Initial Comments ...
“I’m disappointed with our football game today like that. We have an opportunity to get things done, and we shot ourselves in the foot with the penalties that we had today. We took back offensive plays throughout the day and that really, really set us back on offense for the day. We’d get positive plays and then set ourselves back, and then, obviously, we can’t drop a punt. And then we allowed a 60-yard touchdown run. It boiled down quickly to about three plays in the football game. We knew (we didn’t want to) be behind against the rush. We had to keep running the ball on offense to keep those opportunities going, but the penalties, it just set us back. That hurt us bad.
Defensively, we’ve got to keep playing better, and we can’t allow a run like we did today. And we allowed two third-down conversions that make the difference there at the end. We had a chance to get the ball back at times, and they make the third down and make the touchdown catch after the fumble. That’s a catch that we’ve got to make.”
Did A.J. Green re-aggravate his toe?
“I haven’t heard anything about A.J. It looked to be that.”
If that’s the case, do you think his season over?
“I don’t know that.”
Did you feel you made the best use of Jeff Driskel’s athleticism today?
“Well, it’s different. We did do some things to use Jeff’s athleticism, but we’ve also got to play to against the defense. You just can’t really draw it up and say, ‘Hey, Jeff’s going to run around,’ because of the edge (rushers) that they have. They ended up staying in base defense against us. We had some throws in there, but the penalties just set us back. We hit some runs, and we hit some throws against the base defense early in the game. They’ve got this symmetrical defense, so it’s a little different.”
You’ve had 20-25 penalties the last two weeks. To what do you attribute that? Is that due to the new players that are in there?
“The special teams guys are trying. Again, it’s hard to say because some of them aren’t fouls, but some of them are. We’ve got to do better, that’s all. We’ve got to do it the right way, the way they’re coached to do it.”
On offense, you went with Clint Boling at left tackle today. What was your thought process with that?
“We felt like with Cordy (OT Cordy Glenn) out, that was our best lineup and gave us the five guys on the field that we felt the best about.”
Going back to penalties, you said they need to do it like they’re coached to do it. Do you think because it keeps happening that maybe there should be a different approach to it?
“If your hands are on the outside of the framework of the body, they’re calling holding on you, and you’ve got to do a better job. We’ve got to invent another player. I don’t know if we can do that right now to go in there. But that’s the thing — we’ve got a block in the back, and we’ve a hand on the outside on the draw. Billy Price is a young guy — he’s going to keep learning, understanding it and do it right. There’s no other way for that. We’re going to have to grow through that. He’s going to have to grow through that in his career, and that’s part of it. Some of the penalties we had on offense today — we had a false start reacting to the rusher — I can’t recall them all, but I know the special teams penalties particularly hurt us when we’re returning a punt. We don’t ever need that. We think those should be let go. Let the returner make them miss. They’re giving us the ball. We don’t need to get set back.”
Alex Erickson is as consistent a guy as you’ve had. Is what happened out there today with his fumble symbolic of the way things are going right now?
“We just need a clean catch. That’s what Alex does. It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got to go stop them on defense. We can’t stop them on first down and then give up a throw over the top. We can’t do that. We make a big stop on third down, and then we’re driving and we throw a ball up again (that was intercepted). That’s just understanding to live and make the next play. You can’t have the turnovers we had today on offense.”
You have to look at the tape, but overall how did you feel Jeff Driskel handled things?
“Well, he put the ball at risk, and you can’t do that. He’s trying to throw the ball away, and you just can’t throw it away in the field of play. He’s got to understand that. He took a grounding down there in the red zone, and all those things (hurt). Again, you’ve got to play on time, and that’s what we’ll look at when evaluating him.”
With a new quarterback, were turnovers a concern?
“Jeff was going through the progressions. That’s what the quarterback has to do. But we do have to get the ball down the field, there’s no question about it. We’ve got to be able to drop back, handle the pressure and get the throw down the field, or else the whole thing squeezes in on you.”