RE: What is the point of emphasis this bye week with three practices? What do you hope to get done this week?
"First of all, just making sure the guys really get the most out of what we are trying to do right now. Enjoy this time off, but at the same time stay focused and understand what we have when we get back. We have an eight game stretch when we get back, starting with Arizona, that's Monday night. So, while we are out here and we don't have a game this week, just understand we still want to have a little bit of our minds focused on Arizona, knowing that's where we have to go, that's our first opportunity when we get back. And talking about some of the other things, taking all the advantage of this time, spending time with your coaches, watching extra film, whatever it is that you need to be ready when we get back, let's do it."
RE: Why the change at quarterback Mike?
"Why the change at quarterback?"
"I just think it gives us the best opportunity to win right now. I think it brings some stability, some consistency. I think with Shaun Hill, the guys right now overall, the staff, the guys, the players, it gives us the confidence in terms of, 'You know what we are going to keep this thing together and we're going to cut down on the mistakes, the turnovers, what have you and let's give ourselves a chance to win.'"
RE: Do you expect this offense to have a different look now that Shaun is in charge of it?
"I can't say that it has a good look. I just feel that right now with him in there, it's just one of those things that Shaun is a natural leader. He leads in a different way. I just think, obviously, with him in there right now, he feels good, there's an energy about it. Going forward, I'm just excited to see what he does with the opportunity."
RE: He tends to favor the shorter passes. Passes to the tight end, passes to the running back. Do you think that sort of fits the talent on this team on offense?
"I think rather than favoring the shorter routes, the intermediate routes, I just think he really tries to find and take what the offense has given him rather than trying to force it. His decision making process I think right now is good. I like some of the decisions that he makes as well as some of the other coaches. Going forward, we'll see how that works out."
RE: Mike, as both a player and an assistant coach, surely you came to understand how difficult it is in general to win on the road and your team has five of their remaining eight games on the road. Can you talk about how much of a challenge that will be? How difficult that is?
"I think for us, unfortunately it's been difficult period, road or at home, but for us, once we get back, it's just a matter of really focusing on winning whether we are on the road, whether we are at home or whatever, we want to win. And we are going to do all the necessary things that we have to in order to bring that path. So I know what you are saying in terms of the percentages around the league in terms of teams winning on the road, but for us when we get back, it's going to be an exception. We have to go get it and that's where we are right now."
RE: Do you sense, after the events of the weekend, a different tone today?
"I think the guys came out and responded very well. I mean they ran to the ball, they did all the things we talked about last week and they understand the task at hand. They understand where we have to go. They understand where we want to go. These guys want to win, they really do. They want to win. You sit down and have one-on-one conversations with them, they want to win and it's evident by the consistency and the practices that we had from last week and today, and all we are going to do is build on it. So we'll just keep getting better."
RE: Who's your starter at split end? It seems like Josh Morgan got the start but then dropped a slant early in the game and then it was Bryant Johnson who was in for most of the game. Is that a permanent shift or will they be again alternating?
"It depends. I think right now, Coach [Mike] Martz wants to really sit back and kind of analyze how everybody is doing. When you have young players…you have Josh. He has a world of talent and when you hear Coach Martz say this guy has more talent than just about any receiver he's ever coached, that's a huge statement. For him it's just a matter of confidence. He is doing great and then all of sudden something happens. He might drop a ball, he may miss a block, and then boom. You just have to work at getting him back. Once he learns that, he's going to be really explosive. I'm really excited about him."
RE: Mike, you played the game. Sometimes when you make changes at positions like the quarterback it makes players realize that you have to be accountable:
"Absolutely, that's a huge word that we use in terms of everybody doing their job, building the trust, building the confidence – all of those things you need in order to get out there and be successful. So accountability definitely is a huge word."
RE: During the game you were taking some notes. Is that something you referred to at halftime or later, and where did you learn that from?
"What I'm trying to do when I'm taking notes, I take a lot of notes, the biggest thing that I'm trying to do is focusing on something and trying to feel what rhythm are we in. On offense, we want to set a particular rhythm. On defense, we want to set the tempo. How is that going, and being able to give some feedback to the guys. 'Guys, this is what I see. This is where we are.' Whether it's the defensive line, whether it's the offensive line, knowing what we want to do going into the game and just giving them some feedback. There's nothing like feedback on where you are and what you're going. 'Okay, guys. We said we wanted to do this. This isn't happening. How do we make it happen?' So that is basically all that is."
RE: Did you do that as an assistant, or is that something you're doing now as a head coach?
"No, as an assistant the thing that I did was I always tried to keep up with what the calls were and really focus in on the linebackers, and really the front seven. Now, as the head coach, it's one of those things that I thought it was a very valuable thing for the offensive line and the defensive line, in particular, and I go from there. But particularly the offensive line and the defensive line, those men in those trenches are really the thing that is going to move the chains. If they're having a great game, if the defensive line is coming off the ball, they're violent, they're penetrating, they're causing havoc in the backfield, on the offense on the other side of the line of scrimmage, chances are we're doing very well on the back end. Chances are the corners and the safeties and the linebackers are doing very well. Same on the offensive side. If the offensive line, they're coming off, they're in sync, they're knocking people off the ball, they're giving our running backs a chance to run, they're giving our quarterbacks a chance to throw, chances are our running backs and our receivers and all of our skilled people are doing very well."
RE: A lot of coaches might've said the same thing to Vernon [Davis] privately. Why did you make those comments publically?
"This is a day and time where everybody wants to be so private and 'This is my business and this is…and be nice to the guy.' I love these guys. I really do. At the same time, I know Vernon wants to win. And at the same time, I know he wants to be a man. So the comments that I made, there's nothing about the comment that I wouldn't have said to him. So for me to say, 'Well, that's a private matter.' It's the way I felt and I wasn't thinking about being politically correct. Now if it was something private that he did, it was something that was no one else's business, that's something that I would not do. But to me, the team needs to know that it will not be tolerated. Everyone needs to understand that if this is the course you want to take, chances are this is the way we're going to deal with it. Nothing big and bad and bold. It's nothing like that. To me it's just carrying out the nature of a bet. And just being real."
RE: Is that how you were coached in Chicago?
"I'm a lot nicer than I was coached in Chicago. [Laughing.]"