Let’s start off by saying Happy Veterans Day to all of the veterans and our soldiers and our troops, how proud of them we are, how thankful we are for them. We have a group of Wounded Warriors here today. They are very special to us. I just talked to a bunch of guys that were in Afghanistan and Iraq. They give of themselves so that we can sleep under the blanket of freedom. And we should never forget that in this country. This should be remembered as a very special day – Veterans Day.
As far as a couple of other things, let me start out by saying that I’m responsible for all of the decisions that are made with our football team. The green zone decisions are my responsibility. They are nobody else’s. No one else made a mistake. The quarterback did not make a mistake. The decision was mine. I was asked the other day if I had an opportunity, would I change it; would I do something different? Well, my answer to that is: does that mean that I can also change the fumbled snap, the ball that we thought was going to be a fourth and inches that ended up being fourth and 10, which nobody has even recognized or talked about that. Can I change the running into the returner on the fair catch penalty? Can I change the 29-yard pass interference penalty? If you will give me a chance to change all of those, I’ll change all of those, too. But it is my responsibility and that is where it stops – right here. Nobody else is to blame. So let’s not continue to grope around trying to figure that situation out. I will tell you right now, we were doing everything we possibly could to win. We had managed the game very well. Our kicking game had helped us out. We were in a position where we thought that the opponent would have to drive the ball the length of the field and score a touchdown to beat us. And, unfortunately, that is what happened. But the on-the-field decisions are mine.
Q: You have Aaron Ross back today?
A: He did come back and he got limited work and he seemed to work well.
Q: Hakeem Nicks?
A: Hakeem and Boothe both had a couple of shots and the doctors didn’t want them to work today. But they will be back.
Q: Was there a need to say what you just said to the staff and the players?
A: It was the first thing that was said on Monday morning. It is always the first thing that is said.
Q: Do you feel like they were taking too much heat?
A: It was called to the attention of what someone said this morning. And I just said, well, geez, here we are on Wednesday and it is still being talked about last week. I thought it was perfectly clear, but let me express it so no longer does anyone else receive any type of blame. The blame goes right here. That’s all.
Q: Could you talk about the new cornerback, D.J. Johnson, you acquired?
A: We had really liked this young man for quite some time – D.J. Johnson. And with the opportunity, unfortunately with Gerris Wilkinson being injured and Gerris going on IR, we did have a roster spot. So we made the invitation and fortunately for us the young man decided to come.
Q: What does he play?
A: He plays both – he has played corner, he has played safety. He has played well on special teams. He did have a good grade going in. Our pro scouting department had tracked him during the preseason, etc. So we felt good about him.
Q: When you made a move like that, do you factor in at all that he has played for a team that you have to play in a very short week?
A: No, that wasn’t part of the decision. But after you get him here, it is a plus.
Q: Are you looking at him as a safety or a corner?
A: Initially, because of the balance, we thought of him as a safety, yeah.
Q: We know guys play hurt, we are used to watching that. But Kevin Boss, in particular, has taken some really big shots. Are you ever surprised how he is able to come back?
A: He is a tough guy; he is a tough guy. The problem with that whole thing – and you are alluding to it, is that he has two personal fouls on him and neither one of them were called. So that is kind of an interesting thing.
Q: Have you sent your input in on that?
A: Yes, sure.
Q: Have you heard anything back or no?
A: They agree that it should have been called.
Q: RE: Getting Aaron Ross back and possibly moving a corner to safety
A: We’ll see, we’ll see. I don’t know that – we will factor all of those things in as we move on. I think that we do have to allow that we see Aaron practice a few days in a row before we make any kind of decisions along any lines really – including active and inactive.
Q: You had said that during this bye week you would do the self-scouting process. Were there any revelations, anything that was really shocking to you that you didn’t already know or didn’t already figure?
A: Unfortunately, we already knew that our red zone defense and our green zone offense are not very effective. You saw us – we did two periods in there today. I think that is pretty much where we start. We have other areas, obviously, that we are concerned about. But that is a good spot to start. The only problem with that whole thing is that, to be honest with you, we had set that as an objective in the spring. It is an objective in the summer. And here we are – it is still a major objective. So we will keep working.
Q: Historically when this team has had its back to the wall they have found a way to come though. Do you sense they can rally around that in the second half of the season?
A: I certainly think that we can. And I believe that we can. I believe that we have the players. We have the staff. We have the ‘know how.’ And there isn’t any doubt -- you can ‘should have, would have, could have’ for the last month and I can give you a bunch of answers. But they don’t mean anything. The facts are the facts. And what I would like them to do is to go have three or four days with their families and reflect on our situation and come back here with a greater purpose and a greater desire to get this righted. Historically it can be done.
Q: Back to the red zone, you talked about Ramses Barden could be an option here – down the stretch. What does he have to do? What does he have to show you?
A: The special teams aspect of being – not one of the top three (receivers) is a major consideration, because whoever is active has got to help some team.
Q: He just hasn’t performed in that area?
A: Well, he has had some good days and some bad days. And we need more consistency – not that he is alone.