Initial Comments ...
“It’s good to win, but disappointing to allow a football team back in the game with the two big touchdowns and the drives. We’re still growing through some things, and we’ve got to continue to do it. We went through a lull there on offense in the second half, and with running, and being able to grind and dedicate ourselves to run the football, we weren’t getting done. We’ve got to keep getting better, as we know. We’ve got a lot of work to keep doing.”
Are you pleased with this win?
“I’m pleased that we won. I’m not pleased with how we played.”
For a team that’s as banged up as you guys are, does it really matter how it looks right now?
“The first thing is to win. We’ve got an opportunity to keep playing and make plays, and we’re not making plays. Those are makeable plays we have to do and we have to understand. We’ve got to figure it out.”
What do you think was the difference offensively in the second half?
“I can’t tell you.”
What did Dirk Koetter say to you after the game?
“He just said, ‘Good luck.’”
Is it harder playing against somebody you know so well, like Koetter?
“I play against somebody every week, you know? Dirk (Koetter) and I are obviously closer, but we play against somebody every week. We play against Sean (Saints head coach Sean Payton) in a week. We played against Andy (Chiefs head coach Andy Reid) last week. These guys have been friends for a long, long time. That’s just part of coaching and being in this as long as I have. Andy Reid and I came into the NFL in the same year, and I’ve known him because of Dirk since 1985. I’ve known Sean Payton for a long time. Every time we go out there, we know the guys. But we’re in the business to win just like they are. That’s part of it.”
What were your thoughts when Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick came in?
“Well, we know he was going to scramble around, first thing. Then we know he’s going to jack the ball deep, and we’ve got to understand that. That’s what we told them, and we still allowed them to do it once.”
When your defense gives up almost 600 yards of total offense, how do you spend the week assessing that? Is there something you can pinpoint?
“We have things we need to ... Guys have to do their job, plain and simple. I don’t how long those touchdown passes were today, but I know they were far. And then we gave up leverage on third down twice. We let a guy scramble there at the end. Those are things you can’t do. I don’t care who you’re playing against, you’re going to lose football games in the NFL if you get out of leverage and everything. We’re doing it with young guys, and we’ve got some other guys that are not as young, and we’ve got to figure out a way to do it. We’ve got to play better in the secondary. We’ve got to continue to play better up front on the offensive front and play through the third quarter and the fourth quarter. It goes around. We’ve got to get the quarterback on the ground when we get the opportunity.”
Do you think the guys aren’t understanding things on defense? Are they not communicating?
“They’re trying to do too much at times. They’re trying to get out of their job to do something else. Just do your job first and everything will happen. Everything will fit together. You don’t have to (do everything). Make sure you understand the urgency of what (your) responsibility is on this particular play — plain, flat and simple, that’s what it is. Just do (your) particular job with the urgency on this particular play, and let the other guys work and understand it.”
It seems like missed assignments and things like that have hampered the defense over again the last few weeks ...
“This is the NFL. You’ve got 11 new things every play. Every play, the other team comes out with new formations and new coverage, and you’ve got to continue to adjust. It’s how you become great. Young players have to mature quickly and get it right, and everybody’s got to stay on the same page. That’s part of it.”
It seems like no matter how up-and-down the game is going or how your offense is doing, with one minute left, it’s been a trend now all year that they’ve been able to get it done. Is that the most confident you can be in a team when they go out there and deliver in these clutch spots?
“The quarterback (Bengals QB Andy Dalton) continues to play at a very high level and run the offense and handle the situations and understand it. Live to play the next play — that’s really important — and deliver accurate throws in those opportunities. Our guys came up with the plays there at the end to put us in range for the field goal. We missed an extra point before halftime, and we kicked a ball out of bounds. They had a couple miscues in the kicking game today, and they cost you. Randy (Bullock) kept the drama going at the end to make the field goal to win the game. I guess he wanted to be the hero.”
Do you feel the bye week comes at an opportune time?
“We could have had a bye-week five weeks ago and it would have come at an opportune time. But we have the bye week this week, so it’s a great time.”
With the kicking issues you mentioned, were any of those due to the wind? How windy was it down there?
“Today, it was windy. It was as gusty as it’s been. (The wind) bounces off the stadium back and forth. Where the wind was in the first quarter was different than it was in the second and the third. The second half was pretty consistent in which way it was going, though.”
Was that one of the reasons you went for it on fourth down early, just because it was so windy?
“We were into the wind there.”
Obviously 44 yards was inside Randy’s range, but with the wind, what was that the distance you were looking for?
“We would have been in overtime if we hadn’t. At that point in the game, with the game-winning kick, we’re going to take a whack. We would have taken a whack from 50, just as long as the wind waits and dies down at the time. It was gusting all day long, and we knew it was going to get stronger as the day went on. Again, it was a big kick and good job by the offense, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in jeopardy like that, and that’s the hard part.”