Opening Comments:ML: "After looking at the tape, the positive thing offensively would have been possessing the football. I thought that was a good job (38:48). I thought we began the game pretty well on third down, but we had some miscues and we have to correct those things. Defensively, the third-down defense was excellent. Scoring on defense obviously is big, any time you do that, and we had the TD on the interception. In the kicking game, I thought Quan (punt returner Quan Cosby) did a nice job fielding the ball and then going vertically, and we did a nice job of getting on guys in punt returns.
"We had a good field by Andre (Caldwell) on the opening kickoff. Shayne (Graham) was good with the field goal. He needs to be a little more consistent on kickoffs. It was a little windier going toward the river yesterday than we expected. But we didn't get the ball down the field well enough, and on the one return there were some missed tackles for a 40-yard return (42 yards). All in all, the kicking game did a good job of setting up field position, which is obviously big. We have a lot of work to do, and it's a good time to refocus and rededicate things at this point of the season."
Q: How is the team looking health-wise coming out of yesterday's game?ML: "Domata (Peko) had surgery today, so we'll be without him for a couple weeks. We'll see how quickly he comes back from that. Bernard (Scott) is improving. Right now, I would say we'll probably be without those players for Minnesota, and everybody else will be likely to play."
Q: Did Peko reaggravate his knee injury in his last game against Cleveland, or has it been something that has just progressively gotten worse?ML:"Nobody knows. But sometimes the different scans show different things, and so they did another scan last week and felt like probably the thing to do was to go in and scope it, and he would recover more quickly.
Q: Is there a time frame for his injury? Is he out for the year?ML: "Do we ever know a time frame on injuries? No, he's not out for the year. The year's very short, though."
Q: Would he be back for the end of the regular season?ML: "He has a chance to be."
Q: Does Chris Crocker have a chance of playing this week against Minnesota?ML: "Yes. Everything (all medical tests) on Chris has been negative."
Q: Your red-zone TD efficiency on offense has been down lately. What is the problem? Execution? Play calling? Both?ML: "I think it's a combination of everything. I don't think it has anything to do with the play call, because every play's designated to keep the ball working down the field. So it would be the execution of the plays and getting things done, and getting guys blocked, and getting the ball up and down if it's a pass play, and getting the guys blocked in the run game. Penalties have played a little bit of a part in that. We have to eliminate those kinds of miscues and continue to get some touchdowns."
Q: Players like Andre Smith and Tom Nelson have gotten more snaps recently, and they seem like they are filling in nicely. It seems like a lot of different guys – young or old – have been stepping into big roles, and the team has not been missing a beat: ML: "That's been big. We've been dressing eight linemen (as part of the 45-player roster for games), and they've all been playing, and that's a good thing. I think for the team, it gives the guys something to look forward to. Coming in here, they know if they handle their snaps correctly, they get an opportunity to play more, and more and more."
Q: Quan Cosby was in for a few offensive snaps yesterday. Do you guys think he can be more of a downfield threat? Can we expect more of it?ML: "Well, he's getting an opportunity to fulfill a niche and need, and the better you do through the execution and assignment, the more opportunities you get at some point. He may be getting a chance to play more on offense. He's done a real good job for us on special teams and being able to be a backup receiver and know the different positions, and it was good that he got a couple snaps."
Q: How much of the Minnesota game from last night did you get to see?ML: "I've seen more on tape. Watching a game on TV is not going to cover what we need to do as coaches."
Q: What is your reaction to this Minnesota team?ML: "They're a good football team. They play good on offense. They play good on defense. They have a good returner. They've given up some returns in the kicking game, but they're good in their three phases."
Q: After speaking with some of the players in the locker room, the mentality seems to be that this game against Minnesota is not really a measuring stick, and that this is really just another game: ML: "(Opponents' records haven't) mattered in the previous weeks, I don't know why it would matter this week. We're playing a very difficult division. It will be a difficult football game. It will be physical. We're playing against a quarterback we have played against a couple times in the last few years, and we have a good opportunity that way. They've been playing very hot as of late, until last night. I'm sure they'll be up and running on all cylinders, and we'll have to play great football."