Opening comments: ML:
First on the agenda are the injuries from yesterday. Glenn Holt, with the concussion, was back to his senses during the game. He'll do tests on Wednesday and will hopefully be back to practice Wednesday or Thursday. Landon Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, with sore backs, they'll both be sore, but both scans came back negative. They'll just be sore, and maybe a little limited as far as contact, the first part of the week. We'll see how Willie Anderson is this week and whether or not he has the opportunity to play. Otherwise, other than the various bumps and bruises, we should be just about to full strength.
After watching the tape of the game, I still feel that some of the details kind of got away from us and got us off sync. Whether it be the drive in the first quarter when we threw 10 passes and four runs and drove right down the field, but a holding penalty brings us back. Or the no huddle series, which we ended up with a field goal. Or the first drive in the fourth quarter, where we had a number of plays when we were unable to run the ball effectively. We ended up having to punt. It was probably our worst series of the game offensively.
Defensively, we allowed the third-and-one to get us a little unnerved, and allowed a touchdown pass. We followed up with a very poor drive after the turnover in the third quarter, and we had the opportunity to hold them to a field goal, but allowed them to score a touchdown. After that, we settled down and played defense again. For whatever reason, we got unnerved, got out of sorts, and didn't take care of our business the right way.
Obviously, our quarterback is a fine player, and he's not going to have days like that often. We can't allow him to shoulder this. He's pulled us out of those jams many times. We don't want him to feel, as he does, responsible. We just have to do it better. The guy made a fine play on the first (interception), and then we just have to get him on the ground as the rest of the offensive football team. After that, don't press, don't try to do too much. Those are the main things.
Special teams-wise, guys continue to settle in their responsibilities and opportunities. We just have to keep moving forward with that. The guys we brought in here, that weren't with us, that weren't on the roster in the beginning of the year, are now making considerable contributions.
Q: How do you keep Carson Palmer from feeling that he needs to take all of the responsibility?ML:
He's always going to feel that way. He just doesn't have to play that way.
Q: Did you sense that's the way he did play yesterday?ML:
I talked to him about it after Chad Johnson's fumble, and told him not to worry about it, and we'll get the ball back and have another shot. Carson's been playing football a long time, and been a quarterback a long time. He knows that.
Q: Is Carson locking on to his receivers too long?ML:
Q: There were times when it looked like he was locking on to T.J.:ML:
Carson makes the reads like he's coached to do. He does an excellent job of that.
Q: Knowing you could have gained ground on Pittsburgh, where do you go from here?ML:
We just keep playing. We put our nose down and keep coaching harder and better, and get our guys to understand that the little details play a part. Whether it be the finish of a block on a punt return or whatever. No matter what it is, it has the opportunity to affect the game. What seems to be insignificant on the back side of a play, where you can maybe get the interceptor on the ground, make sure that's part of it. Don't let disappointment lead to frustration.
Q: It seems like Carson's problems are tied to the lack of the running game:ML:
We actually ran the ball pretty well yesterday. We took ourselves out of about four runs by throwing the ball outside very quickly. We had two penalties which took us out of two significant gains in the running game, which gets wiped from the sheet. We trip over ourselves the very first play of the game, which probably would have gone for about 15 yards. I think all and all, we wouldn't be having this conversation, had some of those other things not occurred. We'd be up to 25 or 30 runs in the game, based on making a couple first downs, instead of the penalties that bring you back into throwing the football.
We're not going to rip and roar for 20 yards on every snap that's a running play. We can do that throwing the football at times. We're going to continue to run offense the way we feel we need to coach it. We can't worry about what you may think or what other people may think. Winning football games is our goal. I don't care if we run it or throw it, that's what we're going to do.
Q: Is there a point, if this thing keeps spiraling down, where some young guys will play more?ML:
Not unless they're better than the people they're playing behind.
Q: I would imagine, changes could or would be in order:ML:
I don't know. The only reason you would change would be if the guys that they are playing behind aren't getting it done.
Q: Deltha O'Neal didn't start Sunday:ML:
He didn't star the last two weeks, actually.
Q: Is that due to his health?ML:
I just thought that the other two guys are doing what we need to be doing and doing it better. I like the rotation of things. We're able to dole out the snaps a little better. Deltha's done a great job, where he is right now. We'll see where we go each week. I'll do that week-to-week.
Q: Carson said a couple of times, that Antrel Rolle wasn't where he anticipated him to be:ML:
I thought he made a good play on the first interception for a touchdown. I want to quit commenting on that. We're not getting those back.
Q: Is there concern that maybe the route patterns are becoming predictable?ML:
I don't think I'm concerned about that.
Q: Robert Geathers for the second straight week was back at defensive end:ML:
We've been able to get some linebackers back, and put guys in positions that I think they've settled into. Robert has welcomed the move back (to DE) and has taken it running. I thought he played a lot better this week than he did in Baltimore. Each and every week, he's getting more comfortable. Elsewhere on the line, Bryan Robinson played well again, and Jonathan Fanene had some good, productive snaps.
Q: How do you feel the offensive line performance was?ML:
We have to keep going. We have some things we have to do better, and clean up. The details of what we're doing, we have to continue. As an overall unit, I didn't think they played poorly. When you lose, you're not happy with how anyone played. We have to play better.
Q: Did you let the league know that the back judge allegedly called Andrew Whitworth 'lousy'?ML:
No, not at this point. Andrew hasn't come to me with it, or said anything about it, so it was news to me when I read that today.
Q: Are you surprised at where this team is right now?ML:
I'm surprised. But it's part of this job, this game. Things don't always work out the way you think they will. We have to go back and keep working. I'm going to be consistent with it. What you did before really doesn't matter. It's what you do day in day out, week in week out, in the NFL. That's how you're judged. We're not playing well enough to win enough games. There's no question about that.
Q: Any early thoughts on Tennessee?ML:
I had a chance this morning to watch them. They're playing very well on defense. They're very physical up front. I think they've done an outstanding job of kind of re-tooling their secondary. With some new guys, some draft guys, guys they've added from other teams, they're playing real well right now. They do a great job of staying square in coverage.
Offensively, it kind of starts and stops with Vince Young, and the two backs in the running game. They're doing a great physical job with that. They'll play with two or three tight ends and try to run the football. They run play action and bootleg passes right off the bat. It will be a real physical football game Sunday. Because the way they're put together, and what we need to do to win the football game.
Q: Jeff Fisher has been there a long time. What does that say about them as a team?ML:
Jeff's done a great job. They had a couple of years where they were pretty lean. They stayed the course, and continued to draft players and add players and build back up. They had to work and re-tool the football team a little bit that way. Now they're reaping the benefits of it and playing good and consistent and making plays. You just stay the course and you don't flinch at any point. You just keep going.
Q: You played them in 2005. Since then they seem to have stayed the same for the most part:ML:
I think offensively they're much different. They're much different from when Steve McNair was there. Defensively, they're still doing the same things. I think they're working with a better secondary since the last time we faced them. I think they still have the strong guys up front. You still have Keith Bullock making a lot of plays. Some of the new guys, Chris Hope in the secondary now, the kid they got from Pittsburgh, and the safety they drafted from Texas is starting, and the corner that got from Indy. They're playing well on defense.
Q: But they're different with Vince Young?ML:
They're different with Vince Young.
Q: Just going to stay the course?ML:
That's all we're going to keep doing. We'll see how it turns out. We'll evaluate things, shake things up at some point, and we'll go from there.
Q: T.J. said yesterday, 'Maybe we aren't as talented as we thought'. Are you as talented as the teams you're playing?ML:
I think we're as talented as the teams we're playing. We may not be as talented as people think we are, because there's always that perception. But I don't have any doubt that we're as talented as the teams we're playing. We have the opportunity to win the football games. From that point on, there's no reason to speculate anymore. We're not overmatched. That's all I'm saying.
Q: That leads to the question, what is it then? ML:
We're not getting it done. We drop balls, we have penalties, we throw interceptions, we give up the big play on defense. And if you lose the turnover margin in the NFL, you'll be hard-pressed to win many games. I think that's number one. It's not just with me as the head coach. It's fact all across the league. And when two (turnovers) go back for touchdowns, even though we overcame one with a touchdown of our own, that's still hard. Then we had the chance to stop them and we didn't. That's big.
There's no secret words. You have to make plays to win football games. We didn't get to the point where people thought we were pretty good by doing everything differently. We're not going to get back there by changing or doing anything differently. Guys have been built up to think they were up to this level of player ... well, maybe you're not. Maybe you need to get back to work and figure out a way to get it done, and rely on the rest of the football team to help you. You go do your part. Don't look any further than the end of your nose about what you have to do to fix it.