Opening comments:ML: "I think after going through the tape of the game in three phases, the thing that we really need to do a little better job of is our pad level overall throughout the football team. That will help us to get into a little better rhythm offensively. Defensively, kind of the same thing, and make sure we continue to work hard in communication in both phases. Special teams need to keep getting better. We did some good things and some things we didn't quite do quite well enough.
"We're getting in position, but not making some tackles. We have to do a better job of our fits, and running the field that way. It will be helpful to us because we're giving up some opportunities and field position with some of that. But we've got to keep doing better. I think our specialists have to continue to be better, be 100 percent with where we want the balls. But again, the effort in that game was good. We just have to clean up a lot of areas which will help us."
Q: On contested catches Sunday:ML: "We had some opportunities. We didn't come down with a couple of balls in the end zone for our offense, which we've got to keep doing a better job of, keeping doing it and doing it and doing it (in practice), and then you get on a good run in those things and you start coming up with them. We were able to contest some on defense and get the ball away from them, and we've just got to keep doing that."
Q: On the pressure applied to (Ravens QB) Joe Flacco on Sunday:ML: "Our guys did a good job yesterday. Joe Flacco's behind us now. We're going to move on."
Q: How much of the offensive problems can be attributed to Carson Palmer?ML: "Very few times. His biggest challenge is putting us in the right spots against their looks and so forth, which he does an excellent job of week-in and week-out. He moved away from pressure and got to the right guys. Sometimes we had a guy who missed a couple things and left him out there hanging a little bit, so he's got to do a good job of getting rid of the football and keep working to play another play. And for the most part yesterday, I thought he did a good job of that. He's been very, very accurate in his throws. We got some guys fading away from some throws. We've got to do a better job of not leaving him out there hanging too much. I think Carson played a very good football game. He didn't turn the football over. There was maybe one ball that you wish that he had back.
"You know, he had the play that everybody's talking about where he's stretching out to Chad (Ochocinco), but the ball's supposed to go to the other side of the field and we don't get the guys reacting the right way over there. But he's able to hang in there, hang in there, hang in there, knowing he's going to get hit, to have an opportunity possibly for somebody to scramble around and make a play. I think again overall, he does a good job, and yesterday was another fine game. Every time you play against these groups that we play, we know that if you don't give them the ball, our opportunity to win is much greater."
Q: How was Cedric (Benson) and the running game? ML: "Not consistent enough. I will leave it at that. We made some good runs. We finished the game with a good run, which was key, (and it) kind of iced the game at the end. We had some good runs in the first and second quarter. Probably not as good through the third and most of the fourth."
Q: On Brandon Johnson: ML: "I think Brandon has done a lot of good things when he has the opportunity to play. There are things he needs to continue to do better, that we will keep coaching him up on. He made a couple big plays in the game yesterday. He is called on quite a bit, and he's been a vital part of our team over the last two or three seasons."
Q: Do you want to talk about Keith (Rivers)'s ability to play this Sunday? ML: "No."
Q: On the depth that the team has built: ML: "Well, we've got young players coming in on defense and people we added. Morgan (Trent) played a lot last year, and right now, Adam(Jones) is in that (third CB) spot. So, he's an experienced guy who comes in now off the bench. His role has shifted. Some of our guys have been shifted into different roles. Now they have another 30 snaps coming on fourth downs, and maybe not as many snaps on first, second, and third at this point right now.
"Yesterday some guys got ratcheted up into those early downs on offense and defense because of some nicks and injuries and so forth. I think that is a good quality. We have a lot of experience in some of those spots. We have some other guys who have currently been with the inactives on game day who are at some point are going to play a role. I think we are in a good spot with those guys. Those are guys with good ability that we can count on. When the time comes, they'll be able to step up and do some things."
Q: (Dan) Skuta seems to have an ability to take things on more and more: ML: "Well Dan does a lot. Obviously we trained him in the summer time and camp to be a fullback. He's been able to help in that role for us in certain situations and he'll continue with that. That's been good. He's been one of the leaders in special teams when he got the opportunity to do it last year and he continues to do it this year. He's very conscientious; he wants to do it better and better and better. That's a good thing. Obviously he has a role on defense, and we are pretty confident when he gets the opportunity to play, he'll be in the right positions."
Q: On the roles of the tight ends in the first two games:ML: "That really hasn't changed. If you would have charted our stuff the last three or four years, there's about 10 plays difference from where we were. It hasn't been a big change. We changed our offensive style a year ago, a year-and-a-half ago, to be different, and it plays right in line with the way we're doing things now."
Q: On Bernard Scott's impact:ML: "I think Bernard will be a player who keeps making plays for us when he gets opportunity, and he's going to continue to share the load with Cedric (Benson). He's got to keep getting better, but he did a good job of identification with the blitzers yesterday. I think he got all but one he'd like to do a little bit better. That's a big job, and he's got to keep working hard at it."
Q: Have you seen (Carolina quarterback) Jimmy Clausen play at all in college?ML: "No. Sunday afternoon and Sunday evenings, right? We'll get to Carolina a little later here."
Q: The Ravens weren't too fond of the calls that went against them yesterday. As a member of the competition committee, how much does the NFL address such concerns?ML: "There were no concerns. Tripping is tripping, and we've been on the other side of the body slam of the quarterback, right? It's something you have to warn your guys about all of the time. Unfortunately, I saw one of our receivers get tackled in the end zone yesterday and not have a chance to catch the football either. That's the way you play. If you keep playing, there are going to be enough plays in the game, and you have to figure out a way to get them to go your way as much as you can. But, when it's over, it's over, and we've got to move on.
"Just like I told Terrell (Owens) yesterday, there's no need to sit there and demonstrate to the official. That's not helping us because you've got to get ready to go back in the game the very next play. We can get you a blow for a play but you go get ready to go back in the next play and make the play. That's what you've got to do. But we've got to go up strong and we've got to make those plays. You're not always going to get those calls, even if the guy does grab his arm and pull him to the ground. It's missed, and that happens. We did get some that broke our way. I'd probably be upset if, maybe, if I was called for a body slam if I didn't think it was a body slam."
Q: On penalties, especially in critical situations:ML: "We did have too many, and I led off yesterday afternoon in the press conference with that. We have to clean those things up. They hurt us yesterday. They took us out of position to score touchdowns – we would have walked in on one play, and that's unfortunate. You can't do those things. You put yourself out of sequence when you're starting first-and-15, or second-and-10 after you were second-and-five, or second-and-12. I think we had a second-and-two and we ended up second-and-seven, and third-and-two and ended up third-and-seven, so those kinds of situations hurt.
"Even on the first drive, we had an opportunity, and we ended up being in third-and-12 rather than third-and-seven. It changes the dynamics of the game, the dynamics of the play calling, how quickly the ball has to get out of the quarterback's hands and all those things. The timing gets all thrown off. We had a receiver moving, a couple bad problems between quarterback-center, an offensive tackle moving, and a penalty for (illegal) motion. We've got too many things going on, and we've just got to get better at it."
Q: On (punter) Kevin Huber and (kicker) Mike Nugent:ML: "I thought Kevin had a couple good, backed-up punts, but we had a couple punts in the plus-50 area where we can still do better at, and we've got to keep working at that. He's good enough to make those harder plays for them. We kind of changed Kevin's routine in practice last year, and since then he's really benefitted from it. He's (done) everything we expected him to do.
"Mike again had a strong game, and he keeps getting better at the things we're asking him to do. (Special teams coach) Darrin Simmons has done a wonderful job since the day he walked in this door."
Q: On struggles in kickoff coverage:ML: "Well we missed a couple tackles, and you've got to tackle. We've got to get the ball carrier down in good spots. (We were in) much better position (yesterday), but we've just got to make the tackle. Those guys that are being asked to do those things hadn't been covering kicks for a little bit."
Q: Particularly against a defense like that:ML: "You don't want to give them more opportunity. Conversely, we had an offsides penalty yesterday at the end of the game, which was huge. We don't want to give them another opportunity to convert on fourth down. You're playing at home, and you have a little bit of an advantage defensively, but still, the ball's the trigger, and you can't cheat the play the much."
Q: On his relationship with Panthers coach John Fox:ML: "I've known John since I got into coaching, since 1981 or '82. I've followed him everywhere. John was at Long Beach (State) and I was later at Long Beach, John was at the L.A. Express (of the USFL) and I was at Long Beach State. John was at Utah and I was at New Mexico. John was at Pitt and I later came back to Pitt. Obviously I grew up in Pittsburgh, and he was coaching in Pittsburgh, and then he goes to the Steelers and I'm coaching at Pitt. Then I go, he leaves and I go to the Steelers. So I follow John everywhere.
"It's kind of been part of my thing, you know? I go to interview for the Panthers job, and Brian (Billick) comes in and says, 'They want to talk to you in Carolina.' I say, 'For what? John is going to get named there on Friday.' And he says, 'No, no, no.' So I take the trip down there on a Friday, and they name John Fox the coach. (Laughs). But Foxie has been a friend, and he and (his wife) Robin have been our friends for a long time. He's a guy I've learned a lot from and spend a lot of time talking football and defense with.
"In fact, my favorite story, when Peyton Manning came out at Tennessee, there's about zillion offensive coordinators down there, and there's me, Foxie and some other guys. And we're in the defensive staff room, and we're having a mini coaches defensive clinic, and all those guys are out there watching Peyton. We're trading blitzes and techniques in coverages and everything, and it was great. I've known John for a long time, and the (USO) trip this summer was great to spend more time with him. He's a good coach and a great person."
Q: On the similarities between the Panthers and AFC North teams:ML: "They're a very good running team, efficient with the football and play good, sound defense. Ron Meeks is the coordinator there now, and Meeksie is doing a great job. They're impressive to watch. And they have two great backs, one of the best receivers in football and an offensive line that has a lot of good players in it. They're a team with talent, and they were a playoff team in '08. They're a well put together football team, probably a little bit of a transition to some younger guys. They have a young guy playing quarterback right now. They play good, sound football and a couple games last year, they ran for a whole bunch of yards."
Q: Do you anticipate it being the same kind of game as last week?ML: "We've got to do a good job. They pressure a lot and do a good job of mixing stuff defensively. Offensively they do a good job of packaging their plays together well and really put challenges on the defense. We have to play a very good game to go down there and win on the road."