Now this week, stopping the run again was the major priority because of the
fact that they had rushed for 158 yards the week before against the number one
defense in the league in Tampa Bay against the run. So, we started with that and
we have played good sound, solid football. I think up front the front four has
played well. I think yesterday, Reggie Torbor complemented that group and played
very physical and very well. The young quarterback that we had to played against
yesterday forced us to really be sound in our containment principles and to try
and do some things that might confuse in third down situations. Of course, they
were trying as hard as they could not to allow that to happen by virtue of some
different formations, some different looks on third down. So, we played well. We
played aggressively. We’ve been able to – we had four straight three and outs
yesterday, which was really an encouraging start to our game. So, I think we
have played very aggressively. Our front four has played well. We’ve put
pressure on the quarterback and we played I think sounder, tighter coverage in
the secondary, although there’s always one or two plays that seem like we should
have been able to do something about it.
Q: Has your defense turned a corner to set you up for the second half of
Well, I don’t know that – we had been doing a good job of keeping people off
the scoreboard and people had amassed a lot of yards if you will with the
passing game. We’ve just kind of tried to keep working, working, working, and
working at getting better at the different things that we’ve had to improve on
and it would be a really nice thing right now if our – one of our themes
yesterday was consistency and that was in a couple of areas. One was in the
defense obviously coming off the Washington game in being able to line up and
repeat that type of a performance and I felt like in giving up 138 yards (of
total offense) we were able to establish some consistency.
Q: That tighter coverage you talked about, you had mentioned that last
week too, is that because of better play by the secondary or is it a change in
No, it’s both. It’s pressure out of the front. It’s better and tighter
recognition and being able to count on the pressure being on the quarterback and
playing a little bit tighter if you will and perhaps a little bit more
aggressively. But, still having in mind that we can’t afford to give up the big
Q: Is there anything different on third down (by your defense)? I think
you guys were last in the league a couple of weeks ago and in the last two weeks
I think it’s five of 26 (conversions) or something for the opponent?
Well, that’s been a goal that we set two weeks in a row really. We’ve
aggressively attacked that by challenging our defense with percentage numbers
that were way down and that would cause that ‘holy cow’ kind of an approach
where you would look at it and say, ‘underneath such and such a percentage.’
But, we have been unable to go out and do that. Of course, that’s the key thing
now. You talk about the possession down. If you look at yesterday, there were 46
snaps. There were 52 the week before and it’s kind of the way our approach
should be. As I look at the game, I look at the special teams snaps. I look at
the defense snaps and then weigh in on the offense and I always want the offense
to have a considerably higher number of snaps than the defense. And the last
couple of weeks it’s been that way.
Q: The throw down to Shockey on fourth down, is that something that you
would have the confidence to call last year with Eli do you think?
Yeah, there were a couple of options there. The fact that Jeremy came so wide
open, that’s where the ball went. Would I have put him in that situation a year
ago? Probably not on a fourth down call in a very tight football game. But, this
is a different situation. So, to advance we did with the idea that it was a run
formation and personnel indicated run and we felt we had a shot and we took it.
Q: In talking about consistency, the offense has not been very consistent
the last couple of weeks. What’s been the problem there?
Well, I think you have to give some credit to the defense. I know that’s a
difficult thing for us all to do. But, last week – you talk about consistency.
Now, I don’t know how you can say that 250 some yards rushing is not consistent.
And we didn’t throw the ball well a week ago. Now yesterday, we took the first
drive of the game and went down the field and had to settle for a field goal.
None of us were happy about that and then we had some struggles with converting.
But, on a couple of occasions yesterday, we mix in a penalty, which I think took
away 55 yards and they were both third down plays, which would have kept the
ball and would have allowed us to go ahead and do some more things. It’s a
matter of execution. If you want to add the penalties, then that’s what’s been
happening on offense unfortunately. We had five yesterday and five the week
before. So, they are extremely untimely and they do cause you to be put in
situations that are very much in favor of the defense in terms of getting you
off the field. So, our third down percentage yesterday wasn’t as good as I had
hoped that it would be. I felt like going in that we had to challenge our people
again and talk about 50 percent and we were at 38 percent. But, we had some very
makeable ones that we didn’t make. We may have picked it up on fourth down on a
couple of occasions, but we were still unable to do it on third down. I think
again that our protection was good yesterday. We didn’t have any sacks. I like
that standpoint. The running yardage was very difficult. But hey, Tampa Bay had
43 yards the week before. They are a difficult team to run the ball on. We had
some success with the throwing game, although the percentage isn’t exactly what
you would like to have either. So, we’re just continuing to be a work in
progress and we definitely have to improve. I was glad to win the game on the
road and it was a difficult battle even there in the third quarter. But, we were
able to do a couple of things in the fourth quarter and then our defense took
control again. In the third quarter, we had the two field goals. We had, in
terms of number of plays, a long drive before the half and then we had the
interception. Then we had the fourth down touchdown to Jeremy. Then, in the
second half, they had the long drive and kicked the field goal. They had an
opportunity to come back and do it again and one of the huge plays in the game,
which I really haven’t had a chance to listen or read too much today, but I
don’t know how many people are talking about (Chris) Snee’s fumble recovery.
That was huge. You are talking about a 10-3 score with the ball inside the
20-yard line and they are feeling pretty good about themselves because they have
come down and kicked field goals. So, that was a huge play. Plaxico’s play at
the end of the third quarter was huge because it put us in a position where we
knocked the ball in the end zone and rejuvenated our sideline. Our defense went
out and got the ball back and we scored again. So, there were some things that
occurred that were in very timely fashion.
Q: Brandon Jacobs mentioned yesterday that you spoke to him when he came
to the sideline after the second touchdown when he kind of loafed into the end
zone. Was it the manner in which he went into the end zone with the dance that
sort of got your attention?
Well, again, I see where everyone is making a big deal out of this. First of
all, I didn’t say what you attribute to? He misunderstood me too. I said, ‘Where
did the cutback come from?’ That’s what I first went to him for. He had cut the
ball all the way back and quite frankly, I didn’t even notice whatever that was
he was doing in the end zone. He and I will have a discussion about that. But,
he did get into the end zone. My question was how did you end up cutting the
ball back that far? What did you see that forced you to do that? I could see on
tape after looking at the film why he did it. But, he’s very coachable and he’ll
do the right thing.
Q: So, you’d rather your players not get involved in those kinds of…?
I don’t think it’s necessary.
Q: On the fourth down play to Shockey, the week before you kind of lulled
the Redskins into thinking you were going to run right and you go left and Tiki
has a huge day. Just as a staff, do you feel like this staff is as on top of
what other teams are doing and optimizing what you can do against them?
Well, I think that’s what we have set out to do each and every week. It
doesn’t always, as you know, end up that way. But, our plans are very solid. I
think we attack personnel very well and I think strategically, we are in
position to do that. Sometimes, it doesn’t – if it was going to be the way we
like it, every play would be a success. It’s just not that. But, we also are
giving credit where the credit goes. We have some players that are able to make
the plays that are strategically being designed for that and then some. I think
Plaxico’s catch, Shockey’s catch, and even Amani’s catch was an outstanding
catch. Now how do you not call that a touchdown? I mean that’s one of the more –
but those are the things that Eli with his ability yesterday against a very
complex third-down blitz team for our front, our backs, and tight ends to block
the way they did and still on a couple of occasions, there’s people loose in a
…, he makes key plays down the field. I think on Amani’s touchdown he had to
avoid a guy right in his face and he did that. The same thing on Plaxico’s long
play. He had a guy hit him immediately after he released the ball. On Jeremy’s
touchdown, he sidestepped pressure to get the ball in position to be caught. The
players are executing and doing the things that they have to do.
Q: Can you update some of the injured players from yesterday? It looked
like Shaun Williams had the most serious one?
Well, he has a hamstring, a right hamstring. Kenderick Allen had a quad
contusion. Nick Greisen had the hit in the ribs and he was out of the game and
did play after that, but he’s sore. Hopefully, that will come around by midweek.
Jim Finn got dinged and came to a sideline and we held him for a series and he
felt pretty good, so the doctors allowed him to go back in.
Q: Since Shaun aggravated the same hamstring, is he not likely to practice
and rest a little bit to make sure…?
Well, we’ll have to wait and see whatever the determination is. Right now, he
feels kind of like he did after he first did it. He can do some things, but he
has a little difficulty in a full open stride. So, we’ll have to see.
Q: Do you have any expectations on Emmons or Tyree being…?
Well, again, we’re going to see what’s happening and where they are. It’s an
extended process here and hopefully we’re going to see some progress.
Q: Do you know what you will do if Emmons comes back? You just mentioned
how well Torbor played yesterday.
As I have said many times when you asked this question, I’m not as concerned
as you are about how they line up. I’m concerned with having the quality
football players to be utilized in different circumstances and situations. We
would certainly need Carlos back as quickly as we can get him. That gives us one
more quality player to again utilize. I’m hoping it’s not going to be too awful
long before he comes back.
Q: Jeremy is off to the best start of his career and has a lot of
touchdowns, catches, and things. Yet, after a lot of games, he seems frustrated
that he feels he can do more and the offense can do more. Is that attitude good
or too harsh?
When used properly, it can be good. I think we would all like to do better. I
think we’d all like to be able to accomplish more and we’d like to all take each
and every step and make it such. We’re working towards that end and I think it’s
a very good thing that Jeremy and a lot of guys in that locker room that think
they can play better and do better and would like to have that opportunity. And
I certainly think that’s a positive thing. I think as we move forward and
everybody continuously tries to improve and do better, then we’ll iron out some
of the difficulties that we have.
Q: Is Jim Finn your new secret weapon?
Secret weapon. That was quite a catch he made on a key first down.
Q: What about this game? We’ve talked about the big playmakers you have on
this team and Jim was not usually part of that conversation. What about
yesterday had you go to him?
Well, we had instituted some passes that would be utilized in those real
tight situations and we had called it a couple of times before – one time before
I think – perhaps in a little different formation and weren’t able to get the
ball there. Of course, it was the ball that just went over (Visanthe) Shiancoe’s
on the head on the first drive. So, we came back and used it later on and Jeremy
had the big catch for the touchdown and we used it one more time and Jim Finn
came up with a ball in the flat and made an excellent catch and was able to turn
up field and get a first down by being able to walk the tight rope and stay in
bounds. So, that was a real good sign and another way in which we can exploit
some of that shorter distance offense.
Q: The ball that he (Finn) caught in the end zone that they called
I just watched it live and having the officials standing right there, the
ball was on the ground. The one official ran in and signaled that he was
juggling. He didn’t juggle the ball. He just probably secured it off the ground.
Q: There are only four teams in the NFC that are 6-2. Do you allow
yourself even a moment’s gratification for what you have accomplished?
No, no. I think you constantly are creating exciting scenarios for yourself
and your mind as you go forward. I think you certainly learn all you can from
the game before and you certainly are excited for our franchise and our players,
coaches, and our team for being in the position that we are in. But, we have a
long, long way to go and I think everybody knows that. The players know that and
our thing is constant improvement and attitude is everything and if we can
continue to prepare the way we have shown an ability to do that, I feel good
about going forward.
Q: To add to that, do you actively start talking about playoffs at this
point with the positioning that…?
No, I think we’ll stay with the position we have taken in terms of our
division. We have a slight lead in our division and we’re going to continue to
utilize that as a primary source of motivation for ourselves and for our team.
Q: With Philadelphia coming into town in two weeks, do you keep a little
closer tab on what’s going on with Terrell Owens?
No, not really. We post every week what the records of the teams in our
division are and who they are competing against that particular week.
Q: With the Vikings coming up this week, do you think it will be similar
to last week where you have a team who’s a little more dangerous than people
give them credit for and you’ll have to convey that to the players?
I think our players – we’ve played the Vikings here a couple years in a row
here now and twice, it may have even been three times on the road against them.
We know that they are a talented group and they certainly did play well and win
a game last weekend and I’m sure they felt they had to win under difficult
circumstances having the starting quarterback being injured the week before. So,
we have great respect for them. We know what is at stake and their win yesterday
is certainly something that will catch everyone’s eye.