Thursday, September 21, 2000

Dillon: Few yards or answers

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Running back Corey Dillon is off to the kind of start he couldn't have expected. He has 73 yards rushing on 29 carries and no touchdowns.

        Quarterback Akili Smith has 60 yards rushing, most of them on scrambles. Smith has been sacked 12 times and pressured on almost every snap, the result of poor line play and the team's failing running game.

        On Wednesday, Dillon met with reporters for the first time since he was held to 32 yards on 17 attempts in the Bengals' 13-0 loss at Jacksonville.

        Here's what Dillon had to say in a rapid-fire exchange.

        Question: Is it frustrating to you that the running game hasn't done what it was supposed to the first two games?

        Answer: “No. Not really. I can only do what I can do, and that's continue to go out there and run hard.”

        Q: It seems like when you get the ball there are a couple of different-colored jerseys right in your face?

        A: “That seems to be the case some of the time, but it's a matter of going out there and executing.”

        Q: How frustrating is it?

        A: “I ain't worried about nothing. What's there to be worried about? I'm just going to go out and run hard and do what I have to do.”

        Q: It seems like defenders are getting to you in the backfield?

        A: “Things happen, man. I can control only what I do.”

        Q: Physically, you're fine?

        A: “There ain't nothing wrong with me. I'm just out there playing ball and I'm going to continue playing my kind of ball and on every play try to win.”

        Q: Sunday's opponent, Baltimore, has a tough defense. You got nicked up there last year. Do you want some redemption?

        A: “I ain't worried about what happened there last year. I approach every game the same, and that's to go in with the attitude of winning and executing and fighting hard. It doesn't matter who it is, from Baltimore to Jacksonville to Tennessee, Dallas, Houston. Whatever team it is you have to go in and try to win.”

        Q: Has there been anything you guys have been able to pinpoint that's a problem?

        A: “We have to execute, and that's all I'm going to get into. Ain't no finger-pointing from me. As a team, we're going to win together. And as a group, we're going to lose together. As a group, we have to execute.”

        The run game was supposed to be one of the Bengals' strengths and one way to keep pressure off Smith. But Cincinnati is averaging only 91 yards a game, which is ranked 20th in the NFL.

        But don't expect different plays from the Bengals to try to shake up the running gam.

        “Try anything different?” Coslet said. “You mean like trap plays and sweeps? I don't think our guys are designed for that. We have 330-pound guards. It would be tough for them to pull outside wide and around the corner.

        “Corey Dillon, I don't think is a scat back. I don't think he's ever going to be put in that category. He's a power back. A slasher. Down-hill runner. We just have to do what we do and do it correctly. Why would we change what we do? The running game worked pretty good last year, so why would we change?”

        The Bengals tied for sixth in the league in rushing last season, averaging more than 128 yards.


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