“Injury stuff; [DB] D.J. Reed [Jr.] is out, [WR Pierre] Garçon will be out, [WR Marquise] Goodwin’s out and [G Joshua] Garnett’s out.”
In terms of Marquise, respecting his privacy, but he did meet with you yesterday? Is there anything you can tell us about how it went, just his prognosis?
“Yeah. He’s going through some serious things that have happened. I’d like to let him tell them and not me. Unless he tells me he wants me to. But, family concerns and things like that. Real stuff, and he’s having a real tough time with it which is understandably so. He tried to come in yesterday. Came to a meeting and I met with him after and we talked for a while. He just didn’t seem like he was in a good spot. I thought it’d be better for him to go be with his family right now, and he agreed. We’ll reassess it after the game and where we go next week.”
As far as Pierre, does he seem to be getting closer to a point where he’ll be able to play, maybe next week?
“Yeah, P is there if needed. I don’t see it getting a lot better right now. We haven’t had to put him on IR. The situation we’re in, we just haven’t been forced to. And with Marquise being down and stuff, seeing how the rest of the year goes. He’s there if we need him. He’d have to battle through some stuff, but it’s been very tough for him to practice and things like that. Without him practicing these number of weeks, we just don’t think it’s right to put him in the game.”
Is an option activating WR Steven Dunbar Jr. from the practice squad so you have five guys?
“Dunbar pulled his hamstring last week in practice. So, he’s not an option. We still have [WR Victor] Bolden [Jr.]. But, that is a case if we ever did go forward and IR Pierre or let someone else go. But, we’re also getting other people up at other positions. To do that, it helps to go short at receiver. Just keep your fingers crossed with the receivers.”
Is the plan at safety to start S Antone Exum Jr. at free?
“That’s a secret. I can’t tell you. Sorry.”
RB Matt Breida’s had a pretty incredible season so far and he played a lot through injury. Does he get tough guy points in your book with what he’s done or is that just something you expect from your players?
“It’s definitely something you expect from your players. If you’re not like that, it’s really hard to have a long career in the NFL because it’s a physical game and we play a lot of games. At the most, you get six days rest, really. Especially as a running back, Breida has battled throughout the year. I think everyone’s aware that he has been battling through an injury and it hasn’t been able to heal. But, he’s been out there every week, he’s done a really good job and he’s as tough as anyone I’ve been around. That’s why he’s been able to get through this year. I wish it could’ve healed up, especially over the Bye week and stuff. Once you think it’s going to and he does, always with those lingering ankle issues he tends to re-aggravate it during the game. So, what’s been great about him is you rarely lose him for the whole game. Btu, this year is going to help him a lot, help us a ton. I expect him to be even better going into next year.”
You mentioned you thought the offense was rusty coming off the Bye week last week. Is there anything you do differently after you see some rust like that during this week of practice?
“Well yeah, you saw last week, I saw, which was expected coming off of Bye weeks, that’s that fine line as a coach. Do you want keep them here and practice over it? With how late ours was in the season and how much rest we needed, especially coming off a Monday night game, which makes it a day shorter anyway, that was the dilemma I was really battling myself with. I thought it was important to give them rest, which I think sometimes helps the defense a little bit more. But, the offense, just moving together and things like that, I think they somewhat struggle. That’s why I did keep the pads on for the entire day last week, where sometimes we just keep it on for a couple periods. But no, we point it out, we talk about it. You hope it’s not like that, but I saw that in the game. I’ll adjust some things differently because of that next year. But, no we emphasized it this week. I felt like we got more of a rhythm back and I feel we’re good to go.”
Was the offensive line particularly rested too?
“I think everyone was, yeah. Those guys, I think, have been our leaders throughout this year. I thought they didn’t play as good as they usually have versus Tampa.”
Why not bring LB Pita Taumoepenu up from the practice squad this last stretch of the season?
“We might. There’re still five games left. Pita has been doing a good job for us and stuff, but in order to bring someone up, someone has got to go down. We have stayed fairly healthy on the defensive line and outside linebacker where we use Pita. We’d like to get Pita up. He’s been doing a good job in practice all year and we’ll see if that happens. But, the time right now hasn’t been right yet.”
You mentioned you want some of the young guys to earn the playing time that they get. I think DL Solomon Thomas had more snaps than anyone on the D-Line last week. Have you seen him earn those reps and how have you seen that unfold?
“Yeah. I thought he did a good job with his reps last week. We kept him out there more, put him in some different spots. I plan on it being similar this week. But, Solly has been battling all year. He’s had times where he does better, times where he does worse. But, he’s not trying to hide and disappear. He puts himself out there. He wants the reps, he wants to be put in those tough positions and he’s hard on himself just like we are. The more time he got last Sunday, I did see some good things. I don’t think it showed up a ton on the stat sheet, but he did make some plays and got close and I hope he can capitalize off of them. You watch body movement and how guys react to blocks and things like that and I do think he’s getting better each week. I know I personally saw that last Sunday. You always get better or worse and I expect him to be better versus Seattle.”
What can you do as a coach to try to help a player gain confidence?
“You try to put them in situations that they’re good at. That’s what we do try to do with Solly. We try to put him in spots where he can excel in the run game and certain spots where he can excel in the pass game. That’s what we have done the most with him. I think one thing going forward, I’d like to see him more just at one spot which can be tougher for him because he’s going to be in some situations when you do that that aren’t really ideal for him. But, I want to see him fight through it and see if he gets better or worse at it and just see where he’s at. I think as the rest of this year goes, I think you’ll see more of that.”
Have you talked about putting him inside in running situations?
“Yeah, everywhere. I’d like to see him at one spot in all situations so you can see what his strengths and weaknesses are. We have a good idea of. That’s why you always try to put guys in the ideal situation for themselves. That’s why you see them move around a lot. But, I think at this point, it’s not about what you see in practice and stuff. I want to throw them out there more and let them work through some of that stuff. It’s kind of like what I said similar with [WR] Dante [Pettis]. With Marquise going down, he was out there the whole game last week. Not all of it was great, but when he did mess up and do some things that he wasn’t quite ready for, the neat thing about it was things he maybe struggled with in the first quarter, I saw him correct it in the third quarter. That’s experience that can help. That’s usually stuff you like to do and you don’t want to have to put guys out there to fail in order to get better at something. But, sometimes that’s what it takes. The situation we’re in now, as long as they’ve earned the spot where they deserve to be at, guys like Pettis, guys like Solly, I think that’s the time of the year that I’m okay with because I think that’s the best thing for our team and our organization right now and going into next year.”