OK, I'll start with the injuries from the game. Chad Clifton had a shoulder, he'll be questionable for Miami. Nick Collins got hit in the head there, he'll also be questionable. Cullen Jenkins had an ankle, he'll also be questionable. Brandon Miree got hit in the eye, he'll be questionable. And Jason Spitz, he had a throat injury, he'll be questionable. And Charles Woodson had knee and ribs. They'll all be questionable for Miami. With that I'll take your questions.
(Is Spitz out of the hospital?)
Oh yeah. Yeah.
(Was he sick before the game?)
He was feeling sick and it was causing some discomfort, so we're just being smart with him. They were worried about him, so we had him tested, had him scoped. Everything is fine.
(Was it the throat causing his sickness?)
Correct. Well no, some guys throw up before games, and I don't want to put his business in the street, but he's one of them. He just had some irritation. We were just being cautious with him.
(He had a scope?)
Yeah, we scoped him. A scope, throat scope. Everything's fine.
(Have you heard anything from the league about Koren?)
No I haven't.
(How would you handle his sudden departure?)
I view it just like any other player. Part of our game is you may lose a player to injury and so forth, it's a way you look at the 53. We knew the situation with Koren when we brought him in here. So we're just going to keep preparing professionally, getting him more involved in our offense. We've done that each week, and I think he's coming along very well. I know Brett is getting comfortable with him. On a personal level, we're working with him on his issue, and that's the way I view it.
(You don't scale anything back with him?)
No, I don't think so. That's part of football. You're not just getting one guy ready to take that package. You're always trying to get your receiver group ready to play all four positions, and I think that's the beauty of this group. It's a bright group. Every one of them plays multiple positions, so with that it gives us great flexibility. When you lose a guy that can only play one position, that's where I've had my experience where you tend to get into problems of not having the timing and so forth and you kind of limit yourself from a package standpoint when you get into game-planning. But that's not the case here. All of our guys know really all three positions. We're not using a fourth position that much.
(Do you expect to hear anything from the league before the Miami game?)
Maybe, with all the questions I'm getting about it. But I have not heard anything.
(Have you talked to him?)
We talk once a week, see how he's doing. There's nothing that I'm aware of.
(Where did the protection break down on the last play?)
The last play, there was pressure inside that I did not see. On the game film, there was a stunt that came free, and Brett wasn't able to step up into it. Then Little was on the edge and was able to swat the ball out of Brett's hand. The starting point of the breakdown was the interior of the protection.
(Are you assuming he would have stepped up to a point where Little wouldn't have been able to get the ball?)
Gosh I'd hope so. I think that play really is kind of an illustration of our season. I don't know if you went back and watched it. They dropped David Martin in coverage. David Martin is part of the primary read, runs free right in the end zone. So I would like to think he'd have stepped up and thrown the ball.
(Who picks up Kennedy on that play?)
It's a combination, it's a stunt, so you have to zone it off. It's the relationship between the right guard and the center of getting it passed off. It didn't happen fast enough.
(You said that was an indication of your season on the last play, the line is protecting Favre pretty well but the one play it doesn't happen turns out that badly?)
I think that's the NFL. It really comes down to making plays, particularly in crucial parts of the game. You can sit here and I can give you 10 or 12 nice excuses of how we could have won that football game, but it's irrelevant. To me that's a perfect play that illustrates (how) their defense had a chance to make a play and we were given a chance on offense to make a play to win the game. They made the play, we did not. That's the final hurdle we need to get over.
(Are you tempted to rest the veterans this week?)
Yes, we're going to be smart with the veterans Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday practice is a focus on Miami. So we're going to be smart with our injured players this week, and our veterans.
(What about Favre? Is it critical that he's here for every practice?)
It just matters where we are as a football team and where he is in his health. Those are things to me that are more individual issues, and if rest is the best thing for him or anybody else, then we'll act accordingly. I don't have a set schedule that so-and-so used in 1946 that I'm following, so we're just being smart.
(Have you ironed out the substitution patterns on those defensive plays?)
I think it's like anything, as you go through football, life, it's about communication. There's nothing wrong with the structure, but we need to get it fixed because it's been a re-occuring problem, so we reviewed the structure this morning in our meeting, and we'll apply more of an emphasis on it, in the practice environment, in the classroom environment, and make sure we get it fixed because it's a re-occuring problem.
(Is there a common theme in those?)
If it was just one thing, we would eliminate it. There are different scenarios, different personnel groupings, things like that.
(Does Sanders need to get his call in quicker?)
As you know, the referees emphasis this week is the no-huddle, illegal substitution. The thing we got hit with the timeout there. There's a lot of that going on. Offenses are holding the personnel late, running people on, running people off, kind of pushing the envelope on the rolls, and that's the bind we're being put in from a defensive standpoint. But that's still no excuse. There's other ways of combating that, and that's what we'll do.
(Does missing the voluntary workouts earlier this year hurt that communication in the secondary? Was that a missed opportunity for some of those guys?)
I think that's a great point. I've stood up here many times in the past and will continue in the future ... anytime you have an opportunity as a football team to be together and learn and do things as a group, I think it benefits everybody. I'm also not naïve to the way things have been structured in the past, and as we move forward, I'll continue to emphasize that. But like I said, anytime you have an opportunity to work together, I definitely feel there's benefits to it.
(Is the margin of error that small, 1 or 2 plays, for your team?)
I think the margin for error in our league is pretty close, and I think it has been. I think parity is very evident in the NFL. I'm not making excuses. We had a number of opportunities to win that football game, and we did not. And that's why I think it's important to stay in tune with what reality is. No one knows more about being 1-4 than 2-3 than myself and every player and coach in that locker room, but you need to stay in touch with why you are 1-4 as opposed to 2-3. Don't over-react, but also don't under-react, and that's the way I view it. If it's one play here, one play there, that's a perfect example. We're sitting there with the tie playing to win, and we didn't come out with either. We need to make a play there.
(What explanation were you given by the officials as to why you were charged with a timeout?)
Because it wasn't a first down. I challenged the forward progress. Just to answer your question, they tied the two together. I know people are trying to split it, saying I was right where the ball was spotted, but it wasn't enough. I was combating the first down as opposed to the fourth down.
(So even though they changed the spot, you were still charged with a timeout?)
I guess so. I'm sure we'll talk about it, but that was my understanding on the field.
(That doesn't make sense.)
Well, I'll be sure to tell the league that you've criticized them and it wasn't me. We'll make sure we get that on TV too.
(Is that clear in the rule book that it has to change the outcome of the play and not the spot?)
I have not gone back and read the wording of it, but that's my understanding.
(When you made the challenge, were you under the impression that if they moved the ball you'd keep your timeout?)
I challenged the forward progress of the fullback. I saw the ball, you know they have the yellow line, and I saw the ball in his right hand and he never got his shoulder turned. Then when they gave the spot it looked like a generous spot - which it was obviously because they moved it back - but it wasn't far enough back for the first down. He told me that he saw the ball too, in his right shoulder and never got his shoulders turned, but he did have enough for the first down in his view.
(You don't have to tell the referee what you are challenging?)
I'll visit on it with Mike (Eayers) and I'm sure we'll all learn from this instance. I know I will.
(What is your emphasis here in the bye week?)
Fundamentals. Every time we go and play, those are the root of our improvements and the root of our corrections are fundamentals. It's always the little stuff. You can go through every position, every phase of the game and there are just little things we need to continue to work on. We're getting better in a lot of them, most of them actually, but there are still some things we need to get cleaned up, and we'll continue to work.
(Do you lean more towards your tendencies and self-scouting this week?)
We do that on a weekly basis. We're very fortunate here with the resources we do have. That's something we do on a weekly basis, and we'll do our five week self scouting. We'll have a little more time to build it into practice, the things we work on. Tuesday and Wednesday's practices really emphasize the things we need to correct from St. Louis and Philadelphia, and any self scouting. There will be a little bit more competitive nature offense and defense, but that will be the emphasis.
(Lots of 1-on-1s during practice?)
Yes, but we're going to be smart with our some of our older players.
(When you get Ahman back, will you scale him back and use Noah more?)
That's going to be a part of our evaluation as we go on. I don't think you can look past Noah's performance yesterday. A person is given an opportunity, and he cashed in on it. I think we need to keep in touch with that. Morency had a nice performance in Philadelphia, so we got guys that are improving and doing the things we ask them to do. With that, Ahamn's thing is more health. If its going to be 20-25 carries a game and then we have to go through this process, then that's not real smart. If we have to cut it back to 10-15 we will, but time will answer that question.
(Is Ahman still day-to-day?)
My understanding was prior to the Detroit game he had the same injury to the opposite hamstring and was able to play. With an extra day with Monday night football, I think it was natural to assume it was ready but it wasn't. He practiced Friday and everything was okay, but he wasn't able to cut it loose. That's why we made the decision on not going yesterday.
(Is it possible you are better off going with Herron and Morency?)
Ahman Green is a fine football player. He's proven that in the past here, that's the obvious, but he's proved it here just in this season. He's got a lot of football left in him. I think he's a difference maker when he's in there. But we need to be real about what's going on here. We talk about accountability and availability, and he hasn't been available the last two weeks. With that, the other guys have had opportunities and have done well. The combination of the three is something we'll look at.
(How encouraged are you with how the zone blocking scheme looks?)
Just like anything else - you have a plan, you emphasize it and you stay the course. I think that's evidence of a good plan and everyone involved working to accomplish it. I think you've seen the progress over the five weeks so I'm very pleased with the progress we're making.
(What would you do if you didn't have Clifton for a game?)
Tony Moll has proved to be flexible and tackle is probably more of a natural position for him so that's an option, and obviously Tauscher has played over there too. We'd have some flexibility there. Coston has played tackle before.
(How much will Clifton and his sore knees benefit from the rest?)
He'd definitely fall in there as a candidate for guys we need to be smart with.
(Will the knees be better with the rest?)
Those are questions for Pepper and Chad. I follow the advice of those guys.
(Is the shoulder now a concern?)
He hit it on the last play. I was told it wasn't very serious.
(How good did the formation with Greg and Koren wide with Donald in the slot look on film today?)
You have three very talented playmakers. Donald struggled in that game. He's still sore from last week. I can't say enough about Greg Jennings. He made a number of big plays in the game. He had the two drops, and I know he was sick about that. But, he's a young man, like I've said over and over again, I've never seen a guy come on the scene that fast and that consistent. It's great to have him. Robinson, we're getting him more and more involved each week. He's a talented guy and goes and gets the football, and I think he's only going to get better too.
(Did you want Brett to spike that last one? What was the thought process?)
I had two calls I was considering. One of them was a run, a specific run and it wans't in our package at the line. I think we were in the 46-second area, so to me that's still plenty of time. You are looking at three possible plays.