They seem to just ‘do what they do’ on defense. Is it one of those things where they just do it so well?
“They do it well. They continue to change it, and tinker with it, and make their revisions within their own scheme over time. They show you a different look than they showed the previous couple of weeks.”
When you guys were drafting and scouting Carl Lawson, was there one person in the draft room in particular who was really high on him? Who was most responsible for drafting him?
“I don’t know if anybody was the most responsible at all. Jacob (Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney) had spent time with him. Jim (Bengals linebackers coach Jim Haslett) had spent time with him there at Auburn. They both felt that he was a really good prospect. During the draft — in fact, that morning —Mike (Bengals president Mike Brown) asked me what my thoughts were (on Lawson), since he was still there. (He asked) if he would be a good addition for us, and if I saw him being able to handle the things that I was looking for. So, they all had an involvement.”
Did Lawson’s interview at the combine stand out to you?
“We didn’t interview him … Well, I can’t remember if we interviewed him with me or not. And I know, because to me, he’s different than he seems. I would’ve had a different impression of him coming in the door, had I spent time with him. I can’t remember whether he was part of the (interviews) for me or not.”
What do you mean by ‘different?’
“To me, he seems more introverted — quiet and introverted. But he’s kind of the opposite of that. Once he gets going, you have to tone him down (laughs).”
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He seems kind of wise …
“He’s very studious of football, and very studious of a lot of things.”
He seems mature, too …
“Yeah. With his personality, he comes off as being quieter that he really is. He’s very studious, and he loves football, so that’s good.”
Is it fair to say that he’s been better than you guys have expected?
“He’s been what we expected. With his maturity, it’s been good. I’ve been pleased with that. He just has to stay onside (laughs).”
He has a lot of moves and countermoves, like his Reggie White move with the speed-to-power. How hard is that …
“(Lawson) has been coaching you up on that, hasn’t he (laughs)?”
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How hard is it for a young guy to master something like that?
“That’s part of (his game). He has spent a lot of time in pass rush and studying pass rushing. That’s something he likes, and he takes to that. He studies those kinds of things, so it’s something that’s been part of his toolbox, which is good.”
The Steelers’ defense usually doesn’t allow big plays, but the last three weeks they’ve allowed several long touchdown plays. Do you see anything in that, or is that a surprising thing to see?
“It’s out of their character. They have some new people (in the secondary), and they’re trying to get them all on the same page all the time.”
Is hitting those plays something that has to happen in the scope of the offense, or is that something you can try to plot in certain spots?
“You have to stay on the field longer to get those opportunities. They had that one that they gave up on the first play of the second half to Tennessee, but usually they’ve been coming in the scope of drives.”
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