What Zac Taylor Said About The Rams, Andy Dalton And An Injury Update

ZAC TAYLOR

Head coach

Initial comments ...

“Back at it. The guys in the building are excited to get after the Rams. It’s an interesting week as we need to prepare to go to London. Our guys are focused and ready to get after this and chase our first win.

“From an injury standpoint yesterday, we got out of there relatively healthy. We’ll have some guys that were not ready to play last week that we’ll take day-to-day right now and see where they’re at on Wednesday when we get back to practice. We’ll see who’s available for this weekend. We’re hoping to get some more bodies back that way.

We released defensive end Anthony Zettel. We had the one-game suspension with Cordy (OT Cordy Glenn), so he’ll be back on the roster right now, and we’ll take it day-to-day with him.”

Do you expect Glenn to practice this week?

“We’ll take it day-to-day right now and see where it goes.”

After analyzing the game film, how did Jacksonville defend the run so well?

“There were a lot of things that we did to ourselves as well. We had a couple examples of people going the wrong way. That doesn’t help the run. For whatever reason, it was a different person on about every play. There were more yards to be had there. We just didn’t do a good enough job, and that was frustrating. We should have had more there than we had. It put us in a bind. It put us in a lot of second-and-longs, second-and-10s. If we had a good gain on first down in the passing game, on second down we ran the ball and weren’t very efficient. It’s certainly an area we need to improve on if we’re going to win some football games.”

After struggling to mount a rushing attack so far this season, what have your conversations been like with HB Joe Mixon?

“Joe and I have had some great conversations. He and Jemal (running backs coach Jemal Singleton) talk through a lot of things. He and I talk about a lot of things. We’re on the same page. It’s frustrating for everybody when the run game isn’t going. That’s with the coaches and the running backs. Joe is easy to deal with. Joe understands. Joe wants to win. He’s not a selfish guy in that way. He just wants to win. It’s frustrating for any running back when we’re having the lack of success that we’re having right now.”

Have you thought about using more two-TE packages?

“We do talk about it extensively every single week, whether it’s ’11 personnel,’ ’12 personnel,’ ’13 personnel’ or ’10 personnel.’ Those are all conversations that we have. What we roll out there on Sunday is what we think is the best option to win the game.”

Was Glenn in the building today?

“No.”

What is the rationale behind playing out of “11 personnel?”

“There are a lot of reasons. We usually like the matchups that are presented to us. There are games in the future and games we’ve played in where we’ve been in more ’12 personnel’ because we feel like that’s a good matchup. As we get through the week and as we analyze the Rams and what gives us the best opportunity, we’ll make that determination of who we want to put out there.”

Do you wish you would have utilized your tight ends more against Jacksonville?

“We do. The game ends and tight ends don’t have much action. We look at, ‘OK, how do we get them involved?’ There are a lot of things we look at with protections right now to give ourselves the best opportunity. We take into account a lot of things. We make sure that we’re approaching in the right way to make sure we get a nice pocket so we can get the ball out and help the people that need help. It all factors into it.”

What’s the downside of having HB Giovani Bernard and Mixon in the game concurrently?

“There have been times where we’ve gotten Gio in the game with Joe. There are times where we’ve had more plays in the plan to do that and we haven’t been able to get it off. You look at some the games we’ve played, and we’ve had limited snaps in the first half. It’s certainly an option for us. You need to look at how (the opponent) responds defensively. What do they look at that as? Those are all things that, as the game gets going, we’re trying to understand what their approach is when we do that and what advantages that gives us.”

What did you see from DT Geno Atkins against Jacksonville, and what do you expect from him in the future?

“He stepped up. He had the two sacks where he won one-on-ones. He’s putting pressure on the quarterback. He’s one of our leaders, our veterans that we’re depending on to step up and make some plays. There are a lot of guys we’re leaning on that we need to play the way that he played yesterday. He’s a guy that we count on. He goes out there and does his job. Yesterday, he had some good production. There are other games where he has the same production but doesn’t necessarily get the sacks. He affects the quarterback and he affects the play call in a lot of ways. Yesterday, it just showed up on paper a little bit more. He’s somebody that you always need to be aware of as an offensive coordinator.”

Was there a reason he was able to show up on paper more yesterday?

“They held the ball for a good amount of time. Minshew (Jacksonville QB Gardner Minshew II) was back there surveying the field and gave Geno a chance to win some one-on-ones. There were some other (plays) where he was close as well. It was a good job by the coverage, too. Not only did Geno win his one-on-ones, but the coverage held up on the back end and guys aren’t open, so he gets the chance to get that extra second to win his matchup and go get the sack.”

Is this the most frustrated you’ve seen the locker room?

"I feel frustrated at the end of that game when it gets away from us. Certainly it’s frustrating for a player. In the locker room, there was nothing alarming. It’s frustration by everybody because we feel like we had a lead in the fourth quarter. That hasn’t happened for us this year, really. To have that and feel like we’re going to win that game, we believe in that, and for it end the way it did, it’s frustrating for it to all happen like that. I wouldn’t say that I saw anything alarming in the locker room after the game. I just met with the team. We said the things that needed to be said, and we’re moving on to L.A..

Is it getting more difficult to preach character?

“No. I think you’re always leery when you hit a stretch like this, which I don’t know that any of us ever have. There’s a lot of positivity, but sometimes the negative voices become louder — even the few — and that’s everywhere you go. (We’re) making sure that everyone is listening to the right players. The team has a great approach when we’re around, but you’re not always in the locker room, and you don’t know if there is one or two guys. It seems like the character of our team has been what we hoped for, and the right players are stepping up and saying the right things right now.”

How much do you address trade speculation with the team and individual players?

“We don’t talk about it because our team is our team. We plan on going out there every single day with the guys that are in this locker room working. There’s no reason to have that conversation because this is the group that we’re going to win a game with, so I’m excited to see it happen.”

Is it tough to tune out the trade rumors?

“It’s not hard for me to tune out because I don’t know where I would hear it. Unless someone turns on the radio in my office, I wouldn’t know. I’ve said what I’ve said about A.J. (WR A.J. Green). I’m not going to go through the whole list of everybody. There was speculation about A.J., and I wanted to make it clear that he’s not going anywhere, and he’s staying here.”

Will A.J. Green play once he’s ready? Has there been consideration to waiting until after the bye week?

“I just want to see him practice. I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking (about him) up here, and last week we gave him some time off. This week, he’ll get a chance to come back and take it day-to-day. I wouldn’t put him out in a game if he hasn’t gone through a full practice yet. Of course today is Monday, so we’ll see where he’s at on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I’m not saying it’s out of the question that he would play on Sunday. I don’t know what the likelihood of that is until I see him practice. Truthfully, we’ll just see where he’s at. And again, if he’s not able to play on Sunday, the bye comes at the right time where you get a chance to get another week to fully recover and see if he’s ready for Baltimore. We’ll just take it day-to-day right now.”

Can you say if he will practice on Wednesday?

“No. I made that mistake last week.”

Do you think the organization should listen to trades?

"We listen to anything. It’s not smart to pick up the phones and (not) listen to what’s said. Again, our approach is we have these guys in the locker room, and we have to focus on winning a game with these guys.”

How much do you talk with the front office about trades?

“Every day. We meet every single morning, and we talk through anything that’s on the table. There are a lot of things on the table. Every day — it’s not a state of the union — it’s an ongoing conversation, every single day, and we’re in a good place there.”

Are you willing to commit to QB Andy Dalton for the remainder of the season, or is it not smart to commit at any position?

“I don’t think it’s fair to do at any position. That (the QB) is the easiest one to point the finger at when things aren’t going well. I can show you a lot of things (from) yesterday that people would probably point the finger at Andy for, and I’d say, ‘Well, how about this player do something different? Or, here’s why that throw looks like it does. Here’s the window I see.’ We just have to find a way to win as unit. It’s easy to point the finger at the quarterback, but I don’t see it that way. I’ve coached that position for a long time. I know its human nature to do it that way, but everyone has to step up. There were a lot of 50/50 opportunities for the receivers yesterday. They’ve got to step up and make some plays, too. Sometimes they did, and sometimes they have to do a better job. Sometimes the lineman have to do a better job with the pocket. Sometimes the backs have to do a better job in protection — either getting out quicker, or staying in there and making the block so there aren’t free runners coming. Everyone is a piece in that puzzle, but ultimately, (quarterbacks) are usually the ones that take the heat for it.”

What does Andy Dalton need to be better at? What do you need to see out of him?

“I think, for all of our players, it’s being consistent. There’s certainly some throws he wants back from yesterday. Again, there are some throws that I wouldn’t pin on him — (throws) that looked poor sometimes, that I wouldn’t say are his fault. Then there are a couple that he would say, ‘That’s solely my responsibility there.’ ... Just for consistency, from not only him, but every single player. He’s poised, and he stands in there and takes some hits. Usually he gives himself a lot of time to make a decision before someone is going to hit him, and he has to get rid of the ball. The screen is a great example. (During) the screen that went for a touchdown, everyone is yelling at the quarterback, but we have to make sure that we’re blocking the right guys, and we can get out and screen and make a play. Unfortunately, the pick-six goes down in his book, but that play is on the whole unit.”

Do you feel like the amount of hits and pressure he’s faced has affected his mechanics?

“I don’t think so. No I don’t. He faced a two-man (front) yesterday, and took off and ran on a big third-down-and-long situation. I don’t think it’s affected his mechanics. I’ve seen the same player that I saw last spring when I first got here.”

At what point do you start casting an eye toward 2020?

“We have to win this game. When we show up on Monday morning, it’s how do we beat the Rams. That’s the conversation right now. That will make everybody feel a lot better. You put in all this work for the last number of months, and it hasn’t paid off yet. That doesn’t mean there’s not progress being made in a lot of areas. Some is seen, and some is unseen, but we still find the positives to build off of. We had the team meeting and I said, ‘The Niners beat us up pretty good. They’ve proven to be a really good team. What’s a game that you felt we were out of that we didn’t have a chance to win, and that we shouldn’t have won?’ They understand that we shouldn’t feel like a 0-7 team. That’s what our record is, but that’s not how we should feel. We’ve had the opportunity to win some of these games in the fourth quarter, and who says this can’t be the game that we get this done. Let’s focus on that and make sure we’re all working to achieve that, and understanding where we’re at. We shouldn’t feel like a 0-7 team. We’ve put ourselves in position (to win), and we have to find a way to win one of these.”

Is fan attendance discussed in organizational meetings?

“Not with me. Here’s how I see it ... You see fans that are upset, and that’s a positive in my opinion. That means the fans care about what happens here, and they’re upset about it. They’re upset we’re not winning games. I know when we start getting this thing turned around and we start winning games, they’re going to be there to support us. They still talk about the Bengals because they want us to do well. We’re not doing well right now. We’re going to have to fight to win some games, show some positive momentum, show some energy on the field and get them fired up. I know this community really, really wants to support a winner, and we’re going to fight our tails off every single day, too. I want to win for the players because they put in the work. (I) want to win for the fans because they want us to be a winner. I’ve lived in this community before, and they want us to win. That’s a positive, and we just have to get it in going in the right direction. Then we’ll have people that are there to support us when we do get it going.”

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