Taylor's Evaluations After Week 2

Head coach Zac Taylor speaks with the media following the Week 2 game against the 49ers.

ZAC TAYLOR

Head coach

Initial comments ...

“We got a chance to go through that tape with the guys this morning, and our message to them was about the things that got away from us in the first half, in all three phases. We started off with a penalty on special teams. Offensively, we didn’t do the things we said we were going to do on the first drive. Then our defense gave up a touchdown, so that was a tough start, (being down) seven to nothing. Ultimately, the details we were on top of in Week 1, we let slip in Week 2. It was disappointing to see that, so we need to make those corrections. When you do go back through the tape, the encouraging thing is it’s usually only one player (making an error) on each play. We just need all 11 on the same page, and we’ll be in much better shape going forward. It was disappointing. We went series by series with the whole team through that first half to let everybody know where the accountability lies with every position, with each side of the ball and with every coach. We want to make sure we’re all accountable. We’re all in this thing together. We’re not here to point fingers, we’re just here to get it right. Buffalo is our next opportunity to get it right.”

How did the team react to the film?

“It’s been an accountable team. No one is pointing fingers, nobody is saying, ‘This guy should have done that.’ They’ve responded the right way. That’s how we assumed they would respond, because that’s the type of character they’ve shown through the six months we’ve been together. That part is encouraging.”

Did you review tape from Week 1 series by series as well?

“In a game like this that got away from us like it did, we just want to make sure we’re going to correct all the errors and that everyone sees that we’re not far away in any phase. (The 49ers) took it to us and beat us 41-17, but there were a lot of things we could have done to go into halftime down three points. In the second half, turn around and get the stop and then get a chance to go win the game. We just didn’t do it. It’s important for everyone to see just how close we are and how quickly it can open up the wrong way if we’re not on top of the details in all phases.”

Was the third quarter yardage disparity disappointing?

“It is. That’s the negative of (the 49ers) winning the coin toss and (deferring at the beginning of the game). It worked out in (the 49ers’) favor that they scored at the end of the half and then scored again at the beginning of the second half. That’s the double whammy that kills you. For us, it started on the first drive of the game by not doing the things that we said we were going to do. They capitalized on it. It was a tough start. I’ve seen it (on film) a thousand times, so I can go frame by frame, but we had a chance to go back and take the lead. We just never capitalized. We were never on the same page. The defense gets an interception, the offense gets a big play, and then a penalty moves us back and we miss a field goal. We didn’t have (each other’s) backs in each phase the way we had the week before. Those are just corrections we’ll make.”

Was the interception at the end of the first half a bigger turning point than you realized at the time?

“It was 21-10 at the time. We were planning on getting points one way or another. To us, 21-13 going into the half, it’s a one-score game. It gives us the chance to make a stop and we’re back in it, opposed to going down 24-10. Any time you turn the ball over and they go down (the field) and capitalize and finish the half that way, that’s not the way we wanted to end the half. We had the ball with four minutes and change, backed up, and ideally we would have bled the clock out and scored going into halftime. It didn’t go that way.”

What is your opinion on QB Andy Dalton’s interception late in the second quarter?

“(He should have) thrown it away. Auden (WR Auden Tate) was coming around the back side. I don’t think he would have seen him based on where the pressure was at. There were some big bodies right there. Just throw it away. Andy knows that, and he’s accountable for it. Then we move on to third and five, and try to convert on the next play.”

Did you expect San Francisco to use that many motions and misdirection plays?

“They’ve done a good job. They’ve put in some different wrinkles from an offseason of studying themselves. It’s an innovative offense. They do a really good job. When they’re ahead of the sticks, like in second and five, they have an expansive playbook they can throw at you. They threw a double-pass, they threw a ton of play-action screens. They snuck the receiver out the back door for that first touchdown. There was some stuff that, knowing a team’s playbook, they had a lot that they threw at us. It’s one of those games where they were in a good rhythm, so they were able to call those. Conversely, for us, we weren’t in any sort of rhythm in the first half, so we weren’t able to call those. We were limited with what we were trying to do from behind the sticks.”

What led to the team’s poor tackling?

“It’s being one step slow or not being in your gap when you’re supposed to be there, pinning the hip on the edge of the defense so the running back has no space. There were missed tackles, but it was more just being sound with your alignment and your technique at the point the ball is snapped. For as well as we did in Week 1, we were on the flip side of that in Week 2.”

How significantly did the lack of early-down production hamper the offense?

“It was killing us. We want to be balanced, so that there’s a threat of (our entire playbook). There was a lot of first-and-longs, second-and-longs, and it’s hard. We’re trying to throw to get back on track at times. It just wasn’t going the way we wanted it to. We were pretty balanced. On first and 10 and second and 10 and fewer, we were equal run-to-pass. We had so many second-and-longs and third downs that really kept us off balance.

What can you do to get the running game going?

“When you watch the 13 ‘good’ runs we (called) on proper down and distances, it was usually just one player. It was a different player every time. It’s not like you can point the finger at the same guy. It’s mistargeting and guys getting beat in one-on-one matchups. Those are things we need to clean up. As we get our rhythm in the run game, which will get going, we’ll feel a lot better about it. The frustrating thing is, when we sit in there and watch the running-game film as a group, how close we are to having some big plays. Some get called back on some penalties. We don’t feel like we’re far off. When you’re down 31-10 in your first possession of the second half, it becomes a different game. It’s disappointing. You don’t want to end a game with however many rushing yards we had, but we feel confident that we’ll be able to get that back on track.”

What do you mean by “good runs?”

“I’m saying (when there is) a manageable down and distance.”

Have you considered giving HB Joe Mixon more touches in different capacities?

“We tried to throw him a lot of screens. Some of those screens got called back. We do try to incorporate him in the pass game as best as we can, but sometimes the coverage takes Andy a different direction. We’re mindful to get our playmakers the ball. Joe is somebody we want to get involved. Unfortunately, at the end, we were behind the sticks on early downs and it took us out of our rhythm. We were trying to get back on track, and that part got frustrating.”

Has Mixon been discouraged with his performance through the first two weeks?

“No. Joe’s attitude has been phenomenal. He’s one of the young guys on this team that we’re really counting on. I’ve really enjoyed being around him, and he’s been a great presence in the locker room.”

Was San Francisco WR Marquise Goodwin’s touchdown a result of good play design, or was there a missed defensive assignment?

“We certainly could have been better on the back end and with our eye discipline in the defensive backfield. That’s how they get you on some of those play-actions, on some of those keeper throwbacks — it’s the eye discipline. We could have had better communication and better eye discipline to be in a better position to make the play.”

Do you have injury updates on CB B.W. Webb, DE Kerry Wynn, G Michael Jordan or OT Andre Smith?

“B.W. will be day-to-day. I don’t think it’s anything long-term. I think there’s a chance he could play this week. We’ll just see how he responds when we put the pads on this week. Kerry Wynn is in concussion protocol. Michael Jordan will probably be (out) at least a week. We’ll see where it goes from there. It would be difficult to see him playing in this game. Andre will be in good shape. We’ll take him day-to-day, but I think he’ll be able to go.”

Will C Billy Price take Jordan’s spot on the offensive line?

“That’s a conversation we’re still having upstairs to make sure we have the right depth at spots and we’re putting everybody where they need to go. That’s still an ongoing conversation.”

When OT Andre Smith left the game due to injury, did you place OT John Jerry in his spot to see what he can do?

“Andre wasn’t feeling great at the time, so we put John in there and continued to role with him. I envision Andre being healthy this week.”

Had there been another injury to the offensive line, could he have returned to the game?

“Oh, absolutely he could have.”

What are you doing to reassure the team and reinforce the culture you’ve built?

“Normally, we don’t go through and show the film to the entire team, but today I thought it was important. When you look at the scoreboard, you can be led to think one way. When you give up the number of rushing yards that we did and look at the lack of rushing yards we had, it can lead to certain assumptions. We want to make it clear that everyone in the room is held accountable. We see how close we are, but we are not there yet. The great teams in this league don’t make the mistakes we are making right now. We have to clean them up quickly because we play a good team this Sunday. I wanted everyone to see that it’s about us and the mistakes we’re making. The game should not have gone the way it went. We want to make sure that they are all accountable for it, and that they see where we can improve.”

As a coach, is there curiosity and excitement to see how the team bounces back this week?

“Absolutely. We see the character that we thought we had all along. ‘Positive’ is a strange word to use, but the guys aren’t discouraged, they still believe in each other, and we believe in what we’re doing. Again, we can’t afford to make the mistakes we’ve made in the last two weeks. This Sunday is a great opportunity for us to bounce back and show who we know we can be.”

Do you view it as a positive that no one pointed fingers despite the outcome of the game?

“I did. It’s 24-10 at halftime, and I didn’t think we were out of it. In looking in the guy’s eyes in the locker room (at halftime), they didn’t believe we were out of it. Unfortunately, they came out and scored right away to make it 31-10, and we didn’t score to counter that. That made it difficult in the second half. When they play with the lead, they’re going to be a tough team to beat. I think that football team is going to win a lot of games this year. They are in the third year with that staff, and with the chemistry they’ve developed, you can see the improvement. I’ve seen them the last three years, and that’s the best 49ers team I’ve seen in three years, and they’re headed in the right direction. I’m confident our guys will rebound the right way, and we will have a strong performance this week.”

How would you assess QB Andy Dalton after the first two weeks of the season?

“Like all of us, there is good and bad. He comes to me and he’s disappointed with how he played, and I’m disappointed with the positions I put him in. Right now, it’s everyone pointing the fingers at themselves, and everyone is accountable. I expect the quarterback to take accountability when we lose, and Andy is no different in that regard. We have to be better in the run game, and we have to be better as play callers. We can do all these things to help everyone play their best. That’s the improvement we need to see from everyone.”

Will the coaches self-evaluate after yesterday’s loss?

“Absolutely, and it certainly starts at the top. That’s not just ‘coach speak.’ I know I have to improve every single week, so I want the feedback from the coaching staff and I want the feedback from the quarterback. When we come in each morning, I want Andy to understand the positions I put him in and I want him to ask why he was put in those positions. I want to make sure that we have clear communication so we don’t have repeat performances by the entire team. We won’t leave any stone unturned. We know how we can get back on track, but we want to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again.”

Does the sense of urgency amp up given the 0-2 start?

“I always feel great urgency every day (laughs). I feel urgency to get down to this press conference, and urgency to get to the next staff meeting. It’s important that our players don’t feel like this game is any different. Throw the record out the window. We need to prepare like we know we can prepare, and play with the sound technique that we played with in Week 1 other than a few plays. It’s Week 3, so it’s not time to panic, and it’s not time to change anything we’re doing. We wanted guys to see the errors we made and correct those going forward.”

How much are you still learning on the fly as you go through the first month of the season?

“It’s important to learn from every experience that we have every single week. I’m not necessarily learning on the fly, because we feel like we’re always prepared. Again, we’re just trying to learn from our experiences. I know that as a team and as a coaching staff, we are going to improve from every experience we have. We can’t afford to make the silly mistakes we’ve made in the first two weeks, which allowed those games to get away from us. We own everything that comes at us. We know that we are going to continue to learn, and we are going to be better coaches for it and better players for it. The biggest thing is we can’t run from the mistakes that we are making, and we can’t cover them up and start pointing fingers. We have to make sure we own it and make the corrections that we need to make.”

Are you curious about how this week will pan out?

“I feel good about the leadership we have in the locker room. It’s one thing when you go talk to a team after a defeat like that and you feel like you don’t have the right character in the room. That’s always a concern. You look at that crew and that’s not a concern. We know guys will respond the right way, and the guys that are hesitant to respond the right way, we have the people to make sure it stays in line. I feel very confident in that regard.”

Do you look around the division and see what the other teams are doing?

“No. Not at all. We barely have enough time to get ready for the game as is. We feel like every second is precious. I will say we do that prep work in the summertime when we have the extra time, but right now, we just focus on the opponent at hand.”

Do you have an update on DE Carl Lawson or OT Cordy Glenn?

“We will find out more about Carl today, and there’s no update on Cordy. He’s still day-to-day.”

Do you have an idea on the severity of Carl’s injury?

“No, we’ll find out shortly after this hopefully.”

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