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Mike Pettine conference call - 11/6

Opening statement:

"Just as disappointed today as we were yesterday after watching the tape. The Bengals are a good football team. We did not give ourselves much of a chance with the way we played in the second half. I thought we battled enough for it to be a one score game through three quarters, but our mistakes caught up to us. As I said last night, we didn't play well enough around the quarterback to have much success on offense, especially in the second half. We couldn't get anything going and that is frustrating. Defensively, we didn't get stops when we needed them or really disrupt the flow of them, especially in the fourth quarter. I thought they did a nice job of mixing it up, using both (running) backs and as it has been all season I thought (Bengals QB) Andy Dalton was very efficient. His numbers wore that out.

"Coming out of three games in the last 12 days – these couple days off should give us all the opportunity to focus on what we need to do to correct the mistakes we have been making and get things headed the right direction to get the results we want. The brutal facts are that we are a 2-7 football team and that is not acceptable from our standpoint. We know we can be better. I am very confident in the staff. I am very confident in the team that we can show improvement in our performances moving forward."

On his comments going into halftime about QB Johnny Manziel settling down in the second half:

"Sure, I thought he did some good things getting out of the pocket in the first half, but there were a couple plays where the read was there early. Those are the plays we want him to make when they are there. I thought in the second half that they did a good job of taking away the first read initially. I thought they did a better job of staying in rush lanes and bottling him up. By no means, was that a comment designed – we wanted him to stay in the pocket. When there are plays to be made early with the first read, let's make them. Then if it breaks down and we need you to get out then go ahead and get out. It is no different from anything I have been saying with him all along."

On Manziel's performance and does he get a 'discount' for the miscues that occurred on the first two offensive possessions in the second half:

"Going back and just looking at the grade sheets, he graded out very high through the first – I don't know how many total snaps he ended up playing, but his last 15 snaps, when the game kind of got away from us, he did not play very well, but in the beginning he was solid and graded out pretty high. I think that is tough for any quarterback to start a half under those circumstances and it still falls back to what I have said all along. We have to be better around him. It is hard for a quarterback to be successful. He is one of 11. It is hard for him to be successful when we put ourselves in those situations. We get tackled at the 10 (yard line) on a kickoff. Then we get backed up and we have a minus run. There are not a lot of quarterbacks in the league that are going to be able to thrive in those circumstances."

On if there is anything he can put his finger on as to why the team is struggling in the second half:

"That is something we are going to look at over this time off. I think there have been games where we played much better in the second half. We have gone against some pretty good football teams that have found some answers and our mistakes caught up to us. It is frustrating because we have had some good starts. Starting slow had been a problem at times and I think we have done a good job getting out of the gate at times. It is a 60-minute game and we have to find a way to play at a high level for the entire time."

On DL Desmond Bryant's comments that the team is not fighting enough and that the Bengals had more 'want-to' in the second half and if he sees the energy level dropping:

"I just think you can only go by the results. When you watch the game, you go back and watch the tape I don't see a huge decline in the energy. I don't know if I can necessarily agree with that. I think our focus at times has flipped and that has cost us in some critical junctures. No, I don't know if I can pin-point the issues in the second half on any one thing."

On if the team gives up running the ball too quickly at times:

"I think a lot of it is a function of how teams are playing us. A lot of our plays are double called. So it is depending on the look – what is being given to us. To me, we are a 'by any means necessary' team. You go back to the Baltimore game where we had to throw it to be successful. I want to always have that flexibility in our offense that we can lean on either end of the spectrum, run or pass. I don't see it as potentially giving up too early. I just think that is flow of the game type thing."

On how they manage the process of Manziel being skilled at something that the team may not want to do with the offense, but also allowing him to best use his natural abilities:

"I think part of being successful in the NFL is being able to operate from the pocket and then you get the best of both worlds. If you have somebody who you feel that it is not in his background to be a pocket guy, yet that is a big part of what you do, I think we all agree here that you can't put your quarterback on the run all the time. It is an area of his game we want to develop and have it being complemented by his ability outside the pocket."

On what factors are weighing when deciding who to start at QB moving forward:

"We will talk about that early next week. I think given the, as I have already referenced, the three games in 12 days and not having had a break yet this year we all are going to hit the pause button and get away for a little bit. I already met with the coordinators this morning. They have a list of things that we are going to come back and meet on. When Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) and I get together that will be one of them."

On DB Justin Gilbert's performance:

"He did some good things. I thought there were some times where his eyes wandered a little bit. He's got to do a better job of staying focused on his work. He made some plays. I thought the one play he got beat on early, gave up and inside release on the vertical, showed his recovery speed and made a nice play in the end zone."

On if WR Dwayne Bowe helps the team:

"We're going to hit the reset button, see where we are from an injury standpoint. The receiver group last night overall did not play well, that goes back to my supporting cast comment. We're going to see where we are from a health standpoint next week and make those decisions moving forward."

On if RB Robert Turbin did not play because of ball security issues:

"I wouldn't put it on that. In talking to Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo), he came out of the previous games with Turbin playing and just coming to the realization to try to go with two backs and play the third situationally and that's just the way the game flowed. I thought Crow (RB Isaiah Crowell) did some good things last night, especially in the first half."

On if he expect QB Josh McCown to be healthy after a few days off

"Not yet, not yet. I won't have much of an update on that until early in the week."

On if he has spoken to Owner Jimmy Haslam about the state of the team recently:

"I haven't spoken to him today but Jimmy and I talk often, multiple times a week. I'm sure I'll touch base with him sometime this weekend."

On the content of their conversations:

"I'll leave the conversations between the owner and myself private."

On if the starting QB discussions will include General Manager Ray Famer, President Alec Scheiner and Haslam:

"No, those are coaching decisions. We'll make the decision each week based on, as I've said all along, who gives us the best opportunity to win."

On if he is still not ready to turn the team over to younger players:

"Going to take a couple days off. I think a lot of our young guys have been playing, it just happened naturally. You saw (OL) Cam Erving get in the game some last night. (DB Ibraheim) Campbell's been playing he's done a nice job, (LB Nate) Orchard, (DL Danny) Shelton. We're going to get a chance to maybe see (DB Charles) Gaines now that he's coming off of IR. Again, there'd be mixed opinions on that as to whether or not you want to force that. Again, we're just at the point now when we're going to hit the reset button or hit pause and just assess where we are. With only the one game here in the next couple 20 something days or so that we have the opportunity to do a lot of assessment."

On RB Duke Johnson's second half performances:

"I'm not sure I just think overall offensively we limited our opportunities. We didn't play well. I don't think we had any first downs until late in the game. It's hard to, when you're not in a rhythm and you're going three and out and if he's not getting the ball in those first three plays he's not going to have a lot of production. When you only have seven yards through the third quarter, then halfway through the fourth, I think you could say that about all of our offensive skill guys that there was no production in the second half."

On an update on injured players:

"No, I do not. Just a preliminary report. They'll get treatment through the weekend and we'll have a much better sense where they are."

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