(Injuries, especially Jennings?)
I'll just go through the injuries. Greg Jennings had an ankle, we're having him tested today. Chad Clifton I think is going to be fine. He had the illness and had the IV, also Ahman Green looks to be fine. Daryn Colledge had a calf, and Corey Williams has a knee we're looking at. We've got a bunch of bumps and bruises, heat related things.
(With Chad it was just illness, not his knees acting up?)
Correct. The flu hit him in the middle of the night, and he had a rough evening and rough morning, and he was unable to go.
(What kind of adjustments did you make to give Daryn some help?)
In everything you do from a protection scheme approach, you have adjustments, particularly when you feel the matchup is not in your favor. Daryn, he has reps at left tackle, we rotate all those guys through the practice structure. Adjustment A did not work on the first sack, so we went to some other things, as far as sliding the line to him, sliding away from him, giving him presence with the tight end and the back, things like that.
(Were you happy with how those adjustments worked?)
Absolutely. I think Taylor didn't factor after his second sack. Both the sacks were more technique than anything. But we were happy with the way the protection, really, from the second quarter on we thought the protection was pretty good.
(Is that any indication of growth as a coaching staff, to make adjustments and make them work?)
Growth? That's a must, that's our job. That's what we're paid to do, we're paid to put the players in position to be successful. Sometimes you need to have more than one option, and it took us to go from the first option on to others to get it done.
(What made you think at first that Colledge could handle Taylor?)
It wasn't a matter of thinking he could handle him, it's how you approach it. Do you slide to him, do you slide away from him, and have a back and tight end over that. The first one was sliding to him, and he didn't set wide enough. We never went into the game and said you've got that guy. That's really what happened on the first sack.
(It looked over the course of the game he was one-on-one with him and did OK.)
They have a scheme, too. To think you can't just go block a guy one-on-one on first and second down, now that's a little different. Really, the help comes in third-down situations when it's an obvious pass situation. But when you're playing run and pass, obviously the pass rush is not as prevalent. There's going to be times throughout a football game where you're going to go one-on-one with their best players. That's part of playing, but it's more in tune with the time clock.
(After looking at the film, how did Daryn do at that left tackle spot?)
I thought the tackles played solid. We struggled inside. The guards did not play as well as we would have liked, but I thought the tackles, both Daryn and Tauscher played a very solid football game.
(Daryn specifically, how did he grade out?)
Solid football game. Solid game.
(Any indication of the seriousness of Jennings' injury? Could he miss Sunday's game?)
It's a potential. He could potentially miss Sunday's game. His tests are being done right now. He was in this morning for treatment.
(Do you know for sure it's not broken?)
I haven't got the test results back. They x-rayed him at the stadium, so my understanding is his ankle is not broken. It's an ankle sprain. That's the diagnosis.
(With your depth at wide receiver, will you consider looking outside to pick somebody up?)
That's really the process we're going through right now. That will go on this afternoon, and hopefully be resolved by this evening. We will probably add a receiver to that group, yes.
(Do you have any definitive word on Robert, and with what happened with Greg, do you have to look at freeing up a roster spot?)
Where we are with Robert right now, the opinions are in. It's going to be a long-term situation. That's actually what I was discussing, why I was late getting down here. We're in the process of deciding what we need to do. He's going to potentially here in the very near future get another opinion, so we'll work through that today and hopefully have it resolved by tomorrow.
(By long term, is IR a possibility?)
That is an option, yes.
(What did Ruvell Martin and Chris Francies show you? Could they be your No. 2 and 3 if you have to throw them in there?)
They will be, that's where we are right now. I think Chris Francies had a big-play opportunity and cashed in on it. I thought Ruvell did an excellent job on the shallow cross, it was a big play on that drive where he got the first down. He had a third-down opportunity, he needs to make that play. They are guys that have been with us since Day 1, they've earned their spots on this team, and they'll be counted on to play a role.
(You mentioned last week you were looking to put the linebackers in better position to have an impact. Did you do anything schematically, or did they just make plays when they were available?)
I think Bob Sanders and the coaching staff did an excellent job with their pressure concepts. Anytime a team throws the ball that many times, that's tough duty on any defense, especially in that heat. A.J.'s numbers were outstanding, 15-plus tackles and pass breakup. I thought Nick was an impact player. Brady had the big interception. I think you're seeing a group getting very comfortable in the base concepts, in both the base personnel and sub personnel, and when asked upon in the pressure defenses they're doing a better job.
(What was going through your mind at the end of the half when twice you had field goals taken off the board?)
Mike Eayrs, he does a great job as far as the game management, and as we sat there, our hope on the first situation was that it wasn't a pre-snap call, which it was. So the call was correct. It was a pre-snap penalty, so with that you take the penalty and you have to kick it again. With the offensive penalty and the time ran out, it expires. It was different, I've never been through one like that before. At that time, you're just making sure the call is right and everybody understands it. But the call was correct, and it was unfortunate because Dave really stuck that 55-yarder. He hit it right down the middle. On a personal, and really as a team, you hate to see points come off the board like that. But, very unfortunate. The call on Mike Montgomery, I thought they did a great job of getting the call. Mike is doing what he's taught to do on that play. So that's an unfortunate competitive penalty at an inopportune time.
(We saw some bombs yesterday by kickers to win games. How far out would you have given Rayner a chance yesterday?)
I think it was up to 60, with the wind there. It was drastically different from one end zone to the other. I even considered going for it right before, on the third down, or was it fourth-and-1, when we hit Ruvell on the sideline with 8-9 seconds left. So we considered going for it tight there, but I was confident in the call, and Brett and Ruvell did a nice job getting that done. So going to our left, we had 60 yards was the mark. If I stand corrected, I think he hit that in pre-game.
(How did Pickett play?)
I think he played solid. A lot of those guys up front got gassed at the end. But the effort from the football team, particularly the defensive line, I thought was outstanding. The resiliency, once again, they had seven no-huddle series, and they scored on one of them. That's an excellent accomplishment within the football game. Those guys battled, and I thought Ryan played a very solid football game.
(From a confidence standpoint, how big was Ahman Green's run, not only to him but to the entire offensive line?)
Huge, that's what we're looking for. We talk about all the time, banging that football 2-3 yards in the first quarter, I've said it over and over again, and then finally in the later stages of the game, the ball comes out. To be selfish, I wish we wouldn't have scored so quick because the defense had to go right back out there, but huge play in the game. I thought Charles interception and return for a touchdown, that play there, and probably the drive, were key turning points for us from a momentum standpoint in the football game.
(How important was it for Ahman to see that extra gear in outrunning the defense?)
I think it definitely puts his confidence where it needs to be. I think he always knew he could still do it, but now that he knows he can do it, I think there's a big difference for any athlete coming off a major injury. He's looked great since the time that I've been here, and I know the people who have remarked on his performance in the past feel like he's in great shape and he hasn't really lost anything. It's just a tribute to him and the training staff and the diligence that they went through in the rehab in bringing him back, because he takes great care of his body, and we just have to be smart with him.
(Is the investment in Woodson starting to pay off?)
Charles is a big-time player. That's what we brought him here for, to play bump-and-run coverage. He's made big plays in the game. He had an outstanding game. He's one of our candidates for a game ball. We need to get him loose on a punt return. That's one area of special teams we need to improve on, our return game, because he's making two, three, four guys miss on each opportunity and it's not coming out the back end. He's an exceptional football player.
(Getting back to the Montgomery penalty, it almost seemed inadvertent. Is that the way you saw it, that the guy came into his hand?)
The body language of the Miami Dolphin ... he did a nice job. He did a very nice job. They got the call. And if you see on the one before, it was close. It's probably something they anticipated and tried to re-enact, and they got it done. It's an unfortunate call at that time.
(On the 2-point conversion, is Blackmon supposed to get a better jam there at the line of scrimmage and then follow the receiver across?)
We were in quarters there, or double-invert I think we call it. Really, the flow of the safety if I recall. You're talking about the backline throw? We need to push the coverage on the sprint, because he faked the keep and then he rolled out. So to answer your question, no. Blackmon was playing corner, correct?
(He didn't get much of a jam there.)
I don't recall. I'm not sure if he was on the right side or left side on that particular play. The guy coming on the over route, we were in zone coverage. I don't recall the specifics of his play on that play.
(Last in the league in pass defense, does that worry you?)
I think you have to look through the numbers. I think we're all well aware that you can use statistics a number of ways. There are certain statistics, in my opinion, that are vital to the success of a football team. I think turnover ratio is; you can spin that any way you want, but you're either plus or minus. I think when you get into total offense or total defense, it can be skewed. 63 passes in one game, four hundred yards, I take that as a win when you sit there and watch the film. Part of that is the two three-and-outs on offense in the third quarter, and there are other factors like field position, the weather was a factor, not an excuse but a factor. I thought our pass defense improved. We hit the quarterback 15 times, so you see the pass rush, you see the balls being broken up. Frankly, that's the M.O. against us right now. People look at those numbers and say, 'Hey, that's the way we're going to come at that defense'. That will continue until we stop it. It's an area of emphasis, but as far as being concerned about it, I think we improved in that area this week.
(Shutting down Chambers a positive?)
I thought Al did a nice job in the pass coverage. He played a big role in that. He's (Chambers) a key weapon for their offense. Once again, the biggest thing when a guy is throwing the ball that much is that the ball is contended. I thought A.J. was in position a number of times to make more plays than he did. That to me shows we are making a lot of progress in that area. More importantly, I thought they battled, never panicked, when they did make plays we tackled them. I think we had three times when we didn't tackle them to result in explosive plays, but I thought our open field tackling was much better. Those are things we need to improve on.
(What was your thinking on the 4th-and-1 reverse to Driver call?)
At that point in the game, it could have been 4th-and-four and I was going for it. I felt that there were a number of factors that went through my thought process. We needed to continue that drive because our defense had been on the field, I don't recall what the numbers were, but I know it was nine-plus minutes in the third quarter. I was very conscious of how many snaps our defense was on the field. We had the big run by Ahman, but I needed to do everything I could to finish that drive. Frankly, that was my short yardage call and I used it in the fourth down situation. To answer your question, that call was easy - it came right off the call sheet.
(Something you had seen in the way they had defended short yardage?)
Correct, that was part of our gameplan, yes.
(Would you always go for it in that situation?)
The pulse of the football game has a lot to do with those type of decisions.
(Is Woodson being considered at WR given the injuries?)
No, we haven't talked about that.
(Was Henderson healthy enough to play yesterday?)
(Young players seem to step in and be competitive - ever seen anything like that on previous teams you've been with?)
I'm of the opinion, right or wrong, that when its time for young players to play, I think it's important that the proper mindset and attitude are in place around them when they do play because you can't worry about it. If you are going to stand up here and tell this football team 'No excuses', then when you put them in the situations, you start playing scared. A scared man can't win. I learned that a long time ago. That's important as a head coach and as a play caller to emulate that when you go into football games. I've never been considered about a) playing young players because you are obviously playing them for a reason and b) the biggest challenge I've found is that the older players need to have the same mindset that you do. It's really a two-fold situation. Get the young guys ready to play, give them the confidence and attitude that we're going to play to win. Don't ask them to do things they aren't capable of doing, that's part of game planning. As a quarterback and for the other guys involved, they need to have the same belief in the system, in the game plan, and in the individual. I thought the one play that really put that to light was the 3rd-and-one third down to Chris Francies. I know when I called the play, Favre looked at me, and I repeated the play because it was a run-pass option. He made an excellent decision and throw, and Chris was right where he was supposed to be and caught the ball. That's a big first down in the game. I think it's important to maintain that view as we move on.
(When you have a matchup with Colledge and make adjustments in the game plan and play-calling, how important is it to have a veteran quarterback like Favre executing the offense?)
Having a quarterback like Brett Favre, period, helps your offense, because of the type of player he is. But everybody in the National Football League goes through that on a weekly basis at some point. If you don't have that problem, you have a damn good offensive line. But that's something you go through on a weekly basis. Our focus was that the matchup with Taylor and Chad Clifton was obviously better for us than Daryn, but Daryn played well. And frankly, if you ask him, I'm not speaking for him, but I would think he'd probably talk about his pass set on the first one, and on the second sack. But as far as us just overloading every time we threw the ball to help him, that's not the case. We helped him in key passing situations. I don't know if I answered your question.
(Is Morency now the No. 2 halfback on the depth chart?)
Based on situations. If you're looking to rank them, that's fine if you want to go 1, 2, 3. We're more a situation offense, roles, concepts. There's always different factors each game plan that goes into that. I thought he did an excellent job on kick return. That's another group we need to get going too. I thought Vernand really poured the ball up in there, had a chance for a couple of those to come out. I'm very pleased with what he's done since the St. Louis game.
(How much better do you feel about your team now compared to when you started the season?)
Mondays after wins always feel better, that's our business. But I feel a lot better. Because frankly, the preseason, we came out of that Cincinnati game, and the timing of how we played in that game was not good for us, quite frankly. And then to go into Chicago a little conservative, we failed there. And then we had some tough games we didn't come out the back end on. So now, to win twice in the road out of three times, that's huge. It's hard to win football games on the road in the National Football League. We have a lot of respect for the Miami Dolphins. I think they do an excellent job as a coaching staff, they challenge you schematically, both coordinators Mike Mularkey and Dom Capers, they've got good football players. That was a big challenge, and then you throw in the heat on top of that. Those are big hurdles to overcome as a football team, period, regardless of what your record is. So that was a big win for us, that was a big positive, a big confidence boost for our program. This is something we need to stack our successes, as we've talked about in the past. We need to learn from it, correct the things like we do every week, and make sure it carries over into Arizona.
(If it was not a health issue, what do you expect out of Henderson and how can he be a leader, how can he help you?)
Well, William Henderson, everybody that's been around him knows the type of person and professional he is. He's battling for his playing time. He goes out there, he's the same guy every day, and you admire that from a coaching standpoint. But there's other things that factor into playing, special teams, and we've got some young guys that are playing at a high level. So not an easy decision to put him down, but it's a decision that we made, and the emphasis was more because of the special teams. And we all know William will continue to work, and he'll be ready when his number is called.
(Given the injuries at wide receiver, have you decided that it's safer to have Brett Favre carry his receivers off the field after touchdowns?)
You notice which receiver he carried off. The little guy. I'm all for it. I just saw it in the paper this morning, I didn't realize he did that. It's good to see he's having fun out there.