CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap has seen the comments regarding the coaching staff on social media following a 33-7 loss to the 4-9 Chicago Bears, and he doesn't agree with it.
"I get a lot of social media hits. 'What's going on with the coaching? Time for a change. Fire coach," Dunlap said. "But yesterday, I honestly don't feel like you can put that on the coach. We had young players who had a whole week of practice to prepare the way that we wanted them to prepare and they didn't go out there and execute the game plan. Sometimes that disconnect is simply because they are young players, these bright lights ... they can affect you. I feel like these guys are strong guys that are going to learn from that experience, but you can't put that on (Marvin Lewis) in that moment ...
"Players messed up plays that we worked on, it's not like they give us the look that week in practice. We talked about it, slowed it down, made sure to break it down and answer any questions they had. We didn't execute. That's on the players. Coach is going to have his days, he's going to have his moments where it might be his mistake, his problem, and he's going to own up to it, as he has. As a player, (Sunday), I take that on."
Although nobody questioned the effort in the loss, which involved a large number of first-time starters or young players on defense because of injuries, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther did say the energy was flat.
"I don't think it's so much effort. I think it was energy," Guenther said. "We played with a lot of effort, but the energy to start the game really wasn't all there. And like I said, that's no excuse. We've got to always bring our own energy. But like I told the players today, the energy was below the standard, the technique and the assignment was below the standard, below the line."
Bengals linebacker Kevin Minter said on Sunday that the next three weeks will test the character of the team as it finishes out the season without a postseason berth. Lewis and Guenther said they put that responsibility to get the energy level back up on the players.
"These guys, we have a lot to play for, and it's not my responsibility to get them, as we said, to turn up the dial, get the music turned up, figure out a way a way to get momentum going and put good football plays together," Lewis said. "If we got young guys in there, they're going to have to grow up in a hurry, because we are going to play three good football teams."
Said Guenther: "I just told them, the veteran guys in this room, there'll be a lot said over the next three weeks on how you lead the team. At the end of the day it's my job to get you guys ready to play, but on Sunday the pressure is on you guys. You guys have to do this. The errors that we made in that last ballgame are on plays that we saw all year. If there's a play that beats the coverage or a little bit of different run and they don't get it, fine, we'll come over (to the bench) and get it. But the errors we were making were on some easy plays that I'm used to us making like that (snaps fingers). It's going to take veteran players to take the younger guys in the locker room away from me and the other coaches and make sure they're getting themselves ready to play."