Initial comments …
“As I said after the game yesterday, I couldn’t give a fair assessment of the offense until after I watched the tape last night. The thing I came away with is the opportunities we had to make more positive plays on first and second downs. We were getting some grabs against us in the passing game, but we know we’re not getting those calls and have to find a way to get through it. Run through it, set it differently and create a space to get ourselves open. As far as running the football, we had an opportunity to run behind our pads better and do a better job at the point of attack. We had some runs up in there, and we have to continue to stay true to it and turn three yards into six yards when we get into the eight-man fronts like we had yesterday. As far as their adjustments to things, we have to take the next step and adjust throughout the football game and figure it out that way. We have to adapt and be ready to go with a little better opportunity this weekend. We know we will face another good front.
We had the three fouls in the kicking game — those are the plays that hurt us. We’re trying, but we have to try correctly with the correct effort. Our margin for error right now is not great. Defensively, to sum it up, it’s about being true and consistent. I thought they understood the principles once we figured out that we had to play 11-man football. We can’t waver with that. You have to stay true to that throughout the ballgame, and with the situational football when the quarterback is going to run in those third-down situations. That’s a different look, and you have to understand it and play to that.”
When you look at the tape or talk to people around the league, are the officials letting these guys get handsy universally, or is it just a problem that you have?
“I don’t know, but I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to ask that question, because every week (it’s happening). But we can’t whine about it, we have to go be proactive.”
There’s a video where it looks likes one of the Ravens players spit on LB Vontaze Burfict. The Ravens said today that it didn’t happen. Did you see that, and if so would that also be something the league should look into?
“Somebody mentioned that to me this morning, so that’s about all I have to say about it.”
If you do see it, would that be something you send into the NFL for review, along with everything else that you send?
“That doesn’t occur on the coaches’ tape.”
In nine of your 10 games this season, you guys have let up scores in the last two minutes before halftime. Is there anything you can do strategically to stop that, and why do you think that is happening?
“We have to just do a better job executing. It couldn’t have been easier yesterday — we can’t come out of coverage, and we have to understand the situation. You’re making me repetitive here. We just have to understand it and do it. We know the effectiveness of Tucker (Ravens kicker Justin Tucker) and where they have to get to (for a FG attempt), and we have to be conscious of that. I made Bill Lazor aware of that on the other side of the ball. We took it down, but we couldn’t take it down any further. Our attempt is to score as well, and that’s what Bill’s job is. We ran time off, we punted it down there, and we have to understand that.”
Is there a common thread, such as trying to be too conservative defensively or needing to be more aggressive?
“No, there’s not a common thread.”
Overall when you looked at it, did your defenders do a better job of staying in their gaps? Were they more disciplined that way?
“When you give up 200 yards rushing, I’m not going to be happy about that regardless. We have to be more consistent and have to do better.”
The first play of the game, and even some plays after, you guys had both HB Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon on the field at the same time. That’s been something you’ve been reluctant to do in the past, whether it was with Gio or former HB Jeremy Hill. Do you like that idea?
“I don’t think we’ve ever been reluctant to do that.”
I haven’t seen that a lot …
“You’ve seen it enough. It’s never been reluctance, but it depends on who you’re taking off the field to do that.”
For you, looking back on how your day went and the operation of it, are there changes you’ll make for Cleveland?
“It becomes more commonplace, so I felt comfortable with it that way. You’re a little handicapped. I’d like to spend more time with the defense on the boundary, but it’s hard. I have to rely on the coaches to do that. Jim Haslett has done a nice job assisting in that way during the week, and the guys on the sideline as well during the game. They did a good job handling our communication right away. I felt good about the sideline and getting things communicated. I also felt good about halftime, coming out in the third quarter and making the adjustments we made after seeing the things they were doing. I wish we didn’t give up the two touchdown drives. We can’t do that.”
The Ravens scored a touchdown on their first drive. Did you as a play-caller need to get settled into the game?
“No. We gave them the penalty when it was second-and-long. We can’t do that. We can’t lose our cool. We can’t get frustrated by those things. We put the ball inside the 10 yard-line for them. Then we lose leverage on the (TD) run. We want to be tough, then let’s be tough and make a tackle.”
With the wide receiver room banged up the last two weeks, why hasn’t rookie Auden Tate played more?
“He will get there when he gets his opportunity, when the time comes. His involvement in the offense is what it is. He’s a guy that’s been on the practice squad for a reason, OK? He’s been a free agent for all 32 (teams) to take a look at. You see what I’m saying? It is what it is. Not many times you’re going to take a guy off the practice squad and go win an NFL game with him.”
In his one opportunity yesterday, did he run the route correctly?
“He didn’t get the depth (on the route), if that’s what you’re asking.”
So he ran it short of the sticks?
“Not short of the sticks, short of the design of the route. Last week, he dropped a ball in his one opportunity. We just have to keep going. Auden is a young player. He has some ability, and hopefully he will make some plays if he continues to get an opportunity down the stretch for us.”
Were you happy with your in-game management?
“We will keep getting better.”
Overall, was it fine?
“It was fine.”
How did the first game go with Hue Jackson back on the sideline?
“It’s been a big positive for us, with his ability to help with the players and with me feeling comfortable with his game day (management) while I have my back turned.”
Did it feel like he ever left?
“Not really (laughs).”
Were you able to coach the defense on the sideline, knowing Hue could manage some other aspects?
“Yeah. That’s different. Ultimately, I’m responsible for everything.”
It looked like you were able to make your adjustments with the defense and Hue had your back covered…
“Yeah. I have to do it that way. That’s where we are right now. Hopefully it will become more and more comfortable, and we can get the defense sent out right away and go through the things I want to cover with them, and then I can get back to paying attention throughout the game. That’s important. We had some third-and-ones, and a possible fourth-and-one situation, and all of those things are where I need to be there and be conscience of everything.”
That wasn’t tested yesterday with any replay situations ...
“There was the (Auden) Tate play early in the game, where of course in Baltimore you’re not going to get a look at it (on the scoreboard), and TV didn’t put a look up quick enough before the next play. We didn’t get a real good look at that. So we’re stuck with that, with the guys that have to make the observation in the (coaches’) booth to give me an opportunity (to challenge), because I’m sure not going to get a replay on the field there in Baltimore. That’s just part of the process. Hopefully the (TV) network gives an opportunity upstairs on the ‘dirty feed’ for them (to see the replay) so you can get a chance (to challenge), and that didn’t happen. I have to send the punt team out there, and hope I get a look or somebody gets a look upstairs. But, from my vantage point on the field, I thought he was a little short.”
Is having Hue Jackson on your staff an advantage for the game this week against his former team, the Cleveland Browns? How do you use that?
“I think Hue understands their personnel. He understands part of the way, particularly defensively, how they were putting the plan together. His involvement that way is that he can be an asset to us in some ways.”
John Ross faced criticism earlier in the year for not fighting for balls. His TD catch was as contested of a catch as they come. Is that something that can be a catalyst for him moving forward?
“He’s got to keep building on it all the time. The thing we want from John is that every time the ball is in the air, it has to be (treated like) a contested catch, no matter what — whether there’s a false start or whatever. It always has to be a contested catch. That’s what you’re here for, to catch the football, and you have to protect the quarterback at all times that way. He’s still growing. He’s 10 games into his rookie year, basically. We’re still growing.”
Was it obvious there was a false start on the play where he slowed down going for the ball?
“I don’t know, I had my back turned (laughs). I just saw the outcome (laughs).”
I guess it makes you happy for a false start in that situation, right?
"I think he quit (after the whistle) — he stopped on the play, which we don’t want him to do. Again, go catch the ball.”