ML:“After watching the tape of the game, we’ve got some things to build upon. We lost the football game. It was a very close game. We had opportunities to score touchdowns that would’ve made a difference. We had opportunities to keep them from scoring a touchdown – that obviously would have had an effect of the football game.
“We just have to re-enforce the things that we’re doing correctly and correct some of the errors that we’re making. We have to be a little more diligent at times in different things. Creating field position in the kicking game is important. Obviously we can’t have the turnovers we had yesterday at the end of the fourth quarter in the passing game.
“That being said, we came out of the game health-wise in good shape. We just have to press forward heading into this Sunday.”
Do you think teams are starting to adjust to Andy Dalton, just because he is a rookie and has the limitations that will come with that?
ML: “(Laughs) You guys sat in here and sang Andy’s praises a week ago, and now we have limitations. No, I don’t think we have any (limitations). I think we’ll continue to attack the corners. Andy missed a couple of shots (deep throws) yesterday that we’ve got to hit.”
Do you sense that the 49ers corners were squatting on routes yesterday, like what was being talked about after the game?
You mentioned the importance of field position and pinning them down with your punting. Can you speak to how Kevin Huber has developed this year over last year?
ML: “He’s been more consistent. He’s gotten more balls up in the air, where we want them. Positionally, we really do a good job of directionally punting – we don’t just let him whale away at it. I think he’s done a nice job of that so far. He had one bad hit yesterday.
“But all-in-all, from the beginning of training camp all the way through, he’s been a much more consistent player. He’s really worked hard during the offseason to become more consistent. He made some changes, and so far so good. Even how we practice changed a couple years ago for Kevin, just so that we put him in situations that he felt more comfortable with.
“So after three weeks in the regular season, I feel good about where we are. We’re getting good play on the outside by our gunners and our cover people right now. We’ve just got to flip it around on the punt defense side and do a better job, because I think we’re leaving some stuff out there that we can be better at.”
You’re defense has been fooled twice in three weeks on misdirection plays to the tight end. Was it just a case of somebody being a little lax in their responsibilities?
ML: “It’s not lax. It was a tough down for the defense there against that particular play call. It’s a play these guys (the 49ers) have run a few times. They run a lot of actions that way. It’s something we’re just going to have to do a good job of seeing and recognizing, with the guy with responsibility making sure he has eyes on the guy coming backside.”
Do you anticipate Jerome Simpson practicing every day this week?
Mike McGlynn saw a lot of time at RG yesterday. How did he do?
ML: “All in all, the guys did an OK job. We can be cleaner. We had a couple of times where we fell off guys late, where you’d like to have that other tenth of a second to be able to sit there and let the thing play out a little bit. We’ve just got to keep working at it and keep going.”
You mentioned after the game that you need on offense to continue to do things well from the start of the game throughout the entire game. Does this mean sticking with the run more?
ML: “After the third or fourth series, we had a little more balance again. We had the one series where we tried to come out and throw it on first down, came back and threw it on second and then, obviously, we had to throw it on third. We had another time where we had a run and then three passes, and then the next had three passes after the third down.
“It’s easy to sit back sometimes (and second guess the strategy), but we’re trying not to have tendencies in that way, where we’re going to come out and run it every first down or throw it every first down. We’re going to continue to have a good mix, a good blend. We hurt ourselves a little bit yesterday with the two penalties we got for procedure, and in the fourth quarter when we got the ball across midfield, we got hurt with the phantom holding penalty.
“We went from a first down on their side of the 50, back to a second-and-11, and eventually it was a third-and-11. Those kinds of things hurt. We’ve got to do a better job of, if we’re doing something wrong, asking and making the correction. But that was a huge play in the game – one that is hard to come back from.”
Brandon Tate had a fair catch at the five-yard line. Was that his mistake? A bad read?
ML: “Yeah, the punt returner back there is reading the flight of the football. He’s got to read whether it’s nose up or nose down and then be conscious of where they are in respect to that and, secondly, if he’s got to back up. We know on field turf that the ball is going to stick more than it does on a natural surface, so all of that has changed. We’ve seen that time and time again. So you’re going to play that a little bit deeper, but in that one I think he could have used judgment a little better in a couple of ways. But we can’t have him press. That’s like a three-point shooter back there. We’ve got to let him take a feel and let him know that he’s going to make the best decisions he can for the most part.
“We can’t press him one way or the other, where you get that guy all out of sorts. We just have to keep repping it, repping it and allow him to make good decisions and allow him to play from there. We ended up getting a first down out of there, so we turned the field position back a little bit after that play. But that could be a huge play in the game the other way if we don’t. But on that one he had a chance to probably go ahead and return that, because we did a pretty good job on their guys down the field on that play. That’s the thing we have to keep living and learning with. He’ll make good decisions, and we know that once he gets the ball in his hands he’s really an excellent threat.
You have a young team with a lot of guys who are used to winning because of their success in college. Do you do anything different with some of those guys after a loss to help reassure them and keep them ready?
ML: “We just have to continue to work at the things we’re not doing as well. There’s really not a big change. We’re early in the year. We’ve got a lot of season ahead of us. And you know, at the end of this week when we’re 2-2, there’s going to be probably the other third of the league that’s going to be in the same situation. So I think we have to understand that.
“Everybody’s kind of feeling things out, getting better at the things they want to get better at, and I think a lot of the teams are in the same situation. There are teams that are 3-0 that are surprising; there are teams that are 0-3 that are surprising. So we’ve just got to keep working and doing our things right and at the end of the thing we’ll be all right. I’m happy with a lot of the things we’re doing. I know our football team will work. We’ll play physical. We’ve just got to make sure we execute for 60 minutes, (and make sure) we don’t beat ourselves by penalties or turnovers or missed assignments, and just keep doing that. We’ll be fine.”
A.J. Green had two false starts yesterday. How do you fix that?
ML: “Again, it’s a thing he has to work through and not have concentration lapses. There’s no reason for a receiver to have that.”
From watching Jerome Simpson on the sidelines and warming up, it seemed like he was relieved to be on the field again:
ML: “It’s a good thing. He’s got to get back after it and have a good week of preparation, and he ought to.”
Bengals prepare for the undefeated Buffalo Bills
Wed., Sept. 28 — Locker room open from 11 a.m.-noon; Andy Dalton news conference at 11:10 a.m.; Conference call from Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick at 11:45 a.m.; Conference call from Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey at noon; Marvin Lewis news conference at noon; Practice from 1-3 p.m.
Thurs, Sept. 29 —Practice from 1-3 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 30 —Practice from 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 2 — Game 4, Bengals vs. Buffalo at Paul Brown Stadium, 1 p.m. EDT.
Mon., Oct. 3 — Marvin Lewis news conference at 3 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 4 — Players off
Wed., Oct. 5 — Locker room open from 11 a.m.-noon; Andy Dalton news conference at 11:10 a.m.; Marvin Lewis news conference at noon; Practice from 1-3 p.m. (practice open to media from 1-1:30 p.m., but no video after 1:20 p.m.); Conference calls from Jacksonville Jaguars TBD.
Thurs, Oct. 6 — Locker room open from 11-11:45 a.m.; Practice from 1-3 p.m. (practice open to media from 1-1:30 p.m., but no video after 1:20 p.m.); Coaches available briefly coming off the practice field; Player interviews after practice must have been requested 24 hours in advance.
Fri., Oct. 7 — Locker room open from 10-10:45 a.m.; Practice from 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (practice open to media from 11-11:30 a.m., but no video or still cameras).
Sun., Oct. 9 — Game 5, Bengals at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. EDT.