Opening comments: ML:
Regarding injuries, some of the guys who have been banged up came through the game all right. David Jones sustained a concussion and couldn't return, and we'll know more about him later in the week.
After watching the tape, the biggest disappointment is still there, our inability to play consistently and get anything going offensively for very long. To be one out of eight in the first half on third down, and then follow that up with one out of eight in the second half doesn't give your team an opportunity to sustain any drives. On the other side of the ball, six out eight wins on third down in the first half was good, but then to let it go down the drain in the fourth quarter seemed to be the big difference. Our inability to convert in the short yardage situations and their ability to sustain the drives were big.
Obviously we had problems throwing the ball, on which we'll spread out the blame. We need to do better. The two explosive plays they made on us defensively were very poor. And the final drive, where we allowed them to keep the ball for the remanding six minutes, that pierces you. I've been on the other side of something like that, but never on this side.
Special teams, other than our first kickoff, did a nice job. The punt return team needs to improve on getting to their leverage point. Luckily the block in the back got a long punt return called back. Then we have one where we get a guy going and then make a block that we don't have to make, and we get a penalty.
We didn't play as smart as we needed to play, and we need to improve in all three phases our football team. We got a little unnerved with the crowd, and we've got to guard against that. We have been there before with some of the guys, but some of them are new. We've got to be able to handle that situation better and be able to realign, focus, refocus, and go out and execute. We knew it would come down to the fourth quarter, and we didn't finish the game off like we needed to in order to win.
Q: The offensive line has been a strength here. I know you have said there were problems during the preseason with backs and tight ends picking up blitzes:ML:
It stayed the same yesterday. We had the inability to move it around. I thought we did some really good things in the running game; and we did some things that weren't very good. They jumped around us, jumped under us and did some things movement-wise that were a little unconventional. But we've got to block them off. We've been there before. That (offensive line) group, those five guys, played a lot of football together last year. We've got one new guy in the front at the tight end position and a new fullback at times. We spread the responsibility around. We spread it to receivers, we spread it to quarterback. We've got to do a better job with recognition of those things and being where we need to be. We got off to a slow start with it, very similar to last year: We got off to a slow start, and we found a way to get it right. We've got to do the same thing this year.
Q: Have the breakdowns been more physical or mental?ML:
I'm not going to sit here and belabor it. We've got to play better. I'm not going to go any further than that.
Q: You play a similar team Sunday in the Titans:ML:
A little different, but very physical, aggressive up front. That's important. They'll get after you, and they rotate some guys up front. Defensively, they are very, very strong and aggressive up front. Offensively, they can run the football effectively. They (have) two fine backs.
Q: Were the right adjustments not being made on offense?ML:
I said the adjustments were made. I didn't say they weren't made. I said we needed to make sure we were tighter on unconventional things when a guy comes underneath or behind you.
Q: Scheme or technique?ML:
Q: Chris Perry took the blame for the run game:ML:
That's good of Chris. But it doesn't come down to one thing or one guy. But we have to do a better job. We didn't convert the big plays. Lesson learned. Let's do better next time. If you're going to lose a football game you better learn something from it. Our football team needs to learn something from this.
Q: Do you have confidence they will? ML:
Yes, I do.
Q: Offensively , when the first couple of short fields weren't taken advantage of, did you notice any deflation? ML:
I didn't notice any deflation. You have to take advantage and get points on the board when you have the chance. We had them backed up, got the turnover. Backed them up again, with the three-and-out, and you want to take advantage of those things. And get some points put on the board at that point.
Q: Were you happy with what Chris Perry did, even though running game wasn't good?ML:
I thought Chris for the most part did some good things. He ran the ball hard and downhill. When he got a crease, he made a guy miss in the hole if he had to and got to the second level. Now we can work harder at the second level and make something go beyond there. We hade some eight, eight and a half, nine-yard gains. Now let's turn those into 12-, 15-, 16-, 20- and 30-yard gains. We weren't disappointed. He was in the right spot. He has to be a little cleaner on some of our passing game areas. But that happens in the scope of a football game.
Q: It seemed like (Joe) Flacco had a lot of time in the pocket:ML:
I don't think so. I think we got pretty good pressure on him. If you go back and watch the tape, I thought we did a nice job, a not bad job. They had seven or eight guys in protection for most of the day, which makes a big difference. So they weren't going to allow him to be hit. We were able to get the ball out of his hand a couple of times and he made a couple of throws. Again, in the first part of the game, the defense did a nice job. We did a good job on third down and we were able to get the ball out of his hand quickly, and we've got to do better in the second part.
Q: Their linebackers were in coverage:ML:
That's nothing different than what they've ever done. Those situations occur when they roll the coverage the other way. It's just a replacement, it's no different than a team lining up, and you just convert. You're just moving one guy to one position and that guy's reading back inside. It's cover two. It's another way of playing cover two. It's no different than we've seen before. We've seen it a lot of ways from 3-4 teams.
Q: Did you think the receivers got off all right when their linebackers were out there?ML:
Well, we got grabbed a couple of times. We've got to do a better job. We allowed them to grab us and throw us to the ground a couple of times, and a couple of times we got calls. We need to do a better job, be more consistent with it and really make plays out of that, against that.
Q: Shaun Alexander said he's been in continuous contact with the Bengals and it wouldn't surprise him if he got a call. Would it surprise you?ML:
It would surprise me.