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Shurmur’s Thursday Presser – Bengals, Gresham and Young LB’s

(Opening statement)- “It’s a pretty good morning so far, guys are focused. I thought our preparation yesterday was good. If I had to evaluate it, it was a better Wednesday practice this week than last week. I thought generally speaking, preparation last week was good so some of these young guys are learning how to practice, which is very important. This is a game that you have to practice and regardless of whether you’re in pads or not it’s important that you get a lot done and I think our guys are truly starting to understand that.”

(On if the Bengals are better than they showed on Monday)- “I think it’s important, first off, that you don’t overreact to what happens in the first game of the season. They put out a team where they had a lot of new players and both of us lost so that’s the reality of it. I’ve been very impressed with Marvin’s (Lewis) team. Competing against them last year, as you know, we were ahead and didn’t find a way to stay ahead. They came back and beat us in the end so that’s something we’ve got to work on. Watching tape you still see some of the same things you saw last year. From a defensive standpoint, they’re willing to pressure, they’re big, they’re physical and they do a good job of covering and so that challenges the offense. Then on offense, of course, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, (Jermaine) Gresham, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has filled in pretty seamlessly as a running back for them. He had close to 100 yards. I know they’re working in some young and new offensive lineman, but we can say the same about our team. I’m very impressed with them. I think they do a good job. They way they play offense and defense fits for them and they good job on special teams.”

(On what makes Jermaine Gresham a tough matchup)- “Well, his size. He’s a big basketball player-looking guy and you can put the ball around him sometimes and he’s covered and he can make a play. That’s important for a tight end because there are times when you just can’t get separation and the ball goes up. Usually taller guys have longer arms, shorter guys have shorter arms. I think that’s pretty natural.”

(On if his younger linebackers give him a better chance to cover tight ends this year)- “I don’t know. I think that some of our younger guys run extremely well and the matchup is important. When you throw the ball to the tight end, a lot of times, he’s part of the inside part of the route combinations. We’ve got to get pressure on the quarterback as well to help speed that up or distract that throw.”

(On what is going on with Jordan Cameron and him not being in the game last Sunday)- “He was in there. There’s no conspiracy theory there. He’s working through it. He was part of an offense that didn’t perform very well last weekend, that’s all. I like the progress he’s made.”

(On Geno Atkins and his ability to pressure the quarterback from the inside)- “He’s a tough match because he can pass rush and get pressure from the inside of the defense. I’ve always felt that when the quarterback has pressure in his face, that’s as disruptive as pressure up the field. He does an outstanding job. He’s a top flight defensive tackle for sure.”

(On the importance of defeating divisional games)- “You have to, it’s very important. The initial goal is to win your division because that assures you a spot in the playoffs. That’s what you talk about and you want to become the first one of the 12 and you have to win division games. We understand how important it is. This is an opportunity for us to play a division opponent on the road and you have to win road games so it’s a great challenge for our guys. They understand how important it is and we’ve got to get it done.”

(On if Alex Smith could be used more as a lead back)- “Yeah, as you know last year in fact I handed it to him once. You remember that right? Really and we’ve practiced that numerous times since then so if it ever happens don’t be surprised, alright? See I told you I was a fun guy. No, he can play in the backfield and in fact last year he did play fullback for us. Typically, when you have two tight ends in the game with two receivers there are times when he plays on the line of scrimmage and he plays in the backfield. If something happened to Owen (Marecic), and we wanted to run some two-back stuff. He would be that guy anyways so yeah, I think there’s a place for that.”

(On what happened on the play after Trent Richardson knocked off Kurt Coleman’s helmet)- “It was second-and-one and I ran the ball to try to get the first and they got penetration which you can’t have.”

(On why they got penetration)- “We didn’t block it right.”


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