Good afternoon. In talking with the players today some of the thoughts I had last night I reminded them of this morning. I think, number one, as badly as we all wanted to win the game last night, we didn’t play well enough to win. That’s as simple as it can be.
I thought we had a winning performance on offense but not a winning performance on defense and not a winning performance on special teams. It is very difficult to win a football game when you are minus-three in turnovers. Philadelphia has done an outstanding job this year. You are not going to beat many people being minus-three. Our sloppiness with the ball left a very uncharacteristic feeling about the game.
As well as we did on offense, those thoughts are still there. Two of those plays are obviously plays that were special teams orientated. However, the three plays in the game that stand out the most are the punt return, and we don’t kick the ball to that Number 10, but in this case the ball was positioned to the sideline. He made an outstanding reversal of his field. We did not do a good job of containing him. We gave him the sideline; he took full advantage of it. We had some people that were initially in position. I think that our gunner was there but ended up being doubled-teamed. Others coming down the field went for his initial move and weren’t fast enough to get back outside. That hurt us.
The other was the fumble, the Jacobs’ fumble that was returned for the touchdown. The third was following the one turnover that we had, we turned it right back over to them. Rather than making that a score, kind of neutralizing the effect of the Jacobs’ fumble touchdown, we gave the ball right back to them without coming away with any points for the one turnover that we did have.
However, the fact of the matter is that we have three games remaining. There is no sense in looking back. There is nothing we can do about that at this point in time. We still have a great opportunity. We have a lot of pride. We have outstanding character in our group and in our team. Our whole purpose right now is to prepare ourselves to play well against the Redskins still in the division.
Q. Kareem McKenzie’s injury status?
A. He does have an MCL. They are saying a couple weeks. We will have to wait and see. He has been a characteristically fast healer but I don’t know how that will be.
Q. How alarmed are you that your team fought back, but then allowed a methodical 91-yard drive without even forcing a third down?
A. Yeah. How about this? We are down 14-0. We scratch and fight and we get to 31-30. We kick it off, they run it to the 40 and they score on the first play. I am very concerned, yes. Obviously you are not going to win. We have had that kind of thing, the 91-yard drive, happen to us before this year. You mention it, no third downs, no nothing. We are very concerned about that. The time to do something about it is on the spot. We didn’t.
Q. On the 60-yard touchdown pass play to DeSean Jackson the front didn’t get any pressure. What happened on the back end?
A. Believe it or not, we were in a two-deep coverage. But the depth of the receiver crossing gets behind one of the safeties. The other safety is chasing and they end up with the big play. It is not totally different. They had hit the deep ball against two-deep coverage, as well. It is something that you don’t expect to happen in that circumstance but it did.
Q. Was that a formation or schematic issue? Was Michael Johnson too close to the line?
A. No, but he was so concerned with the receiver releasing in front of him, the tight end in front of him, that he really didn’t have an awareness. So I think everybody wants answers to - I think awareness is one, I think down and distance, I think recognition of what the potential issues may very well be with the formations presented. I think there is lot of those things.
Q: At this point, are you set with Bill Sheridan as your guy as the defensive coordinator for the rest of the year?
Q: Any thought to making any changes there?
Q: When you look at the game plans, play calling, all of that good stuff, do you look at that and say this stuff should be working?
A: I look at that as I follow through the entire practice week and study the concepts that we are having to defend and knowing full well exactly what we expect to do there. And then try to follow up with that on game day and then of course after I evaluate the tape.
Q: And you are confident in him?
A: I am. I am disappointed with the results, obviously.
Q: We hear the players sometimes when we ask them about this kind of stuff, they say, "Guys are trying to do too much." It seems like when you get into that – safeties are moving forwarding and coming up too much, biting on the play action. Do you look at that back end and say these guys are doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is to be the safety, to be the last line of defense?
A: I do see that. I do see some of the errors of our ways. Some of it is simply we don’t get enough depth right off the bat. And then when you have someone such as Jackson, who has the exceptional speed and quickness, you certainly have to adjust to that as well. If your assignment is two-deep then you have to be – you have to be back there. This is about probably six weeks ago where we really committed to the safety – even if it is single high – being very deep that so that everything was kept in front and everything came forward. But that didn’t obviously happen yesterday.
Q: How can he not be lined up where he should be?
A: He is lined up – they were lined up.
Q: Lined up where they were supposed to be?
A: They were lined up. They were lined up where they were supposed to be. They just didn’t get back. Feel the threat and get back to the depth that they should be at.
RE: lack of a consistent pass rush, especially on the deep throws last night
A: Some of the routes that you see are blocked up with max protection with two receivers down the field. Occasionally someone can slip out late. But in order to get the maximum vertical threat they are blocking it up. They have great speed at one position. They allow that speed to go down the field. And in many cases the ball simply gets lost deep down the field. We haven’t been in a position to make a play on it. There were two of those yesterday. Now that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get some kind of pressure at some point. Our pressure wasn’t very good yesterday – whether we were four, five or six-man rushes, really – there was really no way to say that the pressure had any degree of success no matter how many you brought yesterday. The quarterback’s ability sometimes under a four-man rush can just slide and buy more time, which allowed them to get even further down the field. That was quite obvious as well.
Q. Are there health issues with Corey Webster?
A. Yeah. He injured a knee and came out of the game. His is more like a day-to-day thing.
Q. When you said McKenzie’s MCL, is it sprained or torn?
A. No, sprain.
Q. You said at least a couple of weeks?
A. No, they say that. I am hoping that he comes back faster.
Q. Two passes that went to Mario Manningham were very close to being touchdowns. Where does the responsibility lay in terms of getting his feet in bounds?
A. That has been an issue that we have been working to try and improve that. There is an issue for the receiver always saving enough room and then making an adjustment to the ball that’s thrown. To try to reinforce the fact that he holds the defender off if in fact there was one on the touchdown at the end of the game there. He had already gone by the defender. A presence of knowledge of where you are so that even as you ball adjust you’ve got to try to keep. You know what, he did try to do a good job there. The referee came to me and said the second foot was just out by a very, very small margin, nevertheless out. So, we continue to work to improve there.
Q. Going with Hakeem Nicks as the other starting wide receiver, do you think that will send a message to Mario at all that he needs to work on those things?
A. He is well aware of that.
Q. Rocky Bernard inactive, a free agent signing that was thought to be counted on a lot. Has he underperformed?
A. No. We had been playing eight defensive linemen, as you know. We felt like we needed extra DBs yesterday, so we could only carry seven (lineman). That is basically why he was inactive.
Q. How has his play been this year?
A. He played pretty well the week before.
Re: Bill Sheridan and the defensive coordinator’s job. A couple of years ago you made a late season change with your offensive coordinator and got into the playoffs. Is there no thought of contemplating that?
Q. Is it fair to say that this defense has underperformed and not played as well as you expected?
A. I don’t want you to put words in my mouth. We should be a better football team. Our record should be better than it is. But that is as far as I am going with that.
Q. Bill knows there is outside pressure on him. Do you ever talk to him about that and give him a personal vote of confidence?
A. We talk every day.
Q. Do you let him know your support for him?
A. For sure. I let him know my support for him and I also let him know that it has to be better. We’ve got to do a better job. We are here for one reason. The inconsistency part of it is disturbing, let’s face it. Six big play passes and three big play runs, you are not going to beat anybody like that. It’s not all that. Everybody wants to say 45. It’s not 45, it’s 31. Two scores were on special teams and offense.
Q. How do you explain that you prepare all week to contain DeSean Jackson’s big play ability and then he finds himself behind the coverage?
A. To me, it is an awareness thing. Why in the world we are stuck on this backup tight end coming out at us instead of the knowledge of where this guy is. He is the one guy that can hurt you wherever he is on the field. That’s a good question.
Q. Did you ever get an explanation on what happened on the forced fumble by Osi Umenyiora?
A. The simple fact of the matter is that it was ruled a fumble right away. Now the question I presented to our defense and to our team today -- you could imagine what it is if you have watched us practice -- no matter where the ball goes, if the ball is on the ground even if it is a thrown incomplete pass, we pick it up and run with it. Why didn’t somebody do that yesterday? Michael Boley off his finger tips, that is one aspect of it. But the fact it’s a fumble, someone come in and scoop the ball up and run in the end zone. As you have been taught since day one, let the officials correct it, let them bring it back. There is another opportunity to maybe neutralize that fumble touchdown earlier.
Q. They said that the line judge on your sideline blew the play dead. Did you hear a whistle because the players said they weren’t sure?
A. I don’t think I heard a whistle blow.
Q. Did you get an explanation from the players when you asked them that?
A. I didn’t ask the players for an explanation. I mean when I asked yeah, no, no, there was no response. It was.
A. Thank you.
Q. So it was a fumble and live ball the entire time?
A. As the play ran on, I suppose that’s what it was. But I don’t think anybody down on the field really knew what was going on. I think, to be honest with you, that it was an assumption that it was a fumble. There really wasn’t a lot of explanation. Whereas on the sidelines, because of the way it happened with Michael Boley, you thought he just dropped an interception. That is why I tried to stall because I didn’t know what the call was. But evidently from the end of the play on the call was that it was a fumble.
Q. So who did pick up the ball eventually? The officials?
A. I believe that’s what it was.
Q. Why didn’t they just stand away from it and let the play continue?
A. Very good question. Perhaps you should pick up the phone and make a phone call. I don’t know the answer to that.
Q. What about the Eli Manning slide play when he fumbled?
A. The rule is that if you are not hit, then the ground can cause the fumble. If you are hit and you go down as a result of contact and the ball comes out, then it is not ruled a fumble. Now the whole question, the way it was explained to me, was that, yes indeed Eli was hit, but he took three more steps. Well, my argument is push me from behind I am going to take three more steps before I fall down. Now does that mean I just fell down on my own? If I fell down on my own, I am not protected by the ground. I never did buy that part of it and I have asked for an explanation.