“Afternoon ladies and gentlemen. First off I would just like to apologize for cussing at you guys yesterday and a slip of the tongue. Some frustration by my part, but I just expect more from my guys. These guys are exactly that — they are my guys and I expect more from them. We want to go out and play better and do a better job of with these young men. Got some health issues, obviously, that came up yesterday and we will have to figure it out this week. I won’t have clear-cut definite answers on everybody, but I can probably answer some if you guys ask.”
What about Aqib Talib's hamstring?
“He’s a tough kid. His toughness is off the charts when it comes to dealing with certain injuries. [He’s] kind of Ronde [Barber]-like in that sense. Yesterday he came out pretty early, the fourth play of the game I believe. We will have to see where he is. Obviously he will go through the MRI process. Got to look at it, see how far he can run, see if he can run and all those type of things. I’ve got to let Todd [Toriscelli] play that out a little bit and see where he is.”
What about Josh Freeman and practice?
“I’m hoping [he can practice] at this point. Obviously we’ve got to see him throw. We’ve got to get him out there again today and let him go out there and move his arm around and see what the pain tolerance is and all those types of things. You don’t want to hurt your quarterback any further. You want to go out there and be smart with him and figure out what he can do and how fast you can let him do it.”
Youth movement backfired or too aggressive?
“Neither. We just haven’t played as well. You’ve got to go out and play fast. You’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play consistent and smart – the two things we haven’t done this year. We’ve been out there and we’ve played fast. We’ve played hard. We’ve got to go out there and do a better job. So for us, we’ve got to cut back [and] do less things and let these guys [get] a chance to play fast [and] play smart [and] more consistent to be able to go out there and do some of those things we want to do. Obviously we are nowhere near where we wanted to be as far as an organization in what we wanted to do this year. So we will cut back and we will get these guys better. We will get their confidence going higher running around, speeding around, flying to the football. The same thing on offense. Executing everything you want to get executed [and] same thing on special teams. Running down the field, tackling people, swarming — that’s what we got to get back to.”
What about the cut back? Can you be more specific?
“We’ll cut back on some of our plays. We’ll cut back on some of our defensive calls. We’ll cut this thing down pretty much. Go out there and execute and play consistent and smart.”
Have you had a chance to talk with Brian Price?
“No. Brian Price is a guy that I depend on and count on somewhat [for] leadership in that room. So I’ve got a low tolerance for my guy. We talked about it before. We’ll talk about it today. Obviously we have our team meeting in a minute. Brian Price is somebody that I expect so much from because he is probably one of our best D-linemen that we have that we cannot have making those types of mistakes. He has got to be an example setter. [We] kind of forced him into more of a leadership role probably than he is ready for at this point, but it has got to start with somebody. It’s got to start with probably your best football player. He certainly is in that quality. He is certainly in that character and that light. We can’t make those mistakes. We just cannot do those things and he knows. I didn’t even have to talk to him. I just have to look at him and we will be in the same communicative way today. As soon as we get an opportunity to talk. He knows he can’t hurt his football team.”
Did no offseason hurt these players?
“I hate to say that because nobody had an offseason. We’re not the only team that’s young. The Carolina Panthers are pretty young, too, this year. They went out and executed and did a nice job and beat us. It would be hard for me to make that excuse or to even allow you to say that right now. We’ve just got to go out and play better, play smarter, play faster and play consistent.”
Will you instill a culture of less tolerance for the last four games?
“It’s always been that way. Yesterday, we can’t do those things. Until you take playing time away from these guys, they won’t get it. We’ve got to figure out a way to be smarter, we have to figure out a way to be more consistent and you’ve got to get your point across.”
When you alluded to guys not listening, were you talking about penalties?
“You know, it’s mainly about the penalties when I said they weren’t listening. We go out and we talk about cutting back on penalties. We talk about it, we run, we do different things, different tasks to try to get rid of the penalties. Obviously what I was saying, is if it keeps showing up in the game, then obviously they weren’t listening. These guys, I got a bunch of soldiers in there. They listen to just about everything you tell them. We talk about going out and getting less penalties; we’ve got to do it. It’s got to be a collective development amongst everybody. That goes back to the Brian Price thing: the foolish penalties are the ones you have to cut out. Not the pass interference penalty at the end of the game on Gaitor. The ones we can control that only has to deal with us are the ones we have to stop and the ones we have to eliminate.”
Looking at the future, is it time to look at the young guys and look toward next year?
“It’s time to go out and see guys like [Mossis] Madu and see what you have in him. Got a chance to see a little bit of Anthony Gaitor yesterday. People are getting an opportunity to play. Some of those are coming because of injuries, some are coming because they deserve it in practice and those guys are getting a chance to go out and get a little football in them. We got a chance to see a little Larry Asante yesterday. We got a chance to see a little Corey Lynch. Those guys are getting out there and being contributors. We’ve got to get these guys to get out there and play fast and play better. You’ll get a chance to see a bunch of people. It’s no different than what we did even last year at this point when guys got hurt. When Aqib Talib went down, we got a chance to see Myron Lewis. He went out there and played well, well enough to get him back on the team this year and have a chance to compete. We’re kind of in that similar situation. With Gerald going down, we got a chance to see some guys like McCargo. These young guys are going to get their opportunities right now and it’s time to check them out and evaluate them.”
What’s your evaluation of the big plays against your team?
“The big plays came on zone coverage. It was kind of an awkward deal, not being in the right place in your zone. Lack of a pass rush on that play or just not being in the right zone with the QB-keep zone-out break. Or your eyes were bad or you didn’t sort out a kind of a max coverage as well. We’ve got to figure out those things as well. We’ve got to cut down the menu and let these guys go out and play faster. I think that will help eliminate some of the big plays. That’s always been the philosophy, that’s always what we’ve got too.”
Has being in the wrong place being a recurring theme?
“That’s why you have to cut down. That’s why you cut back. We had a pretty small menu yesterday. In order to get it better, you make it smaller and you get these guys more consistent in what they’re doing and let them just go out there and play. You have to cut back. There’s no doubt about it to get these guys to play a little bit faster. And you have to give guys like Mason [Foster] and Da’Quan [Bowers] and Adrian Clayborn credit. They’ve gone out and played in a man’s league and first-year players and have been put in men’s roles. Mason Foster goes in every week and calls the defenses, he changes the defenses; he’s kind of become a quarterback. I don’t know any mike linebacker in our system that’s come in and done that as well he’s done it. So it’s not all gloom and doom for these guys. But I have to give them a little help; cut it down a little more for them and let them play a little faster. We came out and they got the big start, the fast start [that] gave a little confidence to them. [We] gave them a little more, a little more – more of the keys, another ring of the key – [and] let them control a few more things. Now you just have to scale back a bit and let them go out there and play fast again and run around and hit people.”
Did you think in camp they could handle more?
“To be honest with you, the way they came out of the box – we came out of the box 3-1 – playing really fast and we got better as we moved around. Guys were playing really fast. Mason, I thought he was a stud and getting better and better every week, and I still think he is. We just had the setback with the injuries and the loss of people and right now we have some people in a position out there trying to play as hard as they can and we have to give them a little bit of help.”
What will be successful for you this last month?
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as successful without picking up W’s. For us, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the only stat I would give anyone credit for. So we have to go out and find ways to win and play our brand of football. We have to run the ball, which we were not able to do yesterday. We’ve got to play good defense, solid defense, get the ball back for our offense, and play as well as we have on special teams. We’ve got to play against some really good opponents the next couple weeks and be ready to do deal.”
What about your players playing for you?
“That’s the nature of our beast. I’m not up here telling you that these players don’t care. I can’t say that to you guys. These guys care. And I’m not going to tell you that these coaches don’t care. I know the work that they put into it and the work that we put into it, and once in a while you need a little bit of that ball bounce. We didn’t get that ball bounce this year. But I have a lot of confidence in this group, a lot of confidence in where this organization is going and a lot of confidence in what can happen and that’s a part of looking at some of these other guys too and seeing where they fit. We’ve always talked about not being a finished product, it’s more clear right now than ever.”