Head Coach Jim Schwartz Press Conference Transcript

Posted Nov 16, 2009

Opening statement
“I generally don’t start with injuries, or talk very much about them, but we did have one significant (injury) that will most likely be season-ending and that’s our new corner, Jack Williams. (He) had a significant knee injury and it’s most likely going to end his season and we’ll make a roster move pretty quick on that one. Everybody else, and we have a lot of guys still in MRIs right now, we’re still waiting to hear the severity of some of them. Some of them are probably going to be (out a) decent amount of time and that’s going to force guys to miss games; but right now everything is a little bit gray other than Jack.”
On whether there’s going to be workouts tomorrow, or if they have someone in mind at corner
“Our personnel department does a really good job of staying proactive that way and bringing guys in even if we don’t have a roster spot. They bring guys in on a weekly basis No. 1, to see where are guys are talent wise; No. 2, to see where guys are in shape and they have an emergency list. We’ll probably go to that list rather than have tryouts.”
On whether G Stephen Peterman’s injury is something to be concerned about
“Yeah, he’s got an ankle that we’re looking hard at.”
On how he would think of replacing Peterman and whether G Daniel Loper or T Jon Jansen would step in
“Yeah, that’s the thing – that’s a decision will be able to make over the next 48 hours. We have a couple of different ways that we can do it where we’re dealing with some other roster issues and things like that’s, so we’ll most likely stay within our roster; but, there’s a possibility we could go outside of our roster also.”
On what the team would lose with the loss of Peterman
“Toughness, effort, a guy that’s assignment sound. He’s not a 10-year vet, but he’s a veteran player and he’s been very, very solid for us. When we re-signed him this offseason, we had in mind the way he would play this year and he hadn’t disappointed us.”
On what CB Jack Williams’ injury was
“It’s a significant knee.”
On whether he was injured in his first defensive play
“It was the first play of the second half on defense. He played a kickoff cover, I’m not sure if it was exactly, but it was his first defensive snap, yes.”
On whether it’s unsettling that they’ve had to sign so many cornerbacks
“Well, I mean, unsettling, I don’t know if that’s a good word. We’ve had to work through some issues, we’ve had inconsistencies that we’ve been trying to work with, but Jack was a situation where we had a guy that we had good grades on, we had an opportunity to get him, we got him , we plugged him right in on special teams. It was a situation where we fumbled the first play of the second half. Our offense was going to be up, so Phillip Buchanon was dealing with a little thing and he needed to get extra treatment in the training room before he came out of the half and he was a little bit later coming out to get some treatments, so Jack had to go in and play that snap. It really wasn’t anything other than circumstance there with him playing because I thought Phillip and Will James played well. They were one of the few bright spots for us in this game. They battled pretty much the whole game, a couple of plays here and there, but they kept us in this game quite a bit. We have had, I don’t want to call it a revolving door, we’ve had a little bit of a revolving door at left guard, but we’ve had a lot of different injury situations and things like that in the secondary and we’re still a work in progress there. We’re going to look at every avenue that we can to improve the team. We’ve said from the very beginning that there are no 16 game scholarships on this team. Everybody would be evaluated every week and every time we had a chance to improve, or we thought we could improve, we were going to do it.”
On CB Anthony Henry being inactive
“That had more to do with special teams than anything else. Jack was going to be playing some gunner and kickoff coverage and those kind of things, there was no real move on the depth chart and things like that; but we’ve had that situation come up on our offensive line before where a guy might be a back-up player, but somebody else serves a different role that becomes part of the active 45. The active 45 is a little different than your depth chart and I’ll just leave it at that. There was no move on the depth chart; it was just a special teams situation.”
On how S Louis Delmas is doing
“He is getting treatment, he is getting better and I would anticipate it not being a long term situation.”
On what T Gosder Cherilus’ biggest problem has been
“Well, in this game it was a combination. I think it started with the first play of the game. We had a miscommunication and we cut a three technique loose, which is an interior defensive lineman, shortest path to the quarterback and that’s something we can’t allow to happen. We’ve had our quarterback hit way too often, particularly in this game and that unsettled us, that unsettled Gos, and then sort of one thing… we didn’t do a very good job of putting one bad play behind us and saying, ‘Ok, hey, that happened, let’s move on.’ It affected us and it took us awhile to sort of put that fire out. Gos battled in this game, he went out with a knee injury, he came back in and a lot of guys might not have done that. He toughed that out and went. He has played very well in spots for us this year. He’s had some lapses here and there that we’ve talked about that we need to put behind him. He’s still a young player, but we expect a lot from him. We drafted him high and we expect a lot from him, so he needs to put those issues behind him. We have to go be in a situation where we don’t get our quarterback hit in the very first play of the game.”
On the pass protection issues
“Well, No. 1, they’re really good up front, so let’s give credit there. I don’t know what they’re collective draft status, or salary cap thing or whatever (is), I just know that they’re all really good players. Jared Allen is a Pro Bowl player, Pat Williams is a Pro Bowl player, Kevin Williams is a Pro Bowl player. They’re deep up front, they go to Jimmy Kennedy, they go to (Brian) Robison – all of which get in a rotation to make plays, so that’s No. 1; but we had issues with communication. We had issues where we’re cutting guys totally free and it’s one thing to get beat physically, it’s another thing to give up a play where a guy is just walking in on your quarterback and the quarterback has to throw the ball away, that’s where we can’t allow that to happen. There were a couple of times in this game that our defense was able to get that same kind of pressure on (Brett) Favre. They were on the eight-yard line trying to get one in and score and we brought a blitz, they cut a guy completely free, Favre has a guy open, throws a bad pass, throws behind the slant, we knock it down and all of a sudden we’re holding them to field goal rather than a touchdown. We had another one where they missed a pick up on a blitz. We have a guy running free to the quarterback, we had a holding penalty on the play, Favre’s trying to throw a screen pass, dumps the screen pass and we almost intercept it. That happened to them a couple of times in the game and that happened to us way too many times. When you have that kind of pressure on the quarterback, particularly when they’re not expecting it, it’s one thing when they see a free guy and they know protection wise that guy is not picked up, ‘I got to throw hot off that guy,’ that’s one thing; but when there’s guys that are expected to get picked up, it’s different. We did a poor job in protection and that hurt us in this game.”
On QB Matthew Stafford’s shoulder pads coming out
“Yeah, I mean we’re really making mountains out of mole hills when it comes to that. That was a fourth down play if you remember and Matt made a really gutsy play on the sideline to try to get a first down. A lot of quarterbacks run out of bounds there, he laid it out for his teammates and tried to make a play. He got his shoulder pad hung out, well it was fourth down, it was fourth-and-four, or whatever it was, he was going back to the bench, as were a lot of the offensive players, I was holding everybody up saying that we were going for it on fourth down. Everybody was running on the field trying to get lined up and to get set. They don’t have time to worry about if the quarterbacks shoulder pads out, or if his shirt needs to be tucked in, or if his shoes are tied, or anything else. We have enough issues to worry about other than our quarterback’s pads being exposed.”
On if he was pleased with how Stafford handled the pressure and eluded some sacks
“Thank goodness he did, because it would have looked a lot worse. Matt did a really good job of getting away from some of those situations. He did take care of the ball, but that was an issue. It’s hard to be proud of somebody when that happens. Did he show resilience? Yeah, he did. He’s a tough player; he battled like crazy in that game, as did the whole team. Battling is not enough. It’s about production, it’s about the score on the scoreboard. I don’t want to give any gold stars for somebody playing tough, that’s what we’re paid to do. That’s the way this game was meant to be played. Let’s not give gold stars for that kind of stuff.” On if there is different value placed on negative experiences: “There’s a saying, and people go to it when times are tough and things like that, it’s one of those quote-of-the-day type things. It says, ‘only through adversity are great men made.’ And you talk about the great presidents in United States History, most of them served during times of war, and great conflict and things like that. I’m sure there’s something to do with that. You’ve got to become battle-tested, you have to earn your stripes, I could look for a million different clichés at that situation. But there’s something to be learned from being in tough situations, there’s something to be learned from having success. I think you need to have both. If somebody has too much early success a lot of times that’s sort of a classic case of pride before the fall or whatever you want to call it. You have other times where you don’t experience any success and you tend to have a hard time overcoming the failures. All of those situations you can learn something from, and we have.”
On if Stafford has shown him more than he anticipated with this toughness
“He’s that way. I think the one thing that we did not know about him was how he would deal with an injury, because the last time he was hurt was in high school. He made it through three years at Georgia and very rarely had any injuries and didn’t miss any games and things like that. Being a quarterback in the NFL is tough business, and you’re going to get hit and you’re going to have guys that are gunning for you and trying to knock you out of the game. We didn’t know how he would deal with an injury and how he would play through it. He’s proved that through the last couple weeks. That’s one thing we did not know about him.”
On how much toughness he’s shown dealing with the injury
“Sometimes he gets up and he can’t put pressure on his knee and he hobbles hi way off the field. Sometimes his pads get all jerked off and then he comes back on the field. I really can’t [go into detail]. It’s a tough business, and you have to be physically and mentally tough to play quarterback in this league. There’s a lot of attention at the position, and the physical nature of the position is demanding. And it’s not just on the field what you see on Sunday, it’s practice and getting through things like that and going out and practicing on Wednesday and Thursday after an experience like this. So, he’s shown a lot of signs that he can deal with us.”
On what went wrong with the offensive line’s protection
“It was a little bit of everything. If it was all physical errors then you could point to that, but there were times we blocked very well in one-on-ones. Backus had good matchups with Jared Allen a good part of the day. There were also times where it was missed assignments, and guys were breaking free. Let’s put missed assignments also where they are. Number one, the Metrodome is really loud, you’re going on a silent count, it’s hard to communicate, they’re a really good defense. Now, let’s give credit where credit is due on stuff like that, but it hasn’t been an all one thing or another. It hasn’t been all physical and it hasn’t been all mental. It’s been a little bit of everything, and that’s been our inconsistency. We’ve protected very well at times this year. This game was not one of them.”
On how long he can live with dropped passes
“The answer is never. You have to be able to make those plays as a wide receiver. I don’t really know the best way to answer that because he’s a starting wide receiver for us.”
On if dropping balls is something that might lead to WR Bryant Johnson being benched
“Bryant has had a couple drops. If we benched every guy for a drop, we might not have anybody left, because everybody including Calvin Johnson has dropped balls this year. We have not been as consistent a catching team as we’d like to be and that falls on a lot of different areas. It’s the receiver making the catch, it’s the offensive line giving the quarterback enough time to make a good throw and it’s the quarterback making a good throw. That falls in three areas. I think all together we had four or five [drops], and we had one that Bryant has a chance to get a touchdown. That’s a play that we need to finish. Yeah, there’s definitely accountability there, but Bryant has been extremely sound assignment-wise, in blocking, all the other things. That shows up, it shows up when you have a ball deep down the field and you can’t bring it in or you have a chance to score a touchdown and he’s the first one to say he should catch that ball. But it’s more than just that in our evaluation.”
On why DE Cliff Avril was inactive
“We mentioned last week with Grady [Jackson] with how many times they threw the ball last week. Grady is a guy we brought in to be a run-stuffer. We didn’t think their game plan was going to be to run and we decided to make him a healthy inactive, it happens all over the league. The same thing happened with Cliff this week. Game plan-wise, we thought the other ends fit the run game a little better. In retrospect, they didn’t do a very good job there also. Adrian Peterson was able to run for 150 yards on us. The first game we had problems on our edges and we looked to make changes there to secure that area. The other thing we did because of Percy Harvin is we kept some more guys up to cover kicks, specifically to cover. And thank goodness we did because we ended up in a situation at the end of that game where we had very few defensive backs left, and Marvin White was one of those guys that we kept up. Game day decisions are not always to send a message or because you’re disappointed at a guy, there’s a lot of different things that you have to take into consideration, special teams, the game plan, all those things. Cliff’s a good young player, he’s still developing as a player, but we haven’t been disappointed with him.”
On what the breakdowns were on the long completions from QB Brett Favre to WR Sidney Rice
“Well, he got behind him. First we didn’t have very good pressure, but that was an eight-man protection, you’re not going to get very good pressure. The quarterback threw the ball about 100 yards, that’s generally a situation that defensive backs don’t end up in, and the safety was just late on turning and making sure that guy didn’t get over the top. One of the other ones was a blown coverage, and the other one where he caught the ball was a receiver and a defensive back were jostling for the ball, their guy came down with it. A couple of those plays, one, the blown coverage, Favre just throws that ball because the guy is open. The other ones he just put it up, and those are plays where—I mean, he caught the ball. Those are plays where guys really weren’t open, he just threw it up, and those are plays that we have to make defensively.”
On if this job has been more challenging than he expected
“I don’t have time to look back over the first nine games or anything else. We barely have time to take a breath. We have to look towards the Cleveland Browns. After the season we can talk about where we are and all those different things, but the most important thing now is getting through this game, trying to get everything corrected from this game, moving on to the Cleveland Browns and putting a good game plan together for that to get the players in good positions to make that, then we’ll worry about that stuff when the season’s over.”
On if it’s difficult to put in so much time and not see results
“Oh, sure. Any business you’re in if you’re not doing well it’s more difficult. It doesn’t change uor job and it doesn’t change the enthusiasm we do the job with, but it makes it easier to get through the day when you’re winning. That’s us, that’s 31 other teams in the NFL. That’s just sports in general. Our job as professionals is to not let that affect us. We have to stay true to our standards, we have to stay true to our ideals and we have to stay on the right track. We can’t overreact to one loss, we can’t overreact to one bad play. We have to stay consistent regardless. Hard or not, that’s not even relevant.”
On New England coach Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth down
“Well, it didn’t work. As you guys know, the decision is always wrong if it doesn’t work. You guys have got the pens. It is a bottom line business. If the guy catches the ball cleanly, it’s a great decision, it wins the game and it’s probably written about in Pro Football Hall of Fame type status. The guy bobbles the ball, they don’t get the first down and all of a sudden it’s a bad decision. There’s a lot of ways games can go, and if you’re prepared for a situation you have good plays on and you have a philosophy you have to stick with that, and that’s what he did. He’s got Tom Brady, who’s won three Super Bowls for him, and he said, ‘hey, I’m going to put the ball in his hands with the ability to make this play, that’s our best chance of winning.’ I admire the courage it took to do that. Everything doesn’t work out all the time, but he’s gone for that earlier. If you go back this year he went for a fourth down earlier this season in his own territory late in a game and made it. You guys would have to go search that one up, but that was just as gutsy a decision. The game was really close, just like that, made it and then was able to run the clock out. This really wasn’t a whole lot different other than the result.” On whether he discussed the officiating with the league: “Yeah, I talked to Mike quite a bit, but I don’t like to discuss my discussions. Let’s just say this, we’ll leave those discussions where they are between us.”
On the decision to kick the field goal on third down at the end of the first half
“Trying to take a shot and the end zone? Yeah, and then you take a sack there and all of a sudden you don’t get any points. I thought it was important in that situation that we got points. I knew we were getting the ball at the beginning of the second half, I thought that was important to come away with points right there. We had that first drive of the game where we were able to sort of nickel-and-dime our way down and overcome a couple situations and weren’t able to come up with points from that one. I didn’t want to come away from this one without points. We had a play called the play before to take a shot at the end zone, obviously they had the same thought, they took that away, we checked it down to Kevin [Smith], he made a couple extra yards, we were able to make the kick. And then if you noticed at the end of the first half they sort of caught the ball and took a knee rather than take a shot at the end of the first half.”