ML: "As I said yesterday, as I told the team today after watching the tape, things remain the same. When you don't take care of business as far as defensive responsibilities and assignments, you get beat, and offensively you have to take care of the football. We got off to a good start yesterday – third down, et cetera. And then as the game wore on, we didn't convert third downs, and obviously the two fumbles were huge and they hurt us. We had a number of missed opportunities in a number of areas. Now it's time to move forward."
Q: Is there any news on Antwan Odom's injury?
ML: "I haven't heard what happened with the surgery this morning, and we'll go from there." (Later in the afternoon, Odom was placed on the Reserve/Injured list).
Q: What about Domata Peko?
ML: "Domata has a knee injury. It's not believed to be real severe, and we'll see how it goes."
Q: So Peko would be questionable this week?
ML: "We don't say questionable, or any of that stuff, until the end of the week." Q: Is it safe then to say that he won't practice or will be limited this week?
ML: "I don't know that. We'll see that Wednesday or Thursday, being as though I don't have a crystal ball. I wish I did."
Q: How is Chase Coffman progressing?
ML: "Chase Coffman is progressing like a guy on the 53-man squad."
Q: Do you think he will be able to make more contributions for you this year?
ML: "I don't know when Chase will be able to make a contribution. It all goes back, like I've said, to the limit of how many guys we can suit up on Sunday (45)."
Q: Now that Antwan Odom is injured, are we going to see a lot more of Michael Johnson?ML: "Every week, even before this, he has been getting quite a few snaps. I think yesterday, Michael played his best football of the season. Hopefully that continues as a trend. He'll have an opportunity to do more and more.
"It's been a good progression (playing passing downs) for him to go through it like that. He was more and more comfortable with it, and now he will see the first and second down workloads, as far as spelling guys, and maybe he will go by a guy (on the depth chart). We'll see from there. He has the ability, and we'll see what happens."
Q: He seems to have a lot of unique physical gifts:
ML: "He has a lot of unique physical gifts, and he has the mental ability to handle it and see what happens. The veteran players have been good mentors for him. He's been in good shape and position, and if Antwan (Odom) is done for the season, at some point he will be another resource."
Q: So Jonathan Fanene should have the edge as the starter in place of Odom for now?ML: "Yes."
Q: What do you like about Fanene?
"I think I've said this: Jon has probably improved as much as any football player I've been around in the National Football League, from the time we got him until now. He doesn't always do things exactly the way it's supposed to be. In fact, he got a sack yesterday in an error, but he got a sack. He kept coming and he made the best out of it. But Jon hadn't played a lot of football prior to going to the University of Utah, so he's probably got more time in the NFL than he had prior to that in football. He keeps learning, he keeps getting better. I think his aptitude for the game, his ability to learn and understand about tendencies offensively, is very good. He's a quiet person, as you alluded to, so he doesn't speak up much about it. But the thing I see, because I sit in the back of the room behind him a lot, is he knows now, and he can answer the questions. A lot of guys, they get a little nervous, they don't want to speak up and be wrong. But I do hear him and I know Mike (Zimmer) puts pressure on him to answer the questions a lot, which is good."
Q: You were rotating guys liberally on the defensive line. Will you continue to try to do that?ML: "We'll continue. We will. We'll continue to try to rotate the guys that are suited up and playing."
Q: Do you think you'll have to go get a guy?ML: "Well, if we put Antwan (Odom) on injured reserve, we will fill the spot, yes. If he has to go to IR, if it was truly the ruptured tendon and they have to do the surgery to fix the entire tendon, he's not going to play this season."
Q: Would you envision bringing (Clinton) McDonald up from practice squad?
ML: "We'll see."
Q: If you brought someone in, would it be a tackle? It seems like you have enough ends:
ML: "We'll make a decision based on what we feel is best."
Q: Sounds like the question going into the surgery is whether it was a tear:
ML: "It always is, any time a guy has surgery. They have exams and they think the guy has a torn ACL, for example, and we try not to go beyond it (in commenting) until we know exactly what it is. I'm not withholding the king's jewels or anything here, it's just what it is."
Q: How is Frostee Rucker doing?
ML: "I think Frostee will have an opportunity to play this week. He made a miraculous recovery from the sprained ankle late in the week, and I hope that he would continue with that. But I looked at him before the game yesterday and decided to suit up Tank (Johnson)."
Q: Offensively, it was one step forward and two steps back with all the penalties like the leg-whip yesterday:ML: "Well, it's an emphasis in the NFL this year. I think you see it every time you turn on a TV and watch a game. They had a number of them as well. We just have to just keep getting better and better at it. The restriction on guys -- it's a different strike zone, so to speak, what's being called today. You see the referee making those calls from behind, which you never saw before. So I think it's just an expansion of some things. So again, it is where it is right now. We've got to do better at it, we really do."
Q: Where do you stand with injuries with any other players?
ML: "I think, otherwise, we'll be in pretty good shape. Brian Leonard, we should have his services available this week. Andre (Smith) will begin to practice this week. Roy Williams will kind of be the only other iffy guy. We'll see how Roy is during the week. I just chose to let Roy rest last week, and we'll see how he responded to that. I think the other guys are going to be sore. Obviously, Tank (Johnson) is going to be a little sore with the foot, and Pat (Sims) has an arm injury. Those guys fought their tails off yesterday. We didn't play as well as we needed to, but I thought we kept playing. Still had some opportunities to do some things at the end of the football game. Rashad Jeanty came through the game fine with the finger. The other guys that were on this seem to be fine."
Q: With Tank Johnson, do you have a pretty good idea of how much you need to rest him to make sure he's ready on Sunday?ML: "Well, yeah. I think it's something where he's biting on that silver bullet to go. He's dealing with some pain and irritation. Hopefully as time goes on, it will get better. After this game, he'll have some time to rest it, and we'll probably put him on ice for the bye week."
Q: How long is the process with Andre Smith?
ML: "It will be based on what we see as coaches and what the medical people feel. He'll do some of the things. He won't do everything right now. Well progress him week by week."
Q: After the bye week?ML: "That's what we're looking at."
Q: So his first game will be Baltimore?
ML: "Yeah. We're hopeful by the time we get ready to play Baltimore that he'll be full speed."
Q: So his training camp is going to be really condensed?
ML: "He's had a training camp. He's had a better training camp than what most guys would like to have. He's had a training camp since the second week of the season when we got him off the crutches totally and got him in the pool and got him on the non-gravity treadmill, whatever we've got."
Q: That's not much physical football:
ML: "Yeah, but it's a lot of cardio, though."
Q: But there's football condition, too:
ML: "Well, but the thing we've been able to do is have him do a lot of movement and running. I don't know what kind of football condition linemen get in at this point in the year. You know?"
Q: He hasn't done much hitting:
ML: "What, three practices, right? He got hurt on Friday? Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. He had pads on Wednesday and Thursday."
Q: Daniel Coats and J.P. Foschi had fumbles. What are your thoughts on the TE play?ML: "We didn't do good enough yesterday. That's two or three fumbles that Dan has had, because he had two yesterday, probably. You don't want to have that. We can't afford to give up the football in situations like that. And J.P. fumbled, and Dan had the dropped pass. We were able to overcome the dropped pass and we scored a touchdown on that drive. We overcame those things. but you can't have those errors."
Q: Are there dropped passes during the week?ML: "If it happened during the week, you probably wouldn't see those guys on Sunday."
Q: But what do you think it is?
ML: "It was a guy who was wide open who began to run before he caught the football. You know? You can't do that."
Q: We talked to him and he said it's in his mind:ML: "I guess you put it in his mind. You beat it in his mind. I don't know. You just have to catch the football. It's something you've been doing since you were a young guy. He caught a lot of passes after that one, but he fumbled one and that hurt us. You just have to run and catch the football. You keep doing it and doing it. Unfortunately, he's had some drops. This is professional football, and you can't stay around here very long if you keep dropping the football. It's not fair to the other guys around here. That standard isn't ever going to change."
Q: Has Chase Coffman done enough to be on the active roster this year?ML: "I think you'll see Chase this year. I'm anxious to see Chase. Again, I've got to make sure those guys who suit up on Sunday can fulfill covering those kicks and doing all those things Chase didn't do a whole lot of at the University of Missouri. Maybe when we don't see one of these returners that are leading the league in everything week-in and week-out I don't know why we keep drawing this card each week, but we'll get another one this week (Chicago's Devin Hester).
"That's an important part of everything we do, to make sure we can fill those teams the right way, so we have an opportunity to get that returner on the ground and do all the other things that have to happen those other 25 (special teams) snaps a game. But I like everything Chase is doing. He's all-Hamilton County every Friday out here (in practice), and that's a good thing. That's what you want. This is the NFL. We do a period at the end of practice every week that's the twos versus the twos, guys who aren't getting as much time on offense and defense, and we want to see them play football. They look forward to that, and they get some plays in, and it's good for us to evaluate and watch them. He keeps coming and going, and I mean, he's going to be fine.
Q: So we may see Chase and Andre after the bye week?ML: "We can put them in the locker room together and look at them side-by-side."
Q: What do you think of the job the coverage teams are doing?ML: "Well, we did OK on all but one (Houston return). I thought Kevin (Huber) had a pretty good day with ball placement, but we'd like it to be a little better. We had an opportunity to have a great day, and we missed a tackle and let them get to the outside. We just need to keep working. You know, when you have some injuries like we did early in the game, that ratchets everything down a little bit, so guys have to play a little bit more and do a little bit more. Initially we were OK because we were converting those third downs, but then as the game went on and we had to punt and we got caught in a field position battle and we were punting the ball off of our goal line. Those become very significant plays. I thought we did a little bit better in the kickoff return phase, but we got too much practice at it. Andre (Caldwell) is feeling confident right now in that, and we've got to do a good job of continuing to do the things right and execute the things were doing. We started to get ahead of ourselves Sunday and not stick to the plan. We started pressing, and this is the first time this football team has really pressed like that, trying to make some plays because they want to win really badly. Instead of letting things happen. We started pressing. You could feel it. We've just got to go back and look at it. This is going to be a good week."
Q: You wanted to run the ball, and you didn't do it in the second half. Was it because of them, or that they were ahead, or what?
ML: "We kind of clicked into the no-huddle and put the ball in the quarterback's hands a little bit. We moved it right down the field the first time, we moved it a little bit the second time. We had the sack the second series, and we had a guy running wide open, and we couldn't get the ball off. We're going to keep at it. We did some good things in the running game, the touchdown run was an excellent run, it was blocked well, both receivers had guys locked up inside the five-yard line. It was an excellent run, he split them for a touchdown, and you could see the smile on 85's face -- 'I can block somebody!' It was good. We've got to keep doing that, if we give Ced (Cedric Benson) the opportunity to get to that second level, he's going to make things happen."