ML: “After watching and going back through the tape again a couple of times, I think the things that were positive were the drives offensively. I don’t know if I’ve ever been around when you have a 97-yard drive, a 91-yard drive and an 80-yard touchdown drive.
“I thought our third down was good yesterday. Obviously the turnovers and a couple of the untimely penalties really hurt us in the game. I thought the three kicking game penalties ended up being very significant for us. Defensively, we did a lot of really good things but we had some error in coverage a couple times that created plays when the quarterback moved. The quarterback moved three times. It really affected us. We got good pressure, batted some balls in the air, but we didn’t get anything that came down in our hands. Despite the six and seven man protections we saw most of the game, we were able to gain some pressure by doing some different things but we just didn’t get any balls to bounce our way. We just had the one interception.
“The failure to make a couple plays on the ball was significant in the game. We have some things to continue to work hard at, and some other things to correct and move forward, and we need to right away.”
You were talking about coverage mistakes and cover errors. Was one of them on that game-winning touchdown to Brandon Marshall? Was there confusion there?
ML: “There was no confusion, no.”
How did you feel about the running back rotation?
ML: “I felt good about it. If we had an opportunity to have maybe 10 more carries with the lead with the lead, 10 more opportunities to run the football with the ball back there at the end of the game. I felt good about it though.”
Is that about how you envisioned it going as far as distribution, about two to one (between
Protection was pretty good for
ML: “Well, we had a couple of negative plays that unfortunately Benny (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) was involved in, which hurt him at the end of the day as far as his production. On the first four plays, he had about a four-yard average, and then we had four negative plays at some point and he happened to be in there, and we didn’t get the right guys blocked and sustained. That’s unfortunate. We have to do better with it, and we have to be more consistent with it, because we had a lot where we were correct. “
How do you think
ML: “Well, Taylor didn’t play linebacker, but in Taylor’s snaps he had, he did OK.”
Andy only had a handful of incompletions and even one of the interceptions was a pretty well-thrown ball. Did you see that as a big step forward with him?
ML: (Laughs) “I don’t analyze it as any steps forward, I think Andy has gone forward every time he goes out and plays for us. I thought he did a good job for us in the football game. He managed the things that he’s asked to do, and I thought he threw the ball well. He threw the ball in a very timely manner, which is very important.”
On third down, there were some long ones that he converted:
ML: “He made the good throw to A.J. (Green) on the third-and-long. That was a good throw and good timing and good execution of the play.”
In the kicking game, you mentioned obviously the penalties were a hindrance to say the least. Other than that, in terms of where you kicked and placed the football:
ML: “I thought the placement of the football was really good. We separated and tackled well. We got eluded on the one kickoff where (Devin) Hester got the ball and we didn’t make the tackle. But overall it was good, and I thought the effort was great. I was pleased with the placement of the ball by Kevin (Huber) and Mike (Nugent) all day.”
Was Chicago’s pass protection that good, keeping your big guys off Cutler?
ML: “He threw the ball pretty quick, and he ran three times to avoid it, and we tipped three in the air. They protected with seven guys most of the day, and that’s what’s going to happen. We were pretty good in coverage, a lot of incompletions. You’re going to just keep rushing. We sat here last year and said the same thing after two or three ball games, ‘Where’s the pass rush?’ You’re not going to just let us walk to the quarterback, so we’re going to have to keep doing it, and keep getting balls tipped in the air, keep being consistent in coverage, and good things happen for you.”
ML: “His snaps were good. Both tight ends were very productive. He and Jermaine (Gresham) both were very productive. Jermaine had a really good ball game, strong ball game and did a lot of good things. Although Tyler didn’t play (at the end of the preseason) he was able to practice and stay up to speed with things.”
Out of all the things that happened yesterday with the penalties and turnovers, was the lack of composure by your guys still the most frustrating?
ML: “I don’t want to see our guys do that. They know better than that. They’ve never been that way, so we have to get it on the right page quickly. I thought they could have been handled differently both times, by the people in charge as well. I don’t know what else, guys down on the ground and guys still blocking us. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do, they can block us all the way into the boundary or what. We know how to handle it and we’ve got to do it better.”
How do you do that? Is that something where the guys take care of it themselves internally?
ML: “It’s not a major thing, we’ve just got to not do it. It’s plain and simple. It’s no revolutionary thing. You can’t be the second offender. You just got to walk away. You can’t hurt the football team.”
On the punt late in the second quarter,
ML: “He’s got to make a good decision. If he doesn’t feel like he has the right flight of the ball, you don’t want an error. We always want the ball caught if we can, and if it’s in the proper field position, yes we want to catch the football.”
It looked like he peeked at the gunner a little bit, like he does. He always spies those guys a little bit. The ball got on him a little fast I guess?
ML: “We’d be sitting here making excuses for things.”
It seemed like for the most part you came out of the game relatively healthy. Are there any updates on
ML: “Burfict will be sore. But right now I think he'll be okay. We'll see how the week goes on. We have a little extra day this week I think that will be helpful. He flew around the field and made a lot of plays. I think he would have been sore regardless of whether he took the blow to the knee or not. He'd have been sore today. We are in pretty good shape. We are where we are. We have got to lick our wounds and get back to work.”
Vontaze seemed to be a bright spot:
ML: “There were a lot of bright spots. They all had positive plays and negative plays. We lost as a football team. We lost the football game. We had many opportunities to put the game away and we didn’t get it done. So it's a lesson well learned.”
Do you expect to have additional hands on deck with the long week?
ML: “We are not down many guys so we think we will have an opportunity to have most people ready to play this week.”
Are you hopeful on Whitworth?
ML: “He has an opportunity to play this week.”
ML: “I think a lot of our players did a lot of good things. Nobody graded 100 percent but I think Anthony did a really good job. He can do better, he knows, but all in all I thought he played a solid ballgame against a very good player. If he's out there again this week he'll play against another good player. He's got to keep coming. That's where he is right now.”
The second-down play at the end of the half has probably been dissected ad nauseam:
ML: “We got a play run where we ought to get a ball up and down and complete. Keep the clock running, have an opportunity to complete the third down and not give them the ball back. So be it, this time they got the ball back. We've done it other times when they don't get the ball back. You can sit there and second guess. If we get a good punt or if we don't get the penalty there's a lot of things that went in to them kicking a 58-yard field goal at the end of the half. There's a lot of ways to look at that. Right now everyone is looking is the negative of it. At times it will be positives that way. You can always look and second guess it when it doesn't go your way. I can second guess it more than all you guys can in my own mind. There's enough of that going on.”
Is it good after a game like that to have a division opponent coming in on a Monday night?
ML: “I don't know, I think it'd be better if we were playing Tuesday or Wednesday (laughs), but we are not. We are going to play Monday, and we are going to be playing the Steelers. They are feeling a lot like we are. I just watched the first half of their game and I'm sure they feel the same way we do. We know it will be a tough physical battle here. We’ve got to get ready to play regardless of who we are playing, what we are playing. After watching the tape last night and then watching it again a couple times today I felt good about a lot of things. I'm excited about our guys. That's the good thing. I'm excited about this group and what we can accomplish. But we have to do it. We are back to square one, so that's good. We like to fight uphill.”
So now it ends up being a 15-game season with everyone losing in the division?
ML: “All right. You’re marketing.”
Since it’s now after opening day, and the rules about veteran contracts are different, is there any possibility of tweaking the roster this week? There’s a report that Michael Boley is coming in to try out tomorrow.
ML: “Gosh, you guys are on reports, huh? We should just have you guys make arrangements for us. That would save a whole step in the process. You are correct in everything you said, but we will see what happens.”
Is it easier to add a guy this week with the extra day?
ML: “I don't know. We'll see. We are going to kick tires on guys like we always do and see where things are, where people are, where they are, where we are and go from there.”