"Okay guys a couple personnel things. Pep Livingston a defensive lineman we brought in on the practice squad. LaMark Brown a tight end we also signed to the practice squad."
Michael Bennett was limited at practice, how is he looking?
“I think he will be okay. I cannot predict. I think he will. He has got a shoulder [problem]. So we will see.”
What is your message to the team in light of the latest off field developments?
“First off, I always deal with the individual involved. I have had candid conversations with Ahmad (Black). Then I discussed it with the whole team. I get it. I am frustrated, but at the same you need to handle every situation independently. I talked with our team about it. I really believe they understand. Yet we had another mistake. We have to get it remedied. I have taken internal action that will stay internal. Now the league still has to decide what they are going to do and the courts have to decide. That’s where we are.”
Will he play Sunday?
“He will play Sunday, yes.”
Was there any thought given with wanting to send a message to your team if you knew earlier in the week like maybe just sitting him down and talking to him?
“There is always, when you are inside the situation and you have all the facts, there are always a lot of things you have to take into account when you make a decision. I know that from the outside you look sometimes and you say ‘well why don’t you’? Well it’s not that easy always. Every situation has different circumstances to it. What I try to do is hear everything and get as much accurate information as I can and then collaborate with Mark (Dominik) and with people on the staff, then we make a decision collectively what we think is best. Having done this for a number of years, experience tells me that our internal action is appropriate right now. Now we have to wait and see what happens outside of the organization. Rest assured that it has been addressed. I would like to talk about San Diego and getting ready for them.”
Can you talk about Vincent Jackson and the impact he has on the field with his skill set and what that forces defenses to do and how it opens up the rest of the offense?
“He is a big, fast, talented receiver. So now if you are going to cover him with [a] single high safety and you are one-on-one, there is a possibility that he is going to get the ball thrown to him and make a play on you. If you are not going to do that, then it starts to alter how you play run defense a little bit. Okay if we are going to commit two people [with] one under and one over. Now you have taken a guy out of the unit. It is all schematic things. It is numbers. When you make a decision to dedicate resources to Vincent (Jackson), now you are either taking them away from also covering Mike (Williams) or covering the tight end or stopping the run. That’s an age old dilemma for defensive coaches. You have to decide where to dedicate your resources because you only have 11 guys. When you have more weapons, then it stretches the defense thin.”
Is it safe to say then that he has had an impact on fact that your running game has opened up?
“Part of it, sure. When people start to concern themselves with your passing game and your vertical passing game they start to lay off and do what I just talked about. It is part of it. There is no one thing that helped. They all play off each other which is what [a] good offense does.”
What is unique of Vincent Jackson as a receiver since day one?
“He is a very good athlete. He is strong. So when you throw the ball in his vicinity, he has the ability to go leap up and go grab it. It is not always where you are not—he is covered. Several of the catches he has made this year he is covered. He just out athletes the guy who is covering him and makes a play. As a defensive play when I used to coach the secondary there were several reason a ball got caught on a guy. One of them was I just used to write one on one on the sheet meaning it was one on one and that guy was better than my guy and he caught it. There is not a lot you can do. You can fight. You can teach your defensive backs technique, but at the end of the day if a guy is a really talented guy, unless you dedicate two he may catch it. That’s kind of where his strength lies.”
With the difference between the run defense and pass defense does that make other teams go, 'well I guess we are passing?'
“I only laugh out of frustration, believe me. We should be better in our pass defense. We’re working our tails off. The flip side of that is, I’m not apologizing for being No. 1 in rush defense either. The guys are doing a heck of a job of playing the run and our No. 1 goal in our defensive room is to stop the run. I think when you make teams one dimensional it gives you a chance, so I’m pleased with that. We need to do better in our pass defense and we will. But it is odd, a little bit, yes.”
How much is it guys just needing to play better or is it schematically?
“I think it would naïve to say it was any one thing. I mean, I’m sure that we can make some better decisions, maybe coach a little bit better. By the same token, when we get into those one-on-one situations, we have to make a play. So there’s never any one reason and it’s all coupled together. The good thing is, there’s no finger pointing. We all feel like we’ll get this thing fixed. It’s all of us. We just have to coach better, we have to call better, play better and we’ll get it going in the right direction. We have to.”
Can you talk about LeQuan Lewis and what is it about him that you like?
“He’s got some skills that if he can perform with those skills within out scheme, he can be a good player. You don’t know until you do it. So there’s going to be a little bit of we’ll give him some and see how he does and then you give him some more. But you talk about being able to run, jump, hit, he can do that stuff as well as anybody. So we just have to bring him along and teach him our scheme and hopefully he’ll do it well in games.”
Is there one key thing that makes you so good against the run?
“One thing you talk about with run defense is we’ve been able to have some TFLs (tackles for losses) and that helps your run defense. What you’re talking about, about not giving up the big run is definitely - and if you look at what happened on that run, the two runs I remember are the Washington run and that run. And both of those runs were very similar in how we got blocked and how we didn’t make the tackle. Other than those two that really burn in my mind, we’ve been able to kind of, we say track the mouse, that’s how we look at it without secondary. And if it pops, we have to kind of funnel it down and get him down on the ground. That isn’t the spot to have the ESPN big hit. Just get him on the ground and line up and play defense again. We’ll get a TFL or they’ll jump or make some other mistake. It’s what we always talk about with those fly over yards in the passing game. Well if a guy hits a big run it doesn’t matter if it was a pass or run, it went through all the opportunities you have for an offense to make mistakes. We just have to get them to line up again and implode. But if they hit the big one we don’t give them that chance.”