here (Audio begins 8:00 into the podcast)