Monday, December 2, 2013
Today is the same as it was yesterday after the game. It’s extremely disappointing. You have opportunities and we had many opportunities during the course of that game to get ourselves a win, we didn’t capitalize on those opportunities. At the end of the day, you lose the game and it’s tough to deal with. For us we’ve got to come back and come back strong. I told the team that we haven’t won a quarter yet, how we break down the season. That’s our goal, to go out and win a quarter. We have a tough slate ahead, three out of four games on the road. We’ve got to learn to win those games and we’ve got to learn to win close games. We have to learn how to win games on the road, we have to finish teams and that’s the thing that’s tough. Obviously it’s my job to win football games, and I’m going to do everything I can. I told the players it’s their job too. It was a tough morning, tough to swallow but at the end of the day there has to come a point where you have to go forward and work and get the foundation right. It’s a work in progress and I don’t want to be that guy that stands up here and says that, but it is what it is. We’re not satisfied obviously with the record and where we are. Playing close--being competitive and playing close is not what we do. What we’re here to do is to win. At the end of the day we haven’t gotten that done consistently.
Q: Do you feel like you’re fighting history with this franchise and the struggles they’ve had?
A: Like I’ve said before, I’ve been to places before and you look at that, you try to learn from it. I don’t think anyone ever really sits around and says maybe losing doesn’t hurt as much. It’s got to hurt bad and it always has to hurt bad. You take that pain and you put it to good use and that’s how you turn it around. Make no mistake, I think that you do fight those things, but that’s why we’re here. That’s why I’m here, that’s why our staff is here, that’s why the players are here, to change that. That’s what our job is and that’s what we need to do.
Q: Was it tough to know that it was two veteran guys that fumbled?
A: I understand when those things are said and I hope you can appreciate from my standpoint and I think I mentioned this yesterday, how it always comes down and that will be the focal point of what happened. Yes, it’s critical and I’m not going to sit here and deny that, but at the same sense, whether it be a veteran player or a rookie player or any player, I firmly believe and I’ve always said this that it is our responsibility who we put on that field. Whoever is not able to come up with that play or make that play or doesn’t do what he should do is as disappointing if it’s anyone. I don’t think you say I’m more disappointed in him because he’s a veteran player when it comes down to making those types of plays.
Q: How do you size up
A: I think he’s been productive and obviously I think he’s had the opportunity to be more productive because of those situations. He’s someone that has done some good things for us. At the end of the day, I think it’s very, you sit here and you ask about summing up players and summing up coaches and what we’ve done. I think it’s very easy for us to say this has been productive, this has been productive, this has been productive and at the end of the day, the difference between being a position coach, an assistant coach and a coordinator is that at the end of the day I’m just looking to win. I’m just looking win and I think we can get ourselves in trouble when we don’t look at it overall as we’re not winning. Why aren’t we winning, why aren’t we getting ourselves over the top? It comes back to the same type of things. It comes back to turnovers, third down, rushing, things like that. I think each game it has been something a little bit different and that’s the consistency that we have to get better at. Yes, this player may be productive at this point; he may be productive for three quarters. Let’s really evaluate what production is because production really is at the end of the game a winning performance by a team.
Q: How would you sum up your run defense for the course of the season?
A: We’ve had spots and I think it goes back to the same thing with consistency. There are times where we’ve done a good job against it; there are times where we’ve tackled well. There have been times where we haven’t played as well as we should in the fronts and defenses that are called. Yesterday we had some fronts and defenses that were called that should be very good situations for us, but we didn’t get that done. We gave up the two big runs which, again, those are tough because we were able to do what we try to do and get out early and Atlanta came back with those two big runs. For us it’s a constant work in progress to make sure that we get that better. Inconsistent would be a word for that.
Q: Why is a front seven that has so much talented and ability not able to consistently succeed in run defense?
A: It’s the consistency, it really is. I hate to be going back, I wish I could give you another answer for it, but when everything is done right and we’re downhill and we’re getting after it and knocking people back, obviously we’re very successful. When it comes to a point where we’re getting caught or catching at the line or whatever it may be. We’re not going downhill or overrunning, when we’re not tackling, those are the things that happen. When you look, not just us, but when you look at anyone, when they have a problem defending the run it’s usually not schematic. Meaning that there are people where those balls are being run, but it’s a matter of people running over the op, someone missing a tackle, someone not knocking someone back. Consistently we just have to do a better job of that.
Q: How difficult is it measuring your expectations for this team with the reality that it was a team that was starting over?
A: I have a hard time with that. I appreciate, my escape away from it is when you ask a question like that, it gives me a moment of maybe relief. My expectations are extremely high and I’m very disappointed in myself with where we are and it starts with me. I’ve got to find a way to get it better because I really believe that if I come across as the head coach and don’t have those expectations then we’ll fall short of our goals at the end. I want to make sure that we’re accountable starting with myself in keeping those things extremely high and keep fighting for that. We can do that. That’s where I’m struggling. We have players here that are capable of winning games, we have coaches here that are capable of winning games and we’re not getting that done. That’s where I’m struggling, to get ourselves over that top and creating that consistency. I credit the players and the coaches; we’ve done a good job practicing. It’s not like you can sit there and say, ‘We’re an up and down practice team and when we go out there we’re an up and down football team.’ This team has practiced well and has come out to work every single week. What we haven’t done is be on that field and play consistently throughout the game in all three phases. I look at yesterday and one of the things is that we go out there, they drive, and we go three and out. When they drive, we need to go out there and get a long drive and play that type of game and answer the bell a little bit. We were able to do that early in the year in games that we won, but when we’re not able to do that at a consistent level, then we get ourselves in trouble.
Q: Do you ever go back and look at the 2006 Saints team and how you went from 3-13 to a playoff team and look at how Coach Sean Payton approached those games and apply anything from that now?
A: I think in the beginning every team is a little bit different. There are some philosophies that you can carry over. Not to lower that, that was very difficult and I don’t think, it’s an amazing experience that you go through as a coach and with the players. I look back at that year and I think about ourselves in the preseason and where we were and where we thought we were going to be and then all of the sudden at the end where we were. We knew that we were working towards that. I think the dynamics were quite different. You brought in a quarterback that has won and been to the playoffs before and come in and really did a good job of taking over that team. There was a lot of transition with that team when we first got there. I think this is a different situation. I think that we have players here that can win games for us and coaches. I think that’s creating that consistency with how we play is the most frustrating thing.
Q: Do you try not to think about the what-if’s?
A: It’s hard. It’s difficult. At the end of the day, it gives you a moment of relief, what if, what if? For me, the way I handle things, it gives me high levels of anxiety because it hurts me that we collectively, players and coaches and starting with me, can’t get it over the top and get it over the top where you can start that run. That’s my goal now. We still have time left to do that. It will be very interesting and challenging for all of us, of how we go about this week’s preparation and this weeks practice to get on that type of roll. To learn what we have to do to get over the top and that’s what I’m going to be focusing on with this team.
Q: Is this similar to how you wanted the team to response after the Kansas City loss?
A: I think you’re absolutely right. Absolutely. I think that when we played the type of game we played with Kansas City and up here with the same type of feeling in where we are. Obviously different situations took over that game. Again, going in to Pittsburgh and playing hard, but probably if you’re looking from the outside, seeing a sense of that. I think it’s a very important step for our football team to see how we come back from a game like we just did. Early on we came back strong, but later on in the year you start getting more and more challenged with it. I think that shows the character because at the end of the day, the character is what gets you through these things and the leadership gets you through these tough times.
Q: How did you make it through the game injury-wise?
A; I just talked to Bud (Carpenter), he said we’re ok. Nothing to report. You guys have seen there’s some nicks and stuff, but nobody will be out. Maybe there are some guys I’ll limit and stuff depending on how they come back Wednesday.
Q: You have players that are physically ready to produce on the field; do you think there is a mental aspect that is contributing to the inconsistency?
A: I think each individual group, I’ve always been a firm believer that you start off, you get a message and I’ll give the players messages during the week, ‘Here we go’ and then each individual group you build a confidence. Confidence is built a couple ways for what you do all year round, I truly believe. I truly believe it’s all the little things, making sure all your t’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted. I think it’s your preparation, how you work and how much extra time you spend studying film and looking at things like that. I think you create a mindset. I’ve always been a firm believer that the harder you work, the luckier you become. The more work you put in the better chance of you being productive on that field. Each person is a little bit different mentally and we as coaches have to know how to get to them, where they feel that way. Where they feel confident and they can go out there and play that way.
Q: Did you get to review the tape in order to comment on the late penalties?
A: If I said commenting publicly, then I was wrong. I wanted to look at those things to know exactly what I’d write up. The NFL, we have a process that we’re able to write things in and send things in and obviously those conversations are private. I looked at the tape a couple times, I’m going to go through the same process I do week to week, I’m going to write those things up, I’m going to send them in to Dean (Blandino), I have a conference call every week with Dean, we discuss those things and then we move on from there.
Q: Do you think the (Aaron) Williams call was a case of a player being misidentified? Was the call really on somebody else?
A: I don’t know that. I was told it was on him.
Q: Other than the final score, what stat categories are most important for you to look at after the game?
A: I think each game is a little bit different, depending upon how you want to attack that team. I think normally what I do is after the game I take the game plan we had to winning the game and I’ll look at that first to see where we did in those situations. Then I’ll see if there’s something that we didn’t address or talk about with the team before we go. I would think, I would say that for us there was a couple things with the situation yesterday, we haven’t ever won the turnover battle when we play up there and Atlanta was giving the ball away, they were minus three on the road and we wound up losing the turnover battle is one. I don’t know how you wan to get the priority order of it, but I think they all contribute to it. Really the next thing is third down. They were a good football team coming in offensively on third down, but we wound up being 56%, giving them 56%. The thing is, and it caught us a little bit early in the year, five of those plays were 14 or plus yards. Offensively, we got off to a heck of a start third down wise, but in the second half we only had one first down and I think that’s where you saw the time of possession start to change. Those are the thing is look at; those are some of the things. This is what I usually do after the game, highlighting the rushing stats, the penalties, the turnovers. Things like that and then I’ll go through the play by play and circle some things also.