Head Coach Mike Martz
Thursday, December 2, 2004

(Opening Statement)
“It’s 49er week. Big week. We took the extra day off like we always do after a Monday night game. We’re trying to get these guys back physically. Today will be a Wednesday practice, tomorrow will be a Thursday, and we’ll do some light work on Saturday morning. We’re excited about being back in the division with this game, and the *****, here at home. We’ve spent the last few days as a staff preparing for this game, and we’re ready to go.”

(On playing the ***** on their down year)
“I don’t think that ever has anything to do with anything when you line up. Whoever it is, whether it’s the ***** or anybody else, if you coach or play this league long enough, you understand when you line up it’s hard every week, no matter who you are. Nobody takes anybody lightly. The ***** certainly, defensively, are very stout. I think they are playing better than they were earlier, and I thought they were very good earlier. They play with a great deal of emotion, and they fly around. They present a lot of blitz issues for you. I think they are somewhere around 15th in the league on defense. They have good people, outstanding linebacker crew, and they make you spend a lot of hours preparing for them. They are a good football team on defense. They’ve struggled somewhat offensively at times. It seems to come together at times too for them. It will be a tough game.”

(On if opponent’s records fools some players)
“I think some players do. I think this league is full of players that do that, that’s why they don’t win. You can never do that. I think young players have a tendency to do that. They have not been through that, and experienced a season to know how hard it is week-to-week. In a veteran group, you won’t find that happening. Not on a team that wins.”

(On if he is anxious to play this week)
“Anytime you lose, you’re anxious to get that feeling out of your stomach. No matter what kind of game it was, and that one (Green Bay) was a hard pill to swallow. You’re always anxious to line up and play again.”

(On if he thinks the Ram’s defense plays with the same intensity as the *****’ defense)
“No we don’t. That’s what we have to resolve. It’s a major issue for us. We’re not like we’ve been at times. I think we have some guys that are afraid to make mistakes. They are very tentative. It’s not a ‘want to’ issue at all, or having heart, or being tough, it’s not any of those things. We’ve just got some guys that are very tentative for various reasons. We’re trying to get them away from that and get back to playing with a smile on your face and leaving the ball carrier in a bad mood.”

(On the *****’ blitzing packages)
“They are kind of selective in terms of who they play. I think, anywhere from 50-60% of the time, you’re getting some kind of pressure out of them. That’s quite a bit actually. Normally, you see overall somewhere between 25-30%. So they’re up there pretty good with the pressure. They’re good at doing it. They have real good speed at the linebacker position, they do a real nice job with their schemes, and they attack your protections. They do a good job of it.”

(On if there is any good that came out of the Green Bay game)
“There’s a lot of good things. That’s how I look at it. That’s how you build, comeback, and recover. Offensively, Tom Nütten, for his second game back was very good. I thought Marc (Bulger) was outstanding. The two young receivers (Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis) did very well. Steven (Jackson) was good. We’ve got some good young players on offense that have really started to produce even more, and are maturing. Defensively, Jimmy Kennedy I thought played pretty good. He’s getting better. He’s still not where he needs to be. Brian Howard did a nice job. Antuan Edwards did a real nice job, I was very pleased with him. There are good things from that game. Obviously, the mistakes are what you have to correct and move on.”

(On if WR’s Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald are at the point where they understand the offense)
“Yes. That’s what is so exciting for me. There are some things that they did in the game that made me kind of say, wow, I didn’t know you could do that. And that’s a nice feeling to have. It makes the hair in the back of your neck stand up. I’m excited, challenged, and encouraged by a lot of things that came out of that. There’s some discrepancy that there’s no question that we have to fix. A lot of that has to do with freeing ourselves up and getting to the ball carrier, and play with the attitude that we had in the past. That’s the major issue. We solved some issues on special teams. There’s some good things that came out of that.”

(On if McDonald and Curtis change the dynamic of the offense)
“They change it a lot. There are some things that you go into the game, and you haven’t even practiced, and you call it and they execute it. Young players become a little bit like robots. This is what you are suppose to do, they do it, and they have a hard time adjusting. There are some adjustments by both players in this game that are worth getting excited about. Marc (Bulger) saw it. They are all on the same page together. Things that you just can’t coach, and they were able to get it done. When you get to that point, then it’s kind of a thrill for me, being involved in the offense, to think of some of the things they are capable of in the future.”

(On getting players to still play with a smile on their face after a loss)
“There’s a reason why you play football, and you have to be passionate about what you do. It’s not about money. It never has been for me in coaching, and players. That’s all something that kind of happens, and it’s good, and we appreciate that. But the passion that you have for playing this game sometimes gets sidetracked and pushed aside, for a lot of reasons. You have to do whatever you have to do to let that passion come back up in how you approach and play this game. It is legal to have fun and play professional football. You can do that. That’s what we’ve tried to stress to our guys. We have good people on this team. They are concerned about making mistakes, and play tight, and we can’t do that. I want to get them away from that. We have a saying around here, ‘when you have good people, people of good character, and you know where their heart is, all sins are always forgiven.’ That’s why I never said anything to Isaac (Bruce) about the fumble. I know Isaac, nobody hurts more than Isaac does when that happens. Nobody would ever say anything to Isaac about that, because they know Isaac. Nobody plays harder or is more committed. Those things you just move on from. Young players are afraid to make some of those mistakes, or even some of the veterans. If you’re empty in the bucket, and everything you have to give, we’re getting it, we can forgive a lot. To play with passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and loving the game that you’ve committed most of your life to, is very important.”

(On DT Brian Howard)
“I thought Brian did a real nice job. I think the first run, you saw him knock the guard down and make the tackle. He made some mistakes, but he’s going to, he’s learning. Brian is a terrific find for us. That’s the motor and the passion when you watch him play that I’m talking about. He was productive enough to warrant that (starting again).”

(On McDonald and Curtis helping in the red zone)
“Some of that is coaching and game plan stuff. I get down in (the red zone) and there are some things that I would like to do better. I think that with the addition of some of these other players takes the heat off of double (teams) on Isaac (Bruce) or Torry (Holt), and it makes it more difficult (for defenses) to account for some of these other guys. You don’t know what these guys can deal with some of the time. You put as much on them as you can, some of these young players, and then they surprise you, and that’s always pleasant. Now I think I can say that I’m pleasantly surprised and excited about what they are capable of doing, particularly in the red zone.”

(On RB Marshall Faulk)
“Here is where Marshall is, Marshall has been banged up the past few weeks. (He is) very sore. We didn’t manage him very well. We probably played him more than we should have. This week we are not going to practice him so he’s available on Sunday. Then we will see how he is on Sunday. He’s got a bruise on the knee. There is nothing structurally wrong with the knee, but he has a bruise there that is very tender and he has been nursing that along. He’s been very quite about it. He doesn’t say anything about it, and doesn’t want anyone to know about it, but nonetheless, we need to do the right thing for Marshall. We are going to rest him the next few days. He will be involved in the game plan, and if he feels like he’s ready to go on Sunday, then great. If not, then we’ll just kind of get a feel for where he is and make that kind of decision, how much he plays, or if he will at all. But we are not going to put him on the field and risk him physically at all. So it all depends on Marshall’s well-being and how he is. If he’s completely healthy and ready to go we’ll stay with our mix. It’s been pretty effective.”

(On if the linebackers are playing to the level necessary to succeed)
“No, they are not and there are reasons for that. We have not had the same group in there any two weeks in a row, and that’s very, very important. Fortunately, this week we can get that squared away. We’re at the point where we can start mending some of these things, and addressing some of these issues. (Linebackers coach) Joe (Vitt) has had Brandon (Chillar) in the middle. We’ve had Trev (Faulk) in the middle. We’ve got Robert (Thomas), and (the linebacker positions) are completely different positions. So to settle in on a group and wire that down is very important. It matches up with your run fits, your running game, and combined with your safety, so it’s very important. No, we have not played as well as we’re capable of, but I’m sure we will.”

(On LB Pisa Tinoisamoa)
“My assessment of Pisa, at this point, is that he is one of the best, if not the best, defensive player that we have. I don’t know, from personality wise, and you talk about passion for playing the game, that’s it. You want Pisa, that’s what you want. He’s our captain for the rest of the year. I’ve never done that before. So that’s a statement about who I think he is, and what type of player I think he is. I think he’s terrific. In my mind, he can’t do anything wrong. He dislocated (his shoulder), came out (of the game), and then went right back in there. It did not phase him. He’s the standard you would kind of like to hold everyone to, in terms of how you play the game. You talk about passion, having a smile on your face, what it means to you, you look at Pisa. I think he’s terrific.”

(On K Jeff Wilkins)
“I haven’t even thought about (his previous foot injury). I don’t think that’s even an issue, really. The field goal he misses, he just missed. He’s the best. I just would never question or doubt him in any way, shape, or form. He’s another guy, like Pisa, he can’t do anything wrong in my book. He missed that field goal, he’s very disappointed, but we all hurt when a guy that we are all so close to (misses) a field goal. You know how Jeff is. He takes this stuff personally. He’ll wear that thing all week. He’ll be fine.”

(On K Kevin Stemke)
“I thought he did a real nice job. That’s what we wanted him to do. We don’t want those punts from the 50 (yard line) going into the end zone for average. We want to pin it inside the 20-yard line. Then when we are coming out, he has that height and hang time so we can get under these punts, cover them, and have no returns. That’s why he is here. Will he miss a punt or two? I’m sure he will. But he’s a good, talented, young punter that is worthy of our time and investment to keep him around here and develop him.”

(On QB Marc Bulger)
“There are a couple of things that you just need to live through as a quarterback. He and Trent (Green) are a little bit alike in this respect, they feel like they can get the ball to you, but there is someone coming off of the protection, and they want to make that throw, even though they are going to get hit. There’s a real fine line there. If you feel that you can’t finish the throw, you need to take a sack or throw it away. That’s a minor deal, but it can end up in a bad play. Those are the type of things that he needs to live through, and feel. But by and large, right now, I can tell you that he is playing so well. I’m so proud of him. He’s so confident, and some of the things he has done on the field with the check-downs and finding guys. I just think the world of him.”