Statement - 110 yards. I thought it was good to look at the tape and see our guys playing around. It was a physical game - really on all three phases - a very physical game and the obvious was the big plays on the defensive side on the ball. Not so obvious because there wasn't as much consistency was the offensive run game, which eventually - as a lot of times is what happens, you just keep working at it, working at it, working at it - and eventually you establish something. So, I think that kind of was the way the offensive run game went. The lack of scoring, the lack of production...I'm just going to keep referring to the turnovers. We talked about it in our meeting today. You are not going to...you're going to shoot yourself in the foot over turnovers and yesterday it was three fumbles and really the two running fumbles did not have to take place.
Q: You worked in the base for much of the game. Was that part of the game plan or was that a reaction?
A: No, that was the plan. We matched with more of a run-type of a nickel coverage outfit - the regular nickel - we played a base defense, we also had the big people, so we did play a few combinations, which we've been doing. There's nothing new about that.
Q: The run blocking and the run game - what was different last night?
A: We just keep working at it. Eventually we did a pretty good job with some of the movement up front, but they're tough. They're a very good...you saw 90 (Julius Peppers) - it's extremely difficult to do anything with him, but the linebackers are very good and sometimes the other defensive linemen are not given credit for their contributions so they try to play the majority of the time with seven people in the box.
Q: Were the blocks better and held longer, the runs more forceful?
A: Well, as I said, some of the time. Some of the time. Towards the end of the game, we caught them a couple of times in some charges and some blitzes, which we blocked very well and the holes were better. Breakout runs were like that. There were some contact, but the runners have got to run through arms in those cases and they did. But, just like in all situations, there's a lot of runs that are real hazy, real cloudy - the other colored shirts are all over the place, but you've just got to keep fighting and battling and sometimes you would get a block from the receiver corps, which would help get us an extra yard or two , but it's tough yardage. It's not easy yardage.
Q: How important is a performance like last night when you're learning a new defense under a new coordinator and trying to re-establish its identity?
A: Well, it's confidence and when you do have success you do have confidence. They enjoyed watching the tape - the players did. We just caution them to remember now that it's just getting started. We applied the plan, we executed the plan. Some of the things that we thought we could do we did very well, we did them with consistency, we did them over four quarters. It's very rare when someone goes 0 for 13 on third down and that's a team that has an exceptional quarterback, an exceptional receiving corps, an exceptional design - all of the above. So, there were a lot of good things happening last night. Above and beyond that, I really liked our approach to the game. I thought our guys had fun playing the game. I thought that in all cases we got better as the game went along. I thought that the sideline was good. The defensive guys were cheering for the offense and vice versa and everyone was helping the special teams, the young punter, cheering when Wilkinson made the big hit - half of them were on the field - they were excited for people and they enjoyed watching each other perform and perform well so those are good things and they've got to obviously continue.
Q: Some of the players said this morning you brought in some TV clips from last night - is that something you normally do? What was the thinking behind that?
A: That was just...it was edited obviously, but it was an attempt... The defensive staff did it and they did it on their side of the ball and it was just so that they would get to listen to some of what was stated about some of the plays and I think really laugh at one another for some of these so-called celebrations that they had.
Q: Update on Madison Hedgecock's injury?
A: Hamstring. We'll see.
Q: Bradshaw seemed to be limping earlier...
A: He had a little ankle last night. It's sore today.
Q: O'Hara said he's been trying something new for his injury and he feels encouraged...
A: Well, he seems to be more comfortable and not in quite as much pain and walking...right now walking without discomfort or without a lot of discomfort anyway but we'll see. I know he's saying he'd like to try to work Wednesday but we'll see what the doctors say.
Q: Did you have to change a lot on Friday when you found out about Kiwanuka?
A: There were a couple of packages that were pretty unique to Kiwi. In some cases where we wanted to make sure that the package stayed alive, we reduced the inventory and just taught one or two things with another individual, (Clint) Sintim, for example, and we had to make sure that from a flexibility standpoint, we did have four available ends, but in the case of if it was going to be three, how were they going to align and Tuck may have had to go over to the other side...that's basically how the adjustments were made. Don't forget that was Friday at 4 o'clock.
Q: Bradshaw had surgery on his ankle in the offseason. Is it the same one? Is it serious?
A: They're going to do all the tests. He hasn't had any of the tests yet. I think tomorrow morning is where they're going with that.
Q: Any additional word on Kiwanuka?
A: No. He is going to our doctors today and I believe he has a second opinion tomorrow and we'll see.
Q: He says he's hopeful for next weekend. Is that outrageous or doable?
A: I think it's great - the attitude that he's taken - and it's going to be the doctors that determine it. We all say that. I said when he was sent for the MRI...I wasn't even worried about it. I didn't think for one minute. So...
Q: What new things were shown on his tests from Thursday to Friday?
A: He actually went to see the spinal surgeon on Friday after practice, so honestly we didn't hear anything until late that afternoon.
Q: What did they see?
A: They just said he's out for this game.
Q: If you're not going to say then just say that.
A: I'm not saying.
Q: If Madison can't play...he's the only fullback...
A: You know, Bear Pascoe did an outstanding job for a guy that really didn't have many snaps last week. The thing I really like about the kid, he's such a hundred percenter, but he never panics. This is like the second game out of four where we've taken him and literally - you're going to be this guy on the field, and even a couple of times where we wanted play calls that involved a little bit more than your average fullback play and asked if he could understand it and knew what he had to do from that position. Yeah. So, I was encouraged by that. That's a long way around answering. I don't know yet what exactly we're going to do there.
Q: Matt Dodge - why do you still have patience with him? Why aren't you in a total blind panic? Or are you?
A: I'm a very patient person. Yeah, because I believe he's gotten better. Let's face it - no matter how you go about it, it's two returns for six yards - now, there's a big penalty there, I understand that, but penalties do count. We were counting them last week. Seriously. So, I just think that there was improvement. The ball should have been down on the two-yard line. The one punt was really spectacular. It was outstanding. As I've said, he's inconsistent - no doubt - the dropping of the ball there was...I don't know where that one came from. That's all we do is snap the ball to him and he catches it - even when he doesn't punt - just catch the ball, catch the ball, go through your steps, go through it. He's just a young guy. This time when he extended the ball he started this and dropped it. He had the presence to pick it up and of course we were down on the field by 99 yards when the ball was punted.
Q: Could he have run for a first down?
A: Yeah. Let's go one step at a time, though.
Q: When your defense is playing like that, are you encouraging Kevin Gilbride to be conservative so that the offense doesn't make any mistakes?
A: We have to judge the way the game is going and how it's being played. We don't change a whole lot but there was no question that we were going to give ourselves every opportunity, pound away and use play action as best we could...a little bit of the night contributed when we had the rain et cetera et cetera so...there was good discussion and maneuvering about how once within the game how the game should be played and I really liked the way we played more towards offense, defense, special teams being on the same page. Now what set us back were the turnovers. If we don't turn the ball over, I feel pretty good about how we went about it, but I can't really endorse it all the way because of the turnovers.
Q: Bradshaw's fumble...he looked over his shoulder...do you tell your players to look up at the video screens to see what's going on behind them?
A: He looked over his left shoulder. The guy got him from the right side. I really don't know what he was looking for. He really didn't have a sense of anybody being there, but it looked like he relaxed a little bit and then out of nowhere came Bowman and knocked the ball out. I don't [tell them that] but they are told that. The running back coach instructs some of them to take a peek. I tell them you're in traffic always. You're not ever out of traffic - you're always in traffic - get the ball up under your chin, get the elbow tucked in where it's supposed to be. Obviously I'm not doing real well on my side of it.
Q: Are you ready to get Ahmad into the intense fumble prevention system that Tiki Barber had such success with?
A: Verbally. And every week I'm assured, don't worry coach. But the thing that happens is you get in the game, in the game you become more instinctive and occasionally the bad habits come roaring out. If it was something where the player was absolutely had had enough...when that takes place, I think we'll get what we want.
Q: Well, there is a difference in the styles of Tiki and Bradshaw...
A: Well, he (Tiki) spent a whole off-season doing it too. Every conditioning session, everything that was done outside, anytime - even in the weight room - he would carry the ball around, because it's not the most comfortable place to be. It's not.
Q: With the way Bradshaw runs could that slow him down?
A: Yeah. Sure it could. But the ball on the ground with the other guy having the ball...what's the sense in...what do you have to gain? We've stood up here and said it before - I love the kid. He's a great, great effort guy - gives you every ounce of...everything he's got he pours into it and there's not one person that would question that with this guy. However, that aspect takes away from it and you just hope that they learn, but he's been doing this awhile...
Q: Your return game on special teams has been struggling for a while...
A: Our kickoff return was actually better than the opponent's last night.
Q: But the punt return...
A: I don't think either one of the punt returns - ours or theirs - was very good. We did have some issues...the number one thing we always say is be decisive. Go up and get the ball. Don't let the ball hit and then decide that you're going to do something about it, but yeah, it's ongoing.
Q: What are your thoughts on Tynes' kickoffs?
A: The first one wasn't very good. That hurt us. He did have a nice drive later and we did get the big hit on another one. The one that sticks out is the first one.
Q: Pierre-Paul was doing some good things out there.
A: Yeah. Yes, he was. Yeah, and I think he was more prepared to contribute last night than he's been up to this point so let's hope he keeps going that way.
Q: With Kiwi out, it's more important for him to step up...
A: Absolutely. It's time.
Q: The O Line is a strong group - did you sense a difference in them last week?
A: They've always been that way. This is what they want to do but you'd be hard pressed to find an offensive line that didn't want to do this, but they do have great pride and they have been a very, very good run blocking offensive line. We're not quite to where we were a couple of years ago, but they are a prideful group that wants to run the football.
Q: Can you get there? They're all three years older.
A: I think so.
Q: Did you sense last week any greater anger or focus from them?
A: I had a greater anger, yeah. I think it's just determination. They were determined and I've got to say, it's not pretty now. You can look at 10 plays and you'll be wondering on five of them, holy smokes what's going on there? But then there's a play here and there and everyone has to contribute for it to be that way - the tight ends blocked a little better.
Q: Shaun O'Hara indicated that he thinks his injury is better now. Do you feel that there's a better grasp on that situation?
A: It was grasped the entire time. There was never any - I'm not a doctor, but what I read is that two areas were being treated and they're continuing to be treated...I really don't know...
Q: Is there a new focus and new treatment now?
A: Hmm. He limps. He's been limping with something down there around the ankle - whatever you want to call it. Hopefully he's getting better.
Q: How did Adam Koets hold up last night? Did he make good progress?
A: Every time he plays.