Q: Could you talk about how you've been unable to score a touchdown on the first drive lately and haven't scored a touchdown in the first half in the last three games? Is that frustrating? Is there a common thread there?
A: No. In a word, no, but a couple of things have happened. One, we've started games - five of them have been with turnovers and that obviously diminishes your chances to score, but if you look at six of them, we've come back to score on the next drive, so part of it is - whether we're too hyped up, we made a mistakes, turned the ball over, maybe didn't anticipate one thing they did defensively. Certainly you want to score, that's the obvious objective, but secondly, how much information can I can glean from what we're showing because we're going to use a lot of different things to try to find out or get a sense of how they're going to try to defend this personnel grouping, this formation and then that serves us pretty well down the road and it's been pretty beneficial. Certainly the number one objective is to score a touchdown, but certainly a very important part is to try to get a sense of what they're doing defensively, schematically, and then be able to adjust and do the things necessary to win and score some points and we've been pretty good at that.
Q: Do you normally script your first few plays?
Q: How many usually?
A: 15 is usually the starting point and then we'll pull off of it if I've accomplished what we needed to see - we'll pull off and adjust immediately. Sometimes I get a feel. Seattle for example, we got a sense right away what they were doing so we pulled off right after the fumble with Kevin, but came back to score four or five touchdowns in a row after that.
Q: So those 15 plays are to see the defenses?
A: That has always been an objective and most coaches - you try to score a touchdown, there's no question that's an objective, but you're also trying to gather as much information so you can make the necessary adjustments so that you can score enough points to win the game.
Q: Travis Beckum said that teams seem to fall asleep on Kevin Boss and then he makes a play. Why do you think that is and is it something that you agree with?
A: I haven't observed that. I would say if there is any element or kernel of truth to that, it would be just because the ball hasn't gone there and so you maybe start to pull off of him a little bit, but certainly Sunday's game that's not what happened - we had some chances with him that we didn't capitalize on for one reason or another, but that last one was a blitz, so he had to make the sight adjustment and we were in a formation that the sight was going to come down to him and he did a terrific job, so it wasn't like they were inattentive or let him be uncovered, so I'm not sure I completely comprehend where he's going with that one, but I think from a standpoint maybe he didn't make some plays early on or plays didn't come his way. I wouldn't know where he's coming from.
Q: He does seem to make big plays when you need it. Is that something he's doing or something you're designing for him?
A: Let me give you the Super Bowl example - that was a play that I drew up on the sideline because I saw what they were doing, so you look and see what they are doing and then you take advantage of it. That's what we did in that game and that will happen certainly as the game goes on. With some of the losses we've had, there'll be an increased focus on trying to get him the ball without Hakeem, without Steve Smith, and with some of the coverages you face, there is only so many guys you can win inside, so he is obviously a bigger part of where the ball is going now and that was an intent going into the game.
Q: Can you talk about the job that Mario Manningham has done in the absence of the other receivers?
A: He is as explosive or dynamic of a guy as we have. They key is we're constantly working on consistency with him and that is the area that we are always looking to get better at, but in terms of a guy that you put the ball in his hands and he can do a terrific job running after the catch, he's exceptional, so we try to manufacture opportunities for him whether it's a go screen here or there or some short route where we try to get him the ball underneath where we can almost guarantee that the ball will be thrown to him and then also down the field because of his speed. We'll try to take advantage of him. He's a bubbly personality. I think his explosiveness is one of the important reasons why we're so high up in big plays as an offense and then I think guys feed off of the energy, off the personality as well as off the big plays that he makes.
Q: Has he accepted that challenge?
A: I think so. Again, rather than sharing it among three, you've got only one guy who is a returning, established, been out there, experienced guy, so the things that maybe are a little more nuanced, you're not going to ask Michael Clayton to do or Devin to do, you're going to ask him to do, so more of those chances will come his way.
Q: Orakpo last year - they were playing a 4-3 and he was up, down, sometimes using him like a five-man line. Are they using him the same way?
A: Yeah. It's a 3-4. It's the same thing. He's rushing a lot and when they go to their nickel defense he's either the fourth down lineman or they go to the odd spacing and he's still rushing most of the time so he can bring the wood. He's a good player and he's a very good pass rusher. He's somebody you have to be very in tune of where he's at and you hope to get your better blockers on him because he can be a difficult matchup for backs.
Q: Washington has 10 interceptions and Hall has six of those. Is that something that by design you're going away from his side of the field.
A: Yeah. You're certainly appreciative of his ability to intercept the ball and he's got very good ball skills, he's like a lot of those terrific corners - they'll gamble, they'll take a chance and sometimes they'll make a play and sometimes you make a big play on them because of their risk taking, but he's one of those guys that has the ability if you throw it incorrectly or if he guesses right he's going to catch it. He's going to catch it and he's a good run after the catch guy, so you're certainly very cognizant of where he is and you should be attentive to where he is on that particular play in terms of how he has played - has he cheated on that one where you can maybe take advantage of it or maybe you should stay away.
Q: Do you plan on moving guys around to get him moving?
A: We'll do a lot of different things. I'd rather not give him our game plan just yet.
Q: With Hagan having another week and Clayton and Devin getting some more work, do you think you'll use more three receiver sets this week?
A: We'll play it by ear. We'll see. Again, you always are going to rely on the guys who have been with you more and longer and hopefully make fewer mistakes. Right now Derek is the second one, so it's not three wides, he is the second receiver and he only has a week under his belt so that's why we did. We asked more of Travis Beckum and he responded very well and we asked more of Kevin Boss and he did well obviously at the end as well, so we'll do both and we'll hopefully be able to broaden a little bit of what we're asking of Michael Clayton and maybe Devin as well.
Q: As Diehl moves forward, do you see him more at guard or tackle?
A: Depends where Shawn Andrew is in the mix. If Shawn gets back, that gives a quandary or dilemma that you'd like to have - you have two quality football players and we'll keep David inside, but until that happens we'll probably move David back outside.