Head Coach Robert Saleh, 11.7
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Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Robert, after you had a chance to review the film, did you still have the same feelings about how the offense played last night?
Yeah. First drive obviously, three and out. We missed a couple opportunities to move the ball in the first drive. Second drive, obviously they had the punt return for a touchdown, but I felt that second drive was going really well. It would’ve been like second and two at the thirty-five-yard line going in. Obviously, we fumbled. Defense held well. Offense comes back and the next drive we get it to mid field, with manageable third and three. I felt like we should’ve converted. Missed the opportunity, that was the fumble, which was the second fumble of the half which led to their first points on offense. So, that kind of puts us behind the eight ball and as you watch the game, as you go through it, a lot of good things, but a lot of inconsistency. Especially from an execution standpoint in penalties, drop balls. It was just sloppy and then obviously, you always look at it inward from a coaching staff standpoint and what we could’ve done better to put our guys in a better position. Schematically, I’ll obviously keep that one in house, but there’s enough blame to go around to everybody.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Would you have liked to see Zach (Wilson) do better last night?
Like I said, there’s some good, some bad that he can build off of. Some things he still needs to get rid of whether it’s understanding when enough is enough. Understanding what defenses are giving you and just being a little bit quicker and saying no to things, if you will. I thought overall he was distributing the ball and like I said we were moving it at times, always presence in the pocket for every quarterback in football can always be a little bit better, but like I said, he could be a lot better. It’s lazy to just put it all on him. I think like I said, it was a very, it was collective all the way across the board.
Brian Costello, New York Post: With that being said, when you’re looking for an answer and to jump start an offense, the easiest thing is to change the quarterback, right? You can kind of spark things. Did you consider, are you considering that at all or is Zach your guy?
No, because it’d be one thing if it was just him, right? It is the easy thing to do. He’s the most, him and the play caller are the two most visible things. So, when things aren’t good, it’s easy to blame them, right? It’s easy to blame the people who are most visible to the camera, but it’s important to keep the main thing the main thing, watch the tape. Look at the breakdowns whether it was on the offensive line at an execution standpoint, play call standpoint. There’s a bunch of different reasons and obviously they also get paid. So, they did a lot of really good things too, but if it was just him, it would be something that would be worth discussing, but this is a collective issue that we all need to get on the same page with. Whether it’s dropped balls, players being where they’re supposed to be, executing the way we need to execute, calling plays that need to be called, putting players in the positions they need to be put into that’s all of us and yes, he has a lot of things that he needs to improve on and I know he understands that, but at the same time, this is collective.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, doesn’t the quarterback almost affect everything? When we discussed offensive line in August, you guys pointed out Aaron (Rodgers) can get rid of the ball quick and help if there’s a problem, a quarterback sort of affects everything.
Yeah, the quarterback’s the point guard. He’s the distributor of the football. He’s getting people lined up. He’s the tone setter in terms of the pace setter with regard to getting guys in and out of the huddle, the line of scrimmage. You’re 100% right. Communication, everything starts with him, so yeah, he is a tone setter and helping everybody around him get better, but at the same time, I’ve also been very adamant that it is a team sport. Everyone around him has to help him too. That’s why I’m talking about it being collective. There’s only so many things that the quarterback has control over. Everyone’s got a pitch in.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, are you concerned at all that this is starting to look a little bit like last year where your defense is playing great and your offense is where it is and how do you stop that from happening again?
Like I said, we have to keep grinding. Nobody feels sorry for us, I am not expecting anyone to feel sorry for us. Defensively, really proud of those guys. That was a damn good offense that I felt like we were able to keep in check. It was unfortunate, I felt like there was about five turnover worthy plays that we could have taken advantage of and not one bounce went our way, usually you get two of them, but we weren’t able to get any. I am really excited about how the defense is playing, like I said it is at a championship level. Special teams had its first hiccup I feel like this year, giving up seven points is not something we want to do, but if you would have told me that defensively you are going to hold them to 13 points and less than 200 yards, I would have said that is a wrap, so I am proud of those guys but you are right, you just want to play efficient ball, consistent ball, take care of the football, find some explosives here and there, be efficient in the way we operate on the offensive side of the ball. Empathetically, there are a lot of moving parts. The offensive line combinations and receivers in and out of the line up. I am not looking for excuses, I promise you I am not. It is just something that our guys are working through, and we are doing our best to make sure that everyone gets on the same page as quickly as possible, so that we can be our best.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, have you or would you this week consider bringing up (Trevor) Siemian to the regular roster?
No, not at this time.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, have either of those guys, (Trevor) Siemian or (Tim) Boyle, do they get any first team reps in practice?
No, typically ‘Timmy’ (Tim) Boyle he will get a couple of reps with the two’s, but as far as first team reps usually you are trying to get the first team quarterback every single rep. That is League wide, that is standard. We have a flight school at the end of practice, where guys who don’t get as many reps, we try to get them more game plan specific reps, so they get about 10 reps a practice but it is off the game plan, not necessarily with the first team.
Brian Costello, New York Post: So, without personnel changes, Robert, how do you fix this, right? The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. How do you fix what is really not a functioning offense right now?
That is a fair question, ‘Cos’ (Brian Costello). You’re right, it seems like insanity, but when you are backed in a corner you have to keep swinging, you have to keep trying to find ways to get better, you have to find ways to be more efficient. It is all philosophical and I will just fill you in philosophically, you go into the defensive meeting with our coaches this morning and there is a lot of disappointment in there because defensively from a coach’s standpoint we need to make plays, naturally. They want to make more plays. I go right to, ‘Don’t you dare tell a player that they need to make more plays’, they need to just do their job and they will make plays because of it. It is when you try to make more plays is when you actually do less. When you are trying to do more than you need to do is when you actually screw things up. So, from an offensive perspective, sometimes when things aren’t going very well, you are trying to do more than you need to do when really you just need to do your job and you will actually do more with it. Hopefully that is making sense to you, again this is all philosophical to me. So, a lot of times you can get guys pressing and the focus just being, focus on your job, take what defenses are giving you, play with the violence that we require to be great in the sport of football. If you do your job to the best of your ability, we play with time and rhythm, we get the ball out, and we play fast, good things will happen. What I think you are seeing is a lot of guys pressing to make plays and trying to make something out of nothing when the right play to make is the play that is available to you at that moment.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You alluded to he needs to process sometimes a little faster. How much of that is just instinct for the quarterback? How much is it not being able to recognize the coverages he’s seeing? Like how does one go about speeding up that process?
No, I think he does. I think he understands defense. I think Hack (Nathaniel Hackett) and (Todd) Downing have done a fantastic job just kind of going back to square one and rebuilding, he’s so much further along than he was a year ago, but right now it’s not a matter of, again this is my opinion, it’s not a matter of processing as much as it is just no one knows when enough is enough, defense told you something, it’s okay, progress. I think sometimes it’s a battle of just wanting to make plays, like I said, we’re in this rut and it’s like, ‘well, I got to make a play,’ no, you don’t, you just got to make the play that’s available to you. Receivers ‘I got to make a play,’ no, you don’t, you need to catch the ball drop step to get vertical. Running backs, ‘I need to make a play,’ no you don’t you need to go one gap at a time and when its cloudy clear and when it’s clear, stick your foot in the ground, get vertical. It’s that type of mentality that we need to shift from, going to from I got to make a play, to I’ll make the play that’s available to me. I think when that happens everything will speed up.
Brian Costello, New York Post: How much of this falls on (Nathaniel) Hackett, Robert?
It’s collective for all of us, Cos (Brian Costello). Like I’ve said, coaches, players, we’re all teammates, we’re all in this together. Coaches job is to put the players in best position possible to help them understand, so they can play as fast as possible. The player’s job is to go execute to the best of their ability and with collaboration in the offense and making sure that they’re comfortable and understanding of what we’re what’s being asked of them. So yeah, there’s always, always look inward from a coaching staff standpoint and I’ll give those guys credit, they felt like they’re searching. We went a little bit more no huddle this week, trying to spark the offense so they’re searching, they’re scratching their clawing, they’re trying to turn over every stone and eventually you hope we find our groove, but I know it’s not where anybody wants it to be, but I know everyone’s working hard at it.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Rodgers was just talking a short time ago on his weekly spot on TV and he said, he kind of gave it like a vague timeline and they asked him, like, when do you think you might be back? And he said a few fortnights, so everyone’s doing math and figuring out, you know, it’s like six weeks. Has he shared anything with you and what do you think of that potential timeline?
Well, I always keep my conversation with Aaron between me and him. The one thing I will say is he is working relentlessly to try to get back here and he’s awesome, man, but like I’ve said a million times, he doesn’t have to, but he wants to and I think it’s a testament to his relationship with the locker room and how much those guys appreciate him and how much he appreciates his teammates, so I’m not going to say anything that he’s told me, but I do know he’s working really hard to get back here.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Is Duane (Brown) a possibility, Robert and also did you come out of the game clean?
There’s still a lot of evaluations going on, for the most part I think we’re pretty clean, but we’ll see how Duane (Brown) feels. We’ve got to go through some practices with him still before we make the decision on activating him.