Opposing View: Cincinnati Bengals

Q&A sessions with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and running back Giovani Bernard.

On Panthers secondary: "I know that they've had a few injuries. I thought they went out there and they competed very, very good. They made, obviously in the first football game, made some plays and really did a nice job in coverage and understanding their concepts and what they're trying to do coverage wise. Last week against the Falcons, hung in there and kept the game in reach is what you've got to do when you're playing that kind of passing attack."

On offensive performance so far this season: "I think we've done a good job, a somewhat OK job I should say, in our execution, our tempo. We've got a lot of improvement to make. I thought Andy (Dalton) has done a nice job at directing our offense. We just have to keep working and getting better."

On Andy Dalton playing the best he has: "I can't compare that, I mean Andy has been pretty consistent his entire career with us."

On moving A.J. Green to the slot last week against Baltimore: "Throughout the summer and so forth we put A.J. at different spots with Bill Lazor as the coordinator. When A.J. was a young player, he played different spots a little bit more and we probably got into a little bit of a rut, and one of the things that we looked at going into this offseason as we try to get better is ways to get us better and that was one of them."

On Green's versatility: "Sometimes we see some different kind of coverages to work to take A.J. away so that's why these other guys have to go over and compete and win. ... And then A.J. is very patient and is just going to be in the right spots when he gets the opportunity and make the plays."

On Luke Kuechly: "I think his suddenness is incredible. I told our people here…(Bengals owner Mike) Brown had asked me when look was coming out to take a look at him early on before even we got into the draft process. I told him he was the best collegiate linebacker I think I'd ever seen at that point, and he hasn't disappointed me. We got to spend a little bit of time here with him and just love everything about him. You know actually I've known him for a long long time. My son actually played on a junior lacrosse team with him in the summertime here. We've followed his career all the way though. He's a great person and a very, very fine player."

On Kuechly around his hometown of Cincinnati: "Yeah, everybody's very proud of Luke."

On memories of Kuechly: "Luke's been such a tremendous…he was a fine athlete as a young guy and through his career at St. X (St. Xavier High School) and so forth. Very close with the coach over there. Then he goes up to BC and has such a strong career there and I think sometimes guys get a little underrated. But all he's done is taken his athleticism and brought it to the game of football where now that's the nature of football. With the spread offenses and everything like that. We're trying to clone guys like Luke Kuechly here."

On Kuechly as a lacrosse player: "I don't remember as much about that, but I think he actually was a face-off guy a little bit from what my son remembers I think, I'm sure he was probably a defender after that."

On the last Panthers-Bengals game (37-37 tie in 2014): "Number one, they just kept making first downs on us. I think they might've converted three fourth downs, and he (Cam Newton) just kept drives alive. It was just a slugfest."

On differences in Panthers offense since last meeting: "I think the one thing, maybe the difference from four years ago is Christian McCaffrey. It gives them a different style of back than they had back then. Now you have another outlet for Cam as a receiver, as an open field runner and so forth. So you get some formatted formations just slightly a little different than what we were getting then, but the guy at the trigger point is still the same. He sits in that pocket, can rifle it down the field, he comes out of that pocket and can throw it, comes out of that pocket and run and then you have the option type plays."

On Newton's patience with check-downs: "I think that's a bigger part of what they're doing, no doubt. Yes."

On facing an ever-changing offensive line: "You're kind of looking at the schematics and so forth, not as much the individual players until you may look at pass protection, pass sets and so forth. Not as concerning as that. We're defending the scheme as much as anything."

On Gio Bernard's time with Cincinnati: "We've been blessed. He's been a fine player for us, both running in between the tackles, running on the perimeter and the perimeter plays as both a runner and a receiver. He handles all aspects of the game very very well."

On 2014 tie: "Obviously we got behind a little bit, then we fought back in it. Then they just continued to come back in the game and tie the game up. Now we missed a field goal at the end of regulation to win it, which hurt us, I probably remember that more than anything."

On NFL games ending in ties: "I think we've got enough football once we've gone through an overtime period. Even though it's ten minutes now, it's been reduced from what it was back then. You may have to turn around and play on Thursday night. I think that's enough football and I'm fine with it."

On new lowering-the-helmet rule: "When you're taught football, you didn't teach guys to lower their head and be a torpedo. You want them to hit with their heads and eyes up to keep themselves from getting hurt. It's not far from how football was taught. We've been stressing it as much as we can all the time. We never had, I've never coached a guy to go down there and duck his head like that, that comes from too much television, basically. That's not the way you taught tackling, that's not the way you teach guys at any point. We want to hit and play with our head and eyes up. We've been stressing the hell out of "near foot, near shoulder," all the time."

On impressions of Geno Atkins: "Geno's done a great job. His quickness, his inner strength, his ability to understand the offense and how they're trying to attack, attack us and attack him and being able to be a productive player in both the run and the pass."

On Bill Lazor's approach as offensive coordinator: "We're really trying to continue to do a good job of combining our run and our pass, and I think that's important. I think you have to be married to both to win in the NFL and we're trying to do a nice job of building it from there, building it from scratch starting with our run game and I think our coaches have done a good job of that. We've got to continue. We're only two weeks in, we got a lot of football ahead and we got to keep getting better at it."

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