Opening comments: ML:
As far as coming out of the game injury-wise, I think we got a couple guys dinged up in the secondary. Herana-Daze Jones and Jamar Fletcher, and then the possibility of Glenn Holt, although Glenn doesn't seem to be as severe today. And Fletcher maybe not as bad as we thought yesterday. And I think Dexter Jackson is on the mend, with a possibility to play this week. And probably Corey Mays is a little bit behind that.
Q: What about Carson? Any update? ML:
Carson stayed behind and saw the doctor in New York, Dr. (David) Altchek. I haven't had a chance to talk with Carson in person, but some further study and scans were done, and what Dr. Altchek recommended is a further conservative approach for right now. We'll talk with Carson and see what he feels, but this would put him out for this game and put Ryan (Fitzpatrick) as our starting quarterback as we get ready for the Steelers. But I'll talk with Carson further in person about what the doctor thought and what he felt like the options were.
Q: Sounds like you're going week-to-week with Carson:ML:
Well, we're going to talk. I don't think anything's been ruled out. But he did go and see another person, more studies were done, and that's good.
Q: Are all the indications that this is not a major injury?ML:
Well, I think right now, until I talk with Carson in person and talk more with the medical people ... I'll just say there could be more of an update later, and we'll see. But I don't think any option's been closed off at this point. I want to talk with Carson and see where he is. He's texted me a couple of times, but I just want to see what his thoughts are.
Q: Can you offer anything about what you can do to improve your offense?ML:
That's a good question. We have spent a lot of time on that today. I think everybody involved is trying really hard to turn over every stone and find every way we can to find a way to block more consistently in the running game and be more consistent in pass protection. I will say that we are now up to speed most of the time on the perimeter (wide receivers), and that's a good thing. We may lean harder and harder on those more experienced guys on the outside to give us more. We have to find a way to get those guys the ball and make some explosive plays as well.
Yesterday we couldn't make first downs early in the game. They controlled the field position because we never got a chance to get on the other side of the ledger. We made it harder for the defense and a little easier for their offense. We were punting backed up and we didn't get any booming kicks out of there, and their returner was catching the ball at midfield, and eight yards later they're on our side of play. We are looking at everything we can do, and we will go back and evaluate the things we are doing well in the running game, who we are doing it with.
Q: Is Cedric Benson an option to get involved more in the offense?ML:
We had 30 first and second downs yesterday, and we would like to get Cedric more involved. But he was in there on eight of those 30. We would like to get him involved more, but our two longest drives were in the one-minute drill. We don't feel real comfortable with him having to deal with all that can go on in those types of situations right now. We'll continue to work on him, and Cedric was here real early this morning, so he wants to get better. So we'll keep trying to get him involved more.
Q: What about Kenny Watson? Is his hamstring still an issue?ML:
I thought Kenny had a good week of practice. You know, he practiced a week ago Friday and this week, so we've got to look at everything. As I'm saying, I'm not ruling anybody out. We need a spark, and we're not getting it, and we've got to find a way. We owe it to everybody to find a way to get more done.
Q: One theory is that as you tried to reclaim the running game, you neglected the long ball:ML:
No, because if you can run the ball, you're going to see more eight-man spacing. So thats going to give you a chance for those deep shots you're talking about. So that (theory) would probably not be a true look at it.
Q: Do you think neglecting the long ball was a problem yesterday?ML:
Well, not to get too technical, but we had our chances. We had our times, and for whatever reasons, we didn't get them matched up the right ways. We had a couple of shots at it. We put ourselves in some bad situations with third-and-long, and then the advantage goes back to the defense, unless you get an illegal contact and it evens back up.
Q: Yesterday you said you'd wait to talk about Fitzpatrick's play until you watched tape:ML:
I thought Ryan did a lot better things than he did a couple of weeks ago. We still want to make sure we play better around him, and that we're 100 percent taking care of the football.
Q: How much responsibility do you and should you feel for the fans and season ticket holders who are so upset right now?ML:
One hundred percent. I know they want to win just like we do, and that's the fun of it. They're passionate about it -- maybe not quite as much as I am, but that's good. They want to win just like everybody in this room wants to win. Everybody wants to win, and I'm sorry they're disappointed. So am I. But unfortunately, that's where we are right now. But hang on; they could see something special here. We've got a ways to go, and we'll keep working to turn this thing around.
Q: How is Shayne Graham?ML:
We had him kick for us on Saturday, and I thought he did a pretty good job. But we decided to go ahead and sign Dave (Rayner). That was, I think, a good thing because Shayne got a week off to rest. We'll evaluate him later in the week.
Q: You said everything will be evaluated, but Ryan (Fitzpatrick) is your starter; can he improve enough week-to-week?ML:
I think Ryan will keep playing better and better for us. We've got to keep playing better and better around him, as well. That's our task. Ryan is going be the guy this week, and we've got to keep doing everything we can, in every area, to make sure everybody lives up to their task and their job and puts us in position to win the football game.
Q: Is he much further along than Jordan Palmer?ML:
Q: Your defense was playing against a lot of short fields yesterday:ML:
We did a lot of good things but, again, we had opportunities to keep them to no touchdowns. We have to execute and get things done on those snaps as well. Obviously the penalty on the second drive they had was unfortunate. Leon (Hall) didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but he fouled a guy at six yards, six-and-a-half yards (beyond the scrimmage line), and it's unfortunate that happens. It was a great jam, but his feet were just at six yards, six-and-a-half. Its unfortunate that it happened and got called but we've got to learn from it and make sure in those situations that we're set at four (yards) and jamming at five.
But I thought we did get after the quarterback, and for the most part we played the running game pretty well, I thought we handled their different adjustments and audibles they did at the line of scrimmage and reacted to them. We need to be better at tackling on the perimeter. If we had one thing that we have to keep, keep, getting better at, that would be tackling on the perimeter, because that would make a difference on third down. There were a couple of third-down opportunities where we could have gotten off the field if we make a clean tackle, or it's going to be second-and-10 or third-and-10 if we make clean tackles at times on the perimeter. Our guys have got to live up to that and get it done.
Q: You've got some young players that had good days, some guys without much experience:ML:
Well, we get younger as we go, which is good I guess. I was pleased that Pat Sims got his first opportunity of the year, and I thought Pat did a nice job. I think it's only the second time he's played, including the preseason, and he got some significant snaps. He really did a good job. We rested John (Thornton) with a sore Achilles, and hopefully John will be back this week, but I thought Pat did a nice job.
I thought Robert Geathers and (Antwan) Odom had their best days. I thought Chinedum (Ndukwe) and Marvin (White) settled down and played a little better. We've got to keep working at it. There is a lot of time invested in that. And I thought Keith (Rivers) had his best ballgame. We did some good things on defense but, again, until you get the win ... we've got to get the big stop there at the end of the football game, make the play on third down to get them out.