(What happened to the pass defense?)
I'll just start with the overview of the game. We can start with the defense. We didn't slow them down at all tonight. Give credit to the Saints and the play of their quarterback. He was on fire coming into the game, and we didn't cool him off any. It was disappointing. I don't really have much to say about our defense. They played excellent on offense. Our offense, I thought we played very well the first half. Had the ball 18 minutes and was very productive. We were playing the game we wanted to play. Frankly the turnovers was what led us to play the way we did in the second half, and then we were playing uphill. Special teams didn't play very well also.
(Did you try to do anything to manufacture pressure on him?)
We called blitzes. We were playing a lot of our match coverage. We went to more zone and man pressure to try to generate pressure on the quarterback, and we started to play with some vision because of the underneath routes they were having success on us with.
(On the first interception, Jennings fell down. Was that the difference in the ball getting picked?)
I couldn't tell you without seeing the film. I was watching protection. I saw the end result probably like you did.
(And the one to Nelson, is he supposed to come in a little harder?)
It was an in-breaking route, and he should keep coming, yes.
(How disappointing is this, given how well you played last week and hoping to gain late-season momentum?)
That's what we were counting on. We had practiced very well, and I believe practice carries over to your performance on Sunday, Monday, whenever you play the game. That did not happen this week. Frustrating. They played very well. Give credit to the Saints and how they played tonight. But we need to win football games. It's November. Can't make the mistakes we made, whether it's communication, alignments, and the number of things that went wrong today. There's no excuse for it. We need to correct it. It starts with the head coach, and we'll do that as fast as we can, and we need to move on to Carolina.
We've got Tauscher with a hamstring, second play, did not return. Jolly ankle, that was in the fourth quarter, he did not return. Aaron Rouse also had an ankle sprain. He did not return there late. And Donald Lee, or Pat Lee, excuse me, had a knee and did not return.
(Was Tauscher available on an emergency basis?)
I was just told he wasn't able to go. To answer your question, I would say probably in an emergency, and we also had Josh Sitton up also.
(Did the Saints surprise you witih anything?)
Surprise us? They're a heavy formation shift, motion team. Do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage. They're playing very well in the passing game. I think it's evident what they're ranked, and we didn't slow them down at all. That wasn't our plan coming in here. We expected more from our defense, and we didn't get it done tonight.
(Down 10 before that first interception, were you still content going with your game plan?)
Absolutely. It really was almost to the end of the third quarter. Because I thought it was important to still try to run the ball. It's hard being in those games. Unfortunately I have some experience in those games in this stadium. It's tough to throw the football when the defense has their ears pinned back and rushing upfield. I was trying to keep it as, ... not balanced, but screens and runs and things like that. We were confident coming out at halftime that we were playing the game offensively we wanted to play. The two turnovers got us out of our game plan.
(Was the kick return at the end of the half at all deflating?)
The kick return? I thought they responded at every turn. That's something I addressed with the football team at halftime. Every time we scored, they responded. Either with a kick return or after the first touchdown, we have a mis-alignment and they throw a three-step drop that goes for 60, 70, 80 yards for a touchdown. They did a great job of swinging the momentum back in their favor.
(Is there a learning curve for Aaron in domes?)
That's the benefit of it. He's had two big-time experiences here in the last four weeks. This is his first year, so these are all things he can learn from.