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    Vitts Monday Press Conference

    Interim Head Coach Joe Vitt
    Monday, December 26, 2005

    (Opening statement)

    ďI feel the same now as I did after the game Saturday night. You canít turn the ball over, and you canít miss tackles the way weíre doing and expect to compete in the National Football League. The one thing that I do feel bad about, and I said it the other night, that I could do a better job at the half of managing the clock, managing the timeouts, and do a better job at the end of the game, whether go for it on fourth-down or kick a field goal. I think the thing that I feel worse about is that I have not been able to do anything to create anything for our football team to try to get over the edge, over the top. We have been in almost the exact same situation exactly two weeks in a row, where we miss a fourth down and weíre involved in a two-minute drill and there is an interception. It goes all the way back really three weeks to Minnesota, where in the redzone we go for a first-down on fourth-and-1, and donít get that. And Iím probably trying to shove the situation down the playersí throat instead of taking what they give us and get points. And I feel bad about that. I havenít done anything to help this football team get over the top. And we have a lot of guys battling, as I told you the injury report the other night, guys in the hospital the night before the game, guys hurt and taking injection to play, and I feel bad for them, I really do. But that being said, itís no time to feel sorry for ourselves. Weíre playing a nationally televised game Sunday night against a good football team, and we have to get our selves ready to, which we will.Ē

    (On what his approach will be this last week to get the team ready to play)

    ďLike we have approached every other week; we havenít changed one bit. You guys have been to practice; youíve seen the tempo of practice, whatís expected of them in practice. We havenít cut back any reps. The weight lifting scheduleÖeverythingís the same. We prepare to win, and I have to do a better job of helping our guys win.Ē

    (On whether he is satisfied with the professionalism of this team)

    ďLet me tell you something. Iím going to tell you exactly what I told the football team before the game. There is no place or no team that I would rather be right here and right now is with these people. Our players have fought. They have worked hard. They havenít always been right; I havenít always been right. But the respect that they have for the game, the competitiveness, their work habits on a daily basis, [and] their accountability has been outstanding. And I wish that I had done a better job of trying to get our football team over the top, by either making a big call or making the right judgment. But no, I feel the same way about this team right now as is did when I took this thing over. It has been an honor; it has been fun.Ē

    (On the extremity for a team of losing a head coach in the middle of a season)

    ďI think this has been an experience for all of us. It hasnít been easy. But it is what it is. I hope at the end of the day the one thing that these players and our coaches will take with them is there just are no excuses in the National Football League. You have to play the hand you are dealt. You can look at our Injury/Reserve List, you can take a look at the amount of time our quarterback missed, you can take a look at the amount of time we have had starters on the shelf, [and] none of that matters. If I had done a better job of preparing our football team, we might be better right now. Itís on me; itís my fault. Iíve had the same amount of time to prepare for football games as every other head coach in the National Football League. Iíve lined up every game with 45 players. Weíve had 53 guys on the roster for practice. This has been all me. I have to do a better job. But Iím proud of our football team, and Iíll continue to be proud of them. We just have to win; we have to get a win.Ē

    (On whether being the interim head coach has been what he expected)

    ďIíve had a ball. And I maintain the biggest fear I had was having to talk to you guys [the media] every day. It really is. As far as the practice goes, as far as the interaction with the players, as far as game preparation, we were all kind of thrown into this thing. The staff has given me wonderful support, Iíve had wonderful support in this building. This has been on me. It has been everything that I thought it would be. Itís been fun; itís been great. We have one more game. We have to finish this thing the right way. We have to finish it right this week, starting tomorrow. And weíll go on from there.Ē

    (On whether the linebackers have suffered with his split roles)

    ďSure they have. There is no question. Thatís why I asked Kurt [Gouveia] to come in. Thatís why I think what [LB] Trev Faulk has done these last couple weeks has been impressive. Heís kept up on his notes, heís studied the game, he was ready to play when called upon. The same thing with [LB Brandon] Chillar when we lost [LB Dexter] Coakley. So those two guys have stepped in, and I thought have done a commendable job. Al lot of the burden has been on [LB] Pisa [Tinoisamoa]; he plays every snap for us. Heís worn down a little bit right now. He was a signal caller until Trev took the load off of him. But I think those guys would have been more productive if I had been with them more fulltime. I think Kurt Gouveia is going to be a dynamite coach. I really do. And our players, and our linebackers in particular, have really responded to his coaching. I think our linebackers are doing some things better right now than when I was coaching them, hand placement, hat placement, getting off of blocks, [and] for the most part we have tackled a little better up until last Saturday. But, yeah they have suffered a little bit, sure. But again, no excuses, no excuses.Ē

    (On whether it surprises him that the defense has struggled and why he thinks they have struggled)

    ďI think the main reason we have struggled this year, and weíve talked about it for about the past six weeks since I have sat up here, is our tackling. Itís plain and simple. And in my opinion, tackling is nothing more than angles and timing. And thatís why you practice the way we practice at full speed so you can get those angles and you can get that timing, and make sure you see your target, make sure you have the proper play entry. For us to miss the tackles that weíre missing right now, thereís nothing wrong with the scheme, itís not schematically. Itís there for the world to see. Thereís the ball carrier, thereís the goal line, tackle the ball carrier. And itís been horrendous, and at times itís been good. But the last two games, in the opening series of the last two games, weíve given up long runs when we have a guy tackled. So weíll continue to work on it, and weíll continue to emphasize it. And it will continue to be emphasizes in our individual periods, but it is mind-boggling. And, like I said to you Saturday night, if I had an answer to that Iíd bottle it and sell it, because there is a lot of poor tackling going around the league right now.Ē

    (On if the missed tackles are due to technique, a lack of desire or another cause)

    ďIíd hate to say itís desire. I really would. Since Iíve sat here, I havenít questioned a manís courage on our football team, and I donít question it now. Weíre not getting it done, but Iíll never question their courage.Ē

    (On both the Redskins and Rams being at 5-6 when they met earlier in the season)

    ďThey got over the hump. It was a hump game for them.Ē

    (On if a season can be lost by little mistakes in the fourth quarter)

    ďI think this, and I really believe this, I think you have defining plays in a game that really dictate the outcome of a game. I think you have defining moments during the course of the season that could be the defining moment of that season. I really thought that we may have had a defining moment at Houston. I thought that second-half comeback was a wake-up call. We had to do it with a lot of guys banged up, but it wasnít meant to be. We looked at the Washington Redskins game as a defining moment for us. You never know when that moment is going to be. You have to be prepared for it, and Washington was that day.Ē

    (On what happened on the fourth-and-1 play that didnít convert)

    ďWe didnít get the backside cut off. We just didnít block him. We didnít give our ball carrier a chance, very disappointing. At that point our offensive line, and you all asked me last week how they practiced, and I thought they had an excellent practice, and I said that the tell tale would be how they played in the game. We did a great job pass protecting, and they gave us a lot of different looks, but we are still struggling running the ball. I believe our pad level is too high. Weíre not getting to the second level. Weíre not finishing blocks. Weíre not defining a hole for the ball carrier. After you put that challenge up to the offensive line, and the character of players that we have on the offensive line, I thought that would have been a great defining moment for us, go for it on fourth and 1 and get it over the top, but it didnít happen.Ē

    (On if the ***** were doing anything schematically to stop the run)


    (On if he sticks with QB Jamie Martin to start against Dallas)

    ďAbsolutely, I thought Jamie really played well. He had the two interceptions which we just canít have, but Jamie, all day long, gave us a chance to win the game. At one point weíre up 20-7, and heís rocking and rolling. He has real good pocket presence, heís reading the coverage and the ball is coming live off his arm. He has them in and out of the huddle. Heís playing with a lot of poise. I think he was over 100 quarterback rating for the day. Heíll be our starter. Iím really proud of him. He just has to come back from the interceptions.Ē

    (On the second interception if Martin threw the ball late)

    ďYeah, it could have probably been a little bit more behind the receiver, two-minute situation. Actually, putting it on the back shoulder gives him a better chance. The safety was coming down.Ē

    (On the first interception)

    ďItís a good spot to throw it if Ike [WR Isaac Bruce] catches it and the DB doesnít. When you have the ball in your hands, youíre holding the future of the franchise. So, you have to protect it, and you have to make the right throw. I give Jamie this now. He tried to stick it in there, and heís battling. If we had to do it all over again, if you asked Jamie, heíd say the same thing. If itís not there throw it away.Ē

    (On if the tackling is a problem that starts small and snowballs)

    ďIf we went back, we could isolate it some. This game is a game of confidence. It really is. Youíre playing fast, youíre playing quick and youíre playing violent. Confidence is contagious, and so is a lack of confidence. When you have a lack of confidence playing this game, and you play with any hesitancy at all, youíre in the wrong sport. Right now, we have some guys that are playing hesitant for whatever reason. Itís the same scheme, same design and you canít play that way. Our practice habits, we practice it about as full speed as you can get without contact. So, if you donít practice those angles, and you donít practice your play entry, and you donít practice having the ball on the proper shoulder, and you donít practice when youíre getting to the ball carrier getting your eyes over your thighs, bent-knee position, hit through the target, if you donít those things all the time, then youíre going to get what you deserve. Some guys, when they practice, we have to keep reminding them over, and over, and over, and over again, hey, this is the way you practice. This is the way youíre supposed to do things. They should only have to be told once. In this league, you usually get what you deserve. Right now, for some guys on the defense, theyíre getting what they deserve. Itís too late at halftime to say Ďmy bad, Iím sorry, my fault, itís on me, my bad.í No, itís too late at halftime and you see it during the course of the game. Itís too late, itís over. For some of these guys, some of our players, some of my players that are constantly missing these tackles, and missing plays, and not breaking down at the point, those are all on film. I said this a couple weeks ago, they could be catastrophic to oneís career, because the basic staple of a defensive player is the ability to tackle. At all positions, not just at defensive tackle or not just at linebacker, this is a contact sport.Ē

    (On if tackling is becoming a lost art in the NFL)

    ďIn my 27 years in the league, nobody works more on tackling than our defense has since spring training here, since summer camp, no team. You work on it, work on it and work on it for ongoing skill development to help them. With the amount of work hours that we put in on tackling, weíre certainly not getting any return on it. Itís very, very disappointing.Ē

    (On the unusual amount of flu-like viruses)

    ďYou guys laughed at me the other day, I truly think we have to fumigate some rooms. I think you have to do that. Every day, when the phone rings or the trainer walks up to my office, I feel like Dr. Phil. I have to sit down and go through all these, I mean, Iíve never seen anything like it. To the credit of our players, we had some guys play on [Saturday] that had been in the hospital [Friday] and [Friday] night, took the proper amount of IVs, tried to replenish their fluids and they played. But, itís been tough. Again, itís no excuse for our performance, and thatís no excuse not to win.Ē

    (On Head Coach Mike Martz being cleared to come back on Sunday)

    ďI donít know anything about when heís been cleared. I donít know any of that.Ē

    (On how much input Martz has had to this point)

    ďThis has been me. This has been my responsibility. These losses are on me and me alone.Ē

  2. #2
    talkstoangels61 Guest

    Re: Vitts Monday Press Conference

    I llike what this guy is about ! I for 1 am willing to let him coach again and make some changes that are his and noone else's! I really think he is the right man! I'm serious! But, please let us look at some of the other players if the ones out there continue to miss tackles1

  3. #3
    HUbison's Avatar
    HUbison is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Vitts Monday Press Conference

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitt
    We just didn’t block him. We didn’t give our ball carrier a chance, very disappointing.
    For the last game, or the entire season.......true, either way.


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