Head Coach Robert Saleh, 9.18

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Opening statement…

So, from the game yesterday, Tony Adams further evaluation over the next 24 hours. Quincy (Williams), same thing. We’re going to continue to evaluate him over the next 24 hours, same with Michael Carter II and then Garrett Wilson is fine, he’s cleared.


Brian Costello, New York Post: (Greg) Zuerlein, Robert, you expect to have him back? 

We’re going to get him, go through the week and see where he’s at. We won’t know until about Friday.

Brian Costello, New York Post: Do you guys have any plans to add anyone to the quarterback room this week?

That’s probably more of a question for Joe (Douglas), but I don’t think so.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: You say Quincy (Williams) further evaluation, is he going for an MRI on his knee?

I think they already have, everything looks good. It’s just trying to see what happens, everything’s clear, just want to make sure everything’s good over the next 24 hours with how they feel and all that stuff, sonot really concerned about any of them. Again, it’s just not trying to put a timetable on availability just in case something changes over the next 24 hours.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, obviously acknowledging you guys played a really good front yesterday, but do you have any concerns right now about that the offensive line? 

No, it’s tough. It was kind of a weird game and I know from just looking at it and just trying to watch and just trying to make sense of everything that happened. Especially early in the game, credit to them converted a lot of third and five or less, they were able to stay ahead of the chain, stay in manageable situations, convert third downs, and really just hog the ball for the most part, especially in that first half. Offensively, we had some opportunities, couple of third ones, were able to convert a fake punt, but a couple of third and fours, a couple of third and fives we just couldn’t convert in the first half. So I have it here, I think before the two minute drive they had run almost 50 plays and we only had run 13, that was before the two minute drive to start the second half, so when you get into that, you just can’t get into a rhythm, you’re sitting down for so long. You don’t really get a chance to get into rhythm as a play caller, you don’t really get into the rhythm as a player, and in the game, never really had a chance to come to the offense, because of the lack of opportunity. Still felt good going in the locker room, felt like if we can get the ball, we can get something going and it just didn’t happen.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com:  This pass protection, when you’re facing a guy it looked like, from watching it again, it looked like Duane Brown, who was probably single and singled up on (Micah) Parsons about half the amount of snaps and I’m wondering if there was more that could have been done in terms of double teaming or chipping or sliding in that direction, considering how dynamic Parsons is? 

One, they do a really good job moving him everywhere. He plays inside, he played over the center, he plays outside, he moves everywhere. He is dynamic in that regard. I will say we were helping in that direction. I think one of the sacks, the slide was in that direction, they did a really nice job on the loop to bring it back and threw a pass, we just couldn’t get it done. And then the second sack was a screenplay that got broken up, which in Duane’s defense, he’s just trying to overset to make, to just try to get him out of the way and you’re expecting the ball to be gone at that point. But look, he’s arguably one of the best players in football, put him up there with (Nick) Bosa, I said that earlier in the week, he is dynamic and they do a really nice job moving him all over the offensive line.


Jared Schwartz, New York Post: Robert, with, you know, how high expectations are of this defense, is containing top offenses like the Cowboys sort of the next test that this group has to pass to, you know, sort of be considered and solidify themselves as one of the best units in the League?

Again, last week felt like we did a really nice job obviously versus Buffalo, we saw what they did this week with the Raiders, like I said, just from an efficiency standpoint, on third down we just couldn’t get off the field. Then on the flip side, so just to give context to it all, when you can’t get off the field and you receive almost 50 plays and a half, which is almost a game, you’re going to get tired, your technique is going to lack, you’re fighting for your life at that point and the more that, it’s like body blows, they sting and the longer these drives go, I think we had over five drives that lasted 12 plays or more, and there’s a lot of credit to them being able to stay ahead of the chains and be able to convert those third downs. They kept body blowing and they did a really good job with it and it’s one game, guys, and I don’t think it really defines who we are as a defense or who we are as a team, but it definitely was a really good job from their standpoint, give credit to Dallas, just so efficient in everything they did. They took advantage of it and we were off a step, they took advantage of it, and that’s a credit to them and their execution.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, do you have to kind of like hammer that point home to some of these guys that it’s just one game, so that I think guys asked you yesterday if you thought they might spiral and you said, you know it won’t. But, you know, a day later do you have to kind of like make that point and say ‘hey, let’s wash that away. Let’s move forward’?

Yeah, just like last week wasn’t a Super Bowl, this week’s not the apocalypse either. I know it tends to feel that way, especially in this market, but it is what it is, we lost the game, it’s a hell of a football team. You got to be able to face the music and try to figure out what went wrong and tell the truth about it, don’t just read a box score and make assumptions, but just try to tell the truth with one another and where we need to get better. Whether it’s play calling from a coaching standpoint, whether it’s execution from a player standpoint, whether it was anything, you’re just trying to find ways to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, but you have to turn the page and go on to the next game, we got 15 of these left and yesterday obviously sucked, but again, it’s not the end of the world either.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, do you think you guys could have run the ball more? Or is this the same thing with the 13 plays, before the two minutes drill where you don’t really think you guys had an opportunity to? 

That’s pretty much it, Coz, so you look at those 13 plays before the two-minute drive. I want to say seven or eight of them were actually first and second down normal situations. It wasn’t third down, it wasn’t second and 11 plus when you’re trying to get back on track. It was normal, where (Nathaniel) Hackett could have call a run or a pass and I think it was like five, run three pass that he called. We just could not get into a flow of being able to stack up runs, we get to a second and one, we run a boot, we run the quarterback sneak, like those second and ones, third and ones, we’ve got to convert those, those are going to give you an opportunity to run the ball more and I think it happened, especially early in the game, where we couldn’t, where we weren’t efficient enough on short yardage situations. Whether it’s from a creativity standpoint, whether it’s execution standpoint, it’s all of it, it’s all of us, we’re all in the same bucket. Then obviously go back to the defense not being able to get off the field to give the ball back, like I’ve always talked about our job as a defense is to get the ball back for the offense. And like I said, when the tilt is almost 50 plays to 13 before the two-minute warning, the box score, you can’t read the box score, it’s going to look out of whack from that regard.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, after reviewing what was your second day takeaway on Zach’s (Wilson) performance?

It’s funny, he’s not going to see a better pass rush. I mean he could, you never know, I mean Dallas’ pass rush is pretty good, it’s about as good a pass rush, he’s going to see. And I think anyone who watches football, and you look at it from a global standpoint, we’ll see that he’s so much improved in the pocket, his presence in the pocket. I thought he delivered a lot of really good passes. That ball that Garrett (Wilson), that he was trying to throw just before the half, if it doesn’t get tipped, that’s a touchdown. The strike he threw to Garrett for the big touchdown. He threw a couple of really good, took care of the ball. He scrambled when he needed to, he stepped up in the pocket when he needed to. I thought he did a really nice job, did it get away from him in the fourth quarter when I felt like he was trying to make a play with us being down three scores? Yeah, he made a couple of throws that he didn’t need to make, but up until then, I felt like if we could have just got them the damn ball and gave them some more opportunities, I think people would have seen he was playing pretty well, up until like I said when it was garbage time and he was trying to force the ball.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, about the box scores skewing everything, Breece (Hall) mentioned yesterday that he only got four touches. Obviously, that’s going to happen, flow of the game, everything like that, but should he have gotten the ball more and did you have to talk to him at all? Is he frustrated about it? 

Shoot, I’m frustrated, but I don’t think it was intentional. Like I said, I’m frustrated because we didn’t get him the ball because they weren’t on the field, he was on the bench. It’s hard to give the guy the ball when he’s on the bench and he’s on the bench because we couldn’t get off the field on defense. That’s the frustrating part and by the time we were able to start winning some third down reps, I think we were six of eight on third down in the second half on defense. By the time that started happening the game was over, the game is out of whack, we were trying to throw to catch back up, so like I said, from an offensive standpoint, the game was just out of whack with how very few opportunities we had and how very few opportunities we had to create. I mean, shoot after we had that big strike route to Garrett, we had opportunities at getting the ball back from a takeaway standpoint, couldn’t get any of that done. I felt like we could have been better as play callers, to put our players in position on defense, to be a little tighter to eliminate some of those windows that they were taking advantage of. Like I said, we needed to be better on defense and get on them ball and if we could have done that then all of them would have seen the ball more, but it didn’t happen that way.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, it felt like with Aaron (Rodgers) all Summer and Spring, he’s so good that  you guys thought he might be able to make up for some deficiencies, right? I remember when we talked about the offensive line in Carolina, you said, ‘Well, Aaron gets rid of the ball so quick, that’s going to help them, that helps the offensive lineman.’ Is it fair to say with Zach, and this isn’t a knock on Zach, we were comparing him to one of the greatest players ever, just the margin of error just decreases with Zach in terms of those kinds of things?

No, I don’t know about that. Look, I don’t know what their third down stats were, I’m drawing a blank. I don’t care who you have on the other side of the ball, if he only sees it for 40 plays because you can’t get them opportunities, I don’t care who the quarterback is. I’ve always said the best defenses in the world are the ones that are watching and because your offense is just hogging the ball. Now could we have been better with third down efficiency on offense and keep our defense off the field? For sure, absolutely, but if we play like that on defense, I don’t care who the quarterback is, it’s not going to be good enough.