"We had a good practice today. We're getting focused on Cincinnati, as we should be. This team was 4-1 at one point in the season. They're a good football. They've had some injuries. They're battling through those injuries and have lost a few lately, but this team has enough talent to challenge anybody on any given Sunday. Our focus definitely needs to be on this game and that's where it is right now. Really, the highlight of my day was that [NT] Brandon Mebane was back today. He's back in practice, he's doing well. He's back with the team. It was good to see Brandon."
On having NT Brandon Mebane back in the building:
"He's one of our leaders. He's a captain for a reason. Our team, these guys voted him that. They've missed him. His leadership is very important, not just his ability on the football field, but he's a good man."
On Mebane's focus:
"He was absolutely locked in. He was focused."
On the Cincinnati offense:
"[Bengals QB Jeff Driskel] can do all of those things, the zone-read, run-pass option. I'm sure they'll do more of that this week with him, but he also has a big arm. He can throw the ball around pretty well, too. He has two good receivers in [Bengals WR Tyler] Boyd and [Bengals WR John] Ross. Ross can score from anywhere on the field. He's probably the biggest deep threat in the National Football League right now with his 4.22 speed, or whatever he ran at the combine. It was the fastest 40-yard dash I've ever seen at the combine, I can tell you that. They have some weapons — and those two running backs, my goodness. It's hard to find two running backs that good in this league."
On if there is a dropoff in quarterback play with Bengals QB Andy Dalton on injured reserve:
"Well, I think that Dalton was the starter for a reason. [Jeff Driskel] is a young quarterback in this league. He has a lot of ability and a lot of talent. He doesn't have the experience of Andy, but he's a heck of an athlete. He can run around and make plays with his legs. He can throw, he has a big arm."
On Bengals RB Joe Mixon:
"He has power, he's elusive, he has good hands. He's a good blocker. He's a physical guy and makes a lot of yards after contact. [Bengals RB] Giovani [Bernard], he's the scat-back, but my goodness can he create [plays]. He's like a receiver coming out of the backfield."
On the Cincinnati defense after Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis took over the defensive play calling:
"Not a whole lot [has changed], to be honest with you. You can see Marvin's style from back when he was a coordinator — you can see that in some of the things that he's doing. That defensive line is as good as any that we've seen all year with [Bengals DT Geno] Atkins, [Bengals DEs Carlos] Dunlap and [Michael] Johnson and all of those guys. They're making plays. I think they have 14 sacks between [two] of them. Anytime a three-technique [lineman] has seven sacks at this point in the season, he's doing something right. They've had some injuries at linebacker, so they've rotated some guys in at linebacker. They have three first-rounders in the secondary. This team has talent."
On RB Melvin Gordon III:
"You know, Melvin is getting better. He ran around on the side today for the first time. So he's getting better."
On if Mebane can immediately return to his starting role:
"He's been gone for two weeks, so we will have to watch his reps a little bit, but he will start the game."
On if Mebane trained during his time away from the team:
"Yeah, I'm sure he did some things. I think there's a gym somewhere around where he was. He didn't do nothing, but football is football. He wasn't on the football [field], so we have to be careful with him."
On the rushing defense on Sunday:
"I thought our rushing defense was good in the first half. In the second half, it was even better. We made some adjustments, but they were pretty consistent. Right now, the only run defense I'm worried about is going against Cincinnati. We have those guys in three or four days, so that's kind of where my focus is right now."
On if the time away from the team can help Mebane stay fresh for a potential playoff run:
"It could. With his experience and his age, having a couple of weeks off, he could come back with fresh legs like [RB] Justin Jackson out there. You never know."
On avoiding a letdown after an emotional victory:
"We address it every week. It was an emotional game last week, nationally televised and all of that, but that's behind us now. We have to lock in this week. These guys have done a really good job of staying in the present. Right now, the one thing that we can do is work on the team that we have on Sunday and do the best we can to beat Cincinnati."
On what he needs to see from Gordon to feel comfortable playing him:
"For a running back, it has to be his change of direction. He can protect himself if he can change direction."
On needing to see Gordon's change of direction in a team setting at practice:
On RB Justin Jackson:
"Surely, he'll be more involved [early in the game], but we didn't run the ball as much in the first half last week. It just depends on how this game goes. [RB] Austin [Ekeler] will start the game if Melvin's not there, then Jackson will come in and [RB] Detrez [Newsome] will play some, too. He's a good, young back as well."
On facing a team with Hue Jackson on staff for the second time:
"No, we do self-scout and change up [signals and calls] like every team anyway. That's not a big deal."
On facing teams that may soon be eliminated from contention:
"This is the NFL. Guys have pride. They're NFL players. You have to prepare for them like everybody else whether they're in it or out of it. This team is dangerous because this team needs to win out to get in as a wild card, probably. Their playoffs basically start this week. We have to be aware of that. The urgency that they're going to play with and what they're going to bring to the table."
On his relationship with Lewis:
"It's good. I've known Marvin for a long time. He's a good football coach, obviously, he's been in Cincinnati forever. It's a good relationship."
On if they have played golf:
"You know, we haven't played golf together, but I hear he's pretty decent."
On if his relationship with Lewis is helped by their mutual friendship with Rex Ryan:
"I knew Marvin before I knew Rex, to be honest with you. We have just known each other for a while."
On if the Cincinnati run defense is susceptible with injuries at linebacker:
"You know, it could, but their backups have come in and done a quality job. Their defensive line, like I said, is pretty dang good. They're getting up in age a little bit, but that group at one time was the best in the league and they're not far from it right now."
On Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt:
"No [updates], not at all."
On if the upcoming short week could affect the decision to play Gordon this week:
"He'll get back on the field as soon as he's ready because we miss him. We need him. We're going to make sure he's right before he gets back on the football field."