HC Chan Gailey**
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Q: How is RB Fred Jackson doing and will he be out there today?
A: Yes, he will be at practice today and as I understand it he has been fully cleared to play. We expect him to play this weekend.
Q: How about DE Chris Kelsay?
A: Kelsay will be on the practice field today. Still want to go through some drills with him to make sure everything feels OK. He has been cleared medically but he has to feel right, too. Fred's was a little more clear about either playing or not playing.
Q: QB Brad Smith and DT Spencer Johnson will be back?
A: They will be back on probably a limited basis, but they will be back.
Q: With everything that has happened with head injuries, to have Jackson go through that, is it something they put extra emphasis on?
A: The protocol today for concussions and concussion-like-symptoms is very strict. They are doing a much better job of handling that and making sure a guy does not come back too quickly from something like that. It is all positive when it is cleared and handled that way. It is negative when it is not handled properly.
Q: When Jackson is back, does that automatically make you a better red zone team? He does a lot for you.
A: I hope so, but we do not change drastically. He helps us because he is a great football player. Great football players help you wherever you are. He is going to help us get there, as well as score touchdowns.
Q: Do you go back to the rotation with RB C.J. Spiller and Jackson now that Jackson is healthy?
A: C.J. will start but we are still going to play Fred. It takes two. It does. Fred will get quite a few snaps, but C.J. will start and get the majority of the snaps.
Q: Is the inconsistency in the red zone play-calling? Is it the wrong personnel against the wrong defense? What do you identify as the issue?
A: A little bit of all of that. I could have a little bit of better design in some of the plays that we are using. We need to execute a little bit better. We need to pass protect a little bit better. We need to get the yards that are there. Sometimes we are not getting the yards that are there. It is a little bit of all of that. If it was one thing, we could solve it. It is not. We will play good one week and we will play not good the next week. It boils down to consistency. People ask me what was the issue with defense for two or three weeks there—it was consistency. We were a lot more consistent last week. That is why we played so much better defensively.
Q: Will Spiller and Jackson still rotate carries every two series?
A: We will see. Nothing is set in concrete there right now.
Q: QB Andrew Luck seems to be a cut above other rookie quarterbacks. Is that what you are seeing?
A: He is a great football player. He has got great patience. He has an unusual amount of maturity in the pocket. He does not get rattled. He has handled himself extremely well, in my opinion, through this season. He is a challenge, that is for sure. There is a reason he was the first pick.
Q: What about his mobility? A lot of people do not realize how mobile he is.
A: To be honest with you, he can run the ball but he is not a big runner. He scrambles to throw. He does not scramble to run. His mobility is really an asset to him to be able to get out and make yards. If it is all covered he does not force the ball. He will run around and either takes the run or more often than not he will throw it.
Q: A lot of people say when he is on the run and throws, he is better than when he is in the pocket. What do you think?
A: Well I do not know if he is better, but he is good at both right now unfortunately.
Q: DE Shawne Merriman acknowledged that after he was released earlier in the season the perception in the league was that he was washed up. Evidently he is not.
A: Yeah, he played the best he has played since he has been here the other day in the ball game. Hopefully we can build on that. Hopefully he can build on that and the more he plays, the more it helps our football team. So it is good to have another guy that can go in there. Probably his confidence level has taken a notch up a little bit. I am looking forward to seeing what happens with him as the next few weeks unfold.
Q: Were you surprised Merriman was still available when you needed him?
A: I guess I was, yeah. It was not like he did poorly when he was here. We were just kind of stacked up with guys. So I was a little bit surprised, but pleasantly surprised.
Q: DE Kyle Moore has been playing over 80-percent of your snaps. If Kelsay comes back, has Moore earned to stay in there?
A: He will stay in. I do not think he will play 80-percent still, but he will be in there a lot of snaps because he has earned the right. Guys that play well earn the right to play. It is not a detriment to the guy he is alternating with. Some guys earn the right to play. (Da'Norris) Searcy earned the right to play some snaps. George (Wilson) is not doing anything wrong. George is playing good, but Searcy has earned the right. There are a lot of situations like that which come up through a season.
Q: TE Scott Chandler offers a mismatch just by being 6'7", but how has he enhanced that mismatch since he has been here?
A: I think he has learned to become a lot better route runner since he first got here. Maybe part of that was us not recognizing what he could do. You have to let a guy get here and play, then learn what his strengths are and use those strengths to your advantage. He is exceptional in the red zone. We have to try to keep using him in the red zone. He is a good one-on-one player, so we have to try to find spots to get him involved.
Q: You always refer to division games as two-fers. Given the way the standings look right now, would you refer to this as one of those games?
A: Yeah I would. Somebody that is ahead of you, and we talk about having the opportunity to play against teams that are ahead of you in the playoff chase, not only do you get the win, but you give them a loss. Sure, it falls in the same category.
Q: The last two weeks you had 14 and then 11 penalties. That is above your average of 5.5. What is the cause of that?
A: I think there are a lot of little mistakes that we are making pre-snap that are hurting us right now. We have to avoid those pre-snap penalties. The post-snap penalties are going to happen. Most of those post-snap penalties in New England were pass interference, illegal contact or something like that. Then we had two or three of those the other day. A lot of these are pre-snap penalties that we just have to get more disciplined in our lines to eliminate that.
Q: WR Stevie Johnson's numbers are down this season. What is the reason for that?
A: A couple of things. One, people are focusing more on him than they have in the past. He gets doubled a lot more than he ever has before. I think that is probably the number one thing that you look at. We are still trying to do the same things we did last year with him but we are not getting some of the same results at times.
Q: How is Johnson feeling?
A: I think he is fine. I think he is a lot better than he was in the first four or five games of the year.