I think that even though we lost the football game there were some things that were very positive for us. Just to name a few before we get started. On defense we were able to control the run a little bit better. The average on first and second down was 3.4. I think if you take away one series, there was one series that I didn’t like where the Jets were able to run the ball basically outside and off tackle. That was the one series that I was most disappointed with.
I think our third down defense was better without a doubt. We had been giving up too much on third down. Last night the Jets were 1 for 9 on third down and that is improvement. I think we improved also in the area of coverage communication. We did give up the four big plays which definitely hurt us and has been an issue for us in preseason. We had nine the week before, big plays, three runs and six passes. Obviously that is way too much.
I think on special teams we did do a little better job with our ‘vice’ in terms of our ability to control the other guy with regard to our punt return. We did a better job of that. We were physical on our kickoff coverage team. We didn’t do the job on kickoff return that I was hoping that we would do. I think we did have a physical field goal and PAT block team and we were close on a couple occasions. We also tried a 51-yarder. I don’t think the snap was great and I think there was a little hesitation because of that and the ball was just short.
The thing that bothers you about the game of football is that we lost four yards on the previous play and took ourselves with a running play out of field goal position and of course the difference in the game might very well have been that three points. We do have some issues there. I didn’t think our kickoff return was as good as it should have been. Obviously we let some balls drop when we had the fair catch ability. One of which rolled from the twenty to the one. Another one cost us at least five seconds when we did not have any timeouts at the end of the game. All we were looking for was to get into field goal range to give ourselves one last chance. Those are the things in that area.
I think offensively the opening drive for a touchdown was a good thing. We used the effectiveness of the cadence early on in the game to draw some penalties. We did amass a little bit of total yardage. In this the third game we averaged 5.0 yards per rush. We did have some big plays down the field and we weren’t able to take advantage of some others. However, we did have people in the open down field and we had a chance for big plays. Percentages are obviously going to go down with the number of big plays or deep balls that you do throw. However, it is an objective of ours in preseason and we had two opportunities that were dropped. We had another opportunity where we were clearly behind people, but weren’t quite on the same page with each other offensively. The time of possession was good. We did have a 99-yard drive.
I did think that David Carr, as I mentioned, played well. I think that obviously Hakeem Nicks did play well. Those were important things for us going forward and things that we needed to see and things that will help us in the long run. Our first offensive line did alright. Our problem with the offense was that the last twelve plays they were in, we didn’t get a whole lot done. That disappointed me with regard to that. Including our third quarter drive when we knew we were only going to get one more drive. So that was an issue.
Turnovers were huge in the game, as they always are. The interception, which was a basic, simple play, that ended up being tipped, the tipped ball thing, made an outstanding interception on it. But that was a touchdown drive that had we not turned it over, even if we punted, we had fought our way out from the dropped ball that may have scored a touchdown, the long one to Steve (Smith). Fought our way out a little ways and gave ourselves a chance to be in position and then instead of even if the drive had stopped and as I said, just punt the ball, we put ourselves in a bad way with the interception and that was the drive they scored a touchdown. That was disappointing.
We have been a team that hasn’t turned it over and last night we didn’t get any turnovers. We put our penalties back in check with four, the opponent had twelve. We had time of possession, as I said. I was disappointed in our two-minute drill. What we call rally, our rally period was pretty good, and our two-minute drill wasn’t. We have always been good in that area and we have to get back to where we have some efficiency along those lines. Those would be some of the comments that I would make just getting started.
Q. Given the struggles of some of the receivers last night and the way Hakeem Nicks played down the stretch, did he earn himself a move up the depth chart or maybe more playing time in the future with the first team?
A. Well certainly it was impressive and he is a guy that obviously is going to make a tough catch. He has really been doing that. That has not been discussed and certainly it puts him in a position where he will get prime consideration. Of course, the more guys you have that can contribute, the better off we are going to be.
Q. There are no issues with trusting a rookie in an important spot, a rookie receiver, right? You feel comfortable that he can do the job?
A. Well certainly. It’s all, the thing about it is, that you have to understand, it is what’s earned. It is exactly what is earned. Last night he played well and he certainly has earned the right to be a factor.
Q. With your first defense on the whole, the Jets had some pretty good field position, and they didn’t really give up too many sustained drives. Did that give you a better feeling, as opposed to what happened last week in Chicago?
A. As I said, the fact that the run defense was better is a big improvement. I think that our ability to get to the passer obviously wasn’t as good as it should have been. Obviously they did a good job of mixing up their bubble screens and their ghost screens and some very quick release type throws. All of that is to their credit, we do the same thing. But we have come to expect better results from pressure. You certainly are going to have to pressure the quarterback with a four-man rush, but when you start to bring other people you do have to become more effective in terms of forcing things to happen that the offense doesn’t want to happen. Whether it is just getting rid of the ball faster. Those things are all considered important tempo changes that the defense can create for the offense.
Q. How serious is Antonio Pierce’s foot injury and do you expect him to play against New England?
A. I don’t know that. He is constantly testing that. The doctors are making the call with regard to that. Hopefully if we do get the green light he can practice some this week. I think that would be a very good starting point if he could do that. I won’t know that until we actually get into a position where we can make that call, probably tomorrow.
Q. Are they calling it a sprain or a fracture or something else?
A. It’s a foot injury and we are being very cautious with it because there is soreness involved there.
Q. How about (Michael) Boley? Any chance he is on the field this week?
A. I don’t know about that. He is progressing well and it would be a good time for us to have him do some things, seeing how he can’t play in the opener.
Q. How is the condition of your running backs, (Brandon) Jacobs and (Danny) Ware?
A. I think those are just bumps and bruises. Brandon will be fine. Danny does have some soreness, so we are going to have to see where he is. It will be to be day-to-day and he is having all those tests, etc. for sore ribs.
Q. How did Rocky Bernard do in his snaps?
A. He did OK, he did OK. He was aggressive, he was good against the run, and he played low. He played hard. He made some plays out there for us. It was good to see him on the field and in action. To be able to realize how we can plan on him to contribute.
Q. David Carr seemed very impressed at the way Nicks read the blitz and reacted accordingly. Were you just as impressed?
A. Yes, just as much. The touchdown catch on the left side, in the left corner of the end zone, was a heck of a catch. That was impressive.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish with the no-huddle offense. Is that something you can use consistently or do you pick your spots for that?
A. Well, it depends on the strategy that we (employ) for that particular game. I think there are some real positives in it, especially when you have a broad spectrum of play calling that you can utilize, then it gives you full utilization of your offense. The ability to maneuver personnel on and off the field is a plus, as well. We had been working this in practice, we wanted to take a look at it in a game. It became a game objective. We decided on it last week that this week would be a good time do that. We did have a little extra practice time. We introduced that and hopefully it will be something that, from time to time, we can utilize.
Q. Is that particularly effective against a team like the Jets where they do a lot of shifting and audibles in that defense? Not allowing them to be as set as they would like to be?
A. Well, I don’t know, it is not a hurry-up offense; I was listening to people comment on and that is not true. It is not a hurry-up offense. The whole thing that you are trying to do there is put the quarterback in position where he can react with a lot of time to make the adjustments he needs to make at the line of scrimmage.
A. I heard they are both making progress, but I don’t have any information for you about practice, no.
Q. How is Terrell Thomas?
A. He seemed to be fine.