“We just finished what would be our normal Monday meeting with the team. Real quickly following up on yesterday, we certainly didn’t play well enough to win a football game. I thought the sequence at the end of the first half was critical where we’re down three and we get the blocked punt and the interception and they turn them into scoring opportunities. Really within the matter of a 1:40 the game swings from 3-0 to 17-0. That being said, it was disappointing and certainly a tough loss. There are a lot of things and there’s not just one specific thing, but we have to collectively bounce back from that and get ready this week to have our best week of preparation against a real good Tampa Bay team and we’ll do that.”
Did it look any better on tape?
“Typically what happens, and it kind of goes the other way with wins, there are some things that you see on tape that are real encouraging. There’s some real good play. I thought defensively in that first half we weren’t able to defend those two short fields and force a field goal, but there were a lot of good things. We didn’t get the rhythm established that we would have had liked to on offense and I think in the kicking game it certainly was our worst performance of the year to date compared to how we’ve been playing. The block comes on a six-man rush, which is really a return. It wasn’t an eight-man rush. I think typically after a big win or a tough loss you come back in and that film brings you to the middle a little bit in regards to a lot of things. There were some positives in regards to some individual performances, and yet those really collectively don’t matter. We’re watching the tape. Our players will go through it and look closely at it. This is really the last day we dwell and spend time on the game and then we move on. Overall it wasn’t good enough and like I said, St. Louis did a number of good things. We certainly didn’t do enough to win the game.”
As the game progressed, did you feel like your voice on the sideline might have been able to make a difference in turning some mentality around?
“I don’t know. I think that the one element of being removed sometimes can be frustrating. Certainly it’s not as big of a deal if you’re winning and having success like we had the week before. That part of it is more frustrating for me than calling or not calling plays. There are certain things that you want to get the attention on a player or stress the emphasis of a situation or where you’re at in the game. We have a great staff that does a great job. I think our players understood coming out of halftime what need to be done to start the second half. The hole we dug unfortunately was deeper than anticipated and that happened very quickly and all of a sudden it’s 17 points, and yet everyone understood the sense of urgency. Everyone in that locker room understands the talent level week-to-week and how you have to play especially on the road. I don’t care who it is you play on the road and when you get a road win, those are important. It’s something we’ve done well and yet the last two road games we haven’t. It’s something we have to, I have to, and all of us as coaches have to make the adjustment with because I think it’s going to be a little bit of time before I can get back down there. That’s just a small piece to really what happens Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I use this analogy a little bit and I think I’ve probably used it before with you: in what we do for a living really is no different than from a teacher, and yet there’s a lot more attention drawn to it. We work each week on a lesson plan and our job is to motivate. Our job is to improve and teach a subject and the test comes every Sunday. It’s awfully rewarding when you have success and when you don’t as a teacher and you feel as if you’re going to collect these grades and the grades are more C’s and D’s and it comes in groups, and you feel to some degree as a teacher you failed some. I think what’s most important is that work week. I thought we had good energy during the week. Honestly after looking at the film. You saw a lot of hustle and energy and yet there are some execution flaws and errors and things that a real good team won’t do especially on the road. But we have to get through this change if you will for the time being.”
How personally frustrating was it for you not to get into someone’s ear?
“I think that was the case last week as well. It’s just adjusting to not so much being in the press box, but being in the press box as head coach. Being an assistant in college and throughout the years periodically, I’ve been up in a press box before during a game. I think it’s harder to do.”
Is it perplexing considering your message throughout the week last week was consistency coming off a win?
“The thing that is probably most difficult to know is when game day comes, you expect and want to get to a certain level. You play 16 games and it’s realistic to think there are some games where you don’t have that initially and yet you still have to find a way to win. Yesterday was going to have to be one of those games. I thought to some degree that juice and energy came from them in that last two minutes of the half to some degree. All of a sudden at halftime not you’re up 17 on a team as opposed to up three. You have to credit St. Louis, and like I said yesterday Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo and those guys work their tails off and put together a good plan and then played with it Sunday.”
What concerns you with the protection of
“I think the week before we did a real good job. I think after looking at the tape, regardless of who the opponent is we have to be mindful of the edges. We can do some things that can help those guys. Each week you’re probably playing someone who has some skins on the wall as a pass rusher. Chris Long has played well, maybe not as well as he had up to date, but certainly played well yesterday. Some of those sacks came in obvious passing situations. A lot of them seemed to come on second down or third down. We just have to look closely at the strengths and weaknesses of each opponent and then our own personnel and do our best to make sure we’re able to give them some help. Yesterday wasn’t about indecision or about a complex look as much as it was just getting beat at times. That’s one part of the execution. As you talk about the protection, there’s a lot that can go into that and we can do a better job as coaches to work with our tackles or our inside people and yet there are some things that we have to do fundamentally better as well.”
How difficult is it to get your team focused and prepared to play a team that been struggling as bad as the Rams were?
“It’s one of the things that exists. Here’s the difference though, and I’ve said this before, in the collegiate game these types of things that maybe don’t happen as often. In our game, there’s Steven Jackson getting a handoff. There’s that fine line. Certainly 0-6 is something you look at, and yet there are a handful of games that they had a chance to win. It’s knowing that this is a game played with passion, it’s a game played with emotion, it’s a game played with energy, and it’s not without flaws or mistakes. Coming off a big win like that as a coach the first thing that concerns you when you follow it up with a game that so many people think you’re just going to walk in there and throw the football out on the field. You actually have to go play and win that game and we didn’t do that. St. Louis did. It’s kind of as old as the hills thought in regards to those types of games and yet you have to recognize that as a player and as a coach and recognize that you have to go out there especially when you travel in an indoor environment. It’s hard to win on the road period. That’s something I learned a long time ago from Bill (Parcells). He talked about that and recognized that after having prosperity or having some success and you’re playing a game like that that’s always a challenge. It’s a challenge for us as coaches and certainly for us as a team.”
SOME hither others yon: Midway in the season the Saints are having problems: Drew Brees interceptions and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' defense having only eight turnovers. Brees is forcing too many passes because he's under pressure with his offensive tackles unable to get pass rushers off him. In his first five seasons with the Saints, Brees was sacked only an average of 18 times per season. His interceptions are contributing to the Saints' -5 turnover differential. The defense ranks 29th in the league in this category. Good teams find a way to win on the road where the Saints have lost three...
SI.com's Peter King has dropped the Saints to No. 13 in his Power Ratings. "Saints hadn't been shut out in the first half of a game for nearly 50 months until Sunday. If you watched it, it wasn't a fluke, Rams manhandled Saints offensive line...His Special Teams Player of the Week is former LSU All-American CB/KR Patrick Peterson. "Midway through the second quarter in Baltimore, Peterson took a punt at his 18 and began zig-zagging, first to his right, then straight ahead, then to his left, breaking four tackles and getting hit by two more Ravens on the most electrifying play of the day. His 82-yard return showed why he was taken so high last April. It was his second punt return for a touchdown in seven games."...
According to the "always reliable" site Media Takeout, Kim Kardashian had an "intimate lunch" with ex-boyfriend Reggie Bush this Saturday. You know by now that Kardashian is divorcing NBA player Kris Humphries. Usually, I'd write this off as trashy gossip journalism, but Reggie had his best single-game rushing performance since 2006 on Sunday when he rushed for 103 yards.
Nick Saban was asked at his Monday news conference if the loser of the LSU-Alabama game should still have a crack at the national championship, an ongoing debate nationally,
"All I can say is, I think clearly both teams playing in this game have established the fact that based on the body of work to this point that they are some of the best teams in the country," Saban told al,com/sports. The coach, who turned 60 on Monday, did his best to avoid specifics, referring to LSU players by number, not name. He emphasized LSU's strength is its ability to play consistently as a group, something he often stresses as a key to Alabama's success. Saban did name LSU coach Les Miles a couple of times, crediting him with good recruiting and good player development. "Offense, defense, special teams, they're very good," said Saban. "It doesn't take long to see why they are an undefeated team."...
by Ed Staton
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