Q: How much did you have to change the offense this week?
A: It wasn't a change in the offense. It's really just kind of getting down the stuff that we really knew. We didn't do as much three wide receiver stuff as we might do in a normal game if everybody was healthy. We kept it to more tight end, two receiver, two back stuff or two tight ends, two receiver, one back and just running plays that we normally run, we just stayed in our base personnel a little bit more than normal. We did a little bit more of that on third down - two tight ends on third down and just having the guys in there who have been here for a couple of years who know the offense and we feel comfortable with what we were doing. We ran the ball a little bit better than we have in the past, we hit some big plays with our play action to the tight end, so that was good. I think we just didn't do quite as much and it helped us execute a little bit better.
A: No, I don't think so. I think in a sense it kind of makes it easier to prepare because you don't have to look at all of these different - watching film you don't have to prepare as much for like four wides. Well, we don't have any four wides, so if four wides comes up...you don't have to watch that. You can see their looks or blitzes versus regular personnel, so you kind of just prepare for those things. In a sense, if you simplify your offense, you simplify your personnel, you simplify what the defense can do also. It's not that you're simplifying things, you're just not changing personnel quite as much. You're putting your best players on the field and that's what you want. We do three wides because we figure that we have three really talented receivers and want to get those guys on the field as much as possible. All of the sudden you're short receivers, so let's get Travis Beckum on the field more, let's see Kevin Boss - put him in a situation to win for us. You kind of want your guys that present the best matchups against a defense and that's what we did and I think that's just being smart and you've got to give yourself the best chance for success. I'm more comfortable with these guys than a guy that has been here for five days and so that's just putting us in the best position to run our offense.
Q: Will Steve Smith be back this week?
A: I hope so. We'll see if he can get back. If not, then I think we've got to keep getting some of these new receivers into the mix, get them comfortable, keep getting better with Travis Beckum and getting him more into the mix and just keep working and keep improving.
Q: How much do you need to expand and how much can you expand in a week's time?
A: I think each week you can get a little bit more. Again, in this league you want to be put in a situation where the plays you're running and the things you're doing, the guys are comfortable running it. They have a great feel for all of the different coverages and all of the different looks, so it's not really a matter of simplifying always, it's just a matter of having guys do what they know, so you're still running similar plays. It's not like we're cutting back on our plays, we're just doing it with some different personnel so we'll just have to see each week and hopefully we can get some guys comfortable and me comfortable with some new receivers, but I thought we did a good job of staying out of a whole lot of bad situations. We didn't have too many penalties, we ran the ball, we were getting positive yards on first down, we weren't getting a whole lot of third and long situations where we didn't have to go to three wides quite as much and get them into their sub-personnel, so I think that's the important thing. We ran the ball effectively. Everybody knew what was going on. Everybody knew the looks, the plays, knew what we were getting and did a good job of executing and that's the most important thing. It doesn't matter how many plays you have, how many new tricks or new plays or new ideas you have. It's about being effective with the plays that you're running so that you can get into a good situation and get first downs, you can move the ball and then you'll have more options and more plays to run.
Q: As patchwork as the offensive line has been, they've done very well. You haven't been sacked in four games. What do you attribute that to?
A: Well, it's a great job by our coaches, by the offensive line themselves - those guys work well together. They take great pride as a unit, so you get the older guys - Rich Seubert, Snee and McKenzie, those guys have been here a long time, Kevin Boothe has been here a few years. Obviously you've got a new guy in Will Beatty playing left tackle and they're going to work with him all week, they're going to get him in the film room, they're going to grind them during the week and make sure these guys are ready and whether they have to watch extra film or whether they have to talk things through in walk thrus or practice. It's a great job by our coaches getting everybody prepared. Like I've said, maybe not having as many run plays, not having as many calls in our protections - this might not be the perfect way to block it, but at least everybody will know what they're doing, we won't confuse things, so guys can play fast, they can play confident knowing exactly what is going on and sometimes that's the key to football. You can try to change things up and have certain calls and do things perfectly and sometimes you create a disaster. You overload some things instead of just blocking it up and being sound, have guys be able to play fast, play confident and sometimes that's the best way to play and I think that's what we did for having some new offensive linemen in there.
Q: You had no turnovers this week. Is limiting turnovers sometimes a matter of luck or is there more to it?
A: Sometimes luck is helpful. Sometimes being unlucky is kind of why some turnovers come up. You can always get a tipped ball, things like that, you can always get things that are funny bounces or things that just don't go your way sometimes, so that's the cause of some, but it's also being conscious of it. As the quarterback, you can't be worried about throwing interceptions, you can't say, "Alright, don't throw an interception here, whatever you do." You're not going to be able to play confidently. You've got to be able to make the throws. You have a couple of tight throws here and there and you have to have trust in your receivers that they're not going to let anything bad happen. I thought that was big for us. We needed to improve in that and hopefully we can build on that. No turnovers puts us in a situation to win games. We might have to win in the fourth quarter, but the way that things were going in the first half, we had to settle for some field goals, but at least it was three points on the board. We didn't hurt ourselves, we didn't put ourselves or our defense in a bind and take points off the board, so that's important, just knowing that we can play that way and we can play patiently and if things aren't there, we can punt and the defense can get us the ball back and we'll have chances down the road to win the game.
Q: How comfortable was it to know that you had Kevin Boss to rely on?
A: It's been good. We didn't get many series in the first half. We had three series. I guess we had a fourth - the one with 19 seconds left. I don't really count that one, so we didn't have many catches, but in the third and fourth quarter, we got a good feeling for what they were doing and had some matchups with him and a safety and it seems like every catch he hits is a big play for 19 or 20 yards - a great average on his catches, so a lot of big plays to Kevin and that's what he can do. For a big guy, he gets down the field well and it seems to be that his best routes are stuff down the field running corner routes and different things and he prepares hard, he works so hard during the week, you can tell him stuff that you don't even get to practice like, "Kev, if I do this or say this, watch out for these two guys blitzing. I know technically in the book we're not hot, but we've got to throw hot there," and he'll say "Okay, I got it." You only have to tell him something one time. He always seems like the guy to bail you out and he is a guy you can sometimes overload with stuff and he accepts it all and just has a great feel for the game and what is going on.
Q: Philadelphia lost, too - you guys are right back in the mix now.
A: We never felt we were out of the mix and that's just football. You're going to lose some games. There's going to be a big game in the season like last week that doesn't go your way, but it doesn't mean you're - there is still a lot of football left. A game in week ten of the season is never going to decide a season for you. There is going to be a lot of football left and we're going to have to play Philadelphia again and we've got Washington this week and they're a team that has beaten some good teams. We haven't played them this year. They have a new defensive coordinator, new looks on offense, so we've got to have a great week of preparation and just worry about us. We've got to worry about the Giants and continue to go out there and find ways to win.
Q: Did Brandon bring something new to the game?
A: No. I think that for me and for the offensive line, sometimes I don't notice who is in the game whether it is Brandon or Ahmad. Whoever starts, whoever is in there, they both run the ball well, they both have a great understanding of this offense and protection and running, so both of them played well yesterday. Both of them did a great job. Ahmad had a few receptions, I threw a screen to him, he had a big run on a second and 10, broke a couple of tackles for about 25 yards, so again, both of them are tremendous. I know we kind of went with the change with starting Brandon, but I talked to Ahmad this week and made sure it...it doesn't matter. Whoever is starting, whatever. You've kind of been in that backup role before and that's where you've had some of your best games is coming in and we got him in the game early. I think that's important - when that kind of change happens, all of the sudden players can get down, but that's when you've got to get him in the game early, get him the ball in his hands and say that you're still going to be playing a lot, you're still going to get the ball, you're going to have chances to make big plays and nothing has changed in the dynamic of this team.