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Tuesdays with McCarthy

Posted Sep 24, 2013

In this week's edition, the head coach discusses the key moments in the Cincinnati loss, a QB's vision and the purpose of the bye week, among other topics.


Q. What happened on the fourth-and-inches play?

On the fourth-down play, the Bengals defense utilized a short-yardage defense. The D-line and O-line get into a gap charge and the low man wins. The running back is trying to beat the linebackers for the first down. Our ball security wasn’t intact, and unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to convert.

Q. Do you agree with the review reversal of the spot?

The only access to visual information I have is what’s being shown on the scoreboard. That’s two weeks in a row that we’ve had a tight play reversed. The video evidence is really customized for the official under the hood, so you have to trust that. When I spoke with the official on the sideline, he felt that he had a good spot on the ball. I think we were both a little surprised that it was overturned.

Q. Did you strongly consider kicking the field goal?

Absolutely. We felt with the wind, our line in that game was the 30-yard line. We were right on the line. During pregame, Mason was good all the way out to the 36 with the wind. As usual, we had a conversation based on the wind, wind gust, and we set the spot. That number is determined before the game so I can call plays and alert our QB when we’re in four-down territory. When we get in that gray area, we were on the 29 1/2-yard line, that’s when I have to make the call.

Q. You rushed for 182 yards. Did the Bengals load up against the pass?

The Bengals played their defense. They played three-shell and two-shell coverage. They’re very balanced in their coverage utilization. It’s something we anticipated going into the game, they typically pressure about 20 to 25 percent of the time, and that held true. They have some good pressure packages and they’re a very sound defense. Overall, it’s a very good defensive unit and they have a very talented front.

Q. What does Johnathan Franklin’s performance on Sunday mean to his future role?

It allows him to get more opportunities. Johnathan has done a good job preparing for his rookie season. I’ve been really happy with his progress. He’s done some good things on special teams. Eddie Lacy and James Starks have had more opportunities than Johnathan, but he took advantage of his chance in Cincinnati. He just needs to get healthy because he will definitely get another opportunity.

Q. How did the loss of Jermichael Finley hurt you?

It definitely sent us in a different direction. When we lose a player like Jermichael, it shows up in the situational packages that we planned during the week. Our normal down-and-distance offense is an extension of who we are, as far as running the ball, the protection concepts and so forth. The impact of Jermichael’s loss is more evident in our situational offense, where concepts that we had designed for him had to be taken out of the game plan.

Q. The loss of Clay Matthews?

He’s an impact player. Clay has the ability to make game-changing plays, so it definitely affects you when he isn’t on the field.

Q. You made mention recently of the difference between a quarterback having eye discipline and having vision. What’s the difference?

Eye discipline is keeping your eyes where they’re supposed to be, and vision is seeing the things you’re supposed to see. Obviously the more experience a QB has, the broader his ability is to see the more detailed things – linebacker depth, shoulders of defenders, relationship of receivers up on a DB. Quarterbacks have to make sure they’re seeing the right things and that comes with experience. It’s very evident that Aaron Rodgers possesses that ability. He also has excellent eye discipline, and that’s important because the defense is always looking at a QB’s eyes. He may be positioning his eyes over here, but he’s really looking over there. To play this game, you have to play fast and with anticipation, and the ball has to be thrown long before the receiver gets open.

Q. Is this bye week, in fact, coming at a good time?

I don’t know if the bye week ever comes at a bad time. Bye weeks are really what they are, an opportunity for players and coaches to step away – mentally, emotionally, personally. Professionally, it gives us a chance to reset and look at some things a little more in depth than we have time to do during the course of an in-season week. This is an important week for the players, particularly the young players, to catch a breath. If you think about the rookies in this league, they play a college season, go through the pre-draft process, which is longer than it’s ever been, and then they go right into their first pro minicamps before they get three or four weeks off. Sometimes they handle it well, sometimes they don’t, and bang, they’re into training camp. A lot of these guys don’t have a chance to step away to catch their breath. Our team obviously needs to get healthy and the timing of the bye will help us.

Q. What goes through a coach’s mind following a game such as Sunday’s?

Disappointment and frustration. We lead 30-14 with 5 ½ minutes left in the third quarter, we fully expect to win. It was definitely an emotional loss, but we have to step away and remove emotion. It’s important to keep the team focused on the reality of what we are. We’re 1-2, but we have a lot of good things happening with our team to build off of. I really like this team and we have a terrific opportunity in front of us to be a great team. I was disappointed in the loss just like everybody else.

To see previous editions of Tuesdays with McCarthy, click here.

 
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