QB Andy Dalton: "We’re playing a division game. It’s important."

QB Andy Dalton meets with the media ahead of the Bengals home game against the Steelers this Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers personnel may change, but does their scheme and personality change?

“It’s similar to what they’ve done — a lot of movement. You have to prepare for a lot of different things.”

Is the mental challenge just as big as the physical challenge when playing Pittsburgh?

“Yeah. They put guys in a lot of different spots and move guys around. I’m stationary a ton., so you just have to be prepared for the different looks and be able to adjust to movement.”

Your numbers suggest you’re playing well outside of the pocket this season. Do you feel that way?

“I feel like we’ve definitely taken a step in the out-of-pocket explosive plays. There have been different things that have caused it, but I think our guys have a good feel to reacting when I’m able to move. We’ve been able to hit some big plays off it.”

Was getting outside the pocket a point of emphasis in Bill Lazor’s new offensive scheme?

“It’s just been a reaction. If you look across the league and see how many plays happen out of the pocket or aren’t scripted, they count too. It’s just one of those things we felt like we definitely needed to improve in that area.”

Have designed plays out of the pocket, such as roll outs and play-action, given you a boost in big plays?

“For sure. You can’t just stand back there (in the pocket), because they know where you’re going to be. If you can move around and get different launch points, it can definitely help. I think we’ve had some success with it.”

I know you guys work at the scramble drill with the receivers at practice, but each scramble situation is different, isn’t it?

“Yeah. At that point, it turns into backyard football. It’s just finding a way to get open. Like I was saying, our guys have reacted well to it. We’ve scored touchdowns off of it and have had big gains off it.”

What has your relationship been like with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt? How has be helped you this year?

“He’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed having him as my coach. He was with (Green Bay Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers for a long time. He brings a lot from his past of not only coaching, but playing. He played for a long time as well. He’s been in a lot of situations and understands a lot of it. We have a great relationship, and he’s got some great drills that have carried over into the game. I feel really good about everything he’s been able to bring here. I’m glad he’s here.”

How does he run the quarterbacks room? What is his coaching style like?

“He’s definitely more relaxed and loose. It’s a great quarterback room. It’s a great environment. He makes the learning easy, and he makes it fun.”

Could you be in a better situation than the one you currently are in? With your former QB coach now the offensive coordinator and a new QB coach that you’ve bonded with quickly?

“I’ve been fortunate throughout my years to have great quarterback coaches. It made the transition easier once Bill (Lazor) took over (as offensive coordinator) last year. That was an easy transition because I’ve been with him. To bring Al (Alex Van Pelt) in, that was great. We had a connection right from the start.”

Frank Pollack has made an impact on the offensive line this season. What kind of ripple effect does that have on the quarterbacks?

“He’s done a great job. Our line has been playing well. It’s a big testament to the way he’s coaching and the way he’s doing things. It makes it easier from my standpoint, knowing how well our guys (offensive line) have been playing.”

Marvin Lewis mentioned that this wasn’t ‘Steeler week,’ and it was just ‘another week.’ Do you agree with that?

“We’re treating it like another week. I feel like it gets blown up outside of here way more than it does in the building or the locker room. For us, we’re playing a division game. It’s important. We don’t need to make anything more of it than that.”

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