Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
In the last two Saints losses a winning score came off a Drew Brees interception that caused him to get a lot of criticism locally. I don't know what you are watching specifically on film, but could you give your assessment of him?
"That's a dangerous one. I don't see a guy with declining skills at all. I see a fine, fine quarterback. I think actually it was a fumble in the pocket?"
He had two interceptions before that.
"Again, obviously for every team, the quarterback is such a focal point of everything. How they play generally is where everyone wants to take shots at, but Drew Brees is an excellent, excellent player and excellent leader and player for his football team and one a number of football teams would love to have. He's what you want. We've had the opportunity a couple times…At least I've had the opportunity for practice (joint practices) and work and it's been their home away from home. I enjoy getting to see Drew out there on the practice field and trying to get Andy (Dalton) to emulate Drew all the time."
In what ways do you try to get Andy to emulate him?
"The way Drew goes about it as the leader, the leader of the offense, the leader of the team, working through his progressions, how hard he works in practice, even how he enters the huddle and the things he does. It's what you want from the leader of your team."
How would you handle a situation with a quarterback like that who is so accomplished yet is struggling with turnovers?
"I don't think he's struggling at all. In the end they've lost some close football games and that's what's the case. When you lose a close game and lose games everyone looks for answers of why and so forth. When you lose a close game, there are a lot of things to point at."
What have you see from Jeremy Hill and how he's transitioned to this level?
"Jeremy's done a good job of making the transition to the NFL. He'll learn week in and week out what it's all about, but we've really been happy with him. He's a football player which is good. He's so well-trained coming out of LSU and well-coached. He's a football player, not just a running back. He's a really good football player."
Has he maybe exceeded your expectations?
"No, not really. I think the impressive part of him is after they make that recruiting circuit and they travel and visit all the teams and do the stuff before the draft and so forth. He got here not as trim as he needed to be and I think he did an excellent job when he came here in the spring and came back for training camp. He really understood where he needed to be physically for the rigors of the NFL season."
Will the playing time situation with him and Giovani Bernard work itself out during the week?
"Yes, we were fortunate to have given Gio some rest. He's close to getting back and we'll see what happens."
How's A.J. Green's progress in getting him back?
"He's okay physically, we just have to get him back in synch and back into the swing of things totally and obviously when they miss time like that it's a difficult thing. We just have to get him back and get him going like he was coming out of camp."
What are your memories of Chris Henry as a football talent and a person?
"As a football talent he was outstanding. Chris could go track the football and he did learn and understand those things. As a person we watched Chris make a true evolution as far as maturity, personality and so forth and unfortunately he lost his life at such a young age when he had turned the corner socially as a young man. That's a disappointing thing. We all miss him so much for that, watching how he really turned around his fortunes."
Can you talk about Brian Leonard?
"Brian is really a good football player. He's really well-rounded. He's a good receiver of the ball and he's a good protector out of the backfield. He's going to fill his role on special teams, he's a good teammate and a good team man. He's a great man in that way."
The Saints finally lost a game at home. I don't know if you see a different team at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome than on the road. Is it ever a topic of conversation among players that they are beatable at home?
"Whether they won or lost we know it's tough to come to the dome and beat the Saints in the dome. We have our work cut out for us. We have to play great football for that, regardless of what happened last week. It really doesn't change what our task at hand is."
What impressed you the most about the pre-draft period about Jeremy Hill? I know he wrote a letter to teams talking about his character.
"Those letters the agents write don't impress us that much (laughter). Really I think the research and background is what's more important. That way to have some people there on campus at LSU to vouch for his character is more important in that kind of research than a letter written prompted by an agent."