Q. After speaking with Osi Umenyiora and Antonio Pierce, they have a lot of confidence that this team can turn it around in time and win a championship. Is that the general sense you are getting from your teammates?
A. Yeah definitely. We've still got a lot of confidence. We felt that this past game we got back to playing our style of football. We didn't win the game and we are disappointed about that. It was frustrating because we felt we ran the ball on offense, we threw the ball successfully, we moved the ball, we controlled the time of possession. We did good things. Defensively they played well and had stops. The only time they really scored besides the last drive was when they had great field position. We got back to playing our style of football and it is something that we can definitely build on and give us some confidence going into the second half of the season. We've learned the past few years that it is really most important to be playing your best at the end of the season. We have gotten ourselves in some sort of a bind, not a bind, but we are not in the exact position we want to be at 5-4, but it's not an awful position. We've still got a lot of divisional games that we've got to play and those will be tough, but we've got a chance. In this league we talk about giving yourself a chance to win games in the fourth quarter. We have done that. This past week, obviously we didn't come out victorious. But, when it comes to getting in the playoffs and those things, you have to give yourself a shot. We are still in good contention, we've just got to have a great second half of the season.
Q. Your passing game looked to return to form yesterday. Did you make a conscious decision to throw the short and intermediate routes and avoid the long tries or was that more of what the defense gave you?
A. Well, it is a little bit of a combination, a little bit of what the defense was giving us but sometimes when you are not in sync a little bit, not playing as well as you want to, it is important just to get into a rhythm. The easiest way of doing that is just finding some completions, moving the ball, and staying out of third and longs. If
something popped open, I was going to take it instead of holding the ball and waiting for something to open up down the field. You might pass up the opportunity to hit a big play, maybe, but you eliminate sacks, you help out the offensive line, get your team in a good rhythm, get you going where you can move the ball and have some long drives. I was a little bit conscious of it. I think the coordinator calling certain plays to give you some short options and some deeper stuff depending how the defense is playing. I wanted to try to get into a good rhythm and get the offense going and get off to a good start.
Q. Was there any sense that at the end of the game when you had the ball down on the four-yard line before the penalty that there was a little bit of playing not to lose because of the three-game losing streak?
A. It's just tough. We wanted to score a touchdown right there. All of a sudden, now you have first and fifteen from the fifteen-yard line. First and goal from the fifteen-yard line, it's a little bit more difficult. We threw a wide receiver screen that we had a big play on earlier. That didn't go for as much as we would have liked to. Even right there, if you get four or five yards you have second and goal from the ten or so. You can run or pass, get to the five or six yard line, you can be a little more aggressive. From the ten-yard line it is tough, they are going to play coverage, they are going to keep everything underneath. You hope to run the draw, split it, and get Brandon to see if he can power himself in the end zone. You also want to run off as much clock as you can and don't give their offense as much time. Get them to use their timeouts and those things. It is a difficult situation. We got the ball at the four-yard line. You can't afford a penalty and we can't set ourselves back. Even if you lose a yard on a run, you are still in a manageable situation. It is a tough situation. You can look back at it and say you would do something differently, but you would be shooting yourself today if you threw it twice and stopped the clock and all of a sudden they have 3:25 left and three timeouts going into that drive. You would be saying that we didn't do the right thing. You've got to try to make some plays and make something happen and we didn't do it.
Q. Phil Simms said before that third down play that you guys would pass for sure. Do you think that the defense was probably thinking that, too, so a run is a good way to catch them off guard?
A. Yeah, they were definitely thinking pass. That is why we were able to get down to the three-yard line or so. I think they were definitely thinking pass right there or at least if we do run it, that they will be able to stop us before we get to the end zone. We took our shot and obviously we didn't get the touchdown. You would like to get a touchdown
there, so you don't have to leave any questions. It just didn't work out that way.
Q. Both those plays were straight run calls?
A. A lot of times we had different, a couple plays called, it depends on what the defense is doing. If they are playing coverage, we are going to run it and try to be smart and not force anything.
Q. Was that a check to a run on that?
A. I can't get into exactly what our checks are and reads. I can't give that much information.
Q. Eli, you didn't say that in any way, shape or form that there was a lack of confidence?
A. I don't think that was the case.
Q. Steve Smith had another great game that we are probably going to overlook. What do you think of his progress this year and can he get better?
A. Steve is doing a lot of things really well. He is getting a lot of catches, getting open. He really had a chance for a big play down the seam where I overthrew him a little bit. I don't know if they showed it on the TV copy but he gave a great move on the guy and the guy grabbed him enough to slow him down, they didn't call a penalty. He kind of pulled his arm and stopped his momentum just enough where we didn't get the completion. Had a chance for a big play on that drive, they ended up calling a penalty on the other side near Kevin Boss. He is doing a good job of running good routes, getting open, whether it's zone, man, he just has to keep doing a great job. The other guys have to continue to keep getting better. There is a lot of good things, but we can still get better.
Q. At what point does working hard turn into pressing?
A. I don't think you can ever work too hard. I don't think that is a bad thing. I don't think we are pressing. I don't think we pressed yesterday. We had a few times when I was scrambling around where I could have tried to press something in there throwing back behind my body. I played smart and threw some balls away, some of those things. I am still going to be confident with my throws and make throws that are there, but there is a difference. We played for the most part the way we wanted to. We got closer to playing our style of football where we have been able to win games. We gave ourselves a shot. We just left a little opening there and the Chargers took advantage of it.