“First of all, it was great to go on the road in a very hostile environment, and win a football game against a good football team. I think offensively, if you were to draw it up and say, you’re going to get 30 yards rushing and try to find a way to win the football game – I find it hard to do. But, that’s kind of what we ended up doing. I think one of the things that really helped us is, we did not turn over the football. We managed to hold the football for the most part. We didn’t have penalties on offense – or I think one maybe. Overall, I think we did those things well.
I think the best thing that happened offensively in the game is, obviously, the fourth quarter. When you’re back is against the wall, you’ve got to go 80 yards and score a touchdown and give us a chance to go up by four. We made plays, [QB] Shaun [Hill] did a good job. Everybody just kind of settled down – the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers, tight ends – and just put a solid drive, just took it down the field. I think that’s something that no one really expected. But, they really did it when they had to do it, and that’s the sign of something special. That’s something that we can build on on offense.
I thought Shaun did a good job for the most part in his first game, first start on the road, managing the game, taking what the defense was giving him. I thought [TE] Vernon [Davis] was a big part of some of the success that we had in throwing the ball, and Shaun connecting with him. [WR]
Our offensive line, for a number of reasons, did not play great. I think the penetrating defense that we knew about going in, I think the noise was a bigger factor than we anticipated. I think it got to our guys early on, and kind of threw us off track. But, we were able to put it together in that 15-play drive. Obviously, we’re going to have to play much better on our offensive line, and we will. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to make sure that our identity is intact. We want to run the football when we need to run the football, and there were a couple of times in the football game that we didn’t need to let our defense get back on the field, and we did. Good football teams can’t do that.
Defensively, I thought we played relentless defense. I thought we went out and we did the things that we thought we needed to do in order to win the football game. I thought our DBs challenged their wide outs. We got our hands on them. We were physical with them. We took away the timing that [QB] Kurt Warner had with his wide outs. That was a big part of it, which gave our pass rush time to get there. So, that really worked out well.
When you look at our defense, I think [DE] Justin [Smith] just kept coming. Justin did a great job in the game. When you look at our defensive line, he is the guy you see most of the time getting around Warner, getting him to move, getting hands in his face. I thought [LB]
Defensively on the back end, I just thought the guys were exceptional. Our DBs were exceptional in terms of doing what they had to do. That was a tremendous challenge for them and winning the game and did a great job.
Other guys to be mentioned, [LB] Parys [Haralson] – just a constant thorn in the side. [LB]
Special teams, I think [KR Allen] Rossum, we have a good guy to return the ball. We need to do a better job of blocking for him, giving him a chance to break some free. I think we’re close in a few areas, but it just didn’t happen. We’re going to have to get back on track. Rossum is just going to have to take it and go, just hit it. We’ll be more disciplined in those areas.
Against the field goal blocks, I thought we were very close on a couple of those. Manny Lawson, a couple of times there, he and [DT] Ray [McDonald], it just went right between their hands, and we’ll do a better job in those areas overall.
Injury-wise, basically, we come out of the game pretty much injury free, with the exception of the bumps and bruises that you saw – the physicality of the game. Guys were limping around and had headaches and all these other kinds of things, but for the most part, no one has to be concerned about not playing this week. So, we’re good in that area. There could be a possibility of getting [WR]
Yes, it was indeed an ugly game, but it was beautiful to see our guys continue to fight, persevere, work through the adversity, work through the issues, work through the noise – work through all of the stuff – and come out with a win. I think the biggest thing we did was we stayed together. We hung together. We fought together – and we ended up winning together.”
On whether he would want to pass more earlier on in the game to take advantage of the defense playing against the run:
“I think in talking to [Offensive Coordinator Jimmy] Raye, there were some things that he would do a little differently in this game and I think hindsight is always 20/20. He still has to get a feel for – it’s the first live game, bullets are flying – Coach Raye has to get a feel for what this offense really can do. We know we can run the ball, it’s just a matter of executing it. It’s a matter of making sure we get the calls, but in that environment we’ve got to a better job. Noise is going to be a factor when we are on the road, it’s as simple as that. We will work through that. The biggest thing that we want to do obviously is to continue to move the chains as well as take care of the football. That gives us a chance to be in the football game, just take care of the football. If we can do that – no, you don’t like to punt, but you’d much rather punt than to try to force something, make something happen that’s not there. I think that’s the best thing that we can do and I think this first game here, just gave Jimmy what we can do and what we need to work on, so it’s a good gauge to look at this game and kind of go from there.”
On whether he thinks an offensive line that is playing as well as it can, can still beat a defense that is stacking against the run:
“There are certain things that you have to do offensively. I’ll let Coach Raye speak for himself sometime this week. It’s a chess game, a cat and mouse game, however you want to look at it. If they are going to put eight in the box that means that they can’t cover as well outside. So we just have to play that game. Coach Raye was getting in the flow and doing the things that we needed to do, but being on the road, I think we just kind of wanted to stay with what we had and just be patient. That was the big word that we had to use going into this game, let’s be patient. Let’s not lose it here, particularly on the road, in the noise and everything else. Let our defense play, let us make plays when they are there and that’s how we are going to win the football game.”
On whether there are any plans to work[T
“There may be some work this week, possibly he and [T Adam] Snyder splitting some snaps or something like that, just to kind of get a feel for where he’s at and get a look at what he can do, but Snyder is going to continue to work at it, but obviously we want to get a chance to look at Pashos as well, see what he can do.”
On whether the two offensive linemen that missed practice time due to injury, G
“I think Baas missed a little more time than Snyder, but no they weren’t as sharp as you would like for them to be, but I don’t think anybody was as sharp as you wanted them to be in this game. Offensively, particularly on the offensive line, the kind of pressure that they were exerting early on in the game is just one of those things that you have to work through and until you see it, we are going to see that a number of times this year and we’ll do a better job dealing with it as we go forward.”
On the dynamics of the 12 men on the field call and when he called the timeout to talk to the defense:
“First of all, with the 11 men on the field, I think the referees saw that there were three guys back rather than two. Rather than counting all the other guys, the natural thing was, ‘Well, there’s an extra guy on the field. So that’s 12 guys.’ It was just a mistake on their behalf. I think that can happen in any game. I think it was important to make sure that we caught it and we challenged it and obviously won. So that was all it was. The other thing when the other guys were out there playing, obviously Arizona had the momentum. You want to be wise with the timeouts, but at the same time, for me, I know what it’s like when you are on the field and you just need somebody, you just need a break somewhere. Just give me one breath, one minute and let me get my thoughts back. Let us kind of regroup and we can get it done because I knew we were playing well and I didn’t want us to lose sight of that and kind of get a look at their eyes and make eye contact and let them know, ‘You can do this. I know you’re tired. I appreciate what you are doing, but guys let’s finish,’ and that’s what they did.”
On whether he had a conversation with referee Don Carey at halftime:
On what was said during that conversation:
“You don’t want to know what it was, but it was very positive. He may not say that. Really what it came down to was, when you are making calls out there, have someone over there near me that can relay some kind of information and I’ll be fine and that’s basically what we talked about and it happened in the second half. It worked out a lot better.”
On how much the team needed that victory as validation for what they’ve been doing over the last six weeks:
“I think we need every win. I’ll put it this way, you can say that about everything that you do. You’ve got a scientist trying an invention. You’ve got a legislature trying a new budget. The first thing, it’s out, it doesn’t work, what happened? Everybody jumps on them, but I don’t ever think about that kind of stuff. I know that what I’m doing is right, so I don’t question myself and you just go forward and if you don’t win this game, it’s not the end of the world, you’ve got 15 more. The most important thing is you continue to build, sometimes you can lose a game, but you gain something. I think the most important thing is - our guys see the film. They know what kind of shape they are in. They know the kind of camp they went through, but they hung together and it’s not all just a training camp, it’s not all the work we’ve done, it’s them too. We’ve got a lot of good guys on this football team that just happen to be good football players and we just have to get better.”
On the aggressiveness of the secondary playing against Arizona:
“I just think that we were trying to mix it up. It wasn’t just press, it wasn’t just zone. I think we were trying to keep Kurt Warner from getting in sync because that’s the thing that he will kill you with whether you are playing man or zone. Once he knows what the coverage is and takes the thought process out of it, he’s going to find someone open. We just felt that if we could mix the coverages up and let our guys get off of the ball up front that we had a chance to have some success.”
On whether they will continue to use earplugs at practice to simulate the effect of crowd noise:
“I’m going to sit down and talk with the coaches and the players and just get a feel on whether they thought that was helpful or if they want to have the noise boxes out there again. Whatever works. If they say that they want the noise boxes out there, they will be out there. [If] they say that the earplugs work, or that they need more of the earplugs, then we will do that. It just a matter of conversation then we’ll go from there.”
On whether the crowd noise was the main factor for the offensive lines performance:
“No. What it was that sometimes on the offensive line it’s extremely important that they hear each other and the communication of ‘I’m going to block this guy,’ if I don’t hear a call. I’m still over here focusing on this guy and I need to be focusing on the guy over there. If you don’t hear those calls it makes you look like you have no clue on what the heck you’re doing and it looks really bad. What happens is that you begin to lose confidence sometimes and the frustration sets in and then it’s like ‘man, what can we do.’ So, I just think that it’s one of those things that we have to address. If we have to spend more time on whether it’s the earplugs, the noise boxes or whatever it is, and work it out, work it through. That was our first game of the season, on the road in that environment. That was probably the best thing for us, we will address it and we will go forward.”
On whether the problems on the offensive line were solely based on miscommunication:
“That wasn’t all of it. Sometimes the guys were just coming off of the ball. Don’t let me paint for one second that’s an excuse for us not playing well. We got our tails kicked up front, it’s as simple as that. So, I won’t go there saying ‘well, it was…’ no, I won’t do that. We did not play well and we got our tails kicked, I will say that, but we will get better. Our offensive line, at some point in time this year, will be one of the better offensive lines in the league but [in] this game, [they] did not play well.”
On whether the team sent a letter to
“I think that this time in the year that may be the case. I’m not sure since I didn’t want to hear about it anymore since after last Friday I said ‘hey, do what you all have to do I’m focused over here.’ So I don’t know if the letter has actually been sent, I know that we’ve talked about it, but at this point the whole Michael Crabtree thing – you know what I’m going to say: it’s over there and I’m going to focus right here. We’ve got our hands full, as you can see, with the 53 [man roster] that we have. “