The Washington Redskins on Sunday play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 action at Wembley Stadium in London.
On Wednesday, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis andquarterback Andy Dalton spoke to the Washington, D.C., media about their upcoming matchup against the Redskins.
Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis
On facing former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden:
"Well, he keeps us up, you know? And we know the quality of coach that we're facing and his great abilities in setting up a plan and so forth. So we're really impressed with the job that Jay has done and, as we know, the quality of what he's done here."
On how often he talks to Gruden:
"We talk occasionally by text and so forth. You know, I'm always… it's great to hear from him. And he's such a great person and such a joy every day. When you're fortunate enough to coach with guys in the building that brighten everybody's day, that's fortunate. This is a job where you spend a lot of time and hours with people and you want good people around and he's certainly a great person and fun friend to have. And you enjoy that."
On his conversations with Gruden during Gruden's first year as Head Coach of the Redskins:
"Well, just kept encouraging him because he has such a way of knowing what he wants, you know what I mean? But yet he is conscious of the big picture as well. That was why I thought he was so valuable to me coming here. Jay had basically, he'd been the head coach, he'd been the GM. He's done everything. And so, he'd been the coordinator, so it was great that he saw a lot of things through my eyes. So when you talk about why we're going to go with this player rather than that player, he'd been in that situation before. He understood that. You know, why we were going to maybe go with the younger player than this particular player or maybe we needed another position on Sunday in the 46 and so forth. So he was always very easy to adjust and understand and work within whatever parameters there were."
On if he sees similarities between QBs Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton:
"I see a lot of similarities between Kirk and Andy. I think they both do an incredible job at the line of scrimmage surveying the defense and getting in and out of the right plays. You see the Redskins doing a lot of play changes at the line of scrimmage, which is what Andy has been so good at for us here."
On the label of a "system quarterback" and if it can be a compliment for Cousins and Dalton:
"They make everyone around them better and that's right, that's what you want. Your quarterback, he is the key cog in the wheel. He's got to play efficient, he's got to take care of the football, and he's got to make everybody else be effective against the defense. You need people like that that are smart enough and understand football enough to be an extension of that coaching staff and get you in the right things when you put together your offense that way."
On the Bengals' health this season:
"We're very fortunate where we are right now with the health of our football team. Knock on wood, we just have to keep going."
On Redskins TEs Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis:
"Well you know, we faced two great tight ends two weeks ago up in New England with [Rob] Gronkowski and [Martellus] Bennett. These two are very similar in that situation – probably physically more explosive than what those two are. But equally or better… they're just tremendous receivers of the football, as well as line of scrimmage guys."
On facing running backs with a history of fumbles:
"Well, we've got to be aware of tackling. My quest is we've got to continue to do a great job of tackling all the time. If you tackle well and if you tackle with your arms, you have an opportunity to knock footballs out and that's the important part."* *
On differences in the Redskins' secondary if CB Josh Norman is unavailable:
"Well, this is an NFL football team. I'm sure they have the next guy up and they'll go about their business that way and play. They may adjust a little bit that way, but, you know, it's part of NFL football."
On differences in WR A.J. Green's play this year:
"Well, he just continues to take the steps forward that you ask your great players to take each and every year is they have to play good all the time. And he continues to play at a very high level."
Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton* *
On how aware he is of opposing cornerbacks and how that extends to CB Josh Norman this week:
"Well, I mean obviously we know that Josh had the concussion this past week. And so obviously we're looking to see if he is going to play or if he's not going to play and we probably won't know until later on. But we're definitely kind of aware of it just because of the type of player that he is. He's really good so we track that some. But, I mean for us, the more focus is on us and making sure that our guys are ready to go and regardless [of] who's out there, we've got to win those one-on-one matchups out there."
On if he played against Norman when Norman played for the Carolina Panthers:
"We played the Panthers but I don't think he played when we played them."
On working with Jay Gruden in Cincinnati:
"Yeah, he was great. A big reason why I'm in Cincinnati now is because of Jay. He was a great coordinator here. We had a lot of success with him and it's the reason he was able to get that job in Washington. He's a great coach and I'm sure the guys love to play for him. He was a lot of fun to have around."
**On if there is a disadvantage if Gruden still knows the Cincinnati offense:
"I think things have changed. We've got some new players – obviously there's still some guys that are still here from when he was here, but I feel like we've added a few guys. I think things have changed enough that I'm not too worried about that."
On if Gruden's experience as a quarterback helps him coach the position:
"Yeah, Jay taught me a lot and he gave me a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage. You know, through the preparation that we had, if I get certain looks, he allowed me to change plays and get into plays that were better suited for the defenses that we were getting and so it taught me a lot just through the preparation of it. I feel like he's got a big part in the reason I've been playing the way I have here recently and he's got me to be the player I am today."* *
On Gruden's level of patience when working with younger quarterbacks:
"I mean, I think at the end of the day, you want the performance and, I mean, he's a guy that will definitely let you know if you are not performing as well as he thinks you should be. But at the same time, it just depends on where you are at in your career. Obviously for me, he got me as a rookie so there was obviously a little bit of a process in learning and different things. So, yeah, he's obviously patient with you but it also depends kind of on just where you are at in your career."