*THURSDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPTS: Week 5 AT RAIDERS
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg,& Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
**Head coach John Harbaugh referenced a number of penalties and said what they were most disappointed about this week was the number of penalties on special teams. What was your assessment as to why those occur? *(Ed Lee) *"Well, I sure was disappointed. Our job as special teams players is to set up our offense and defense for success. We put our offense in a bad situation twice. Not only did we not help – we hurt. That has to stop. The fouls we made were highly correctable fouls. The guys that made them understand that and have been coached to do it better. We need to have better technique and make better decisions in those crucial parts of the game where we can give our offense a boost. That's our job, and we failed to do it last week. The team that we're playing this week – we can't afford to do that; they're too good. We have the right guys out there – I'm confident of that. I'm watching our coverage teams, and I'm so encouraged by them. We're covering great, and it's the same guys who are playing in the other phases. So, that gives me confidence that we're going to get this thing fixed and end up being a helping hand for our offense and not a hindrance."
We saw you out there working with OLB Tim Williams. He's clearly a talented player; he has the ability of coming off the edge as an outside linebacker. What have you seen from him and his development as a special teams player, being a reserve knowing he has to contribute on special teams if he's going to be up? (Luke Jones) "The key word there was 'development,' and Tim continues to work and continues to develop. As you all know this, a lot of these guys who have played and were starters since they were freshmen haven't done this. So, it's not familiar to them. Not only do they not understand how to do it, they don't really understand the functioning. They've never been in the field and open spaces and having to play like this. Their world has been much smaller. Tim continues to work, and he continues to develop, and we're trying to get him to the point where he can go out there and not only rush the passer for our defense, but be a force on special teams for us. He's a fine athlete, he's tough, and he's fast, and he's strong. So, we need to get him to the point where we can put him out there on special teams and have the same kind of impact."
K Justin Tucker has missed two field goals, but we've come to expect that Tucker can make anything. Is there anything you are looking at saying, "Is there anything different than a year ago?" Or is it, "Bottom line, these are really long field goals, and they don't always get them?" (Pete Gilbert)"Well, the bottom line is we missed two long field goals. We want to make them. He's capable of making those kicks, or else we wouldn't have put him out there in the first place. We have a lot of confidence in Justin. That's why we put him out in long field goal situations. He's a part of our offense; he's a scoring threat. We're going to continue to do it. We watch him in practice; we know how effective he is at those ranges. We understand the percentages are down a little bit when you get that deep, but those are numbers we're willing to accept. We think if you give him enough chances, he'll make the right percentage of those kicks to help us win."
How does RB Alex Collins' background as a running back help him as a returner? (Ed Lee) "You can see that in him when he catches the ball. He's a hard-running, downhill player. He's able to read blocks. I've always liked running backs' style on kickoff returns, because it's a set play, much like an offensive play is a set play – unlike a punt return, where it's much more open space, make a decision, cut off a guy. You see those skills in Alex. He's still working on a lot of the details about how our kickoff return works. We're going to keep using him, because he's a threat. We think he can make big plays just like on offense. You can see it when he has the ball in his hands. He's exciting to watch."
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg
Opening statement: "Let's get started. I will tell you the players are working hard, they're preparing hard, the staff … Long couple weeks … We have to get some things right. The film, typically, when you win doesn't look quite as good afterwards, [but] when you lose in the fashion we've lost in the last couple weeks … We have to fix some things. We all have to do better – starting with me. We'll have to play a little bit better. This next game, we have quite a challenge. [They] have a heck of a pass rush. We're on the road again, we're on the West Coast, so we have to deal with all of that. They have some outstanding players on 'D.' Ken Norton is their defensive coordinator. Heck, he was a linebacker for [me] way back when I was coordinating in San Francisco. Heck of a player, as you know, heck of a coach, and so they're a well-schooled, very good defense. Our players are working hard, preparing hard, so we can be right on the thing."
Time to throw the ball has really been an issue lately for QB Joe Flacco. How much can you do scheme-wise versus telling guys to block for him? (Pete Gilbert)"It's all of us. We all have to do a little bit better on the thing, and those things will happen. I know this: [I've] been through this thing before. If you keep working hard and keep preparing, good things will happen. Good things – they always tend to happen. That confidence thing? All-time high. So, that's where we're at. I expect for us to play well on Sunday."
You mentioned confidence. QB Joe Flacco said yesterday, "The offense, in general, needs to play with more confidence." As a coordinator, what do you do? Do you look for more player input? How do you, as a coach, get the confidence up?* (Luke Jones)* "No, just a little juice. We have proud men here. We talked about this the other day. We have a lot of proud men and a lot of confident guys. When you go through a couple weeks like this … Simply, confidence is a great weapon. I think it's the best weapon known to mankind. Confidence is at an all-time high."
What have you thought of T Austin Howard and the way he has played so far this year? (Ryan Mink)"Austin is a great addition to this football team. He's going to get better every week, like all of us will. We're happy to have him. He's going back to Oakland. You know, he was [with] Oakland. I know it's a big week for Austin."
What's your impression of TE Benjamin Watson – given there hasn't been so much from the receivers on the outside. How important has his development been this year, coming back from the Achilles injury and so forth? (Bo Smolka) "Ben has done a heck of a job. He's been nicked up a little bit, so he's played very well with very little practice, as well. He's done a heck of a job. He's a heck of a football player, great father, great man. So, he's one of our team leaders, certainly. We're happy to have him with us, and he's been quite productive, both in line and in the pass game."
What signs do you see that a breakout could be coming? (Jeff Zrebiec)"We will see. We will see. You keep working hard, you keep preparing, and good things tend to happen. We talked about that."
Are you at all concerned about QB Joe Flacco's psyche, given his back-to-back performances? (Jeff Zrebiec)"No. He is a longtime veteran. He has been through ups and downs. We all have – most of the team has. We are 2-2, and we are right in the middle of things. We have a tough road trip here; we have to be right here."
What do you have QB Joe Flacco working on in practice? Is there something specific? (Luke Jones)"There are a lot of specific things, and that goes with every position, more than a handful of plays the last ball game – details. It is really every position. [They are] details, and then you end up getting those four, five, six, seven plays in a game that may make a difference."
When it comes to fumbling, is confidence or technique more important? (Pete Gilbert)"The mindset and the technique – those are the two important things. The NFL is different than college. College is different than high school. The men in this league are paid to get the ball out, period. They work it, it is emphasized, and they have done it for many, many years. On the other side, they have many techniques trying to get the football out, so you have to counter that. Much of it is a mentality, and some of it is certainly technique, absolutely. Good question, by the way."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
What is the key to limiting a guy like RB Marshawn Lynch?* (Ed Lee)*"It is kind of like we talked about last week with Le'Veon Bell. It is everybody is at the point of attack; everyone has to stay alive. He is not down until he is down until the whistle blows. He is an angry runner; he runs hard. His feet are always chopping. I faced him a lot when he was in Buffalo and I was at New England. I faced him a lot, and the guy is a great back. He is really just a workhorse. They have some other ones, too, but it is similar to Le'Veon in a way. Everyone has to stay focused and don't assume he is down."
Having seen him for the first quarter of the season, what impact has S Tony Jefferson had? Has it been what you expected? (Luke Jones)"I don't know what I expected, but it has been excellent. He plays with a lot of heart. He plays tough. He is smart. I think he is just a great safety. The guy really plays with a passion, and he is a pro. He is a pro in the classroom, and I can't say enough positive things about the guy. I love the way he plays."
If CB Jimmy Smith is not able to play, how much confidence do you have in CB Marlon Humphrey? (Garrett Downing)"I have all the confidence in the world in Marlon."
Can you expand on what you like about CB Marlon Humphrey?* (Ed Lee)*"He is fast, physical, big, he uses his hands, and he is into the gameplan. He has all those things that you want a DB to possess. I think that he is just a really good player, a really good talent, and I think we have done a good job of bringing him along and not throwing him in there too fast. Kind of each week, he gets more and more plays, and now he has himself in a little bit of a rotation-type thing."
Against Jacksonville, you thought the intensity needed to be a little bit higher. What did you see out of your guys this past week? (Jamison Hensley)"Thank you for asking that. I could not be prouder of our guys on defense. They played really, really hard. If you watch the film, we played hard, even all the way until the end. The thing that I am the proudest of is that we went into halftime, and it was 19-0, and I kind of expressed to them that this next series coming out for the second half is big – it is really big. It was 19-0, and they [the Steelers] got the ball. I said, 'We have to get a three-and-out. We have to get a three-and-out!' We not only get a three-and-out, we get an interception, which should have been a touchdown. But it doesn't matter; we got the ball. We got a three-and-out, and we got a turnover to give the offense the ball in the red zone. What else do you ask of the guys? Really, through that whole third quarter when we were starting to climb back into it a little bit, I think we kept playing harder and harder. I think the thing that gets missed sometimes is that they had 42 rushes total. Thirty-six of those rushes were for 80 yards. That is 2.3 yards per carry. What gets overshadowed is those six terrible runs. And they were bad. There were six runs for 90 yards, and they were poor. I'll tell you what – it is not the players fault. It is my fault. The Steelers – I give them credit – [Steelers offensive line coach Mike] Munchak and those guys did a different scheme on some of their pullers than what we had ever seen. They did. It was different than what I have seen the Steelers run. But it is my job to get it adapted and fixed and corrected and put the guys in a better position than what they were put in. I tried to change some defensive calls. That was not the answer. The answer was to change the way that we were playing some techniques. They were using some techniques that we use against us, which is smart on their part. But then I have to be smart enough to know that is what they are doing, and then, I have to re-adjust it. That is not on the players. That is on me; that is on the coaching staff. I am the coaching staff, so that is on me. I am proud as hell of our players and the way they played that game. Am I disappointed in the outcome? Yes. Am I disappointed in them? No. I am disappointed in me."
On one run, it looked like OLB Za'Darius Smith and S Eric Weddle were having a conversation right when the ball was snapped and they ended up running right at them. Is that a play you are talking about? (Pete Gilbert)"It was one of them. They were a little confused. The problem was that what they were doing is we were closing really hard on the counter, and what happened was they were not taking the counter inside, they were taking it outside. They had not done that, and then all of a sudden, it really was not an inside play. It wasn't designed to be an inside play. Every time they have run two pullers that way, it has always been kind of an off-tackle play. Close it, squeeze the gap, everybody fit inside out, and we are good. What [Steelers offensive line coach Mike] Munchak did was he brought a guy in, and when we squeezed down, they sealed him and brought it around the corner. It was good on their part. The first one caught us, but then after that, we really didn't get it until that last five-minute drive when we got it the most. We should have had ... Like I said, I tried to do it with a different call, and that was not the answer. I should have done it with the way we play the technique. Trust me, we have fixed it."
The pass rush hasn't been as productive the last two weeks as it has the first two weeks. What is your level of concern with that? (Ed Lee)"I am not really concerned … Well, I am concerned, because we have to have the pass rush. But we just have to coach it better and play it better. It is not anything that … That part of it is not something that someone is doing to us. We just … I do not really have an answer for you. We just have to coach better and do it better. That is what it is."