Anything jump out at you on film?
“A lot of stuff, yeah. That was a – boy, a lot of things happened in the course of that game.”
“Well, a lot of good and a lot of things we need to correct. If you just look at the game, [I’m] happy about the way the offensive line battled. Certainly not where we need to be, but they battled and fought and that’s what they needed to do against that defensive front. And obviously Doug (Martin) made the most of that. Defensively, the obvious issues with the pass defense - it’s not any one person or any one thing, we just need to get better and we’ll work hard at that this week. With Philip Rivers coming to town that’s going to be a challenge so we need to get it fixed in a hurry.”
When a guy as good as Carson Palmer throws 61 times he’s going to get yardage, isn’t he?
“He is, he is. But you got to make sure those yards aren’t over the toppers though, it doesn’t matter how many times he throws it. We have to be able to defend that. It takes a lot of, as you saw, a couple of those drives they moved the ball but eventually we came up with a play. And as I’ve talked to you guys a lot about offensively, when we hit our shots – those flyovers where you don’t live to see any of the holding penalties or the illegal procedures or the negative runs, it’s the same way defensively. If you give up a shot, they don’t live to see those things and we need to make them own it because most of the times offenses are muscled up. But when they take that shot and hit it – we don’t get to see that. So that’s something we have to do a better job of conjunction pass rush and coverage. But again, my hat’s off to those guys because they came up with three takeaways, they stopped them in the clutch and that’s what team football is about. So we were able to do it in the kicking game – anytime you have a kick blocked to me it’s inexcusable. We’ve got to figure out how to be better there. But on the flip side of that, huge – Ronde (Barber) comes and you know when we come with the corner fire on the punt block and Ronde makes the play just as he’s supposed to do, we get the ball at midfield. Those are the things that can be turning points in games. Had they gotten that ball and were able to drive down. So all of those things come into play.”
How do you keep Doug Martin fresh as an integral part of your offense?
“Well I think you have to - - we’re going to need to use LeGarrette (Blount) in a role that is clearly defined. And we just need to keep track and make sure he doesn’t get too far out of whack you know as far as reps go. He’s a guy I think gains strength during a game the more touches he gets. Probably a lot of tailbacks will tell you that, you know ‘the more touches I get, the more I feel it.’ I think Doug (Martin) is physically as trained to be a back that can do that so now we just got to make sure we don’t go too far with it.”
Do you keep track of Doug Martin’s reps for the whole season?
“Keep track for the season, but within the game you keep track of how many touches. You know, plays and touches are different. If he’s in there and he’s pass protecting, that’s different than 11 guys are trying to put their facemask on you - and usually three or four do when they get you down. So, those shots have a cumulative effect. When you’re one-on-one blocking or running a flare route – that’s a lot different, so we keep track of plays and touches.”
Are you keeping track because he’s a rookie as opposed to a college player, where the most games he ever played was 12 in a season now he’s in a situation to play
“Well ultimately he’s playing 20 guaranteed, right? Although I think maybe Doug we didn’t play that last preseason game. You know right now he’s at the end of an official college season. There’s no month off before the bowl now.”
Is it hard to gauge?
“I don’t know if it’s hard to gauge, you just have to make sure you keep an eye on it and he does a great job of taking care of his body and pre- and preparation for it, you know building up and then now doing it and we have to help. In practice we got to make sure we watch, make sure he only gets the plays he needs to get, all those kind of things.”
What was the most impressive thing Doug did yesterday, aside from the yards?
“Well, I think he’s really trusting his track, trusting his plays, you know? Because when a lot of those plays – you know you see he comes popping out of there. It’s not like there’s a hole – the hole’s about that wide and Doug just trusts the play and he’s patient and sometimes – you know, good backs when they run like that they kind of pop their feet for a second if it isn’t there right before and then they burst. You know, guys that are just never going to be good backs? They run their face into the back of the blocker and it’s a two-yard gain. And when to tell him to pop his feet and when not to – because I’m not talking about a bunch, I’m talking about a momentary hesitation when I talk about patience that he has – that’s more than just patience you and I would have when we get frustrated, it’s patience that he can feel when to slow it down just a little bit and when not to slow it down. That’s hard to teach.”
People who have covered this team for 20, 30 years have never seen an offense like this. What is it that makes people get so excited about the offense when we’ve covered some good defenses here?
“That’s the most exciting part, that’s what people come to see – the deep passes and the long runs and the scoring. We have a scoreboard for a reason, right? It’s not a yardage board, it’s a scoreboard. People like to see scores, I don’t blame them I like to see it too. It’s exciting stuff and those are usually the guys that are scoring - your skilled athletes, which those are fun to watch as well, some of the stuff they do is impressive.”
New England and New Orleans and Green Bay didn’t have good defenses last year but went a long way. Is that totally against your thinking as a defensive guy?
“I’m a winning guy. That’s all I want to do and how we do it – I think what happens when you look at those teams that have good offenses and maybe their defenses don’t show – there’s two things that happen. No. 1 the faster you score, the faster your defense is back out on the field, so that’s one thing. And the second thing is, those defenses may not statistically be yardage and those kinds of things but they make plays in the clutch, they come up with takeaways. And you’d like to have an offense that’s kind of on all cylinders and a defense that’s snuffing it out pretty good and it’s not done when they make a play or – you know, we’re not there and three weeks ago we weren’t where we are offensively. So we’re a work in progress for sure but we just keep moving along and we should gain – again, I keep coming back to that phrase ‘cumulative reps’. As we keep going and practicing the same things and we should get better, right? And we should get a finer understanding of the little details. And hopefully that’s what we’re seeing. Some of those plays that are being made against us, we have to figure out why we’re not – why we’re just missing, because they’re by much. Literally they’re – that’s the game right? It’s a game of inches.”
What about the effort of Lavonte David with 16 tackles yesterday – can you talk about his progression from first game through yesterday?
“Well what I think what Lavonte’s done is he’s been very consistent from game one all the way through game eight. He’s made plays every week. Another guy you worry about when you’re talking about Doug - the length of the season and he’s not an overly big guy, he’s an athletic, fast, tough guy – but the cumulative hits so we have to make sure we keep an eye on him as well. But really playing at a high level. Certainly playing unrookie-like, if you will, in the way he’s playing, he’s performing well.”
Josh Freeman is playing at a high level – what do you see specifically from him?
“I think he is doing just what you said. He is understanding what is most important and that’s the football. And sometimes that allows you to have 400-yard passing days and other times it doesn’t. But I felt some of the times where he tucked and ran yesterday – just the little things. Right before the half when he throws the ball out of the playing field, right? Now we didn’t score three points, but we had the opportunity to, you know. Sometimes quarterbacks you watch every week how at the end of the half things get messed up. You know there was a miscommunication on the one I think we were all kind of ‘what’s going on’ on that one I think there was a conversation between (Freeman) and the official that got misunderstood. But overall I think he’s moving and operating the offense the way we want him to and he’s doing the most critical thing – he’s taking care of the football. And if you do that, you’re going to have a chance to win every week.”