Q: You had always said that Plaxico, even when he wasn’t putting up big numbers, was a big component to the offense. Is that sort of what Brandon is doing now?
A: I think the running game – or the respect for the running game – has created some opportunities for some of our receivers. Maybe more than they would have gotten last year. And the terrific thing about that is that they are capitalizing on that. They are playing extraordinarily well and we are moving the ball up and down the field. And it is certainly, I think, increased opportunity. But I also think that they are playing well and the line is protecting well; giving them a chance to make plays. Right now, knock on wood, they are playing very well.
Q: Even with the way defenses are playing you, what are some of the things you guys can do better line wise, running wise, to get the running game going?
A: It is not as much different as people would think. It is basically the same stuff. But in fairness I think there is – when Plax was there, there was a commitment to make sure that he didn’t get isolated too often one on one. And right there he got his chances but not as often. And I think the same thing in the running game. I think it was just more - the little things – we are just missing here, we are just missing there. Or either it is a cut that could have been done better or it was a block combination that could have been done better. Or we could have maybe had a better play called for that particular situation. So there are a lot of little things that can be done. And it was nice to see the second half when they were all of a sudden being bombarded throwing the ball ……. …. Just pounded and run the ball a little bit. And that was good to see. So, again, what I have always done is whatever has to be utilized to move the football. That is all that …
Q: Doesn’t sound like you think you are too far away then?
A: I hope not. I don’t think so. I don’t think so. You never know until it gets done. But I think that – as I tell the whole team – the fact that we didn’t run the ball as well as we would have liked doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t play well. They did some great things; protection was exceptional. And they enabled us to move the ball very effectively. What I do think – we have all felt – that there were opportunities to run the ball better than we did. And those are things …
Q: How about the Red Zone, what is going on there?
A: Same thing. It is just like anything else, you work so hard to position to yourself. We have gotten in there and been in great shape and not capitalized on it. So it has been very disappointing. There have been a couple of things. You didn’t have – poor execution on one run. We ran it, got down on second and four. It happened twice where we had plays and then get knocked out - lost on a run, which doesn’t usually happen to us. But it has happened. It has happened this year a couple of times. They showed some coverages when we did throw the ball that were different than they had showed. And they were good coverages to stop the call that we had. So I think it is a combination that – you wish you had a different call. And then when you had the right call there were some – there are enough opportunities we need to just execute just a little bit more sharply. And we will feel good about ourselves. Because it is hard to get in there and move the ball; two things we did. But that is only part of the process. All it is is positioning you to score. Now you have to finish the thing. And that is an area that we certainly have to get better at.
Q: Over the past two years you have had a lot of success in the Red Zone throwing the football. Do you think you guys may go back to more of that?
A: We’ll see. Again, I think one of the things we were hoping is that we would just continue to pound it in when we got ourselves down there. But my philosophy has always been, regardless of what they are doing, there is an area that schematically they are vulnerable. And that is the area we want to kind of probe and go after. The things that have been happening, you would like to think - knowing the ability level that we feel we have, that we could have run it in. But we have made some mistakes down there. It hasn’t been there out on the field, but it has been all of a sudden down there. Now it is the same defense, it is not something different. But it is just – regardless, the final analysis is not good enough. And so I think we all feel if we just dig down a little deeper and be a little bit more efficient. And if we do, which we expect to, then we will finish these drives up the way we would like.