ML: “After reviewing the tape, the thing that was pleasing offensively was how many different guys were able to contribute positive plays at the skill spots. Hopefully, as we keep going, we’ll be able to keep building on that and capitalize on that. The balls will get spread out, and guys will get an opportunity.
“Defensively, we got off to a good start, but we had some runs we needed to fit better. But basically, the two turnovers in the red zone were big, obviously a big part of the win. On offense, Carson (Palmer) made a lot of good plays. He’s getting closer and closer back to rhythm. And the more he plays, the better he’s playing.
“Our guys did a good job. We had, offensively, in the negative standpoint, some penalties early on that hurt us, with the delay and a couple of movement penalties. But we’ve got to continue to work with our different cadences to do that better so that we don’t have those penalties as we go forward.”
Q: How did you come out of yesterday’s game health-wise?
ML: “Really, the only injury that we suffered was Rashad Jeanty, who dislocated a finger with a fracture. So he had surgery yesterday in Cleveland. We won’t know where he’ll be until Wednesday with that. He had to reset yesterday, in Cleveland, and travel back here today. Other than that, there were just the bumps and bruises that we normally we have. Other than that, really, the only other player that will probably be out (Sunday at Baltimore) is going to be Andre Smith. I think everybody else has an opportunity to play this week.”
Q: There was a pretty big “valley” of non-production, offensively, in the middle of the game yesterday:
ML: “Well, really not even a valley. We had the interception on offense, then a three-and-out. Then in the third quarter, we had the fumble (on a kick return by Andre Caldwell), so they didn’t get to touch the ball much. So, really, it was more of that than anything. It made for a long time between first downs.”
Q: Is it just inconsistency?
ML: “Well, if you don’t convert a third down, you’re going to have an inconsistency.”
Q: What did you think of Bernard Scott’s job returning kicks?
ML: “When Bernard gets the opportunity, he’s always going to be a good runner with the football, whether on that or on offense. So I think he will continue to get an opportunity, and I think he will do a good job.”
Q: Was Scott returning kicks because Andre Caldwell’s shoulder injury was holding him out, or was it a result of Caldwell’s fumbled kick return?
ML: “Andre returned the one after he fumbled.”
Q: Six punts and an interception seems like a pretty big “valley” of possessions. You went from the end of the first quarter to the end of the fourth quarter between first downs. That seems like a pretty long stretch:
ML: “It is. It’s a long stretch, and we want to get it corrected.”
Q: Carson Palmer was complimentary about the coaches listening to players’ suggestions during the game, much like his own suggestion on fourth down in overtime. How much weight do you give to what players are telling you during a game?
ML: “Not much weight, as far as that goes. There is a lot of weight as to what’s happening on the field, and what they’re seeing. In decision making, I can’t bear to their… They’ve always got their way about them, and how things should go, and be. But you’ve got to make decisions based on what’s best for the football team.”
Q: How did you weigh the differences between punting, or going for it on fourth down in overtime?
ML: “I thought either way, we’d get the ball back. The only way we wouldn’t get the ball back would have been if we gave them the ball right there, if we didn’t convert it. I thought if we punted the ball, we’d get an opportunity to get the ball back by pinning them down there. They had no timeouts left, and we had two. If they threw one incompletion, we were guaranteed to get the ball back with a considerable amount of time. Had they not had an incompletion, we would have had the ball with some time left on the clock. Either way, there was an opportunity to get the ball back.”
Q: Unless you don’t convert the fourth down?
ML: “Unless we don’t convert the fourth down. That was probably the riskiest thing to do. But it worked out well, the guys did a good job converting. I felt comfortable with the offensive play call, that we had a great chance to get the ball up and down, an opportunity for the first down. Things didn’t go that way, and Carson made a good play on his own, based on what they were doing defensively. He took the ball and ran with it. We got the first down and were able to get in field goal range.”
Q: You guys are seven for eight on fourth downs. Was that part of your thinking when considering your options on that play?
Q: Why do you say it was the riskiest?
ML: “Well, I told the coaches on offense that they (Cleveland) shouldn’t get the ball back, let’s make sure they don’t get the ball back. Let’s throw the ball in the end zone, let’s have an opportunity to score here. Once we got to mid-field range with time we had left on the clock, I told them that we should continue to possess the ball throughout the rest of the football game. That was probably the best way to do that, obviously.”
Q: Brad St. Louis has struggled as of late. Do you envision making any changes?
ML: “We have to do better. Brad is aware that we have to do a lot better in special teams, in a bunch of different areas. So, we’ll work hard at that. That’s kind of where we are there.”
Q: Brad has a great resume here. Does that play a factor in any personnel decisions?
ML: “Well, we have to take into consideration what’s best for the team. I’ll continue to say those same things on this subject.”
Q: Does it become a mental thing after one or two bad snaps?
ML: “Like anything else, as a professional, you have to let that go and you have to go on to the next one. It’s not different from other individual sports, which (long-snapping) can be like at times. You’re going to have to not worry about the last one and get the next one right where it needs to be, and be consistent with it. I’m confident Brad will pull out of this and get back to being very, very consistent.”
Q: From what you saw on tape, was it the snap, or protection, or penetration on the two blocks?
ML: “I’m comfortable that we need to do better. I’m confident in that, and we’re going to leave it at that.”
Q: Do you need a little more consistency in the run game?
ML: “We came out and softened them a little bit by throwing early. Carson got off to a good start. I thought we did a nice job of our openers and getting the ball out of his hand. Our guys did a good job of catching the football and running with it, which opened up some of the running lanes for a bit. They did a good job getting under the blocks at times, a little bit unconventional. We seemed to adjust as the game went on. When we had opportunities in the fourth quarter, and in overtime we made good runs. We didn’t get much opportunity in the third quarter, so you can’t reflect much on that. As the time went on, I think field position caught up to us a little bit because of their return game. All those things played a little part in it yesterday. At the end of the day, when you look at it all, you feel good about your run game and then you move on. We’ll make the corrections and put our focus on Baltimore.”
(Announcement on a sellout for the Oct. 25 home game against Chicago):
ML: “Another one of the positive things, we are going to announce later today that the Chicago game has been sold out. Again, we urge the fans to come out when we play the Houston Texans, after the Ravens, to get out and fill the house. We saw again yesterday what a crowd can do. It makes it loud. When we were backed up down in the end zone punting, you can’t hear. So we’re really excited about our fans being out here in two weeks when we get back home. After a big game on the road this week, then we’re back home, basically for three of the next four weeks, and four weeks in a row with the bye-week in the middle of that. So that’s a great thing for us.”
Q: Are you concerned about your team’s personal fouls? There were even a few captains involved:
ML: “We can’t have personal fouls. We have to be careful. We know it can be a chippy game at times, but we have to use better discretion and be poised. It was a cheap shot that (Andrew) Whitworth received, and he can’t go back after the guy. That hurt us and backed us up. Kevin (Huber) got off a great punt, but they still got the ball on the 50 (due to a foul). Those things we can’t do.”
Q: Have you started to look at Baltimore, yet? If so, how do they look?
ML: “They’re playing pretty well. Obviously they’ve been able to run the football strongly, but their new dimension is Joe Flacco’s ability to move the team through the air. They’re still playing very consistent on defense. They’re getting pressure on the quarterback. So it’s much like an AFC North game.”
Q: If I would’ve asked you at the beginning of the season if you would be pleased to be 3-1, would’ve you have been pleased?
ML: “I would be disappointed.”
Q: So you would’ve rather been 4-0?
Q: You seemed to be throwing to your tight ends more on Sunday:
ML: “That’s a good perception. If you were calling defenses, that's where the ball would go. But I thought the guys did a good job of working, and Carson again working the coverages and getting the ball delivered where it needs to be. It thought the guys did a good job of being in the right spots and catching the football and making positive plays throughout. They had six or seven catches or nine catches, I don't know what they had, but it was a lot. I know they had what, the first four, I think, in the game. So that was big. And JP (Foschi’s) catch down the middle that set up the tying touchdown. Again, Carson can't dictate all the time where the ball's going to go. We've just got to have the right guys in the right spots, and then he'll deliver the football based on his reads.”
Q: It seemed like Bernard Scott gave you guys a good spark on offense. What did you think of his play on offense, and will we see more of that?
ML: “He did a good job. We want to continue to work Bernard (Scott) into the offense a little bit to give Cedric (Benson) a little bit of a breather. But he's got to keep being consistent in knowing his assignments and exactly where he needs to be all the time. But that was his most significant action on offense this year, and it was good.”
Q: He seems like a great change-of-pace guy:
ML: “He's a great open-field runner and he can make guys miss. When we get him into the second level, we can expect some big plays. That's what I was hoping to get popped through there.”