What Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said at his weekly press conference

5:00 p.m Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 Sports

“Looking forward to Baltimore, with having opened up the season with them and losing to them at home, the guys are excited to go play. In their season, they’ve done a nice job, winning five of their last six football games. They were kind of in the same situation as we were (earlier in the season), and they were able to right their ship and get it going. That’s one of the things when you look at them, with what they have been able to do, they continue to be consistent at taking the football away in their wins, and protecting the football. That’s the key. When you look at their (plus-17 turnover margin), they have (12 ) interceptions on offense and four fumbles, and defensively they have 22 (interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries). They’re doing a great job with that. They scored some touchdowns defensively, and also in the return game on special teams. It’s a big part of where they are.”

“Those guys played aggressively, hard, had great pad level, and did some effective things.”

“Yes. Well, so far, unless we get a surprise.”

“We’d be wasting time speculating (laughs).”

“I thought Clint accepted the challenge. When you are line up over there against (Detroit DE) Dwight Freeney and (Baltimore OLB) Terrell Suggs, you’re talking about two guys that will eventually end up in Canton one day — in five years after they quit, most likely as well. It’s tough duty.”

“It’s very underrated (laughs). It’s a huge challenge. It’s a big thing. It’s the difference of playing first base and shortstop in baseball, you know what I mean? That’s a huge difference there. Your range and what’s affecting you is a lot bigger than when you’re playing in your little box (at G) and you’ve got a guy protecting you here and someone over here. And now you’re kind of open-ended. There’s an adjustment there. Clint did it in college, with playing all the spots. He’s a pro’s pro in accepting the challenge.”

“I don’t want to comment on any of our players like that.”

“Just trying to be consistent. The quarterback is an extension of that and takes care of some of those things at times, but I think going into the football game, your ability to control the line of scrimmage also can open up some of the things in the passing lanes.”

“He’s an impressive runner. He really is. When you look statistically and saw this guy Collins with his yards, you see the (stat line), and you had no idea who it was until you started paying attention. We’ve had some crossover in opponents since he began playing for them. He’s a really good runner, he’s got great quickness and vision, and he runs with his shoulder pads pointed downhill toward the goal line.”

“I’m not evaluating anything. We’re looking to win a football game. There’s nothing to evaluate, we’re just looking to win the football game.”

“We’re kind of used to that. Unfortunately (laughs). We’ve been flexed almost every (finale) game over the last six, seven years it feels like.”

“It ends up being a lot of football. A lot more than I think young guys ever anticipate. Early in the year, they try and figure out why they’re sharing snaps — it’s so you can get all of them through (the season). Then when it comes to, ‘You’re the guy,’ and then you’re spending a lot more time across the hall in that training room, because it does take a toll on your body. So, No. 1, when you go to your offseason after playing your first year of NFL football, you have a different look at the offseason in terms of what you need to do to prepare physically to get ready and get on that horse again and get going. It’s a whole different point of view, and he didn’t get that experience as a rookie. I can remember back to when I first started coaching in the NFL, some of the guys I coached were early picks and had gone to schools back in the day when New Year’s Day bowl games were the end of the bowl season, not the start (laughs). So they played a lot of football, is my point, in college with long seasons. But you get to the end of the season in the NFL, you can look through the back of their heads. They’re pretty depleted.”

“He’s been what we’ve expected. Physically, he’s got to get prepared for his next season. He now knows what it takes.”

“I’m not going to reflect whether this is my last game or not.”

“So was last week and the week before that, and back in 2003 after my first game (laughs). You never know when the last game is. I don’t need to do any reflection.”

“We don’t discuss that. We haven’t discussed that.”

“I don’t know why you would talk to them (laughs).”

“Good, I’m glad. I appreciate their solace, because otherwise they’re going to have to have change. We’ll see what happens.”

“No, it doesn’t. If we felt like they were the guys to be in there, they would’ve been in there. We had the preseason and training camp and everything else to try guys out. We try to develop them as much as we could, solidify things and move them forward — even when we were rotating a couple different guys to try to be better. We weren’t perfect last week, and we didn’t expect it to be, but for both guys, that’s why they are here. We think they have the ability to be fine NFL players, or else they wouldn’t have been on the 53-man squad. When they got the opportunity, they took full advantage of it and that was great. They’ve practiced well every day. I’ve watched every snap they take in practice for however many weeks we’ve had now. You guys want to try guys out (in the game). But then at the end of the day, if we lose (say), ‘Oh well, you lost.’ Well, that hurts more people. We don’t just shrug it off like that.”

“There are a lot of things they’re talking about like that. Those are conversations they’ve been having for a (long) time. I don’t see much change happening. As they say, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle.”

“That would be part of what I would imagine would be very minor tweaking (with the CBA). One of the things that obviously coaches would like to see is the ability to spend more time with younger players and however that comes about. But there’s been a resistance to that.”

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