Monday, September 25, 2006

(Opening statement)

“No injuries of any significance to report. Had a few guys who required treatment. I think both Orlando and Pisa came out pretty good from the game. Pisa came out feeling real good as far as the elbow. That was a real pleasant thing from the injury report today; just some pretty basic soreness was all. In evaluating the game, we certainly dodged the bullet, but in a lot of ways, we never should have been in that situation. We kept playing and we played every play, and that’s what we talked to the team about, that they all matter. Certainly feel good about being able to stand here after a game like that, the way we played through the game, to come out on the better side with a victory.”

(On a lot of the games coming down to the fourth quarter)

“Every game…we talk about it as coaches all the time about how hard it is to win games in the NFL. It’s hard to win. Sometimes we make it hard on ourselves, but it’s amazing how close, really, the games are, regardless of records or who’s playing who. Every game comes down to some critical play. We had some critical plays that don’t necessary show up on the box scores that happened in that game. I can mention a couple. When Travis Fisher misses a tackle, gets up and runs down Bryant Johnson who looks like he’s going to score….a couple plays later we intercept the ball. That was a critical play that looked like a disastrous play. Within scoring position, he stops the touchdown and then we step up and get the turnover and Victor runs down a receiver, which was a heck of a play…a rookie running down a receiver in that situation and tackles the kid. I think two or three plays later was the tipped interception to O.J. . Some key plays that looked like the guys were going to maybe score and kind of blow the game open and make it a little different…just shows you that those hustle-type plays make you a little bit luckier. The more you hustle, the old saying, the luckier you get, and I think that really held true in this game.”

(On this being the most bizarre game he’s been in)

“Yesterday’s number one now because of recent memory. It’s similar in that you think it’s over in reality, but you’re not giving up that last bit of hope. You’re staying calm. It’s important to stay. I’m not sure Jimmy Kennedy gets up on that guy, maybe forces a short snap, you don’t ever know. That’s why you’ve got to play every play and don’t take any of them for granted. We certainly know that on our side with the turnover that we gave them, certainly kicking ourselves for putting ourselves in that position. That’s why you’ve got to be on your game in those critical situations.”

(On what he said to QB Marc Bulger after the fourth quarter fumble)

“I don’t think that’s the time…you coach your players all the time. I think the time to kind of stay calm and get focused. The focus at that point is if they do score we’ve got to go two minutes. I was just thinking, if we stop them, first of all, we’ve got to call a timeout; conserve the time. We had two left. If we stopped them on the initial series, they’re going to have to kick a field goal with 50 seconds, a minute, and then we’re going to have a chance to go kick our field goal and beat them. That’s where you’ve got to go. You’ve got to move to the next play. I think that’s what you’ve got to do. I’m sure that’s why Marc felt so lonely, but we’ve got to move on. We can’t be sitting there lamenting.”

(On having time to yell at Bulger)

“No. Usually that’s not going to be the style. You certainly get emotional in games. That’s not the time to do it. You’ve got to keep your quarterback focused. There’s potentially another drive coming up. You never know.”

(On how he neutralized S Adrian Wilson)

“I think a lot of it was he’s a box safety, he’s a guy they like to have down there close, play the run. He’s really a linebacker playing safety but he can play safety because he’s that talented. You’ve got to be aware of matchups that are a concern and he certainly was one. I think the fact that when he was down in there close we were throwing the ball a little bit more. It probably wasn’t brain surgery that we were probably going to throw the ball a little bit more on first down, especially in the early part of the game. You neutralize a guy like that a little bit with protection, accounting for him, things like that. You just don’t want to get into rhythm in your pass protections. You don’t want him to either be free or be a miss-match on who’s blocking, so we try to keep a good match up on him most of the time. I give our coaches credit for really doing a good job of being aware of where he is, and not letting him be a difference this go-around. I’m sure we’re going to have to, next time around, do a better job.”

(On if DE Anthony Hargrove apologized to the team today)

“I went a little lengthy. He will do it. We were kind of running late. It’s important that he does, but it’s more important that he gets back to work. He’s got to work himself back in the lineup. Victor will be… this is our starter based on how he played in the game. Tony’s got to reestablish himself. He took a step back with obviously a tough week, and certainly deserves to do that. He’s got to earn some respect back with his teammates.”

(On if Hargrove will be disciplined)

“He’ll be disciplined based on the standard policies that are established by the CBA and he’ll be fined for both days.”

(On if he spoke with Hargrove today)

“I met with him and one of his representatives this morning.”

(On DE Anthony Hargrove explaining himself)

“It doesn’t excuse what happened. I’m satisfied with his approach and that he’s very remorseful about what happened and he knows that he needs to make amends and that he has a long road to establishing his position on this team.”

(On why Hargrove was absent)

“It’s really personal. I think we ought to leave it there. He certainly knows that we are always there and concerned about things that happens in people’s personal lives, but when you come to the office you have to learn to separate the two, deal with them, and know you’re going to get support and help, but it doesn’t excuse you from doing your job and showing up as it does in any workplace. There are things that come up in people’s personal lives and there are right ways and wrong ways of handling things. I learned that as a young boy. He certainly knows the difference between right and wrong. He’s a great kid. I will say that again. We’re certainly concerned about his well-being. That’s where we start. But when it starts to effect his job and job performance in a very concerning way, when it comes to being reliable, then we have a business problem. You’ve got to learn to manage them. We’ll keep a close eye on him and hold him accountable to it, but also know that we understand that people have personal problems, as well and have dealt with our own. Hopefully we’ll get that situation corrected.”

(On DE Victor Adeyanju’s performance)

“He played excellent, he played very well. He was even considered possibly as one of the defensive players of the game. He played with great effort and great energy. He played the run extremely well, he was on the backside of plays getting close to the ball, he made a great second effort play in the open field on the receiver, and he didn’t play like a rookie. There was no hesitation at all.”

(On possibly releasing Hargrove)

“I think in all fairness that it wouldn’t be appropriate based on getting the facts of the situation. We certainly were a little grey on the area until, at the earliest, Friday. There is going to be a pretty substantial fine. I think at this point the guy’s been working very hard at establishing himself and his position on this team. This was really the first time he’s done anything that affected the team in a negative way, in my opinion. This was pretty substantial. It was the middle of a game week. (We were) getting ready for a road game in our division.”

(On DE Brandon Green’s performance)

“Brandon (Green) played well. When he has played in the role that he’s in, he played well. One of the reasons he’s played well is because he’s a real sharp kid that plays with a great motor and disrupts things. He graded out very well.”

(On T Orlando Pace playing Sunday)

“It says a lot about Orlando (Pace). We talked about being very cautious with it. It only makes sense. He came out Wednesday in sweats and basically, we didn’t do anything besides a little conditioning. Thursday, I think there was an idea that we were going to do the same thing. He came out to stretch and he said, ‘I feel good.’ He went back into the locker room and put on his gear and came back out and said, ‘I’m going to get ready to play in this game.’ The players saw him with his gear on and he got in some walkthrough drills and non-contact stuff. I think that had a great effect on our team and that he was letting them know that he was planning on playing. Friday, even though there wasn’t any contact, he went through practice and felt good. They evaluated him with pretty basic neurological psychology tests that were more precautionary things, and those checked out fine. After all of those were done, I think it was pretty much done, unless he had a setback and didn’t feel well on Saturday or Sunday morning.”

(On how the offense is getting more comfortable)

“More than anything, I think we’re just spending more time around each other. I learn more and more about our team and offensive players, what they do well, what they like, what we execute well, what fits them and the system we’re running that will give us a better chance. We really committed very heavily in the off season and training camp to our running game. I think that probably showed and our passing game’s timing wasn’t that good. I think we’re warming up. I think you can see that there was a better feel offensively in this game than the first couple. We were much more decisive. As the play caller, my feel is this: When I’m watching the game unravel, you kind of know where the ball is going. Marc (Bulger) has been doing a good job of this, but there’s enough new to what we’re doing that it takes a while to understand when the play caller calls the play, why we’re calling the play and where does the ball needs to go. We just spent extra time together that is required to improve. We’re certainly not there yet, but we’re getting there. I think we made a lot of improvement certainly, from the first two games to this last game. If we continue to improve that way, we will see the payoff in scoring more and more points as we go.”

(On old verbiage with play calling)

“I think we called a couple of things there a little bit the same, just because it’s easier. It wasn’t really any change. We might have added a few situational things that we call a certain way just because it clicks. Our system incorporates digits as well as terms, because we eventually will do some on the ball play calling and you have to use terms and signals for that. You can’t just tell a guy what route to run from the line of scrimmage, so we use both. Sometimes it’s just easier to call the play in terms or digits. It really has nothing to do with going back to the old way. We’re running the 2006 Rams offense and it comes from the 2006 Rams playbook. There are some things that are similar that would’ve have been done, some things that are similar to what we did in Miami, some things similar to what we did in Minnesota, and there might even be a few college plays in there. That’s really more what I meant by that.”

(On red zone scoring)

“Instead of feet, we’re inches (away from touchdowns). I think we had a really good play on Torry’s (Holt) back endline play that arguably could’ve been a push out or should have been, but that’s neither hear nor there. It was called that way; it’s a judgment call anyway. It was well executed, we just didn’t get our feet in and they pushed him out. So it ends up being a good play for them. It was a good design there and it could have gone either way. We had a naked that was set up and they played a little different coverage and Torry was open and we missed that by a few inches. Then we had a couple of mistakes that cost us. We had a penalty that was negated that would have put us first and goal. That would have certainly helped us. If we wouldn’t have put the ball on the ground moving in, it would have been our fifth straight scoring drive at the end of the third quarter. I felt we were playing our best football in the second and third quarter. We had a critical mistake there. Certainly, before halftime we had a miss-snap on a shotgun snap. We can’t continue to shoot ourselves in the foot and expect to get better at red zone or scoring. To me, whether we score from the 21 or the 19, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to score. We’ve got to get the ball in the endzone and score touchdowns. We certainly feel great about being 2-1 now, but there are going to be days when 18, 16, or 13 points will be good enough to win the game. We recognize that. I also feel very good about the fact that our quarterback hasn’t thrown any interceptions in three games. He’s getting better and better every week. This week was his best week. He’s managing our running game and that’s one reason I think our running game has been very efficient and effective. It wasn’t as good this week, but they played the run. The fact that we are running the ball and sticking with it is important to establish the balance we want to have. Yesterday, we had 24 carries or 2.2 or 2.4 yards per carry. When we get hitting on all cylinders, I believe this week was a better indication of where we’re going to be. It certainly doesn’t excuse the fact that we’re not as efficient as we need to be, and we recognize that. To be sitting here 2-1, knowing that we’re going to get better is very encouraging.”

(On WR Torry Holt’s penalty)

“You tell Torry (Holt) or you tell a rookie that it’s unacceptable. You don’t back down from guys, you want to be physical, and you certainly don’t allow some guy to try to be a bully. You have to make better decisions in critical situations. I told Torry today that it was not a good decision. You have to walk away. That guy made a play that gave us a big break, so we don’t hand it back to him. It’s not unlike what happened at the end of the game when we did the same thing with the ball. You don’t compound a problem with a bad decision. I think it’s certainly a good learning tool. Pro Bowlers are human too and he knows that it’s not like him. I think it just goes to show you that those are the things that we can’t do to ourselves. That’s a critical part of the field and we have to make critical, smart decisions and be the smartest team on the field.”

(On the final play of the game and the penalty)

“There was consideration to it because it was going to be a 70-yard try. They give you the option because they didn’t realize that if we declined the penalty that we could run an untimed down. They had to think it through as officials. Usually, that’s what happens on penalties, they give you choices. They fair caught so we would give them an untimed free kick because they fair caught the ball. What we presented to them was, we had the option to accept the penalty to run our untimed play on offense, so they can’t kick, and it was some confusion as to whether that was okay. I’m not sure if that has ever come up. We ended the game with a penalty. They were certainly going to do the fair catch so they could have the free kick. Matt (Turk) did a pretty good job of punting the ball pretty deep to where it wasn’t very likely. But you have one of the best kickers in the league who can take basically a 40-yard run, even though it can’t be on a tee, and hit that thing. There’s no way you give a chance to flush one through the upright. He probably has a way to do it. We had the option, so we talked it out with the officials, accepted the penalty, and decided to kneel on it. The initial deal was the play was over and we were evaluating how far the kick was going to be, then how the penalty was going to affect the run-off. It was not clearly thought through with the options we had. When you can run an un-timed play at the end of the game you accept the penalty because they have the fair catch option. It was pretty bizarre.”