Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.25
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Good morning, Robert. I’m just wondering that, now that you’ve had a chance to take a closer look, can you assess Tim Boyle’s performance and are you going to roll with him next week?
Yes, we’re giving Timmy (Tim Boyle) another shot to roll next week. Obviously, there’s things that he could have done better, there’s things that he had no control over and I know he battled out there. We were able to get to certain calls that we were hoping to do. We were able to execute a lot of the different things that we wanted to execute, it just didn’t come to full fruition.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Robert, you’ve talked in the past about how a big part of your philosophy is that you don’t want guys to be trying to go outside of themselves to make a play, like pressing or whatever. I know Breece (Hall) and Garrett (Wilson) in recent weeks have said they feel like they’ve been pressing and that’s part of why they feel like they’ve been struggling. Is that concerning to you that guys are feeling that they have to do that right now?
Yeah, it’s natural. There’s a lot of frustration all over the place, especially on the offensive side of the ball and guys are searching, they’re reaching, and sometimes you just got to go back to understanding who you are and what your style of play is. Every once in a while you need to be reminded of that. That’s going to kind of be the message this week. When you try to do more, it usually comes out worse. It’s not about trying to do more right now, it’s about trying to lock into who you are and what your style of play is. Hopefully that turns into the results that we’re all seeking.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: With regard to Breece, he was beating himself up after the game. Obviously, he got off to a great start this year, but the last few games haven’t been there. Do you notice that with him when you watch him run? Is there anything you see in his running that suggests here’s a game that’s trying to do too much?
Yes, for sure. Breece is a special talent, we all agree when the ball is in his hands, we’re better, but there’s grimy yards that a back has to understand he has to get. There’s a saying that if an O-line blocks it for nothing, he’s got to find two. If they block it for three, he’s got to find six. If they block it for negative yardage, he’s got to find a way back to the line of scrimmage. Right now, when you press, you’re trying to create explosives all over the place, and for the most part in the NFL, the O-line is going to block it for two or three, and he’s got to go find four or five. That means lowering your shoulder, getting dirty, getting grimy, finishing runs and not trying to find ways to bounce and make people miss at the line of scrimmage all the time, because these guys are hunting. O-line is fighting their tail off to try to open up creases for him, and Coaches are trying to design the best runs they can possibly design, but 95% of runs are body blows. There are four, five yard runs that turn into eight, nine yarders later. When you press, you are, you’re going to try to create an explosive every single play and you’re going to lose that style of play that makes you special. He’s a big back, he’s 220 pounds, and he’s got elite speed, but he also has elite ability to lower his shoulder and get vertical when he needs to. Once he reconnects to that, I think we’ll start seeing him for what we know he is.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Hey Robert, you’ve always been known as a very good motivator. One of your strengths as a coach, what are the challenges when you’re going through a run like this to keep the guys hungry and keep the faith?
That’s a good question. It’s a full team thing. There’s a lot of pride that goes into an NFL locker room. I think what you see is frustration, guys don’t quit on tape. The idea that guys stop playing hard because they’ve lost motivation, these men are showing tape for 31 other teams. Their tape is out there and one thing I know about NFL players `and this people how many years now is they do not want to step on the field and put on bad tape because at the end of the day that is their resume. What needs to happen is the level of frustration that’s happening and leading to guys trying to make more plays that’s leading to frustrations on all three phases, that’s leading to this idea that someone has to do something more and what it is doing is it’s leading to some sloppy football, so just reconnecting. Like I said, we have to reconnect to each individual style of play. Coaches need to come up with a game plan that gets these guys in a position to showcase that style, but I know our guys are going to continue to work hard, play hard, they’re going to put on tape the best thing they know how to put on tape and that’s their style. The frustration that’s building does nobody any good.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: For all of us who have never been in this position, can you put into words the difficulty of walking into that locker room four games in a row now and having to try to keep these guys up and figure out a message for them, how difficult is that postgame for you to do?
It’s not difficult because the message is the truth. The truth that is spoken in the team meeting room and the truth that they’ve got these two days off and you want them to enjoy this time with their families and take a deep breath, but on Monday, there’s a tell the truth moment that needs to happen and happens every week whether you win or lose and being able to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself whether or not you’re putting your best foot forward and like I said, I challenge the coaches too. Challenge the player, challenge everyone in organization, are you putting your best foot forward or are you looking over the fence at someone else’s grass? That sometimes can happen when you think you have answers for everybody, you start looking over the lawn, but the main thing is just make sure you’re keeping tabs on yourself and finding ways to get better and telling the truth on where you can be better to help this team win football games.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, when you look at the Hail Mary play, that’s not something a team practices, a Hail Mary return, do you chalk that up as a freak thing or do you look at it and say you guys should have done something differently there in terms of execution?
From an execution standpoint, there’s a lot of things. Whether you can say the quarterback could have held onto it a tick longer to give his guys a chance to get down there, whether he could have put a little more air on it to give his guys a chance to get down there. We had (Jason) Brownlee who got pretty much tackled at the goal line, but the refs aren’t going to call that, so you’re going to go into the mindset to be a big boy down there, which is a learning experience for him. It’s basically a wrestling match in the end zone and then from there, you have to have effort to get the ball down. We had the same experience last week, we intercepted Buffalo’s Hail Mary and obviously weren’t as fortunate to get the ball to the end zone, but the last thing you’re thinking is that you’re going to have a return for a touchdown. You seize momentum with two interceptions and you’re trying to go get some points in a half that’s kind of been non-existent. Just a very unfortunate event that took place.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: On the Micheal Clemons elbowing the official, how disappointing is it to see one of your players do that and it’s the second week in a row that he’s lost his poise? Can you comment on him and his ability to keep his composure?
Yeah, Micheal Clemons, it was an inadvertent hit on the referee. He’s not deliberately, I can’t explain what he was, there was a scrum. Whether he felt someone touching him, I don’t know. I know that he wasn’t trying to hit a referee in the face. Unfortunately, whether it’s by accident or not, you’re going to be ejected. There was obviously a scrum, you would love for your guys to keep composure in those moments, but it goes back to what I’m talking about in those moments, there’s frustration. Guys put in a lot of work to go out there and win, guys put in a lot of work to have an opportunity to make plays and there is frustration in all three phases, coaching staff included, fans, media, all of you guys. We’re all frustrated, but it’s unfortunate what happened with Micheal. He plays with an edge and I’m not going to take that edge away from him. He does need to learn how to keep his composure, as do all of us and keep our frustrations bottled in and continue to focus on the things we can get better at and focus on playing the best we can.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, when you decided to go with some younger guys a couple of weeks ago, Izzy (Israel Abanikanda) was one of those guys, but I don’t think he got on the field yesterday. Why was that?
Well, you know first and second down, it was the Breece show. I feel like the entire first half was a display of three and outs and so there wasn’t really a chance to get him going with regard to running the ball because I don’t think Breece ever really got going himself. In the second half, when you start dropping back to pass, protection is in issue. They were blitzing quite significantly in some cases and the backs have to be able to understand protections and be able to pick up those blitzes, they do get complex, and it’s something that he needs to get better at, but we’re trying to protect the quarterback the best we can. Hopefully we get some offensive linemen back over the next week or so. I know it seems kind of simple in context of well just give him some of those third down reps. It’s not that simple in the sense that he’s got to know protections. He’s got to be able to help keep the quarterback operate first and foremost before anything else can come to his game.
Rich Cimini, ESPN. com: What are your thoughts on the left tackle position, specifically if it both Duane (Brown) and Mekhi (Becton) are ready to play in the next game?
I’ll sit down and talk with both of them. I thought Carter Warren, Carter for missing all OTA’s and training camp, I’m excited about him. He’s fought over the last two weeks, stepped in when really we weren’t expecting him to play at all this season. I’m very encouraged by what he’s done with his opportunity. We’ll see if we can find a way to get him more opportunities for the rest of the year.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, I think people recognize the personnel issues you have on offense right now in terms of backups, but Rich (Cimini) had a stat earlier about, I think there was only four passes over 10 yards, something like that. Is there stuff you guys can do schematically just to try to take some more shots and or trick plays or something, just something different than kind of your base offense right now?
Yeah, there’s a lot of things you can do. You can try to do anyway. Despite the fact that we’re not throwing the ball very far downfield, we’re still sacked seven times. So, the deeper those routes get, the more you have to protect. There is a level of difficulty in that as we try to get continuity. It’s like I said, I love the five guys that we got playing with on the offensive line, but when you don’t get a chance to play consecutive weeks or some time together, it gets hard to understand all the nuance that comes with continuity. So yeah, we can continue trying to push the ball down the field, but it’s it takes all 11 to make that play happen.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Do you think you’re going have (Wes) Schweitzer back this week?
We’ll see, (Wes) Schweitzer, Duane Brown, obviously, (Mekhi) Becton should be back this week, hopefully. So hopefully we can get a little bit healthy on the offensive line and give us a chance. Just looking for continuity, like I said, whether it’s the five that we had yesterday or the five that we might have next week. You just want to get consecutive weeks to where our guys have a chance to go compete and learn each other with regard to nuance but we have some guys coming in and hopefully it can help stabilize that front.
Brian Costello, New York Post: What’s the latest on Aaron (Rodgers), Robert? Is he going to be in the building this week? Do you see him practicing at any point soon?
He is in the building. With regard to practice, I don’t have anything for you guys on that. Like I said, when we get a doctor’s note that says he is cleared, he will be cleared for practice.