Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Looking back at the film on Sundayâ€™s performance, could you guys have done much better than you did?
â€œThereâ€™s always room for improvement, but you look at just the overall body of work and you say we were operating about as efficiently as you could in the run game, pass game. We mixed it all very well. I thought the balance was tremendous. We really didnâ€™t encounter that many third downs. We had only eight third downs, so we were in a lot of first downs in first and second downs, so they came in chunks. When you donâ€™t punt until thereâ€™s three minutes left in the game, thatâ€™s usually a pretty good sign that things were rolling along.â€
In terms of pass distribution were you taking what the defense gave you or did you have a specific plan?
â€œWe go into every game with opportunities for each guy. Once you get into the game, start executing the plan and see how the defense is playing you, then all of a sudden it becomes maybe that we like this matchup or because of the way theyâ€™re playing weâ€™re going to have a lot of opportunities with this guy or this scheme, so in a lot of ways, we never know whose day itâ€™s going to be but we always know that it could be anybodyâ€™s day. There could be opportunities for each guy. We walk out of that game, Jimmy (Graham) gets two touchdowns, (Darren) Sproles gets two touchdowns one rushing (and) one receiving, (Marques) Colston gets two touchdowns, Pierre (Thomas) gets a huge gain on a screen play and Lance Moore came up with a couple big plays. If you can spread it around like that, itâ€™s hard to defend.â€
We talked before about how peopleâ€™s number is up at different times. Do you think itâ€™s like that around the league or that this is a pretty unselfish locker room?
â€œIâ€™d say this is a pretty unique locker room, but Iâ€™d also say that typically the winning organizations have a big element of that where each guy plays very unselfishly and is very willing to sacrifice for the others, because you know that in the end, the feeling you get when you win is so much better than the other one and when you are working together, sacrificing for one another, you end of winning a lot more. I think that each guy in this system knows that over the last few years that you really never know when a day is going to be your day and this season even we can go and say that (Robert) Meachem caught a touchdown the first three games, then all of a sudden it became Jimmy Graham a little bit, Marques of late has been getting a lot of opportunities. The next guy might be Lance. It might be one of the running backs. It just seems to kind of spread around to each guy in the locker room at some point.â€
Did you think a run with these skill players, none who have made a Pro Bowl is possible after one with Antonio Gates and LaDanian Tomlinson in San Diego?
â€œI take a look at my guys and theyâ€™re all those types of players. I know the personal accolades arenâ€™t everything. I know itâ€™s nice to get appreciated. I hope those guys know how much I appreciate them. Maybe they donâ€™t get the respect they deserve around the league from fans and other people, but theyâ€™ve helped us win a lot of football games and I think theyâ€™re all special playersâ€
When you went back and looked at it were you even in more awe of Marques Colstonâ€™s first touchdown grab that happened with one hand?
â€œYes, if you watch the tape, you see the corner falling off of (Robert) Meachem to make a play on Marques and obviously Marques being a big guy, I tried to throw it where only he could get it or nobody. As you see it heâ€™s going up with two hands, but the corner kind of grabs his left arm, so he kind of ends up tucking it with his right, coming down. It was a spectacular catch. Iâ€™ve seen him catch quite a few of those. Thatâ€™s Marques.â€
Have you guys decided the play-calling arrangement for this week?
â€œYes. I believe so. Kind of the plan is Sean (Payton) is going to be up in the box for a while. Thereâ€™s constant communication like there always has been between Sean, Pete (Carmichael Jr.), Joe Lombardi, Aaron Kromer, where the big diffidence is that itâ€™s not Sean on the sideline talking to me and itâ€™s Pete talking to me, but I think everyone has a tremendous amount of input in whatâ€™s going on out thereâ€
Can you talk about the constant communication both on the field and off the field you and Carmichael have always had in New Orleans?
â€œThatâ€™s the thing. Maybe people are only taking notice of that now because of the situation with Sean (Payton), but if you go back and look at every game the last six years, the guy who Iâ€™m talking to on the sideline is Pete Carmichael 95 percent of the time. Iâ€™ll go down and talk to (Aaron) Kromer from time to time. Iâ€™ll talk to Coach Payton or one of the other position coaches if something needs to be communicated. Pete has always been an unsung hero, a guy that you walk around the facility, look in the program or watch on game day, youâ€™re not going to notice him that much until you get into a situation like this where all of a sudden you recognize what his contribution is to this team and our offense as the coordinator. Itâ€™s always unique when you have a head coach who calls the plays. Then sometime the offensive coordinator gets overshadowed as far as his responsibilities and the contributions heâ€™s making. Iâ€™m just happy to see Pete getting the credit he deserves for a lot of his contributions.â€
Whatâ€™s the challenge in keeping focus when playing a winless team?
â€œJust the fact that we know the type of team we can be and how we can play. We donâ€™t want to be a week to week team. We want to be a team that is consistent, we know what to expect out of ourselves, we set a standard for how weâ€™re going to play every time out and it doesnâ€™t matter who you play because this league is too hard. Thereâ€™s too much that goes into it in the preparation throughout the week. You can never look at another teamâ€™s record and just assume based off of that the type of game itâ€™s going to be. I was actually surprised at how well the Rams defense has played despite the fact that theyâ€™ve had a lot of injuries, especially in the their secondary over the course of the year and really as I look at them playing the Cowboys, a very good offense, the Packers, a very good offense and a couple others, with the exception of giving up a couple of big plays, those guys were stout in those games against those two offenses. Weâ€™re playing at their place. They would want nothing more than to get their first win against us and righting the ship there. I think we understand the challenge.â€
Is that a challenge as a player to continue that same motivation?
â€œIt is and itâ€™s a long season. Everybody says itâ€™s a marathon. It really is. Itâ€™s physically taxing, but also mentally and emotionally. Thatâ€™s why it takes a pretty strong individual to play the game and be able to play well on a consistent basis. Itâ€™s hard to bring that same level of emotion and focus. The great teams are able to do that. We want to be one of those teams.â€
Can you talk about the Rams defensive line with Chris Long and James Hall?
â€œI think obviously for them I know itâ€™s been frustrating because the expectation level is so high going into the season. Youâ€™re decimated by injuries on both the offensive side and the defensive side of the ball. You look at their record and you turn on the film and watch it and say these guys are playing really well at times against people and itâ€™s just a big play here and a big play there that have kind of messed it up for them at times. Iâ€™m sure thatâ€™s what theyâ€™re preaching over there, getting some of that stuff corrected, but I have a lot of respect for Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo and the defensive scheme he runs. I think he does a good job of changing it up and trying to confuse opposing offenses, especially when youâ€™re on the road in that type of an environment. You have to make sure youâ€™re prepared for anything.â€
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