Head Coach Dick Jauron

Opening thoughts

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The game yesterday, we almost got done what we needed to get done to win the game. We knew we needed to limit the number of points they scored. We had to keep that down because they don't allow many points. They have a stingy defense and they have been all year. We kept ourselves in the game. I thought we did an excellent job there, we just didn't convert enough offensively to get the win. We fought them, our guys fought all the way to the end, which was great to see. They gave us everything they had, we just couldn't quite get over the hump and Baltimore deserves a lot of credit. They're an outstanding team. It was not what our goal was. We didn't get to the playoffs. We weren't particularly pleased with the 7-9 season. That being said, we feel like took some big steps from our offseason program through our training camp through our preseason and through our regular season. We believe we took a lot of steps forward. We believe that we've laid a foundation. Our expectations clearly will be higher in the future and like everybody else in the league, we'll fight to get a playoff birth. Next year at this time, we don't want to be having our season ending meeting, we want to be preparing for a playoff game. That will be our goal and ambition.

 

On the number of rookies starting and whether that is encouraging for the future

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Really encouraged by that group and where we think they're going. I think it's much more important where we're going now than where we've been. I tried to explain to them that this will probably be their hardest year because they don't know what to expect. They finished a year in the NFL. We did not have them in our offseason program. We did get them in our program to teach. This offseason is critical for them and they'll probably make their biggest jump in terms of physical gains and in terms of knowledge of what we're trying to do, our schemes. It's very important that they throw themselves into that when the time comes, that they get involved in that, because they can come a long way from last year to next and they need to, they really need to. If they stay where they were, it's not going to be good enough. They all need to get better and we'll get better as a team.

 

On run defense being the most disappointing part of the team this season and whether it's a top priority to improve next year

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It'll be a priority for us, definitely, but part of it will be scheme, guys learning the scheme, hitting their fits, making the plays. I was really pleased with how we played the run yesterday against a team that is built on the run. Our guys did an excellent job. They broke that one 30-yarder at the end and it was a disappointment for us after playing the whole day and keeping it contained. I guess to some degree that's how the run game is. I thought they finished pretty well. They finished that game pretty well against the run. You have to be able to contain the run in our business. You can't let people freely run the ball and dominate you in that area. That being said, the bottom line will always be points scored and points allowed. Keep them out of your end zone, regardless of what happens, and you have a chance.

 

On needing more takeaways and whether an improved run defense will add to that

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Takeaways are a combination of a number of things and they reflect on your team. You have to score enough. You have to score. When you score and they have to take chances, then you have more opportunities. As you pointed out, if you can shut down their run game, which is hard to do, and make teams one-dimensional, the odds go up for you also. It's a team deal. Clearly, if they have to take chances, your odds go way up.

 

On the difficulty of building off of this finish if they lose some key components on the defense

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We understand this business. We understand that there is great turnover on teams every year now, every single year. We look at it as practically and honestly as we can. In the weeks to come, and months, we'll evaluate all of our personnel, all the available free agents out there and then of course we get into the college. All of that we'll try to weigh together and do what's in the best interest of our team. We'll certainly be interested in our guys. Our guys may want to test the market and we understand that, but we'd like to be kept in the loop and keep the conversations up with them and be as honest as we can be with them and keep an open mind as we chase our guys and others. That's the game, that's the business. Whatever happens in our future, the guys who were here this year, and one of the sad parts of ending a year is that this team will never be together again and we know that, everybody won't be back, but we know there will be new faces. We believe we have laid a strong foundation and this team is part of it. Hopefully it's going to go where we want it to go and we'll take great pride in that. Only time will tell.

 

On updating some positions through free agency and some through the draft

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There are positions that take longer to develop and play. That being said, we've all seen rookies at every position come in and play really productively. What we do is take the free agent market and analyze it, take the college market and analyze it, try to put them together and see how they fit, how the whole picture comes together. Some things, some positions may be deeper in the college draft and some may be shallower. We try to put it together that way rather than saying specially that we want a veteran here for this job.

 

On Spikes' season

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I say, first of all, that's its going to be a number of weeks before we get through our review. That being said, I'll stick with what I've said throughout the year. He played through a lot of, I don't want to use the word pain, but he played through a lot of minor things, he played through a lot of major things, he played his way back in, he never complained, he was a leader on our football team and I believe that he got progressively better even though he had some setbacks in there, some injury setbacks that accumulated through the year. I have a lot of respect for him, for how he handled the whole situation.

 

On Spikes saying that he'll improve next year

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I've never talked to our doctors or any trainers about it, but I don't see any reason to suspect that he wouldn't be.

 

On whether there is any question that Losman is the leader of this offense next season

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There's no question in my mind that he does. He has, I suppose to be perfectly honest, exceeded my expectations because I didn't know him first of all. When I met him and started weighing him, I wanted to go into the offseason workouts with no preconceived ideas. I wanted it to be an open competition. I thought it would be in his best interest and everybody on our football team and only fair to the other quarterbacks. He just kept working. He worked through everything and won the job. I thought it was pretty clear that he won the job and I thought it was pretty clear that he won the job. There were circumstances around it, but it doesn't matter. He won the job and he just kept working and he worked the whole year that way. He just got better every practice. Once again, he didn't perform exceptionally well every Sunday, but he performed pretty well and got better and better and more comfortable. The team is more comfortable with him. He's more comfortable handling all the situations. I feel good about our quarterback position and time will tell because he's still young. Yesterday was a day that, again we would have preferred to win that game, but through that game, against a really good defense, he just kept coming back and competing and made enough plays, but we turned it over. I think he learned a great deal yesterday.

 

On how he would assess his season

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Personally? I never find that there's anything good about me grading myself for you. I won't do that.

 

On what they can do to get better at running the ball

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I think it's a function of team. We'll go over everything, every play that was run this year, our cutups against every defense and every front, everything we've done we will analyze it and evaluate it in the weeks to come to see how we can improve our scheme and our personnel and move from there.

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