Initial Comments ...
“Obviously in the football game, both teams took the ball and drove down the field. We didn’t do things well enough on the first drive to get them off the field. After that, we seemed to erode as the day went on with our responsibilities and our execution. Offensively, I think we had a three-out-out the next time (after the first drive). It seemed in the game like we’d get a little off rhythm, come back and make a few plays the next series, and then stall at midfield. As I told them, you can’t lose sight of where we are. This hurts everybody, but we have to get better. We have to coach better, play better, and the focus has to come down to preparing better and getting ready for the next game.”
The team has allowed over 500 yards in three straight games. Can you put your finger on what’s gone wrong with the defense the past few weeks?
“It’s hard to speak for today. We talked about the other things we need to do better. We need to play better, and we need to do better on third downs. I looked up (at the scoreboard) at halftime, and they were six out of six on third downs. That’s the key to winning football games, and we’re not doing a good enough job right now.”
Do you think it’s a problem with the scheme?
“I’m not going to get into any observations today with that.”
Looking at the stats, your defense is on pace to break the record for most yards allowed in a season. At what point would you consider coaching changes or anything like that?
“Again, I’m not going to talk about any of that stuff.”
How much after a game like this do you worry about rebuilding confidence that may have been lost with your team?
“Obviously your confidence gets shaken. I just addressed that with them. They have to focus and get determined. It’s their job to do it right.”
HB Joe Mixon had a good start to the game. It kind of seemed like you guys went away from him ...
“We didn’t go away from him. We had an interception, then had an incomplete pass, so we didn’t go away from him, the scope of the game changed. We came out in the second half and handed it off on the very first play. Nobody goes away from things. We continue to try to run the football, but we have to make first downs, which is part of the game. We’re not just going to hand it off and expect to roll up and down the field. The reason he was successful early is because we were able to mix up the run and the pass. That was the thing that continued with Bill (Lazor) all the way through. He did a good job of trying to do that, but at some point you get off-rhythm a bit, and that makes a big difference. We had a sack on second-down, and that hurt us. Every time it’s second-and-long, we won’t fool anyone by handing it off and making eight, ten or twelve yards, whatever the down and distance is.”
I meant Mixon specifically not the run game overall ...
“Again, the offense unfolds based on coverages, defenses and so forth. Andy (Dalton) does a good job of distributing the football based on what he sees.”