“Same old deal as yesterday. You talk about it and you go back and look. Obviously not the result that you wanted. You started fast, got some things done early that you wanted to get done and then the disastrous moments happened with the turnovers starting to pile up on you really affected field position. Not just the turnovers. We probably had our worst day punting the football yesterday that also gave those guys great field position.
“When you look back at the game, the score probably should have been 70-14 with the amount of opportunities that they had. Jacksonville did a nice job of capitalizing on some of their opportunities. We lost the football game. We did not do a nice job of bouncing back from adversity within the game. We did a nice job of getting a couple of stops. But we can’t pile up on ourselves and let that continue to hurt us and yesterday it did.
“But enough of self pity, it’s time to refocus on what we need to do with our football team from this point on. We’ll go back like we did last week with some basic things and try to get things better. we saw a lot of improvement from some of the stuff we worked on last week with some of our run defense issues, some of our things as far as executing on offense but now we have to talk about holding onto the football, some of our fundamental core beliefs and keep getting those things better. Because at the end of the day, you still building a bunch of young men and making those guys prepared to win a championship. We just have to deal with the fact it’s not going to be this year.”
On LeGarrette Blount and fumbling issues:
“It’s not been the last few weeks. It started when he first got in the lineup. On his first couple of weeks of carrying the football he put the ball on the ground a couple of times and we were fortunate to get some of those back. It’s been a concern with us with LeGarrette for awhile. We talked about it with him. We talked and we stressed it. It just so happens this year we weren’t so fortunate to get those balls back as we were in the past. “Not that it’s a concern but when you’re talking about a guy who runs the ball as he does and breaks as many tackles as he does, sometimes those guys get careless with the football with their ability to use extra effort. You hate to take away from a guy’s effort and a guy’s will to win but at the same time you have to be smart with the football and you got to do better with ball security in traffic in those type of situations. We have not done a great job at that especially yesterday. I believe he had two in Tennessee as well.
“A lot of people want to blame it on wet situations. I think those are excuses. It’s more about knowing your style of running, and understanding what is going on in the game and understanding that the defense and everybody is going to hustle and you have to do a better job at securing the football for your team and your coaching staff and everybody in the organization.”
When other teams see that on tape so does that add to the issue?
“No. 1 thing you talk about every week, you give those guys keys to win the football game and what can happen. I’m sure in Jacksonville it was something to do with ball security and having an opportunity to get after the ball when LeGarrette is carrying the ball. He’s a big fella. You know he’s going to get tangled up a bunch in traffic. A teachable moment for us at all times when a guy is hung up, trying to go for the ball, raking it out or you’re talking about a guy in a chase tackle situation and you go for the football. They capitalized to the fullest yesterday with some of those opportunities.”
How did the O-Line Play?
“They didn’t play great. Our left side of the offensive line. There’s no sugar coating that fact. Donald Penn didn’t have as great a game as he usually has for us. This is the first time we’ve talked about Donald Penn so that alone lets you know he didn’t play as good as he’d like too. He’s aware of that. We’re aware of that. Obviously, we’ve moved on to the Dallas game because of the short week. We won’t have that extensive film study and be able to evaluate with Donald form as a 1-on-1 coaching standpoint but I’m sure Donald will be in here today and he’ll look at himself and he’ll evaluate himself and he’ll come up to the coaches and he’ll get that fixed and get that corrected. He struggled yesterday against the rusher they had against him and those guys did a nice job of taking advantage of Donald and got our quarterback hit a little bit.”
How did Josh Freeman come out of the game health wise?
“He’s a tough guy. (He) took a couple of hits and landed on his shoulder a couple of time. That helped me to see him go out and throw the ball after that now you know it’s not structural, it’s pain and it’s something that you have to deal with in the National Football League. Yes, he got roughed up a little bit. We just mentioned the problems we had on the left side of our offense yesterday with the amount of that pass rush they were able to get on him. They hit him with a couple of blitzers. I’m not just blaming Donald either. We missed some blocks from the backs as well with the young back (Mossis) Madu. So we have to do a better job of protecting him which we have all year. We just have to, especially in this time and situation, with the shoulder issue with the quarterback, he has to go untouched.”
Will Freeman will be okay going forward?
“I do. Obviously out there practicing this week, we’ll see him throw tomorrow and do some different things, but obviously we’ll take caution with that.”
Do you feel like you’re on the hot seat?
“When you’re coaching you are always on the hot seat. That’s the mentality of what we do. We were on the hot seat when we went 10-6 and we didn’t go to the playoffs. You can still get fired. I got fired when I was 9-7 and I became the head coach that same year. You’re always on the hot seat. I try to tell guys all the time. If I was worried about being fired I certainly would not be coaching. I would have taken that physical education job in Long Island that I turned down 15 years ago. But that’s not what I do. We’re entertainers. We’re in this thing to win football games. I got a lot of guys in this locker room that are counting on us not to show mental weakness and we won’t do that.
“It’s great for you guys to scare my family half to death and talk about that stuff all throughout, but for us it’s a mental toughness, it’s move on, next opponent, next man up, it’s the Dallas Cowboys, coming in here hot for a Saturday night game and a chance for me to ruin Jason Garrett’s season and let you talk about him.”
Do you feel the criticism is warranted?
“Obviously the only criticism I care about comes form people with names that end with G. That’s the first thing you have to say. The next, his name has to end with a D, and that’s Dominik. And then it has to do with my coaching staff and my players. Really, that’s the only thing that matters. Once we get together and we figure out what we need to do and do better, that’s all we have to do.
“That’s the only way you win football games. If you just worry about the people criticizing you that really care about winning football games. Everybody else is a component that doesn’t matter. We like to refer to them around here as gray matter. That’s exactly why papers are gray, because they don’t matter. Whether Joe Henderson wrote it or you guys wrote it, whether you blogged about it. None of that stuff matter. When we get ready to prepare tomorrow we have to prepare to beat the Dallas Cowboys, make no mistake about it. We’re not going into the Dallas Cowboys game not to get fired. We’re going into the game to win, period.”
Has Freeman grown as a QB this year?
No doubt about it. You have to go out there and learn through adversity. Ask Phillip Rivers. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in this league and he’s absolutely getting crushed this year. But I still don’t want to not play him. He’s going to learn through adversity. He’s going to come out with a little more fire, and this will do nothing but add to our offseason. This will help me get guys to want to be together, to come here and be more informed and ready to go for next year. I have a bunch of hungry young men that love football and no matter what the situation is, whether I’m here or whether I’m not, this team is going to be a better football team because of it.”
What specifically has he learned and improved on?
“He’s got a better grasp of everything we do. There’s not a time we come off the field and Josh doesn’t know. Last year we could have gone out there a couple of times and Josh just made some plays and didn’t really know why or what was the purpose. But he has a complete grasp of everything that goes on, whether it be wrong or be good, whether he missed the throw or the route was wrong or the concept was wrong, or whether the play call was wrong. Whatever the case may be, he understands the issues, and that’s part of growing as a quarterback.
“You talk to a lot of great quarterbacks that struggled their way through, whether it was Rich Gannon, who struggled at het beginning of his career and wound up being great at the end, it was about the accumulation of knowledge throughout the process of going out there and playing. And that’s what you see happen to guys. Steve Young did it. “There’s a lot of great quarterbacks you can mention that struggled early in their career that really found their way and hit their stride. He hasn’t hit it yet. I told you last year when we were peaking and he was the comeback kid. We were just playing well as a team. And right now we have to find a way to play well as a team again and let him continue to grow and play better and better.”
On Preston Parker and his struggles with fumbling in Sunday’s game:
I’m not going to give up on anybody. Preston Parker is a dynamic guy and because he fumbled a punt yesterday that led to a run by the Jacksonville Jaguars I’m not going to turn my back on him. I gave Brian Price a second chance and I kicked him out of the game. It’s about us growing as a team and organization and getting better and making smarter decisions, all across the board. I’m not pointing fingers at Preston Parker for the reason that the Jacksonville Jaguars came out and out-physicaled us and beat us yesterday. I’m going to blame that on field position, their ability to capitalize on their opportunities and our inability to turn that swing around.”
Why were you unable to turn that swing around?
“Some of that (lack of maturity) factors in. You got to be mature enough to go out there and absolutely erase the fact that they score 14 points within about a minute and a half. And they scored 14 of those 21 points when the defense was on the sideline. That stuff can’t matter. You have to go out and just play. So if Preston Parker was thinking about that punt the rest of the game, then we have an issue right there. If we’re worried on defense about the fact that they scored (as quickly as they did), that’s a problem because that has to be gray matter. We have to go out there and get some stops and we did get some stops in the third quarter. It’s just than in that second half we ran out of gas and they got some points and the were really able to get up there and make that thing really get out of control. You have to have that kind of mindset.”
How do you get to 4-9 from 4-2?
“Unfortunately it isn’t the same team. We are different. But we are into the next man up mentality. I even sold you guys on that because you don’t realize who is missing either. But it’s not about missing people. It’s about those guys stepping up into those roles and using that maturity to get you over the edge. And we have not been able to do that thus far. We have to be able to do that this week. And we have to do it the next three weeks. You know me; I wont give you any excuses why we didn’t win yesterday’s game or any game for that matter. We have to go out and do a better job as a team.”
That was something you were known for last year? Why didn’t the next man up theory work this year?
“I can sit up here and cry about a bunch of things but that’s not our mentality. We need more time together. We need to make that second nature deal with us. We have got to go out and prepare for that this offseason and be ready to deal when adversity sets in for next season. Stuff that has to be talked about whether its situational football, whether it’s play in, play out. Or this next snap. Our ability to be one-snappers every game. Our ability to be one heartbeat. Play at one game. Play at one moment. All of those things have got to be a part of it. It has to be a team effort. That’s what has to happen.”
What conversations have you had with the Glazers and Mark Dominik about the job you are doing?
We have segments in the year where we talk about those different things. Me and Mark we talk every day. That is a circle of trust so to speak. Whenever I have any questions on what we are doing or (need to) get any advice that’s the person I'm generally going to go to. Not that we are talking about what a good job I’m doing or good job they are doing. It is a collective effort of what we need to do, who we need, why we need them … what’s the next plan. All those things. How we are going to attack our football team right now.
“Some of those things we talk about I talk about with you guys (media). Last week it was cutting back and getting the guys to play faster and do some of those things. This week it is about fundamental core beliefs. We will make an addition to add some of those things what you would generally see from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. We need it obviously. We can’t hold onto the football yesterday. It is something we have to do.
“And you can always improve tackling. Although we came out and tackled pretty good yesterday against a great running back but it is just some of those things. Some of those concepts a young Mason Foster needs to get. Or a young Da’Quan Bowers or Adrian Clayborn, all those guys need to get the general philosophies and the fundamental core beliefs. Just because you say them doesn’t mean they pick them up. You have to go out there and actually do them. Rod Marenelli always told me the hard part is to consistently do it over and over again.”
Will there be radical changes in personnel next season?
“No. I wouldn’t go there. Radical changes as far as personnel puts people in a panic. We don’t do that around here. We are not emotional decision makers. This is the same team or the same group of men that won ten games the year before. You can go out there and find a way to play faster, smarter harder and more consistent and you can go out there and win however many game you want to win.