"We had a lot of opportunities to win the football game. For our guys and the organization, we had a lot of investment in it. For everybody that put the trip together as smooth and seamless as it was, it was regretful that we didn't win the football game. We had a lot of different opportunities in different ways. You have to take real advantage of that in all three phases. We have to move ahead and learn from it, but we had opportunities. We have to get it done."
Is it frustrating that all elements of special teams aren't there right now?
"The missed PAT and missed field goal are big things. We put a punt down in the middle of the field, too. Those are things you can't have. We had two penalties in the kicking game. They hurt you. Going into the week, the lesson was 'the smarter team will win the game,' and 'don't play down to it; play the way we need to play, error free.' We didn't do that."
Defensively, is it just one player here or there?
"We have to make tackles. The ball was checked down a bunch, which is where you want the ball to go, but we just have to tackle the catch. That was Paul's (Guenther) point too. That was his point going into the game; to do a good job tackling the catch. Their quarterback (Cousins) completes a high percentage of footballs because he's gong to get rid of the ball. He's not going to get hit, he's going to throw it away or check it down early. That's what he does, and we have to tackle the catch."
Do you think the long trip played a role in the mistakes by both teams?
"No it didn't play a role. We were fine. The guys handled the trip well. The people did a great job. We went to play the Redskins, it just happened to be a farther trip."
Tackling was a strength last year. Was last week a lapse?
"It's something we've had to stress all season. I've come in here too many times and talked about tackling. It's an 11-man proposition. We have to do a better job in every area of defense. We had plays at the line of scrimmage that ended up being three or four-yard gains. All of those things count. We had hits in the backfield that instead of being minus-two, ended up being plus two or three. All those things are part of playing good defense and tackling."
The running game seems to be establishing a rhythm ...
"We've done a good job. The running backs have done a good job. We missed a few runs in this game, which we hadn't done the last few weeks. We just have to continue to grind at it, work hard at it, and stay on their reads and tracks. We have to let things happen, not guess that 'this run will be like the last run.' We're doing a good job and have to continue it but we left some things out there a little more than we'd like."
What is the locker room vibe at the halfway point?
"The locker room should be just fine."
Was it encouraging to see Tyler Eifert out there?
"It was great to have Tyler out there. More importantly, Tyler's blocking on the line of scrimmage was excellent. He didn't get in too many of those situations the first week back, but he had a lot more this week and I thought he did a good job."
Do you see the NFL expanding to Europe?
"That's not my deal. I don't worry about that."
I know you always say a team 'earns its record,' but do you get the sense that this team is better than a 3-4-1 team, a veteran team that played a tough first-half schedule?
"That's what we are right now, 3-4-1. We have an opportunity to improve upon that, but we have to do the things we put in front of us each week per the opposition to do that, and do it consistently each and every time out. We have 13 days to get things right for the next one."
Is there anything in particular you're looking for going into the bye?
"We'll look at every area."
Can you build off of your improved red-zone efficiency?
"Each week we have to continue to do things efficiently as far as those opportunities that are presented. We want to get there more often. We had three other opportunities to get there where we didn't quite get to the red-zone and get touchdowns. Those are important. We had a fumble at midfield, an interception before the red-zone, and another opportunity where we ended up missing the field goal. Those are three other opportunities that we didn't come away with points when we should have come away with points."
Is some of this on the adjustment of new coaches? Does the time off come at a good spot?
"That's an excuse. New coaches were a positive back in April and March, and are still a positive. It comes at a good spot. I said that when the schedule came out. We played Thursday night early, bye weeks later, and that's good. You'd like to be in a different spot record-wise, but it's where we are. We have an opportunity now to move forward. Being great for the last part of the season is the most important part. We didn't finish the season very well last year, and we have a chance to flip that. That's important."
Most of this roster lived through the grind of 2012, when you came back from 3-5 …
"Actually I think it's only 10 or 12 guys. We've had three classes of rookies since then, and a lot of them are still here. We do have some guys that were on that 2012 team, but not many. Andy they won't remember that anyway. What it is, is what is presented to us today, more than anything in the past. The approach then was 'one game at a time'. It's been the approach now, and it will be the approach moving forward."
Are you in favor of switching to college overtime rules?
"I wouldn't be. I just think it's hokey (in the college game). We play enough football. Our guys on defense played 94 plays this last game. We don't want to continue to keep playing."
Do you like the rule the way it is?
"Yes. Actually, I like the rule the way it used to be, when the first team who scored won the game."
Do you see any moves with William Jackson or Cedric Peerman being made out of the bye?
"That will be down the road."
What about Brandon Thompson?
"All three of those guys are very close."
It seems you're starting to get guys back and healthy for the back end of the season ...
"We're fortunate where we are. The guys have done a good job with their offseason and their training, and we're very fortunate where we are. Knock on wood it will continue this way. We have to execute and play better to win football games."
So the injured guys are close, but nothing is imminent?
"No. Let's not talk about it every day."