There are a couple things that do not get recognized in a game such as last night's game because you didn't win and the offense wasn't very good and all of those things are very true. There will be no excuses expressed here either. I thought that for the evening, there were a few good things that ought to be noted. I thought our defense played well for the entire evening. Now we did give up some big play passes and we did end up the night with 100 yards rushing against, but for the most part I still felt we played pretty well. We did not turn the ball over and that has been a major, major theme of ours all throughout the offseason, pounding away with the coaches and so far in the early part of our camp, that has been a major focus. We did have five penalties and two on special teams, two on offense and one on defense so I really didn't think it was a sloppily played game. It did not resemble that although the lack of execution on offense and the lack of urgency sometimes as you perceived it from watching the game was bothersome, it was not a sloppy game. Our sideline organization was good. We dressed 83 guys and 82 played. We had 10 on the field and we substituted very well. I thought our communication went pretty well for a first game. We did miss three field goals and we had four sacks and two turnovers at the half without anything to show for it. We did take the ball over at plus 22 and did not score a touchdown and then missed a field goal. Late in the game on the first play in the fourth quarter, we definitely had another opportunity. The ball was loose, we did have our hands on the ball but couldn't come up with it and it squirted out of bounds and we really lost an excellent opportunity there. I thought there were definitely some things that I will present to our team in terms of things we accomplished and the obviously being noted and needs to be improved upon.
I thought that, as mentioned last night by a lot of you, the return of Domenik Hixon was a very positive thing for our team. I thought Dom had a very nice night catching the ball and taking a pounding and reassuring for himself that he is healthy and will be ready to go. I thought that Victor Cruz made the really big play down on special teams where he made a really nice tackle coming off the gunner position and really did an outstanding job that way as well. The return of Mathias to the field and allowing him to get his feet wet a little bit. He hasn't played a whole lot in a long time so it was good to get him out there and get him going and back with the defensive team. It allowed us to see, once he gets his feet wet and comfortable during the game, what we can expect out of him. The ability to move Mathias around and JPP obviously played well. He was a force with two sacks and he missed another one. He made some tackles and was a force against a good left tackle so I was pleased with the way he played. Michael Boley had a key interception and running it in for a touchdown. The unusual thing there is that we scored on defense and we won the turnover battle but didn't win the game. That is very rare, very rare indeed.
I thought Greg Jones did a good job and showed signs of things going forward. I thought Ayanga OK did a nice job when he got into the game. Paysinger did alright and Witherspoon had some nice pass breakups. Tyler Sash did a pretty good job once he had an opportunity and he did play a lot of plays so he had some opportunities in regards to that. I was pleased to see that. We played a lot of people.
There is obviously a lot of work that needs to be done. This is a critical week for us. We do have five solid practices this week and arguably our only real extensive work and a couple practices before our next two preseason games. This is a very important week for us to ascend and I think that good things take time. The attitude being what it is here, I think the players are going to come in and be hungry to address the issues that we have and to again, solve some of those issues and spend more time with each other under pressure situations. Get offense versus defense in full speed kind of drills where the pressure is on people to perform at the highest level where there isn't a lot of time for people to communicate.
A lot has been said about the amount of time it takes just for the offensive line to communicate with each other. David Baas is going to be a good player for us. There is no doubt in my mind. We do have some growing pains to experience there before we do have that kind of verbal or non-verbal communication that takes place when people have played with each other for a considerable amount of time.
I thought Linval Joesph's time spent on the field was important. He needs to play and he needs to spend more time on the field but he looks to be the kind of guy that can be stout in the middle for us. He can hold at the point and can be a powerful guy inside. Chris Canty had a couple pretty good plays. One penetrating play early on in the game as well. There are some things that we can isolate on. There were two balls that were headed in the direction of Hakeem that could have resulted in big play touchdowns for that matter because he was behind the secondary. We were not able to connect with him but it doesn't stop us from talking about what could've been and trying to be positive in regards to that as well. A couple of our runs had good yardage but the consistency perhaps was not where it should be. Our tight ends have work to be done in the blocking area, schemes and efficiency with out tight ends. They are workers and willing to work and I think we are going to be able to get some things done in regards to that. Disappointed that we lost the game and disappointed that we did not have more production on offense even to the point where a big play would have occurred whether somebody just took the ball and scored with it but with all that said, we have a good solid week ahead of us in terms of practice and improvement.
Q: Any update on the status of Lawrence Tynes?
A: He had the MRI. He must have a bruise on his thigh. We'll take it as best we can. I'm not going to predict how long he'll be out. He'll be a fulltime participant in the training room. That's for sure.
Q: Will you bring a kicker in for this next game?
A: We haven't talked about that yet. Really, there hasn't been a whole lot of time to talk about anything. We have one solid option if we decide not to do that, but if we decide [that] then it will be relatively early in the week obviously.
Q: How do you think Will Beatty played?
A: Played okay. He played okay. He's certainly more physical. He's been in a lot of games now. Even last year he played in many games. He played both right and left tackle and we won. I think he's a bigger, stronger Will Beatty and he's just as athletic. He's coming.
Q: After this game, are there things you'll change up this week?
A: No, just more of it to be honest with you. The reason there is last night I thought our players handled the humidity very well. I didn't think that was an issue. It was good that we could have some wet ball work, particularly pregame, in which we got to experience first-hand as we warmed up. I thought that was a good thing. Now when I say full speed, you're still not talking about tackling or anything of that nature. But I'm talking about negotiating from the game speed while still being able to practice together. Those are the kind of things I mentioned. You're talking about practice. What we need is more time on the field.
Q: Can you get by with Matt Dodge kicking for Lawrence Tynes?
A: I think we'll have that opportunity, particularly early in the week, to go ahead and see what that's like. I don't want to interfere right now with the competition at the punting position. I thought we got done last night what we needed to get done. Of course our net [punting yards] was very high, [Carolina's] was too, but ours was very high as well. We had run-back yardage against us, which disappointed me, but I don't want to interfere with that competition because I think it's very good. The only thing that prevailed last night that was not something that was something I was pleased with was Matt [Dodge's] punt that went in the end zone. You obviously punt, practicing and working on that. That ball, when perfected, is going to bounce back. That would have allowed us to down the ball inside the ten. I don't want to do anything to interfere with that competition.
Q: Matt Dodge said last night that he feels a lot more comfortable after last year. Do you sense that as well?
A: I'm sure he does. I wouldn't contend that at all. We all know the power, we just need to see the ability to maneuver the ball where it needs to be maneuvered and the ability to keep it away from people and directional punt as well. That's what we'll look for.
Re: David Bass and the offensive line.
A: That's what learning the offense is. Those guys talk all of the time, they have to. They have various adjustments that have to be made on the fly with the alignments, the last second movements, the blitz packages. When people step up in the A-gap, there's communication right away with the guard and the center that has to do with the running backs. Everybody has to be on the same page. It's all one thing. It's all about learning the offense and learning the communication and being able to execute it in split second fashion out there with the ball.
Q: What did you see on film, what did you see with the coverage of special teams and the return game?
A: There were chances. We had a chance on the first kick-off for a big play. We missed a trap block. I wouldn't say that during punt returns, I wouldn't put it in the same category although there was one chance for a pretty good return that ended in plus 11 yards that could have been more. The coverage stuff was missed tackles and not being in position of containment. Guy brings the ball all of the way across the field and is able to outrun your defense, then you have an issue. Your coverage team, you got an issue. The missed tackles, the being out of position and the inability to contain was the issue there.
Q: Is it fair to say that the missed tackles were because it was the first preseason game?
A: It's safe to say that it's the first full-speed live contact and people got themselves out of position and missed tackles. I don't know that this game is any different from any other first preseason game. I would venture to guess that there's probably 15 or 16 coaches in this league, after this weekend, they're going to talk about the same thing. Yeah, it does have to do with that, but it's not an excuse and it's got to get better.
Q: Do you know if Osi Umenyiora is going to practice tomorrow?
A: I don't know anything just yet. We certainly expect that, yes. But I don't know that for a fact. The players are off today.
Q: Has he been cleared by the team's doctors?
A: He has.
Q: Are Ramses Barden and Adam Koets any closer?
A: That's frustrating for me, but as far as I know, they're not.
Q: Besides the fumble that went out of bounds, what else did you see from Mark Herzlich?
A: He did well. He was physical. You can obviously see his size as he was covering punts and kickoffs and that type of thing. He's very smart, plays mobile from the linebacker spot for us. Competitive. Outstanding in that respect all the way around. It was a good first game for him.
Q: What about the energy level?
A: In trying to define what that means for me, as I try to say it to you, the language doesn't give me that opportunity. It's not energy. It's the spark. It's a spark. You're up seven to nothing, why can't it be 14 to nothing? Why isn't it 10 to nothing. The ability to recognize and capitalize on the circumstance as it presents itself to you. That's more of what I'm talking about. There was energy. There was effort. There is a ton of people playing in their first professional game. You don't think they were excited and a lot of times they don't really know how to express themselves or even express it in a team way. That's what I'm after.
Q: What will you do this week to try to get that?
A: Practice. Get better. Get better focus. Get better execution. Better communication. Hone in on some things.
Q: Do you feel that you may have some holes?
A: We have 90 guys running around. You're always in search of putting those pieces together in a better way or finding something better or whatever. You're always looking for that. That never changes.
Q: What was your take on the play where Tynes got hurt? Should it have been a penalty, as Lawrence suggested?
A: Ball was blocked. Ball was blocked.
Q: Are you saying that he's not a defenseless player?
A: Not according to anything that I've read. Unless they've added a new category. I would certainly like it to be, but that's a technique mistake by a young player. That's what that is. We're all responsible for that. It just ticks me off that something like that happens. I would certainly hope it doesn't ever happen again, but that's a technical error by a young player.
Q: It looked like James Brewer was supposed to block down there?
A: I have no comment.