Zimmer on DeFilippo's Performance, Getting More Involved on Offense

Head Coach Mike Zimmer addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Monday.

Opening comments:

After watching the tape I don’t think we played well enough in really any of the phases to win that football game with a team of that caliber on the road. I think we got a little bit frustrated defensively toward the end, especially with the end of the game and we were trying to do too many things uncharacteristically. We’ll need to settle that down. Offensively we started out poorly and then got back going a little bit and kind of came off the rails some. I didn’t think we covered very well special teams wise either.

Q: What were some of the uncharacteristic things you were talking about?

A: We had some guys jumping out of gaps, things like that. Basically trying to do too much at the end.

Q: How do you feel about the job Coach DeFilippo is doing?

A: I think he’s doing a good job. We talk all the time. We talk about things what I think are important and I think he tries to do those.

Q: How much does you talk with DeFilippo during the game?

A: Yeah, a little bit. To be honest with you it’s hard when I’m trying to correct things on defense and trying to help on the special teams. I need to do a better job there.

Q: In the game preparation throughout the week, does he have the same autonomy that Pat Shurmur had? How does that go during the week? Are you becoming more involved in the offense?

A: I’m always involved with them. I sit down there and talk to them about a lot of different things during the week. It’s about the same with Pat.

Q: How much is Kirk Cousins audibling out of run plays into pass plays? Is it too much?

A: No. It just depends on the play call. There’s some, we had one real long run that he audibled to a run. We had one pass that he audibled to a pass. I mean you know.

Q: It’s not an issue?

A: No.

Q: When a team peaks in December, is that a matter of being healthy or just gelling at the right time?

A: I think a little bit of both, Joe. I think it helps to be healthy, but I think it helps to be playing good football at that time too. A lot of times it depends on who you’re playing.

Q: Do you feel your team is close to that point?

A: Well, weren’t last night. I don’t think we were last night. I thought we were the week before. Right now we’re kind of an up and down team a little bit and that’s the thing that frustrates me the most. We need to develop more consistency with this football team. Since whatever time it was last night after the game until still now, I’m still trying to figure out how we can do that.

Q: Why do you think the offense has bogged down in three of the last four games?

A: I don’t know. I’d have to think back at the three of the last four games. Detroit, Chicago and New England? Well, Chicago is pretty good on defense. Detroit, I think we won, and New England we didn’t play very good. It was 10-10 going into the fourth quarter I think.

Q: Can you pinpoint why the run game faltered when it did last night?

A: Lack of consistency I would say.

Q: Do you think trying to keep pace played a role in the lack of run plays?

A: It might have. I think it was 17-10 at that time, right? Yes, we might have panicked a little bit.

Q: Would you like to get Dalvin Cook the ball more as a receiver?

A: Some of the ones he caught were check downs. We had some other plays designed to get him the football that weren’t check downs and the ball didn’t get to him.

Q: Where would you start with doing a better job on game day of dividing your attention?

A: Maybe letting George [Edwards] do a little bit more of the adjustments on defense, maybe. But I don’t know, I haven’t decided that yet so we’ll have to see. When things are going smooth, it’s no issue. I can go talk to the offense all I want. When things are helter skelter on defense, then I am spending a little bit more time with them or the special teams. That is just part of it.

Q: Have you seen any up and down from the team’s mood or mindset from week to week? Is there anything that you haven’t liked?

A: No, not really. The mood is never good when you lose. If you lose a game, their mood probably won’t be too good this week. I’ve thought going into last night’s game or yesterday’s game, they were fine. Practices were good. We actually practiced really good especially Thursday and Friday of last week. There were hardly any mental mistakes, hardly any errors. I thought we would play really well.

Q: At this point in the season, where do you start when addressing the issues you have had with special teams?

A: Mostly the coverage unit. Trying to get the holder out on the field on fourth down.

Q: You are the only coach from last year in the division right now. Is that a reminder of how quick things change when you look around and see the changes?

A: I really didn’t think about it until you mentioned it. It is what it is. We signed up for this production-based business. If you don’t produce, that is what happens. I don’t think it’s necessarily right in some of the instances. I think there is some good coaches there in this division a year ago. I’m sure there are good coaches in here now, so hey, whatever.

Q: The Seattle game is important to the playoff race. How will you address that with the team?

A: I’ll let them know, but if we go out there and we beat Seattle, who’s on a three game winning streak, if we beat them and we go out and we crap in our hands the next three weeks, that doesn’t do us any good. We just got to go out here and play this game. We’ve got four games in front of us, all games that we can win if we play well. If we do that everything will be happy again.

Q: How much do you think a hurry up offense would help?

A: Well we did that a little bit in the second quarter, and then some in the third and fourth quarters. They were giving us a lot of really unorthodox looks defensively, so that was part of it, not to allow them to get into those things and get right on the ball so they can’t substitute, some of that. I think there’s a place for some of that, and they did that to us some. They’d get up on the ball and snap it quick. Then they’d get up on the ball and make their checks and do whatever they need to do there. I’ve always said that I think there’s a place for that.

Q: How much does the hurry up offense stress a defense when teams do that?

A: I tell the team all the time, when teams get in the huddle and get out of the huddle and get up to the line fast, snap the ball or don’t snap the ball, change the tempo throughout the course of the ballgame, all they’re trying to do is take your breath away. You know, “Oh, I can’t catch my breath, we’re doing this, they’re doing that, where do we line up?” Yeah, it puts a lot of stress on the defense. That’s part of why you do it.

Q: How did you feel the defense responded to some of the injuries last night?

A: We were okay. We made a couple of mistakes on that first drive early in the game, which were really uncharacteristic, which was disappointing. That was before they got hurt. The touchdown was one that not one of the new guys was involved, so that wasn’t an issue. At the end of the game, Marcus [Sherels] missed a tackle and we didn’t run support very good, but it is what it is.

Q: Do you feel like emotions where running high after New England took control in the second half? How much do you pay attention to player’s body language during the game?

A: I don’t pay attention to body language. I usually tell them what the body language is supposed to be. No, I don’t think there’s panic. I think when they went up 17-10, it was still a seven point game. There’s still almost a quarter left, and I think maybe instead of continuing to do what we’ve been doing to get us back in the ballgame we might have tried to do too much, probably, in a lot of spaces.

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