Willie Anderson will be questionable with a shoulder strain, and Tory James with a knee. Kevin Kaesviharn will be questionable right now. Kevin actually had a pretty good week last week, but had a setback before the game. Brian Simmons will be questionable also. Richie Braham, Levi Jones, and Kelley Washington look to still be out this week but are closer to coming back. Greg Brooks had a knee scope this morning so he will be out this week. That's where we are injury wise. Everybody else will be probable at this point.
Q: Carson was talking about his mechanics being off a little bit. Did you see any of that yesterday?ML:
Actually, (QBs coach) Ken Zampese and I talk about that every week. Kenny was saying the other point a week ago, that there was some consistency we like to see all the time. But he actually felt pretty good about him a week ago against Atlanta. We had two windy days in a row here at home. Kenny really felt like he had made some good throws over there, and one of the touchdowns he threw was over there to the left. So it's not been a big difference.
Q: Carson indicated to us, without naming names, that some guys on this team need to mature. Do you feel the same way?ML:
I think that's always part of your team. Guys continue to grow, and I say it every week in here. Those guys usually tell you what I say, which is good.
Q: Do you have any reaction to Chad Johnson's comments about not getting the ball?ML:
No, I do not.
Q: Have you talked to him at all about that?ML:
Q: Would you care to share with us what you said?ML:
Q: With guys talking about carries and catches, and one guy throwing his helmet, is that what you are talking about in regard to maturity?ML:
T.J. reacted to what he thought was a missed call by the official. It wasn't anything other than that, he was wrong for doing it, and he said he was wrong after the fact. You can't do that. You can't melt down at that point or any point. It is part of maturity.
Q: What do you feel is still holding you back?ML:
We seem to have a responsibility, or technique we give up, that costs us a play. It may cost you a play, a tackle, an incompletion, a completion, an interception or whatever it may be. We just have to do it the right way and good things will start happening. We have played better. We have to play better in order to win. We haven't played well enough to win. All we can do is practice harder, prepare harder, and good things will happen.
Q: Is it frustrating to you that this is taking place after lessons you thought might have been learned before?ML:
I anticipated that when you get to a certain level and you have guys that have achieved a certain level, the public perception puts a lot of pressure on them that way. You ought to be doing this and you ought to be doing that, as opposed to what the focus of a football team is. That's got nothing to do with you; it's got to do with the team.
Q: With the margins of defeat, is that an indication of the fine line between winning and losing?ML:
It always is. The difference is at times when you lose, you press and it gets worse. Yesterday, I think our guys realized you just have to keep playing. When bad things happened early in the football game, we were able to put some plays together and come out of it a little bit, not far enough to win the game though. We kept playing, but we still had some guys press a little bit. I thought Shayne Graham pressed a little bit on the kickoffs. He wanted every one to be like the first one, and what happens is you over kick the football and you don't get as good a kick. We just have to keep doing it. I thought Kyle Larson had some good punts. He had one which wasn't exactly what we wanted, but we were able to get down and cover it. But those things have to keep happening. We had some balls in our hands on defense. We have to get back up on top of those things.
Q: Is there anything with a lack of emotion or fire that you can put your finger on?ML:
Emotion and fire don't win football games. It's about making plays whether it be blocking, tackling, catching or throwing. That emotion goes away when you get hit in the face. That's got nothing to do with it. I can go get some idiot off the street and he'll run down there crazy, but he isn't going to make a football play. You can be emotional as hell, but that's got nothing to do with it. There was enough emotion yesterday in Baltimore for 12 teams. When you drop a kickoff and don't play the first play right on defense, and they eventually throw touchdown, and then you throw an interception on third down that they return for a touchdown ... I don't know what emotion you got there.
Q: Are the answers when you were winning no longer the same answers?ML:
They are the same answers. They don't change. It's the same poise we had when we were winning. Had we started 1-3, and then went 3-1, you guys would be smiling. But we're not. We've got to play better, we've got the practice better, and we've got to coach better.
Q: Yesterday, after the game, despite four losses in five games, the guys seemed to have the attitude that they weren't out of it yet:ML:
We're not out of it. We still have a lot of football left to play. It was a game that would have put us in pretty good shape, but we didn't win it. So now we have to find another way to get ahead again. We play eight good football teams coming up. Four of them are on the road and four are at home. Our guys understand what's ahead of us.
Q: You guys haven't lost three in a row around here in a whileML:
I don't worry about how many we've won or lost in a row. We just have move on to the San Diego Chargers. They're a good team and they're coming in here. We've got to play better football than what we've played over the last month.
Q: Have you been able to put your finger on the lack of execution on third down?ML:
Yesterday it wasn't very good defensively. They were able to get the slant in on us in the first half. We missed a tackle, and they converted a third and two. There were some things we have to do a little better. In the second half, we did better. We just have to keep practicing and working at it and playing the defenses we think are going to stop them. On the other side of the football, whether it is a protection, a throw, a route, we need to make sure we are in the right spots. Let's not get into the third-and-long situations because it's going to be a little bit harder to convert. We did a good job on first and second downs on offense, but we weren't good enough on third down, and we haven't been the last four weeks.
Q: With the defense having their hands on a couple of interceptions, is that more of a technique thing?ML:
Things will come. Just keep doing it the way we're doing it and being in the right spots. We're not going to drop many balls like we did yesterday. Same thing when the balls on the ground. We need to take care of it. It's going to be uphill sledding if you give away two turnovers particularly as early as we did. It's going to make for a difficult afternoon.
Q: Is there anything that Chad is doing that has led to his drop in production?ML:
We're not happy as a football team. We're 4-4.