ML: After watching the tape, not much changed from what I said after the game. In the first half, we got outplayed in the three phases. We didn’t convert third downs on offense and didn’t keep them from converting defensively. We didn’t play as well as we should be able to play, and have been playing, in the kicking game.
“We start the second half with a kickoff return against us for a touchdown, and we tried to fight back into things a little bit, but it wasn’t good enough, and not nearly good enough to win the game. We didn’t really get them out of sync very often defensively.
“So that’s where we were yesterday, and we’re moving forward today. We’re moving on, getting ready to prepare for the Ravens. It’s the home opener, and a division football game.”
Q: What did you take in terms of positives that you can build on?
ML: “I thought there were a lot of positives offensively in the passing game. I think we need to be a little cleaner in protection, but I saw sights, things we wanted to do, adjustments, and so forth in the passing game. I thought we made a lot of contested catches, which you need to do in tight football games. I thought penalty-wise, we came out and played a clean game. We didn’t hurt ourselves other than one time, one penalty. I thought our specialists, other than the one kickoff, handled the situation well. The placement of the balls was where we wanted them. Defensively, there wasn’t much I was real happy with. Some of our guys played okay, but there wasn’t much we were real happy with.”
Q: On the lack of pressure on Tom Brady:
ML: We only knocked the quarterback down a couple times, which isn’t good enough.
Q: (Defensive Coordinator) Mike Zimmer said yesterday he wasn’t entirely surprised that the defensive effort wasn’t where he wanted it to be, since he had some concerns in the preseason. Did you feel the same way?
ML: “I think our concern was not having some of the front guys that haven’t played football in awhile. That’s the biggest thing. We had some guys that missed some time, but that happens. When it’s time to go, you’ve got to go.”
Q: What’s the key to bouncing back from a loss like this?
ML: “Get ready to play the next week – that’s all. Go out and prepare, and do the things we need to do to win the next football game.”
Q: On the defensive breakdowns yesterday:
ML: “I thought defensively we did a lot of that (breaking down). I thought we had some guys create some stuff and not do some of the things that have been entrenched in them over the years, and obviously in practice day-to-day. You’ve got to break that, and get out of that, and it was a little bit of the same things with the guys on special teams.”
Q: Even though you haven’t seen them play, how do you anticipate some of the new guys in Baltimore?
ML: “I don’t know – we’ll see. I don’t worry about what they do – let’s worry about us.”
Q: Any worries on offense?
ML: “Again, I think I’m probably being redundant here, so let me try to remember what I said the first time through so I don’t repeat myself too badly. You have to convert third downs. We didn’t do a good enough job of that in the first half. And we’ve got to do a better job of positioning in the blocks and sustaining the blocks a little bit longer, to make some of the runs seven or 10-yard runs instead of three-yard runs.
“So we have to go back and be consistent with that all the way through the tracks of our back, our footwork of own people. Our receivers have to get their force blocks when they’re supposed to. So everybody has to get on the same page that way.
“The passing game has to continue to be exact. I think the quarterback did a fine job yesterday of moving within the pocket and extending the play. He needs to continue with that, like he’s capable of doing, and go from there. Guys did a good job of making contested catches in those situations when he was on the move, in order to extend the play. We’ve got to keep working. We saw a lot of man-under coverage yesterday. We’ve got to be able to beat it and work on leverages and so forth.”
Q: Those third downs were often short and makeable, the ones you work for:
ML: “Yeah you do work to get those, and you’ve got to convert them.”
Q: Tackling wasn’t up to snuff, was it?
ML: “No, it wasn’t very good. It was a little bit the same way on both sides of the football. We’ve got to do a better job in that, whether it is finishing the blocks or finishing the tackling.”
Q: Are you done addressing the halftime issues with Chad and T.O.?
ML: “You’ve seen Chad go in (to the locker room shortly before halftime). The doctors take Chad in. Chad doesn’t stick an IV in his own arm. And we addressed the shoe issue, and we go from there. I think too much is made of nothing. Ironically, the way it worked out, we had the (wide receivers) who practiced the probably 10-12 reps we’ve had on the (Hail Mary) play. We had the three guys in there in the three spots they’ve been in, so it kind of worked out to our advantage, because they had the most practice on it. I don’t know why people want to make a big deal out of that. We’ve watched it how many times? Right?”
Q: I think they are more interested in T.O., and then you said the “shoe” issue. What’s that?
ML: “Well, the guy had shoes that just got here on Saturday. Again, we don’t need to get into all of that. It’s over. It occurred but it’s not a big deal. We were ready to go with the guys. We knew he had gone in. They had taken him in.”
Q: So you’re saying T.O. was a shoe issue?
ML: “He had gone in to get something looked at. But we knew that going in. That’s why when we came out on the field, we came out with those guys. We knew who was here. Again, I think everybody wants to make something out of everything Terrell does, unfortunately, but this is not it. This is not something Terrell has done. Hopefully we have nothing down the line, but this not one to make anything out of. At some point in the year Chad doesn’t need those IV’s, but again, to avoid the cramping he has gone through at times in the fourth quarter of games, particularly a game like that where it’s the first game and the anxiety of that and so forth, they want to IV him. Whether it be a placebo effect on him or not, (laughs) I don’t know, but I do know he has cramped up at times. It wasn’t a particularly warm day yesterday, but guys get it, and he’s one that dries out pretty good.”
Q: I guess in hindsight you wish the pass (before halftime) was a couple of yards deeper?
ML: “A little bit of the issue is, too, that the rules of timing. That used to be a clock run-out (after a missed FG), and now it won’t run out. That got addressed last year prior to the playoffs. That’s something that is going to come into play now in our games, and that’s our first opportunity through it, where a team tries a long field goal at the end of the half. When you’re making the decision of whether or not to kick it, one time you’ll be asking me, ‘Why didn’t you kick that ball?’ If that quarterback’s arm is strong enough to reach the end zone you’ve got to consider that. Your probability of making it, and their probability having one more whack at it down the field. But you’ll base that on your probability of making the kick, whether or not you take that opportunity.”
Q: Did you go through the throw with Carson? Did he say he underthrew it, or if that was as far as he could throw it?
ML: “He was able to throw it where he could throw it, based on his situation at that point in time.”