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Pagano: Getting to where we want it to be

Posted Nov 29, 2012

John Pagano talks to the media after practice

Defensive Coordinator John Pagano


On whether he usually has one of his guys simulate players like A.J. Green, how wide receiver Mike Willie did during today’s practice:

“Yes you try to get those guys in the jerseys. The types of receivers that we have, number one as our back up players but number two, our practice squad guys that we try to simulate. We even use certain guys in certain spots, the body types, how they run routes. We try to get them into those situations. We have had a couple guys by committee try to simulate some of the routes that he does. (Mike) Willie does well with it. He does a great job. He goes hard, he gives great looks. The good thing about our guys is they really study our opponent. Number one, our offensive scout team from our coaches: Greg Williams and Shane Steichen up there into the meeting rooms and show them what types of routes they run and go over certain plays so those guys don’t come out on the field and try to wing it. They try to see how it is done and it helps us from a defensive standpoint to get a good luck.”

On the tape of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s last few games:

“The big thing is he is throwing the ball well. They are protecting well. With all of the wide receivers and the tight end at a high level, he is putting the ball where they can go catch it. He is real accurate with the ball. That is something that gives them an opportunity to be real successful with it. Their running game is solid with the things that they do and they types of runs.  (BenJarvus Green-) Ellis still runs hard and he gets down here. He earns every yard he gets. It is going to be a big challenge like every week.”

On the Bengals red-zone staggering accuracy and what they are doing so well:

“They are very efficient; the different types of looks that they give you offensively. They have done a great job to where, especially A.J. (Green) going up and getting the football, having the ability in all of these past games where he has been really efficient in the red zone. You have to concentrate on the tight end, (Jermaine) Gresham, because even in 2010 he ran a similar route against us that he is still running now.”

On how you stop A.J. Green:

“You get up and cover him. You challenge him and give him different looks. Without basically telling you what we are going to do, we are going to get up and really challenge him.”

On whether it is the same notion as the Tampa week where you are not necessarily trying to out-jump but you are fighting (for position):

“Correct. It is all about being in position. The one thing you need to make sure you are able to do is finish as a defensive back. If you are in ‘phase’, and we saw a bunch of plays last week where guys ran phase, once the ball is in the air you have to go finish. It is not about saying you were right there in coverage. A lot of times they make great throws and great catches but it is our job to make sure when the ball is in the air we play the ball and finish each and every play.”

On how the Chargers defense has been doing in their phase coverage:

“For the most part we have. It is not something that our guys study but our guys work really hard at it. We are drilling it all the time in individual drills with Coach Meeks. We are working those guys out there since day one, since we have been here. It is something that they do a great job of. We make sure in practice that we throw enough times to where the guys can go play the ball in the air.”

On what bothered him most about the 4th and 29 play against the Ravens:

“It was one of those just, everything that you did not want to happen, happened. The bottom line is poor angles and poor tackling. Playing the deep routes is something that we wanted to take away. Have them check the ball down and then go tackle. This game has never changed. It is all about angles. When you have three individuals not take the proper angle and everybody else kind of waiting, it is just a game of leverage. Plus the guy made a hell of a run and catch. For him to make that cut but for the most part, if Eric (Weddle) does not get blocked in the back, he is making the tackle. It is a situation that you always kind of work on because we had three other third and longs to where we played that certain type of coverage where they did check it down and they went and rallied to the football. It is something that we addressed.”

On whether he believes all 11 guys collapsed on the football during the 4th and 29 game:

“I would have loved for three more defensive linemen to chase him from the back but they were so far removed. I think one got pulled down and kind of tripped the other one up. Shaun Phillips was giving chase there. Three guys not take the proper angle and proper leverage, that is what this game is about. For them to over-pursue it in that sense and have the back side pursue come Eric (Weddle) and Quentin Jammer hit him before somebody else. It was not a good play I want to remember.”

On Antione Cason getting caught spectating on the play:

“Spectating? I think more or less he thought that the guy was going to be down. You don’t ever want to assume in this business. It caught him more by surprise than it did instead of just really finishing the play.”

On Donald Butler’s injury:

“He was having a great year but this is why we have backups. It gives that next guy the opportunity to come in there and do what he needs to do and keep our defense at a high level in the communication aspect. It is not a situation that you want to have as a defense but it is a situation that you can’t do anything about. We don’t blink; the next guy steps in. We are working to get this to where we want it to be. We have not yet had that one game to where we truly are just getting everything going that we would like as a defensive unit. That is what these guys in the locker room are striving to do every week. “


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