ML: “After watching the video of the game, among some of the things that stood out was that the offensive (pass) protection did a good job – the line. We were where we needed to be, for the most part, most of the day. We provided the quarterback opportunity and lanes, and the quarterback did a good job with it. The receivers did a nice job in the route conversions. That led to our productivity on third down.
“We didn’t run the football as much because we had such short fields at times; we ended up throwing the ball in the red zone there. But we had some really productive runs yesterday, we’ve just got to keep after it and keep going. That was another positive.
“Special teams-wise, we’ve made a conversion with some new guys in there now, particularly covering kickoffs. We came out and did a good job yesterday, with as many kicks as we had to cover. We’ve got to keep consistent with that, with those guys understanding their keys, their reads and their responsibilities, and staying clean and getting off blocks. In the punt return game, we talk about getting separation and just giving our guys an opportunity. In our opportunities yesterday, we did that. We just can’t drop the football, like we did with Brandon (Tate).
“Defensively, in playing the running game, all 11 guys did a nice job early in the football game. Then we did a good job on the route progressions and were able to put pressure and get at the quarterback.
“As I alluded to yesterday, and looking at it now, I thought it was probably our best effort in all three phases in one football game. We just have to keep doing this and keep playing better each and every week.”
Early in the game yesterday, it seemed the two teams were adjusting to one another and that you were throwing a lot on first down, causing a lot of second- and third-and-shorts. That seemed to be a big factor:
ML: “Yeah. Obviously a lot of their strength comes with the defensive line, so if you can keep the third downs manageable, it’s helpful. We were doing a good job of the play actions and our plays at the line of scrimmage, with Andy (Dalton) getting us in and out of the right things. It was good.”
ML: “In his snaps that he had yesterday, he did a good job in them. He contributed on special teams, and he had some third-down conversions, both as a receiver and a runner. It was a good day for Mo.”
One thing that seemed to stand out yesterday was when you allowed a catch, you eliminated the yards after catch. You often held their receivers to one or two yards after the catch:
ML: “The nature of their passing game when they don’t have their initial read, the ball gets checked down. We did a good job of making the tackle on the catch. It’s something you have to keep doing. Each and every week, guys have to do a good job of understanding the scheme and how we break it down and break it apart, so they understand where they fit within the passing structure, whether it’s zone defense or man (man-to-man) defense.”
Was it a better job by your defense of contesting things, too?
ML: “Yeah. We had some tipped balls, some batted balls. Adam (Jones) on the first third down, Terence (Newman) on a fourth down, Adam on a third down. Rey (Maualuga) broke up a number of sticks to the tight end on the day. Those are good things. They’re understanding their progressions and getting closer on them.”
Was the play of the linebackers and the secondary yesterday the best so far this season?
ML: “It was a good day. We’ve had good days before where we would have a major breakdown and give us a little sour taste to it. This was probably the day without a major breakdown. We came away feeling pretty good about the entire day. The one breakdown that we had, Nate (Clements) came over late. Had guys been in the right position to begin with – and Nate did a good job of getting there – we would have been fine.”
Are you talking about the drop by Victor Cruz?
ML: “Yeah. It was him seeing Nate coming over, you mean (laughs). It was the presence of Nate coming at him.”
Will you watch the Chiefs live tonight, or will you wait until the morning to start on them?
ML: “The Chiefs have been started on already today. But we don’t gain much from television football.”
Over the progression of the season, when do you start feeling comfortable with what you know to expect from your team?
ML: “In my opinion, when you feel really good about your football team is when you can go out and know that, most days, you’re going to run the football productively, not turn it over and not give up explosive plays?
Are you getting any closer to that?
ML: “We’re not there yet. But to me, as a coach, in my 20-plus years in the NFL and with the teams that I’ve been around, when you can do that, it takes a lot of anxiety out of you on Sunday. There’s still going to be that anxiety, but No. 1, if you can effectively run and control the game running the ball, if you’re not careless with the ball, and conversely, if you don’t give up explosive play defensively or allow the other team to run the ball up and down the field on you, then you know you have an opportunity to be successful in every game, which gives you a chance to win the game. That’s what you’re looking for in the NFL – have a chance going into the third and fourth quarter to win the football game.”
How close are you to getting that way in the running game? Did
ML: “We’re better in the running game than you want to do (realize). We just played a team that finished (32nd) last year in rushing, and was Super Bowl champions. Believe me, you win in the NFL because you can productively throw the football. I know Mike Brown’s smiling upstairs hearing me say that (laughs).”
But don’t you have to gain more yards on the ground?
ML: “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Did Cedric Peerman do anything to get in the mix a little more as that complimentary back?
ML: “We’ll see.”
Some players mentioned that they felt they had an attitude difference yesterday. Is that because the defending Super Bowl champions were here, or was it something else?
ML: “I think guys realized that there’s no reason to keep talking about it. You’re going to keep asking the questions, they’ll give you the same answers as much they can. They’re going to tell you what I tell them to tell you. But at the end of the day you can’t talk about it; you’ve just got to do it. Too much has been said. We have to do, and that’s part of it.
“That’s what they’re paid to do. We’re paid to coach, they’re paid to make plays. We’ve got to put them in position to make plays, and when they’re there, they’ve got to make plays or we’ve got to keep trying to shuffle the deck for the next guy, and hopefully that guy is still in this building. If not, maybe we can find someone outside this building.
“But that’s important to us, and I think our group of players realizes that. From the very first touchdown pass, where we had a guy make a big play that none of you know about. Other than the thrower and the catcher, there was a big play made on that play, and it was an unscripted one. Those are things that you have to have happen if everybody just keeps doing their thing.”
You were plus-three on turnovers yesterday. That has to make things difficult on the other team:
ML: “And where we got them – we got them with good field position. With the punt return, with
“But our guys made good plays on the football, and that’s why they’re here. Andrew (Hawkins), his quickness showed and his ability to separate, and Andy puts a ball only he can catch. And the same with
You had to be pleased with the play of all three of the young, interior offensive linemen – G
ML: “We were. We’re pleased with what they’re doing, both run and pass. Yesterday was a good day for them. You’ve got to just keep going. We’ve got to turn our attention here today to the Chiefs and get prepared for that.”
How did Pat Sims and
ML: “They both showed it was their first time playing, so good and bad. Pat sure showed up and made some Pat-like plays that he can do. He has special ability. He showed that he has great strength and athleticism for such a big man. He has big-man strength. He showed it, and he made a great play on the interception to catch the ball and showed his athleticism to make the catch. He didn't look like a guy who had never done that before, so that was good. With Dre, his energy and enthusiasm and speed are showing up. We just have to get him always in the right spot. But it was good to get his first real live action. Now he's played two preseason games (laughs), because he's missed so much. You think about 1,000 training camp snaps – he's missed that time. He's missed nearly half a football season and all the OTA time, basically – a lot of the OTA time. He's missed some snaps. The only thing he was fully through was the roughly 200-some snaps of rookie camp. He's got a lot of what-ifs to cover that obviously we don't get mulligans right now. It's important. There's a lot of things that happen.”
How did Trevor Robinson do yesterday? Is he growing into his role a little bit? It seems like he handled things well yesterday:
ML: “He's doing a really good job. As you said, it's not been too big, each time he's gotten an opportunity to play he's played better than he played the time before that.
How did you come out of yesterday’s game injury-wise? You seem to be pretty healthy:
ML: “Seem to be, yes. We had two guys out last week in Reggie (Nelson) and
Can you expand on the great unscripted play on
ML: “Never going to tell.”
Who should we be looking for (in reviewing the play)?
ML: “We'll see your coaching instincts, we'll see how good you are (laughs).”
Any update on
ML: “Kyle will be back in his rehab mode this week, and it's just a matter now of how he gets back to functionality. He's progressing well. Whenever he gets back to functionally moving and doing what he has to do as an offensive lineman in NFL football.”
Is there any chance of seeing him play this season?
ML: “We can't put a timetable on anatomy that way. Kyle is champing at the bit to have the opportunity to play, so I know he'll work extremely hard at it. Hopefully it will progress pretty quickly.”