OK, I'll start with the injuries. The only two new injuries we had coming out of the game were Al Harris, he had a shoulder, and David Martin had a knee. With that I'll take your questions.
(With Harris, was that when he went into the locker room before half?)
No, that was to get an IV.
(Either one of those serious?)
I don't think so. They'll be questionable probably Wednesday.
(Did it surprise you, the number of cramps?)
We had two guys get IVs and Ahmad Carroll had cramps. It was hot. It was an up-tempo game. It happens.
(Is 55 passes too many in your mind?)
I've never approached a game saying I'm going to throw 55 times today. But I've also never approached a game saying I want to run it 55 times either. I don't believe you can win that way, week in and week out. The way the game took shape took us that way. We had four series where we were in a no-huddle, 2-minute situation, so your passes are going to go up there, obviously. We also had a number where the best play available at the line, as far as we run our offense, as far as what they were giving us defensively we had a number of passes as opposed to runs in those particular play calls. That's high, but for the most part I thought the protection was solid for throwing the ball that much, and we were productive.
(How much of the 55 passes is not being able to run the ball?)
Our game plan going in was to throw the ball, move the quarterback around, and run the ball, in that order. That was our approach, that's the way we coached it all week, that's how we felt we matched up best versus their defense.
I think you need to run the football ... ideally, that would have been a game if we had gotten ahead, we were going to primarily run the ball more in the second half, but that's not the way the game went. But we came out with the intention of throwing the football.
(What were the no-huddle drives?)
We had one in the first half and one in the second half and then the last two drives were no-huddle type situations. No-huddle and 2-minute is the same to me, as far as mechanics.
(Common theme with the dropped passes, guys trying to run before they had it or lack of concentration?)
Both things you mentioned are really lack of focus, lack of concentration. Trying to run with the ball before you have it or taking your eye off it, however you want to describe it. We had six dropped passes in the game, and that's not conducive to having a productive passing game. I think we had 31 completions. You add another six to that, that's a lot more production that we could have had on the field, and those were primarily check-downs too. We need to do a better job with that.
(What mistakes did you see with the passing defense on film?)
It's been two weeks in a row where we've had seven explosive gains on defense, and six of them have come in the passing game. A couple of them were one-on-one situations where we didn't play the ball as well as we should have as far as leverage. But as you break the seven down, there's plenty to go around as far as the linebackers, defensive backs and the one explosive run in the run game with the defensive line. It's no one common theme or one guy, those are things we have to get fixed.
(Should Ahmad Carroll have been out there on that touchdown pass after he cramped up?)
We wouldn't have put him back in if we didn't think he was OK.
(Why was Poppinga end up on the receiver on that long gain?)
On Joe Horn's catch? It was Cover 2, it was a zone. He's number 2, he's inside. When you play zone, that's why they call it zone. You're not in man-to-man. His leverage was not in tact like it should have been with the safety over the top. We were in a two-deep zone on that call.
(He said there was an option to switch coverages with Woodson, take the RB on the outside. Is that accurate?)
We were in what we refer to as quarters or Cover 2 check, and based on that formation we were in a Cover 2 to that side. Cover 2 is Cover 2. I wouldn't want Brady Poppinga playing cloud coverage and the corner inside playing ... because they could still run the ball there.
(What happened to the safety on that?)
He got a little too wide. He was out of position.
(The two short-yardage passes to the running backs, were those the strong-side linebacker's responsibility?)
The one with Brady in the flat, yes. I don't recall the second one. I know the one to the fullback was. I don't recall what the breakdown was there (on the second one).
(What about the one McAllister caught?)
No, that was the defensive end. Aaron Kampman, yes.
(Where is Nick Collins in his development?)
Nick was a big part of the package against Reggie Bush and did a very good job of it. His two big plays that everyone wants to talk about are the two big plays that led to touchdowns. He's fully capable of making those plays and was in position to make them. But I think Nick is definitely on the up climb of having a Pro Bowl type career. He has that type of ability. He makes those two plays and I'm sitting here telling you he had a great game.
(How did Colledge play?)
Just OK, just OK.
(Are you considering giving Taylor time at strong side?)
We talked about it. Brady played 37 snaps. Ben's done a real nice job when he's been in there, a real nice job on special teams. We'll look at that more tomorrow when we get into our game plan.
(How do you explain shutting down a player like Bush and letting other guys beat you? Do you get so focused on one guy you forget about other players?)
I don't think that's the case. I think it's a tribute to the plan and the players executing the plan. The biggest challenge was matching their offensive personnel because of the way they rolled the three running backs with Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister and Aaron Stecker. I thought we did a really good job with that. We had the one timeout we had to take, which was not the way to go there. But I don't think they lost focus because Joe Horn is a Pro Bowl receiver, and the young guy Colston is a good player. So I don't think that's the case.
(How would you assess Manuel's performance overall?)
I thought he was solid. He had a couple things early in the game as far as checks and so forth, but for the most part I thought he played a solid football game.
(Do you think he's locked down the defensive scheme now?)
I think he locked it down. Everybody knows what they're doing, it's just a matter of making the communication and the checks in a timely fashion, obviously when they're moving people around and things like that. He's probably one of our best communicators in the back end, so we're very pleased with him.
(Is backside pursuit hurting your running game the most?)
I think that's accurate. We're not doing a very good job of cutting off the backside the last two weeks. We need to do a better job of that. It's more technique, the technique of how we're cutting. We're not using proper footwork and hand placement there. We just need to do a better job of it. It's been emphasized since we put this run game in. It's a big part of it.
(How can you improve when you can't cut block your own guys?)
We drill it. You're at practice everyday, you see how we drill it. The speed and the tempo in the way we drill it is the best I've ever been around as far as teaching the zone schemes. You just have to transfer it to games. When you take one step and cut, it's not going to happen. When you take three steps and then cut, then it works. It's more confidence and the speed of it. We're plenty athletic enough inside to do it, so we just need to do a better job of it.
(Is it from a lack of experience in the zone scheme?)
Well, none of the guys that are here have done it before, so if you want to chalk it up to inexperience, there may be some validity to that. It's what we do, how we play. It's the primary technique that we use in our backside blocking schemes, and we need to do a better job of it. They're fully capable of doing it. They have done it in the preseason. The Atlanta game, they were outstanding. That's the type of game we're looking for, and that's the type of production we're looking for. We're just not there right now. We need to do a better job.
(Cut block has a stigma around the NFL - does it take a certain type of OL to do it?)
Mentality and athletic ability are probably the two biggest parts of it. There is a legal way of doing things and an illegal way of doing things. We're teaching the cut block in a legal fashion. We're not asking them to do anything they can't do, and we're not asking them to do anything they haven't done. I hate to sound like a broken record, but we need to do a better job of it. It's not good enough.
(When you put in the scheme, do you know that there will be growing pains?)
It's like any new offense - you're going to have some growing pains. I think the beauty of the system that Jeff has installed is that you're doing the same things over, over and over again. They're using the same techniques, same rubs and so forth as far as attacking the lineman. We're giving them similar looks as much as we can from a play-call perspective. I hate to keep saying it - we're not where we need to be there. We need to do a better job.
(In red zone - did you say you had called a run on the play which resulted in a pick?)
No, I should have called. The point I made was that it was a call I wish I had back. It was first and seven on the seven. I initially called a run out of our jumbo, which was the personnel we were in, and I changed it to a pass because they played Cover 2.
(On the film, did Favre seem to get hit? Does he need to get rid of that quicker?)
I think it was David Martin who was running the backline, which he's supposed to on the scramble. I think he gave him a chance. We were in an eight-man protection, so his time clock was a little long. David did have a chance running the backline.
(Do you know Spitz's timetable?)
No I don't. He'll be questionable Wednesday.
(If he's healthy is he still the guy there?)
Possibly, that's something we'll have to look at. We'll talk more about that tomorrow as a staff. We'll look at the match ups tonight, and when I get done here I'll check with Jason and see where he's at, how much progress he's made over the weekend.
(Do you want to get Koren Robinson into the receiver mix right away or just keep him at kick return?)
Well, he'll continue to do the kick return. I think as a group both him and Vernand were a big improvement back there with both those guys. But I definitely would like to mix him into the receiver rotation, because obviously if he's going to be up on game day, he needs to be ready to go.
(Did Colledge play well enough where if Spitz is healthy you'd consider keeping him in and moving Spitz back to the right side?)
That's something we'll talk about tomorrow when we get into our game-planning.
(How do you prevent frustration from setting in?)
How do I prevent frustration? I would hope they are frustrated. We're about winning. It's really about what you do with the energy, however you want to describe it, and the focus, so we'll correct it today when we get in there and we're moving on to Detroit, and we need to get this thing to 1-2.
(Barring ties, after Week 3 in the division, one team will be 3-0, one team 2-1, another 1-2 and one 0-3. What are your thoughts on the division after Week 3?)
Last time I checked I don't think they give out any awards after the third game. We're looking to go 1-2, that will be our focus. 0-3 is something that is not our focus, but I don't get caught up in that. I've been around situations where people justify what's going on at their place and what's going on at other places. I think it's important for us to keep our eye on the target, and that's clean up what happened yesterday and move on to Detroit and go up there and get a division win on the road.
(How did Rayner kick yesterday?)
I thought he kicked with a lot of confidence. He slowed down. I think the kick he had against Chicago, he just rushed it. Dave, it's evident he has plenty of leg strength. A 52, 53 yard field goal with the wind is something he's fully capable of doing. He has plenty of leg strength. I thought he did a very nice job as far as the kickoffs, the PATs and the field goals. He did it with confidence, too. He had a good day.
(How is the punt coverage unit?)
They got better yesterday. Overall, I thought our special teams put in a strong performance. Jon had the two punts down the middle of the field in the fourth quarter. But other than that, we had good angles. We had a couple situations where the lane integrity was not what it needed to be when they were able to bounce it, I think it was the first one when they got to bounce it around the corner there. The kick had them pinned down to the sideline, we need to make that tackle there. I think it definitely improved from last week and I thought we had a solid performance from all our special teams.
(What's your assessment of Ahmad Carroll's play yesterday?)
I thought he played solid. He had the big play that he gave up on the touchdown on the double move, in the three-deep zone, but I thought he played very well on special teams, and other than that he played solid. He did a nice job on the one reverse, running down Bush. But the two big negatives he had were the touchdown and the penalty.
(Could you tell on the film if Franks touched the official?)
I didn't see it. Did you see it? It looked on TV like he did, but it looked like it was inadvertent. He said he was going in to protect Donald is what he told me. I don't know, I'm not allowed to discuss those things. I didn't see it.
(What about Koren Robinson, did he take a swing at a guy there?)
I was told about the exchange over there, I did not see it. I don't know if it's on the TV copy. It was not on our video copy. That's something that will be talked about.