Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco and Coach Marvin Lewis participate in conference calls with the New Orleans media this morning. In the calls, they discussed the challenges of a dome team playing at an outdoor location in the winter among other topics. Below are the transcripts:
Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco
Are you going to have a weather advantage this weekend?
"No. Football's different (from soccer). Regardless of the weather we're able to adjust to it a lot better than soccer."
Is too much made of a warm weather dome team visiting a cold weather outdoors team?
"It means nothing at all. The Saints have enough experience in the postseason and of sometimes having to go on the road to play games where it's cold. I can bet you it's irrelevant in this situation."
Can you give us the state of your team? You guys must think you're better than 2-9?
"Of course. We're a lot better than that. You look at it on paper. You would think there is no way we should be in the predicament we are in right now. But we are. It's an unfortunate situation. We have nobody else to blame but ourselves. The spirits are still high. I'm staying as positive as possible, trying to make sure everybody else is on the same page and continuing to try to find a way to get these last five games under us and get some W's."
Does that mean the Saints are coming to face a dangerous team in that sense?
"Yes. We're hungry. We're looking to get that W to get things rolling and get that losing taste out of our mouths. This week, I'm quoting that it's going to be a messy Sunday. That's my theme for this game."
What does that mean?
"When you spell messy MESSY. I'm not going to tell you but when you're from the New Orleans area, the area of New Orleans, anywhere in Louisiana, you would know exactly what I mean. I'm going to have a messy Sunday. We as a team are going to have messy catches and messy touchdowns and I'm going to give them the messy shoulder. You guys might not know what that means, but I guarantee you, you'll figure it out before the day ends."
Darren Sharper has only been back for a couple games, but what do you see as the difference in the secondary from when he is on the field and when he is not?
"He's a threat. He's one of the smartest corners in the NFL, really, really savvy. He's real savvy back there. He probably knows what play you're going to run before you run it based on his knowledge of the game and playing so long. They've been on point. Against the pass, they're ranked what, seventh or fifth in the league, something like that. They're not that bad against the run. The defense is solid. When Jenkins has been back there he's made some big plays for them, especially the one I saw against Dallas where he took the ball away from Roy. They're solid across the board. The cornerback position, there aren't any slouches out there. Those boys are pretty good."
Did you ever pay Sean Payton back a few years ago for those tickets?
"I don't think I did. You tell Sean I owe him. Tell him I owe him. You have a good messy day."
Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis
Does this game present an interesting contrast in the receiving corps between the two clubs?
"I think success is measured in what you do in winning and losing and I think the New Orleans guys should be very proud of that. That's the big part. It doesn't matter how much noise you make. It's how much you do, what you do productively on the field and how you help your team to win each and every week. I think those guys have really come together and done a great job. (They) kind of seem to play very unselfishly, which is very fun to watch."
Are you okay with the extracurricular stuff your guys do?
"There's not much you can do (in managing) stuff outside of football. I don't write contracts. I don't think you can limit a guy in what he does after he leaves this building. Unfortunately, people want to listen to them. They don't have much substance to say very often, particularly when they leave here. They do have an audience for some reason."
Darren Sharper hasn't been on the field a lot for the Saints this year, but when he has, it seems to have made a difference. What is the difference you have seen from when he's on the field and not on the field?
"Darren is just such an experienced player. He's a smart player. He really, from over his time from his rookie year in Green Bay in 1997 kind of just grown as a football player. You've watched him through his time as he played in Green Bay, on to Minnesota and then to the Saints, when he takes the field he's such a presence. He does such a great job in disguise and moving around and knows where he needs to get to, to handle his responsibility, but he gives the quarterback a lot of different looks and I think that's really helpful when you can have a heady player like that. The way he goes about the week practicing, I'm sure he's very good that way, because then he gives the other players confidence to do those things and provide those looks and I'm sure he's a great asset for Gregg (Williams) and Jon Vilma and so forth as they get in and gameplan week after week and they get on the practice field. I'm sure he brings an air of confidence with him."
Is there an advantage to be had when a dome team comes to a place like Cincinnati in the winter?
"I think there can be an advantage. If we can get that three feet of snow that we're expecting on Sunday that would be pretty good."
There was a lot made of the Saints in the first five games being 3-2 and their offensive production being about 100 yards a game below average. The last six games, it's looked different. Do you have any thoughts on that?
"Yes, unfortunately. As I said earlier in our press conference earlier, they've really hit their stride. They've gone back and they're executing, I'm sure in their minds better than at the early point in the year. You don't get to pick up where you left off the year before. I think their guys have done a nice job of understanding that and getting that."