Opening comments: ML:
Injury-wise, the two guys we were missing Sunday, Dexter Jackson and Herana-Daze Jones, will both be out this week. Ben Utecht was injured in the game and we'll see where he is, but he's unlikely to play. Carson (Palmer) sprained an ankle Sunday but he should be fine. Johnathan Joseph also has an ankle, and he might be a little longer. Otherwise, pretty good health throughout the rest of the group.
After watching the tape, in all three phases, as I said last night, the thing that strikes you is to No. 1 make sure you're more consistent in every area. We can do some things perfectly, then come back and have a breakdown. Obviously the great breakdown on special teams was the punt block, and they had a big change of field position their punter's great play (70-yard punt out on the two).
We got a ball tipped on one of their punts, but it doesn't quite go backwards, it goes forward. So we also have to get some things bouncing our way. It was hard to judge throwing the football yesterday, but in both the rushing offense and rushing defense, we have to make sure we're consistent all the time. We have to make sure that when we have opportunities to make a play in the open field, we get him down 100 percent of the time. That's big.
Q: In some position groups was there a high percentage of breakdowns?ML:
I don't think it was a high percentage of the time, but enough that it really hurt us. We also had a situation where we had made a couple of first downs, and then we have a penalty. We're unsure where it came from, but we got called for 12 men in the huddle, and we didn't have 12 in the huddle. It's the way it is right now. As for being 0-2, we've been in a situation like this before, and the only way we got out of it was to fight our way out of it.
Q: How are the players taking it?ML:
Players are very resilient. But we have to play mentally tougher to get things done. You have to play consistent all the way. If you relax, or let it in your mind that you have your guy locked down, then all of a sudden the quarterback moves and here comes a completion. Or we've played certain runs and gaps the same way throughout the game, and then we let the ball squirt out of there, which shouldn't happen. Same thing offensively, we get a good identification, we block the stunt, and when we get the chance to get the ball down the middle, and our quarterback throws it a little before he needs to. Just be more consistent. Our specialists, same thing, be consistent.
Q: Chad and T.J. have just 11 catches. What can you do to get them going? ML:
We've talked a lot about those two guys. I would go back to (the value of) practice. They had a great week of practice last week. They were starting to get back to where they should be. But that was like their second and third weeks of training camp. Now they should be at the point where they should play faster and better this week.
Q: Where did you see improvement from last week? ML:
I thought we did a good job on both sides of the ball on the line of scrimmage, and that was the No. 1 goal. They had some plays and we had some plays, but I thought up front we did a nice job of staying on our feet. Offensively, we did a nice job of getting the right hat on the right guy. A couple of times we got into a bad match on a play. We were down on the play clock and couldn't get it flipped over. That happened a couple of times. Other than that, we did a pretty good job. We still had two explosive runs against us. And when we had a chance to do a couple of those things, we got nine yards, instead of 21 and 51, whatever they had.
Q: Chris (Perry) hasn't played in two years. Is he rusty as far as finding holes and making cuts?ML:
I think he has been getting better. He is going to need time to get things back to normal. He has to let things happen in front of him, and he did that a lot yesterday. He has to let the thing read out and go. That's what (running) backs do, and the more he plays the better he'll get.
Q: How big of a blow was it to have Ben Utecht go down so early?ML:
It changes some things around, but I think the guys did a good job of adjusting to it. It took away a lot of the offense that we practiced on. When you lose a player like that in the first of the game, it takes away from your play call sheet.
Q: There is a lot that goes into the passing game. How has Carson (Palmer) handled his end of what he needs to do in that role?ML:
Yesterday he had one bad throw, and he knew better than to make that pass. We had the ball at their 30-yard line. We should have waited to let other things happen before making that throw. He has handled making the mistakes well, though. We just don't want him to press. The team doesn't need to press, because when you press, that's when you make mistakes.
Q: Carson has had the two lowest passer ratings of his career the last two games:ML:
Those two interceptions gave him a low rating. Generally, the rating goes down at the end of the game when he tries to do too much. So you make that correction and move on. I'm not too concerned about his rating.
Q: Did Ben (Utecht) break anything?ML:
No, he did not.
Q: Is it a bruise?ML:
I don't know. I'll see what they call it later.
Q: Would you look outside if Ben can't go?ML:
No, we'll be fine.
Q: Quarterback play is a product of what is around him. With Palmer's numbers the way they are, have surrounding things changed?ML:
His effectiveness is not where it needs to be. Nobody is happy and nobody is pleased. If he throws it ten times in the game and completes seven of them and we win the game, we'll feel good about that. The key is to win the football game and whatever that takes, we're going to do.
Q: This challenge that you face this Sunday is something that would normally enthuse people, wouldn't you think?ML:
I think the guys will be excited to play. They are playing the world champions, who are undefeated at this point. They have played two very efficient football games and they are at home. We know it's going to be another physical challenge. They are running the ball well and they are very good with the passing game. They give a lot of play-action looks and keep the ball vertical. Defensively, they can rush the passer and give you a lot of formation looks as well.
Q: With the offensive struggling the way it is, it seems like there is not a large margin of error:ML:
We have to make sure we don't cross over the boundaries that will result in mistakes. We have to be consistent each and every play. It's like the guys who put on your lug nuts the last time you had a tire change, you hope they did it right. So you better get the same guy to do it every time and the same way every time. That's the analogy I used with the team. When they go take their car in, they hope the guy inside did it right, and hope that he doesn't decide that you only need three of the four lug nuts. That's the way we'll go about it, and that's the way it has to be. Take advantage of every opportunity you get because everybody else around you is counting on you to make the play.