(Opening… ) For the second week in a row, we had a miserable performance and it put us in a situation at the halfway point of the season being 4-4, we’ve seen the upside of our team and we’ve also seen the downside. At this time, really, what I am seeing is a coaches challenge. We have to figure out how to get ourselves back on track, we have to play a game of football that gives us a chance in so many different areas. It’s a very difficult spot to be in because we’re not sure that we can get this thing cranking the way we want to, and how soon we can, until we go back to work, and start working at it, and that’s what has to happen next week. We have to go back, and find our ways, and put things back in order and continue to call on guys to step up in spots and play for us and play like the guys that were there before and keep our level of play where we have a chance.
We gave them the football a bunch of times today and we critical penalties in situations where we’re off the field, and that gave them life and that was more than we could handle today. So, it’s still 4-4, halfway point, with everything out in front out of us, it depends on how we go. The challenge issued in the locker room to the fellows is that we have to hang together, and we have to pull together and we have to get ourselves to the point where we can play good football and execute like we know we’re capable of doing, so that we can have a chance to win the football game. That’s what it is, it’s a coaches challenge to get this thing right, so I’m taking it head on and we’ll go after it.
Charlie survived his first game, he made it through it, he was poised and handled it okay. He was unable to make anything other than the one big play, throws-wise. We turned it over twice in the red zone with a chance to be moving and going in the right direction. I think that he has that start to put behind him now, so we’ll see what happens and how he can grow from there. He did some good things, but he didn’t do enough things to make a difference. It’s a very, very difficult team he just played; in all phases, they are just as solid as a rock. They did get a really great job on offense, the quarterback was almost flawless, and the running game was consistent and tough. They were able to convert on third down.
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On the other side, we couldn’t run and we couldn’t throw it. The thing we did do today was protect the passer, we thought that might be the big issue. We were able to do that and it was a nice job scheme-wise, and a nice job by the guys in front of them, but we didn’t take advantage of it. I was disappointed that we weren’t able to create anything in the special teams area; the one return from Leon, but other than that they did a nice job of kicking away from us and kept us from making any big things happening there, save that one time. This is a big time challenge for us, and for me, and for our coaching staff, and we have to find out ways to get our guys on track. These guys are with us, they have a tremendous attitude about hanging, they want to get something done, and they’re going to come from the heart to do that. So now we have put ourselves in this situation, and we’ll take ourselves to the next step, and that’s really what it is right now.
(On whether the team has the horses on offense …) We’ll find out. I’ve said this a number of times, but we will get better up front. I think Russell has a chance to get back, we thought he’d make it this week; he didn’t. He was close, and that will make a difference in helping us. Chester is playing out of the position we want him in; he’ll have a chance to be our left guard when we get Russell back in there. With that, we have to get our QB back and get Matt going again and put things back in order, if we can start to make some progress. It’s amazing how we’ve seen the whole spectrum in half a year and now we have to go and move ahead.
(On the defense…) There are issues you deal with. I have to look at the film to find out specifically. I thought Junior did some good things today; I don’t know about Kentwan in for Red, I don’t know how he played. He made some tackles, but we didn’t feel like we were as forceful at the line of scrimmage as we wanted to be at all, so we’ll have to wait and see. It’s what this is, it’s a fight. It’s a long time race that you’re running in, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon thing, and we have to survive it and stick together and hang with the guys and they have to answer and play like the guys that left.
(On being 4-4…) I don’t know what happened today around the division, but we’re 4-4, and so we’re still sitting there with the ability to control what’s going on in our division, which is what we set out to do from the start, but right now we have to respond, and we have to get it right. Is there hope? Of course there is, so we have a chance to do good things. We’re going to go to work, and it’s a challenge we’ll figure this out and see what we can do.
(On the loss today…) Nothing feels right right now. We are unable to keep the big plays from happening. We can’t withstand those when we are struggling on the other side of the ball, that just adds to the problems. We have to get rid of the big play first, that’s the first thing you have to do when you play defense; that’s where it all starts. It starts with the running game, and then you start building from there We’ve lost any kind of momentum that we had up front. We were playing good ball up front for a while, and we’ve lost that and we have to regain that with our scheme, with getting guys comfortable and help us with the pressure.
(On the ball bouncing off Mike Williams’ hands for an interception …) I didn’t think he had trouble today. I thought it was a very nice play Terrell Thomas down by the goal line; he wrapped himself all around him, maybe I didn’t see it right, but he can make that play. He’s made those plays. I thought it was a very good defensive play as well.
(On the trick play on third and one…) In these games, there are a number of plays like that. The best play of the day was the challenge for us. We challenged and we got the ball on the turnover, it was a huge play right there. The two third down penalties where we stopped them and were off the field were just as impacting; they get the ball again and they wind up scoring out of that. What happens if that doesn’t happen. Baker is wide open to make 20 or 30 yards right there, and we get a little charge out of that and we get moving and we’re probably on the 35 or 40 yard line, or something like that. It didn’t happen. It looked great in practice, and we just missed it in the game. But, I think those plays do have that, that’s what it is, it’s one play that has a factor in what’s going on , and we let too many get away from us.
(On two big losses in row, can the team come back…) Heck, yeah. The coach has to get it out of the guys, and that’s what we have to figure out how to do. However, I say that, because that’s the natural thing to say. I can look these guys in the eye and talk to them in the locker room, and these guys are going to hang; they’re going to battle, they’re going to stay with it. That’s what they know, these are the guys we’ve chosen to play with, and we have leadership in that room. It breaks your heart, all of us, to have to look at that. But these guys will respond.