How is the mood in the locker room?
“I think that it’s as good as it can be right now. It was a tough loss. Every loss is tough. It’s been a tough stretch, but I think that as competitors being in this league, you don’t ever get used to losing but you learn how to move on at some point because the ball is going to be kicked off on Sunday and we have to go and find a way to win. I thought that for a Wednesday after losing six of seven, it was about as good as it can be. I know that we’ll be ready to go on Sunday. From watching this defense I know that it’s heck of a defense and I know what kind of talent that they offensively from being with a few of those guys last year at the Pro Bowl and seeing them up close. It’s a good team.”
How do you feel about facing another tough pass-rush?
“It’s a great group. I don’t ever like giving comparisons, but that team we played last week has won nine games and that’s a heck of a defense. But on tape, it looks like this group is going to be just as much of a challenge if not a greater one. They’ve got some fast linebackers, the defensive front is great and they have an experienced secondary. You’re talking about corners and safeties that have been around awhile. They’ve played at a high level. It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”
Will a win against Cincinnati give you a chance to move up in the AFC Wild Card race?
“As bad as it’s been, and it’s still a longshot, but we’re still breathing. We just have to go and win a game. I’ve been getting texts saying ‘You still have a chance.’ And all of that’s true. But we still have to win a game first. Beating Cincinnati, a team that is ahead of us by a couple of games, we know what comes after that. You’ll be alive. If we weren’t alive, we still have a heck of a lot to play for. But the fact that those things are still there can allow you to bounce back from a defeat like we just took a little bit easier.”
Are you going through similar processes trying to get newer guys on the offensive line ready to go?
“It’s been a different kind of shuffle and hasn’t been so dramatic from a standpoint of week-to-week. I think that
Do you think that you played well last week under pressure?
“We didn’t turn it over. We had two or three scoring drives and just two field goals. Like any game, you go back and watch the tape and there were a few plays that I left on the field that had we converted, we could have changed the game. That’s in every game. But we didn’t have the disastrous play that just killed us. It’s about winning. I’m not just here to not have disastrous plays and keep us in the game. I want to help us win. We didn’t get that done last week and we haven’t gotten that done six of the last seven.”
Is getting on top offensively going to be the key to the game this week?
“We’ve been ahead at halftime in a handful of games. And this is a good team. They were a playoff team last year, they started off 3-1 this year then hit a little bit of a lull but now they bounced back and you’ve seen what they’ve done the last three weeks against good teams. They had Denver on the ropes there and Denver beat them in the end. It’s a very similar team in some respects to the ’09 and ’10 team that we played. It’s not the exact same guys, but they were a playoff team. But there are a lot of similarities, they have the same coaching staff and we’re in for a heck of a challenge.”
Do you learn how to handle rough stretches better the more that you experience them?
“I don’t think that you ever want to get real good at it because that means that you’re in it all the time. But you do learn to handle it and deal with it because it’s part of this league. When you look over history and careers, guys go through it all the time. We’ve always fought through these tough times and we’re faced with it here again. I expect us to fight through. However we end up remains to be seen, but although there have been plenty reasons to lose confidence and lose faith, we really know what we’re capable of. It’s got to translate into a win and then we can worry about getting two in a row. But we have to get one before we get two and so on.”
What do you think of the play of Andy Dalton?
“I don’t get to watch him a ton, but I was around him last year at the Pro Bowl and he was a really neat, good guy and really athletic. He’s a pocket-passer and he can really move around and make plays on the move. He’s a young player who looks to be around for a long time. He’s got some young weapons around him and seems to have that thing going in the right direction.”