Q. Re: effectiveness running out of shotgun instead of under center? Is the pass setting up the run?
It didn’t happen that way the other night and it really didn’t happen that way the previous game, even though we threw the ball like crazy and it helped open up some runs. That’s what happened Sunday, it was our three-wide runs that got more than four, five yards. Every run with three-wide was over four yards, we didn’t have one otherwise that was four yards. It was just opposite of what you’re saying. 180 degrees the opposite. But it shouldn’t be that way. We should be good under center, too. We have been good for a long time and that’s what is so exasperating to everybody. Why isn’t it as good now? Again, I don’t think it is any one single thing. Regardless of what it is, it hasn’t been as good, it hasn’t been as consistent and certainly that is an area that we would like to be doing better with.
Q. Is part of that just committing to it whether it is one-yard run, two-yard run and just taking the three and out?
A. Do you want to do that? Then you lose the game. That is the hard line. That is probably the most difficult thing. When do you say, ‘Hey, we better change tactics.’ Before you know it the game is out of hand and you are so far behind that you can’t hang with that kind of stuff as long as you would like. Sometimes you would like to say ‘maybe if we hung a little bit longer, it would have been good.’ You just don’t know. That is the line that you are straddling. That is the difficult thing. If I just stay, and all of a sudden nothing changes and all of sudden the game is over and you have been running the same plays, averaging about a yard a gain, you guys would be the first ones to say, ‘Why didn’t you change?’ Then sometimes you say ‘maybe if we hung, would it have changed?’ So, you don’t know. You go by just gut feeling, what do you see. Does it look like it was a mistake here that was easily explained or identified and it is discernable if we do just this we are ready to go? Or, is it something that maybe is not quite clicking and it is more than one area? Maybe we better modify our approach and try a different emphasis and maybe that will kick in with the running game. That is what happened on Thursday night, we kicked it but it was the second half and it was really our turnovers at that point that stopped us and the penalties. They never really did. The first half it was us, we just didn’t move the ball at all.
Q. Do you think that you have to do a better job on the edge? It seems either Jacobs can’t run laterally or that you aren’t blocking well on the edge.
A. No, I don’t want to get into singling out one area more than another because, in fairness, it is not just one thing. There are certain plays you’d say certainly we could do differently and more effectively. This person or that person. Trust me on this one, it is all of us. We can all do a better job and that is what we have to do. It starts with us. I’ve got to get them going again technique-wise, fundamental-wise, emotionally. Get the confidence so it is where it has to be. You know how it goes. Once you get into that cycle of success where you feel confident about things are going to happen in a positive way, usually they do. The problem is when you are not in it, how do you get yourself back in there. That’s always the challenge. For us right now, where we are after that last game, guys are saying, ‘What happened? Why didn’t we start well? We just played a tremendous game the week before.’ Really, we dominated the game the week before that. We lost it, 21-20, but we dominated and had a chance. So, why didn’t we start? That is the thing that is perplexing. You say, ‘Hey, the only thing you can do is say bad game, for whatever the reason, let’s go out and change it this week.’ Try to boost their confidence. To me, the best way to come out feeling confident in your readiness and preparedness is that you have done everything that you can this week in terms of your preparation. You have left no stones unturned, not to be cliché, but that is what it is. You haven’t overlooked anything. Your fundamentals, your technique, you are making sure that there is a total grasp of what you are trying to do conceptually so that when you go out you can at least play knowing that, ‘Hey, I have done it all, I’m ready to go.’ Hopefully we are going to be in that state of mind come Sunday.
Q. Your receivers had their way with Dallas in Week 2. Have you seen them change how they do things since then because numbers-wise their secondary seems to be doing a better job?
A. Yeah, they are doing a great job. I don’t know if I could characterize that we had our way. We had a great game, we made some great plays and guys did some good things. They’ve got some talented players over there. We just had some great runs after the catch. Some spectacular throws and catches. What will always be very, very integral to any success that you have throwing the ball against anybody, but certainly it applies to this game, is can we protect it? We protected very well down there. In that environment, under that noise, to be able to do as well as we did, gave the quarterback and receivers the chance to get the job done, and they did. Hopefully we can do the same thing this week and hopefully the players, our receivers, our skill guys, I know our line gets offended when I say this the skill guys and I reference the receivers, but they’ll go out and make the catches and runs after the catch. We had some terrific runs after the catch, which were spectacular. We are going to need it. They are an outstanding team.
Q. Where is Hakeem Nicks now in his development?
A. Better and better every week. There are still a couple things that he has to get a little bit more refined, a little bit more polished. He is getting better and better. I think his up the field routes, in particular, are getting better, which is great. Some of the shorter routes stuff, where you restrict the movements because you are not running 15 yards, you’ve got five yards, you’re running the streak, you’re running a shallow, anything that is quick like that, he still has area to get better at. But he is getting better. The thing that is particularly impressive, besides his great hands, once he gets the ball in his hands, he is a terrific runner. He is an outstanding runner. The more we can get it in his hands, the better off we are going to be. The same applies for a couple of our other guys, Mario (Manningham) and what have you. Hopefully, we can do it again.
Q. Are you concerned about healthy running backs?
A. Yes, very much so. There is no easy solution. They are being very courageous and fighting through it and banged up and trying to act like there’s nothing wrong. We will push on and play as well as we are capable of. Sure, we are all appreciative of that, but they are not as they were as the start of the year.
Q. Could you see this as a game where Brandon (Jacobs) just stays on the field?
A. Hopefully. I don’t know. Hopefully his health will allow him to.
Q. What is your gut feeling on Ahmad Bradshaw?
A. Knowing him, I think he will try to play. I will be surprised if he doesn’t try to play. Now whether they allow him. I think his mindset is he is playing.
Q. Have you been running out of shotgun more this year than in previous years?
A. Probably we have, but not necessarily by intent. It has kind of turned that way because maybe we haven’t been as good underneath the center as we have been. Again, which is one of the areas we would like to address. That kind of expands and maybe gives us greater play action potential. I don’t know what the exact breakdown numerically would be. Certainly Thursday night was an example of where we didn’t get anything in our base stuff.