Here’s what Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who’s apparently still good friends with Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, had to say to the Cincinnati media on Wednesday:
How much have you kept in touch with Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu, who used to play here?
“A lot. We have talked quite a bit. Over the years we have kept in contact. We had a great friendship here, and I think we will always have a great friendship.”
Did you create a special friendship with the group of WRs you came into the league with in Cincinnati — Sanu, Andrew Hawkins and Marvin Jones Jr.?
“Absolutely. We’re good friends, and we’ll be good friends for a long time.”
Didn’t you go to a Cleveland Cavaliers game with those guys recently?
“Yeah. It was me, A.J. (Green) and guys that aren’t here anyone. Hawk (Andrew Hawkins) and Mo (Mohamed Sanu) came. Marv (Marvin Jones) had a workout the next day and couldn’t make it. But it’s always fun to catch up with those guys.”
What do you remember about being on the field with that group?
“It was a talented group. We were kind of coming into it at the same time. That last year together was special. It felt like it was the best year we had together. It’s cool to have that group and still be friends today.”
What do you remember about the trick play in 2014 when Sanu threw you a touchdown?
“I should have gotten killed (laughs). That’s what I remember. We had it drawn up all week for it to be perfect. ‘Oh, I’m going to be wide open.’ But I wasn’t wide open. Luckily, I was able to make the play. Mo (Sanu) has the stats and has (made) throws. It’s not like he’s been throwing to wide-open guys, either. His arm talent is crazy. It just shows with the production that he’s had.”
He has thrown a TD pass for the Falcons. Is that is something you have to consider seeing on Sunday?
“Yeah. If anyone knows about it, we do. Mo (Sanu) is one of those guys that can play any sport. He’s good at soccer, he’s good at throwing a ball a mile. He can do it all.”
What has made three TE sets so effective and productive so far this season?
“I think it’s just the tight ends that we have. It’s a talented group. I’ve said it several times, but I feel like it’s one of the more talented groups in the league. We have full confidence in those guys to be able to do a lot. We’ve been able to have big plays out of it (three TE sets) run and pass.”
The Falcons’ defense seems to have more speed than size. Do you want to be physical against the defense?
“This defense is built on speed. We are going to do whatever we can to get the advantage there.”
You had a pass against Carolina where you buzzed it over the top of the DB, and TE Tyler Eifert bought it down. Was that a moment for you that showed he’s back fully healthy?
“That was a crazy catch. For him to go up and catch it over him like that is what he’s done and what’s made him so good. I wouldn’t necessarily say that was the moment I thought, ‘He’s back’. But that’s what he can do. For me, it’s just giving him the chance to make those plays by putting it in a good spot where he can make it. With the other guy’s hand in there, I don’t know how he came down with it. But that’s what he does.”
A.J. Green also made a great catch on the sideline against Carolina. You have rare guys in Eifert and Green that can make plays for you that a lot of guys can’t make …
“We have a talented group. Both those catches were pretty ridiculous.”
Even if they’re covered, do you like to give them a shot and throw them the ball with the mindset that they’re still open?
“It all depends on how they’re being played. These guys can make these tough contested catches with guys on them as long as you put it in a good spot for them to make a play.”
How has Eifert’s attitude been through the years, while he’s battled his injuries?
“There are obviously times with the injuries he’s had that he’s been down. But he’s pushed through it. He’s been great and has done everything he can to get back to playing well and to the level he was before he got hurt. I think it shows, with what he’s been able to do.”
It probably says a lot that people are talking about the catches he’s making or his hair, rather than his back injury ...
“You want to talk about football with him, you don’t want to talk about all the other stuff. Or his hair — you can talk to him about that (laughs).”
Do you miss the media not talking about your hair?
“It’s been overshadowed (laughs). I’ve been really wondering why it’s gone to these other guys (laughs).”
With a new week, where is your trust and confidence level in WR John Ross?
“I have full confidence in him. There is a reason we drafted him as high as we did. We just have to go out there and keep working. It’s all going to come for him, and I’m not worried about that. He’s got the right attitude and the right mindset. I have full confidence that he’s going to help us win a lot of games here.”
Did you guys talk it out after the miscommunication on Sunday?
“We have talked about things. Like I said, I have full confidence he is going to do everything to help us win games.”
Did whatever he say in your talk lead to you having full confidence in him?
What is your take on the new NFL rule involving quarterbacks and unnecessary roughness penalties?
“It’s obviously changed a lot. In the game on Monday night, there were nine called. You never want to see it decide a game. You want it called evenly, that’s the first thing. If it’s going to be called the way it is, it has to be evenly and fairly. The game is physical, and we know we are going to get hit. With some of these hits we aren’t sure why it’s being flagged, or they see something that they may think should be a flag, or something else that looks similar, that’s not. At the end of the day, you want it to be called fairly.”
Are you still waiting for when you are going to benefit from these calls?
“Yeah. That would be nice (laughs). I would love the protection some of these other guys have gotten, when it comes to roughing the passer penalties. But, life goes on.”
It seems like your game has a lot of similarities to Falcons QB Matt Ryan. Do you study his tape at all?
“I have watched him throughout the years to see what they’ve done on offense, especially in the really productive years. When you’re the MVP of the league, you’re doing things really well. I’ve watched him. He’s good, he makes quick decisions and is able to get the ball out of his hands and get it to his guys. He’s definitely a guy I’ve looked at.”
With playing in a newer stadium for the first time, do you guys need to get out there early and see the background and how the lighting is?
“It probably is more for the receivers than it would be for me, with the lights and different things. We won’t do anything different than what we would normally do pregame. I think it’s just getting used to where the lights are and how the ball is coming down.”
(Transcript courtesy of Bengals PR via Bengals.com)
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