Opening statement:"Good to see everybody – appreciate you being here. Obviously, again, [it was] a very disappointing loss and the third one in a row, so we have to right the ship and get back to playing the kind of football that we're capable of playing, and even better. I don't think we've played the kind of football we're capable of playing yet, by far, this year. I'm very confident in our guys and our ability to play really good [football and in] our ability to coach really well. I'm excited about where the season is going to go, without question. I know exactly what needs to be done, in terms of what needs to be corrected, but we have to get it corrected. It's not a mystery. It's not new, and it's not news. It's the same thing it's been. We will keep just pounding away at the things we have to do better and the things we have to eliminate from our football to play winning football. No matter how long it takes us in practice, or no matter who it takes us to do it with, we're going to continue to do that. We're going to get that done. That's where we're at. As far as injuries, nothing major to report, in terms of long-term injuries. I told you that I'd report the long-term injuries. Anything that's short-term that opponents are going to read, and read between the lines and try to figure out whether a guy is going to play this week or not, I'm not going to get into that. [Terrell] Suggs has a biceps injury. He has played with that injury before. He has a chance to come back soon. How soon remains to be determined. I'm not going to say anything for this week yet. I think this week would be tough for him, but I don't put anything out of Terrell Suggs' possible ability to overcome. We'll see how that goes. [There is] nothing else, off the top of my head, that would put guys out for next week at this time. Marshal Yanda would be a stretch, also, with his situation. We'll see how that one goes. Other than that, [there is] nothing else that wouldn't be there this week."
Obviously, penalties and mistakes bog any offense down, and one week is not the biggest sample size. But did you see enough from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's offense to be optimistic going forward? (Joe Platania)"I'm very optimistic going forward. I'm optimistic, because I know we have the players in place that can do it and that we have the coaches in place that can do it. I know Marty can do it, but the players have to get that fixed. As coaches and position coaches, we have to get that fixed. The holding penalties, they have to stop. There's no reason for the holding penalties. We can look at … Over the course of the last three or four games, we can look at 60 percent of them and say without question that that should not happen. There might be 30 or 40 percent that you go, 'Eh, that could get called,' but that's the way it is around the league. You can't put yourself in a position to hold somebody. Move your feet, get on your target. If you're inside the framework, you have to know when to let go. You see it all around the league; people teach holding. They teach it very well, because they're not holding to the point where they impact the defender enough to get called. Our guys are not doing that. The one on Alex [Lewis] on the left side, he's in good position. His hands are inside and everything. Joe [Flacco] breaks out of the pocket. He [Lewis] has to feel that and let him go. Joe is going to outrun the defensive end anyway. And Crockett [Gillmore], you move your feet the right way. You come off the ball the way you're supposed to, and you don't get pushed back. Then he's pushing you, and you have him in the framework, you have to release him. You can't keep pulling the guy back. I don't mind talking about that. Those have to be fixed. You don't jump offside, and you line up the right way. That is the biggest issue we have on offense. I think the question was asked, 'Why are we bogged down?' It's because of that. We're sitting there at first-and-20. It will continue to be addressed, and it will get corrected, because you have to play winning football. You can't lose the game if you want to win the game."
John, you have never used injuries as an excuse, but is it difficult to win without all of these frontline guys? And then you have to adjust on the fly when you lose guys like OLB Terrell Suggs and CB Jimmy Smith in game, which is difficult to do. (David Ginsburg) "Right, that's absolutely true. It's the challenge of the sport, especially in the National Football League. It's just the way it is. Everybody is dealing with it. From one week to the next, different teams have different challenges. This was our toughest week, no question, but yet, and still to my eye, we should have won the football game with the guys that were playing. We don't put anybody on the field that we don't believe is capable of winning. If they prove us wrong, then we're going to have to put somebody else out there. But the guys that go out there and play are guys that we put out there, because we believe that they can win the game for us."
Coach, you talked about Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. and not letting him beat you. Looking back on it, is there something you guys could have done better with him? (Jerry Coleman) "Yes, we should have done a better job with him. We said we were going to know where he was at all times, and to my eye, we didn't know where he was at all times. That's not OK. He's not the only weapon they have, but when a player goes for those kind of yards on you … The whole thing with our defense right now, if you want to talk about our defense, is four plays. It's four plays. It's four plays that have to be played better – schemed better – and they can't happen. When we don't allow those things to happen, we're giving up 260, 270 [yards] a game. When you allow those things to happen, someone throws for over 400 on you. It's the same thing that happened the first eight games last year that we got corrected. It's the same thing that cannot continue to happen. It's not going to continue to happen, and those guys that allow it to happen are not going to be out there."
Specifically, on the last touchdown when you guys were in single-high, was that a case of the linebacker not getting a good enough drop and the safety not coming up? There was just a lot of space when Beckham made that catch.* (Luke Jones)*"It was man coverage, so the linebackers were up covering their guys. That's what happened. I think if you look at the call itself … If you want to talk about the call … If you want to put people back there to keep it from going to the house – and that's what ended up happening – you play some form of spot-drop Cover 3 or spot-drop Cover 2, tackle him and the drive continues on. The thinking there … Dean's [Pees] thinking there was that it's fourth-and-1; let's win the game right now. We bat a ball down, he throws one high or he throws one low, someone gets in the throwing lane, you win the game; you're off the field. It's done. It was an aggressive call. It wasn't played very well, and you can say it wasn't a good call because of the result if you want, but that was the idea behind the call."
You always talk about – especially on fourth-down calls – when it doesn't happen, people will be upset about it. With what you have done in the past, is that a pretty logical call on the fourth-and-1 call, the first play of the fourth quarter? (Jamison Hensley)"All the numbers will tell you that you have to go for that. If you want to talk about the analytics and the numbers and all that – which I'm not saying that is what we live and die by – but it is the call you make, because you back them up, you pin them down, and the chances of getting at least three [points] coming back are really good. The chances of getting more than that are good as well. You expect to score from the one-half-yard line with four tries. If you want to ask about one, ask about the other fourth down. That is the one to ask about. That is on your own 35-yard line with four-and-a-half minutes left, but we converted that one. But you didn't ask about that one. They had three fourth-down conversions, I think, that led to scores. If they go for those and don't get them, then people are asking them about those. It goes back to the original premise of your question, which is your point."
Can you see why people may only ask about the earlier ones only because of the fact these games are traditionally close and had it come down to a field goal … It may not have come down to a field goal. (Jerry Coleman)"We tried a fake field goal last week, and we ended up losing by six. If we would have got the touchdown there, we would have won the game. But no one said, 'Well, it was good to go for the fake there, because you ended up losing by six.' Last week, we say, 'The game would have played out differently,' and this week we say, 'The game would have played out the same way.' How would the game have played out? I don't know how the game would have played out. But you are on fourth down on your own half-yard line. Most of the time, we are going to give our guys a chance to make that play. We are not in to throwing up the white flag there. Should we have based on the fact that we couldn't score? That is what ticks me off about it. We can't score from the half-yard line with our offense? Are you kidding me? That is what ticks me off. If I have to throw up the white flag because our offense can't score from a foot-and-a-half out … If that is the coach that you want, if that is what we have to do, then we will do it. I'm going to coach this team to score from the half-yard line. That is the way we are going to do it."
The offensive line situation changing didn't affect any thinking whatsoever? Because you were not with your strongest offensive linemen. (Jerry Coleman) "Our offensive line did a good job. They did a good job yesterday; they played well. I was proud of those guys."
OLB Terrell Suggs has his injury and OLB Elvis Dumervil is out. Are you satisfied with the pressure you are getting on quarterbacks? Is getting pressure on quarterbacks a concern without those two guys? (Cliff Brown)"It is always important to get pressure on quarterbacks. We have to try and do that. The ball was out quick yesterday. We had [one] sack; we had a few more hits. We probably did about as well as we could do. There were a couple time [Eli Manning] held it, where I was disappointed we did not get to him quicker than we did. I would have liked to have a few more batted balls with the ball being out so quickly. But they are smart, they understand what they are doing, and they got the ball out really quickly. I thought that was a good job by Eli."
Surgery for OLB Terrell Suggs is not an option right now? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I don't know. I haven't talked to … I don't think so. I have not been told that."
Is one of your reasons for optimism that all of the games have been close, and if you guys get a few plays here and there, you guys could be on your way to correcting it? (Dave Ginsburg)"Yes. I don't think I have to stand up here and justify my reason for being optimistic. If you study us … Anybody that wants to write the doom and gloom article – that is fine. Write it. But look around the league. This is the National Football League; this is a tough league. Put yourself in any other city, and ask yourself what article you would be writing. It would be three or four cities that everyone thinks things are great. There will be about 28 cities where everyone will be wringing their hands. We are one of the 28 right now. I am not wringing my hands, because I know what kind of players we have. I know what kind of coaches we have. I know what kind of league this is. This is a long season. There are 10 games left to play. There are 10 opportunities for us to get rolling. The thing that I'm most excited about is that our problems are easily correctable. It is not like we are sitting here thinking, 'We don't have the players to do this. We don't have this guy or that guy, or we can't stop anybody.' We don't have those kinds of issues. Our issues are self-inflicted. If they are self-inflicted, we can fix them. We fix them ourselves. It is just our job to do that. If I have any frustration, it is the fact that it has taken this long. I expected us to play winning football from Day One. We won four preseason games, and we won our first three games. We had issues in those games, as well, but we found a way to win them. But we still have not been playing the kind of football that I know we are capable of paying. My reason for optimism, or just the fact that I am excited about what we are going to accomplish this year, is just based on the fact that we know how good we can be. We have to play that way."
You know your injury situation, and in Pittsburgh, QB Ben Roethlisberger just had knee surgery. Sometimes in the NFL season, is it almost the race of attrition and who can weather injuries the most? (Jamison Hensley) "The NFL season is definitely one of who can persevere. Who can persevere? Along the way, you have to win games to do that. Our disappointment right now is that we didn't win any of these last three games. If we win one of them, we are 4-2. If we win two of them, we are 5-1. But that is looking back. What are you going to do about it? We know why we did not win them: penalties and big plays. [We] fix the problems and go play the next game."
I know coaches have previously installed some sort of discipline system. Is that something you are considering? (Ed Lee)"We have a discipline system in place – a very effective one. What are you talking about? Like running a lap?"
Kind of like a fine jar or something like that. (Ed Lee)"You can't do that. That is against the NFL rules. I would be all for it. I would definitely be all for a fine jar. *(laughter) *That is a good suggestion."
Is RB Lorenzo Taliaferro returning to practice this week? (Jeff Zrebiec)"Yes, he is."
Then you will evaluate RB Lorenzo Taliaferro over the next couple weeks? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, we will."