Monday, October 02, 2006

(Opening Statement and injury report)

“A quick update on our injury report. Paul Smith ended up staying overnight in the hospital. He had a pretty good shot to his face in the eye area and they’re still evaluating. They have a lot of specialists looking at it. I think it looks fine or as good as can be. They said their might be some small fractures around the eye area, but they’ve got two or three specialists that are looking at it and making sure it’s okay. I do not have an update on that. He wasn’t here for our noon meetings because he’s still being checked on that. As soon as I get anything up to date, I’ll let you know. On a side note, he roomed with the guy he ran into. How about that? It wasn’t bad enough that they ended up knocking each other out of the game; they also had to spend the night together. From what we understand, the other kid is okay too. As you know, it’s not anything to mess around with when you get these injuries and concussions and things like that. The initial prognosis says Paul’s going to be okay. I don’t know what that means as to when he’ll be able to play again. I think sooner than later, but until we get those results I won’t be able to say. Pisa (Tinoisamoa) came out after he aggravated an injury, but he went back in. They taped it a little different; he liked that better, so he was able to play with that. Orlando (Pace) feels much better than he did at this time last week because he didn’t play. The prognosis is much more positive this week for him playing, but until we get to Sunday there’s nothing guaranteed. As of right now, he’ll probably do some things in Wednesday’s practice, but we’ll see about that. But everybody else is in pretty good shape. There are the general post-game type things, but noting serious.”

(On FB Paul Smith’s special teams blocking)

“Talk about just giving one for the team? That was unbelievable. What’s funny is, we hadn’t covered as well as we needed to, we weren’t constricting to the ball, which we’ll work very hard on this week, we were looking for things that weren’t there, and they ran a misdirection return on us early. We basically said at halftime that we need to go down and attack better on coverage team and someone was going to have to make a statement. He certainly did with his play. What can you say about that? We certainly don’t want guys to get hurt or injured or anything like that, but he had a job to do and he did it. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stay in the game, but I’ve never seen anything like it.”

(On the play Smith was injured on)

“He just ended up running into a very big guy. He actually ran into two. Two guys hit him and he ran into the other kid. Paul collided with those two. He was really being blocked by two guys and taking his gap that he was responsible for in the wedge.”

(On being aware of Lions KR Eddie Drummond)

“Drummond hadn’t been. He has been one of the better returners in the league, but had not been effective up until our game. He was certainly somebody we were aware of. I’ve seen him in person return one 100-yards against a team I was on. We didn’t want that to be an issue for us. Hats off to them, they executed their returns. We had covered very well the week before and our coverage team was what we considered a strength, but it certainly wasn’t this game. Some of it had to do with them running a misdirection return on us early and us not covering, stopping our feet and not covering and constricting to the ball. I think it’s really that simple of an adjustment so we have to get back to our basics. We need to react to the misdirection and be disciplined in our lanes, but we can’t create lanes for them by looking for things that aren’t there.”

(On K Jeff Wilkins getting a touchback on his final kickoff)

“It was big for obvious reasons. Jeff (Wilkins) is one of the better guys at that and he came with some clutch kicks in critical situations.”

(On predicting the pace of Sunday’s game)

“Games go like that. I think we felt we had to base it on how the week before went. I think Detroit was starting to hit their rhythm. They left a lot of points out there the week before, so we knew that they were a potentially dangerous offensive team. You go into a game and you have an idea of how the game’s going to go, but it goes a different way. We certainly felt like the game could end up that way. Sometimes you think that it’s going to go a certain way and it doesn’t. I think we felt that it could be that type of game and I think we were able to execute for the most part.”

(On if LB Pisa Tinoisamoa’s injury will require surgery)

“I don’t know. If it is it will be the end of the year. He’s going to have to deal with the fact that it’s uncomfortable. I’m not sure if I’ve met a tougher kid than him. He landed on it funny again and I’m sure it hurt like heck, but he came out for a few plays, but once they got it taped up he refused to come out. We just have to figure out a way to minimize the pain that he receives when he does fall on it funny. You’ll never hear it from him. He never complained once. It certainly hurt, but he was back out there playing like it wasn’t bothering him. He made a couple of key plays even after the injury.

(On what ‘constrict the ball’ means when talking about kickoff coverage)

“We talk about coverage being outside-in, so once you determine what return they’re running, then everybody has to squeeze and make the lane smaller. What we were doing was creating lanes that were wide because of the misdirection. I think what you’ve got to do is have good leverage on the ball and react to those plays, but you’ve got to constrict and squeeze so those lanes aren’t so big. Even if he has a little lane to run through, he’s got to squeeze through there, as opposed to run right through it, which is what happened to us a couple of times. Our lane discipline wasn’t really exactly what it needs to be.”

(On his comfort level in having RB Madison Hedgecock replace RB Paul Smith if necessary)

“Well he played pretty well. They both bring different strengths, so we would miss some of the things Paul does well. We use our tight ends in that situation at times a little more. We use Klopfenstein in the backfield some. You’ve just got to adjust. I feel very confident though that Madison can do that. He brings a pretty big fullback there as well, so he matches up well in pass protections and things like that.”

(On still being upset about Leonard Little’s two penalties)

“I think I explained that yesterday. The whole thing was really just my need of being communicated to on what happened there. After it was explained, I understood what happened. I just think if you do it all over again, you’d certainly want to try to get an interpretation of what happened, and try to make sure that the mark off is correct, and things like that. You can’t let the way a game goes or officiating or calls or miscalls…that’s part of the game. You can’t let that be a distraction.”

(On if he’s established any kind of a reputation with the officials)

“No. I think you’ve certainly got to be politically correct. There’s probably a right way and a wrong way to doing it I think. Belly-aching to the officials is probably not a good idea.”

(On if he’s apologized to the officials from yesterday)

“I’m going to Mike Pereira. I don’t really know the officials all that well. Most of the officials I meet are for the first time. It wasn’t ever my role. I was always up in the booth for years so I didn’t know any of them. Now I wouldn’t even know who to apologize to. I’d have to get the list out and say ‘Hey, tell these seven guys that we’ll get it right next time.’”

(On the offense scoring 41 points)

“We had a good game offensively. I think we were close to some better games earlier. It’s just taken a bit of time to get our timing down. We have established a lot of things I think are important, as far as to this point, taking care of the football, running it better, committing to running it more. Like I admittedly said last week, maybe it does affect our ability timing wise in the passing game, but not the expense of costing us ballgames hopefully. It’s been a problem for us, especially on the road, against San Francisco, and our ability to execute our passing game in that game, but hindsight’s 20-20 now. You look back on it. I think we’re progressing everyday. I think we’re improving every day. You never feel too bad when things aren’t going as good as you want them, but you never feel too good if you think you had a good day. I think we’ve got to keep a level head and build on what was good, but there were some things out there that need to be a lot better and we need to improve on every week.”

(On what was different about QB Marc Bulger against Detroit)

“Familiarity. Comfort level. Knowing what to expect. I think that’s a lot of it. He’s more comfortable with what we’re doing, trying to get done. It does take time to make a transition, and it’s really hard on a quarterback because if he’s done things a certain way for a lot of years, that’s how you’re programmed. I think a lot of it was good too. We’re just building on the things that are good with what he’s done, and some of the things we need to improve on and things like that. He’s never complained. He’s stayed very patient.”

(On if he thinks scoring 41 points was fun or a necessity to win)

“I think it’s fun to win. I mean this. You win by six field goals, or six touchdowns, whatever you’ve got to do that day to win the game. Certainly it feels better to execute better from the offensive side, as it does in the special teams or the defense. The thing that I’m the most pleased with is that our guys have worked hard to improve in certain areas every week, and never overreact to anything, really, as far as our lack of production early in the year. It’s only one game. We’ve got to come out and build on some things here, but we’ve got to come out and you’ve got to do it every week in this league.”

(On the WR Torry Holt play that was ruled a fumble)

“My thought was that if it was ruled a fumble, then it had to be a touchdown if it crossed the plane. That’s all they had to look at. If they ruled that it was a fumble on the field, then was the ball across the plane? Not the incomplete part. The judgment was that it was a fumble. So review the tape and see if it crossed the line first. What happened first, the touchdown or the fumble? That was my review.”

(On being surprised in the change of the Holt call)

“I wanted to make sure that that was what was being reviewed. I wanted to make sure too that we weren’t going to lose the challenge based on it was incomplete. They said the ruling was going to be one of three things. That it was going to be a catch and a fumble and the other team’s ball, or a touchdown, or an incomplete pass. I said, ‘We didn’t bring up the incomplete pass part.’ They said, ‘Well that’s what they’re going to review.’ Unfortunately, it ended up being an incomplete, and fortunately, because it could have been a costly turnover. You need the points as well. Kind of one of those funny plays. It will be looked at again and again, and whether it was tucked away or across the line or whatever. I think probably the easiest thing to do is call it an incomplete pass and call everything good.”

(On his thoughts on the Holt play)

“I just said what I thought. I thought it was a touchdown, but it’s judgment. I’m going to talk to Mike Pereira about the difference between the catch, feet down, and the guy punches the ball out…that’s been called a touchdown a couple of times, where the guy catches it in the end zone, and he doesn’t have it tucked, but he has two feet in. The guy catches the ball across the goal line, takes three steps, and then the ball comes out. I’m not sure that that’s a lot different, but it’s judgment. It really is kind of a unique play. With the ruling that it was incomplete, it kind of made it all academic at that point.”

(On why he had Bulger spike the ball before halftime)

“I think I could have managed that situation better. What ended up happening there is that if we do the time out, then the decision has to be made, do you take a shot at the end zone? Obviously, it’s got to be thrown at the end zone, incomplete. Nine seconds—it was kind of iffy from that far out. Certainly don’t want to take timeouts into the locker room with you spiking the ball. What I would have done differently in that situation was since we decided to spike the ball, take it down to where when he kicked the field goal the game was over, so we don’t have to kick the ball off. I think that’s the biggest error. I could have maybe used a timeout earlier in the drive. Ended up using a timeout, but should have used it a little bit sooner. We achieved the objective of getting the points before half. I think it helped us with our mindset going into the second half.”

(On how it feels to be 3-1 and tied for first in the division)

“It’s a good place to be. You have to acknowledge it, but we’ve only played a quarter of the games that you play in an NFL season. A lot of things happen. A lot of things can change. You’ve got to build on the momentum we have, but it’s really too early to feel too good about where you’re at. I think we’ve got to continue with this approach we have as far as improving daily and getting ready to play each game, and improving in some areas that we need to improve on. I think it’s a good approach.”