We'll be fine. We'll come out of it and be a better team after we get through this. Looking at the tape, we did some things that weren't half bad. But we have some things — some inconsistency — that led to guys trying to do a little too much, and it got snowballing on us the wrong way. We have a good opportunity to really self-examine ourselves, look at ourselves and get better. That's what we'll spend a couple of days doing as coaches. We'll show it to the players Wednesday and Thursday, and then they'll get some time off and get back to work on Monday. It (the bye) comes at a good time. We have an opportunity to get some of the injured guys back and playing in Rashad Jeanty and Dexter Jackson. We seemed to come out of the game without any major things. Robert Geathers has a little sprain in his knee. (The) same with Greg Brooks. But other than that, we seemed to come out OK.
Q: It seemed like guys really tried to do too much in choosing which gap to hit:ML:
I'm not going to sit here and explain that to you. We've got to just play football.
Q: Did you suffer a lack of confidence?ML:
No. This is NFL football. That's our emotions. We're not in love. We're playing football. You know they got the best of us. We had the opportunity to make some plays early in the game — on offense and defense — and change the outcome. But we didn't make them. We've been down this road before and been able to correct them and move forward.
Q: Are you surprised by the offensive inconsistency — having three of four games with fewer than 300 yards?ML:
I don't think yardage matters much. Last year we were 4-0, (and) now we're 3-1. That's what counts more than anything. There's no award at the end of the year for yardage — gained or given up. It's a matter of wins and losses.
Q: Is a 3-1 record OK?ML:
It's what we've earned. It's the best we could do. It's not acceptable, but it's what we've earned.
Q: Why do you historically have success coming out of the bye?ML:
I think we have the opportunity to closely examine what we're doing and how we're doing it without pointing fingers or lopping. You can make changes. We have a group of guys who appreciate work and know how to do it. Some of the things we're doing right now aren't working. We need guys to understand not to get settled because we're moving forward.
Q: What isn't working?ML:
I don't think we're being very consistent on defense, or blocking on offensive plays. One play we do it the way we like to see it done. And then on the next play, we have it different, whether it is pre-snap communication or something else. Then they come back the next play and do it well. We have to know how we're doing it every time and be aggressive.
Q: Do you have more time to evaluate personnel during the bye week?ML:
You look at that all of the time. You're always looking to see if you can add something. Do you change the formation? Do you change the personnel, or just put a different player at one spot? We're about to play three opponents from the same division that play very physical football, much like we're used to in our division. That will be good for us. It's a great, great test. We'll take in one at a time, but those are the next three opponents for us.
Q: With having a young center, does that put more responsibility on the other offensive linemen for protection calls?ML:
We don't put it all on our center. It's somewhat of a fallacy that goes around here a little bit. It sounds good, but it's not one guy who's at fault. Everyone has to see things the same, and there has to be a common declaration. We have to help out — from our quarterback, to our center, to our linemen. But we do have to have somebody in charge.
Q: Is it just a case of bad tackling?ML:
It was bad tackling and other things that I don't care to elaborate on. It takes 11 guys to stop run and 11 guys to do their job — plain, flat and simple. There is no magic. Our defensive line gets the uneducated heat. Everything plays a role. When runs get to the perimeter you've got to make tackles. There's a difference and we didn't finish the job.
Q: Might we see changes on the offensive line during the bye week with different a combination of players?ML:
I think the biggest thing we want to do is do the right thing and do it consistently. We're always looking to be better. We're fortunate that we've got some guys that don't start but are good players and can play a role, and we'll look at that. But we've got to play better in all areas. We've got to make sure we're at the right route depth, (and) make sure we're looking at the correct side of the field. All of those things have to be done. We have to make sure the running back and the tight end and whoever else is involved in the protection is getting their thing done, and we're doing it consistently while playing fast. The thing we're looking at is to make sure we do those things correctly. We lost the football game, but we've got to move on.
Q: What are your thoughts on Carson and ball security?ML:
He's trying to do too much. I said that last week. He's trying to win the game. He's a great player, but we've got to take care of the football, and he will. We'll go forward.
Q: Was Kevin Kaesviharn's penalty warranted and how different was it from Brian Russell's hit on Chad Johnson?ML:
We aren't allowed to comment on those things and you know that. It looked like he turned his shoulder a little bit, though, didn't it?
Q: Do you respect the hit as a football coach?ML:
He turned his shoulder. He didn't hit with the side of his helmet. He turned. His helmet never touched the other player, and I don't think the other player's helmet ever got hit. To me, it looked like it was a shoulder-to-shoulder collision. But it's a difficult thing for that guy in the back to make that call. We have a chance to slow it down and watch it, and I'm sure television has an even better view of it than what I've seen on tape. All that guy sees from behind is what occurs, and you need help from other people. That was a big play, but we've got to learn and grow above big plays. Sometimes bad things happen in a football game, and we've got to be able to handle that and make a play and overcome it.
Q: When Chad's helmet came off against Cleveland, it must have been a helmet-to-helmet hit:ML:
. Not necessarily. Their helmets and their chinstraps can come off so quickly nowadays.
Q: Do you have any reaction to Albert Haynesworth's cheap shot?ML:
I haven't seen it. I've just heard about it. It's unfortunate. It's not really a part of the game. Being on the competition committee, that's one of the things that we're really trying to clean up and take out of the game of football. It's not proper, and it's not what young kids or anybody else should (see). If indeed it's what I was told, then that's not what we're looking for in the game of football, and particularly in the National Football League. So I'm sure it will be dealt with.
Q: Is it clear what's wrong with the run defense?ML:
Oh, yeah, very clear. I'd say as clear as crystal, like Lenox, or Waterford.
Q: Is it guys not staying in their gaps?ML:
You've got to stay in the gap, defeat the block, get to your proper leverage points, and do all the things right that we talk about. Attack the line of scrimmage right from the start. Get lined up correctly.
Q: Is it A.A.A. — alignment, assignment, and adjustment?ML:
We've got to do a better job of it. It's disappointing, because you know how I feel about that. That hurts you and doesn't make you feel good at all.
Q: How did you feel your running game performed?ML:
I thought we were inconsistent. I really did. I thought we did a lot of things where we attacked downhill and got after them. And I thought, at other times, we sat there and looked like we were going to the prom. We've got to improve. Those are things that we've got to do better. We get an opportunity to get better at those things and define who we are.
Q: This is a different club with Chris Henry on the field:ML:
I did notice a difference, actually. I didn't have anybody taunting, in anybody's face or anything like that. That's where I noticed the difference. Guys were doing it the way they're asked to do it. I didn't have to worry about the guy taking off his helmet on the field, and things like that. It's the respect to the league, and what the rules are on the field, (that) I didn't have to worry about yesterday. And those are things we've got to continually get straight all the time, because I've got to know who I can count on and when I can count on them.
Q: Does respecting the game help the team?ML:
I think we have a chance to grow up and not have a play that hurts us down the line. I know and understand Corey's (Dillon) whole thing, but that can hurt a football team in a big game like that — to let us get field position, get a quick touchdown, etc.. This is about our team, and let's make sure we always do it right. I think I've got to continually work to get that across to our players.
Q: Do you think the message was received, or do you have to keep working at it? Do you think Chris Henry got the message?ML:
I'm just saying I only get a chance to dress 45 guys. We need to make plays on special teams. Antonio Chatman gives you an opportunity to do things on special teams if we got the ball in his hands. So down the line, we could have some tough decisions on who's going to get suited up on this team, and that's a good thing.