Q: Do you guys need to forget about last night?
A: No. We’re not going to forget about last night. We’re going to take some lessons. We looked at the tape today and there’s some things we need to improve on. It’s got the fire stoked a little bit and rightfully so. It needs to be. It was a disappointing effort. It was an opportunity that was lost. When we look at why it was lost we need to be honest, we need to be accountable. And that’s coaches and players. We were very candid. We addressed what needed to be addressed, man to man. We need to take these lessons moving forward, learn them so they don’t happen again.
Q: What has you most upset?
A: Well it’s an opportunity lost. It’s an opportunity to put that team behind us. It’s an opportunity to secure first place in our division, at home with our fans, great atmosphere. You couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere. You couldn’t ask for a better evening to play football. We just went out there and we didn’t execute. We didn’t match their intensity. We got punched in the mouth and we didn’t do anything about it.
Q: Eli got clocked, DeSean Jackson flipped the ball to your defensive coordinator. Is that what you mean by ‘got punched in the mouth’?
A: That’s a part of it. That’s a part of it. I think our response or lack thereof is embarrassing. That’s just me being open about my feelings about that situation.
Q: What do you expect the team to do in that situation?
A: Whatever we have to do. That’s just me being honest. Whatever we have to do. That can’t happen. We have to do something. We just can’t do nothing. The result was what happened last night when you do nothing.
Q: Are you surprised this fire wasn’t there last night?
A: Yeah I’m surprised. We had our opportunities, even right there down to the end. We had our opportunities, did not execute. There’s a lot of things that we didn’t do right going down the stretch. They made more plays than we did. They had an 18-play drive at the end of the game. Really? 18-play drive, we can’t get them off the field. Okay.
Q: Is it a fair assessment that the players took the lead in this meeting?
A: Yeah. And it needed to happen. It needed to happen. We needed to be honest. We needed to vocalize to one another what we felt. Obviously, feeling angry and upset doesn’t do much on Mondays. We have to carry that into our preparation week. We’ve got to carry that down there with us to
Q: What do you guys need to do to turn this around?
A: It’s not about turning anything around. I think it’s just we need to go into the games, we need to be much more physical, we need to be much more intense, we need to be much more focused, quite frankly. We need to execute. We need to get our job done. Whatever it takes to get your job done, you need to get your job done and we need to be accountable in doing it. We need to be accountable to one another. We need to be accountable to ourselves. Every man needs to look himself in the mirror and be willing to accept the effort that he put forth.
Q: Were you not accountable last night as a team?
A: I believe there were some moments where each guy can say some things that they could have done better. That’s including me. There’s plays out there that I had mental errors, I wasn’t as physical as I could be, I wasn’t as aggressive as I could’ve been. There’s no reason for it. There’s no reason why that would take place, why that should happen.
Q: Are you guys still in control?
A: Absolutely. Everything that we still wanted to do at the start of this season is right there in front of us. Everything we wanted to do we still have the opportunity to do. We control our own destiny. It starts with this week of preparation.
Q: You say it starts with preparation, but you have two days off. Is this a good two-day break?
A: Who has two days off? I’ll be here.
Q: Do you think a lot of guys will be here in the next two days?
A: Every man has to do what they have to do to prepare themselves and get themselves ready to play the best they can on Monday night. I know what I need to do as a football player and I know I need to be here and get some work done, prep wise, get a jump on New Orleans because they do some things offensively that pose challenges for us. I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and say that I’m going to be accountable, that I’m going to get my job done and help our football team.
Q: Can you put your finger on why the pass rush has been sporadic?
A: I think it’s understanding that people recognize what we’re capable of doing as a defensive front and getting after the passer and I think they’re doing some things that are giving us some challenges. We have to be able to match up and adjust to that and that falls on both players and coaches. We have to understand that going in. We have to understand what teams are trying to us scheme-wise, to neutralize us and adjust to that so we can be effective and get that job done. The fact of the matter is we have to hit the quarterback. It’s point blank and simple. We have to hit the quarterback as a defensive front.
Q: Were you guys not giving Vince Young enough looks? Because there wasn’t a lot of pressure.
A: I’m not going to speak to that, but I will say this, it’s one of those situations where if a grenade goes off it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, we’re all dead. It’s something that we all have to take a look at and we all have to figure out how we’re best going to be effective. Quite frankly, we win as a team, we lose as a team. And the team is not just players. It’s coaches included.
Q: Does the fact that the opponent is so explosive make it so that you must get over this very quickly and be ready to prepare for
A: Like I said, you have to move past this game, you have to put it behind you, but you have to take the lessons that you learned from this game. And there are some lessons in there in the tape. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things that we did on film. There are some good things. There are some positives that we can build on, but we have to take the lessons and the things that we didn’t do quite as well and we have to tweak them. We have to tweak them. Like I said, we’re not going to start hanging our heads. Like I said, everything that we want to do is still right in front of us. We have an opportunity to do everything we set out to do at the beginning of this football season. So make no mistake about that. We understand that. Just moving forward, we understand that the stakes get higher and that’s the way that it should be. That’s when football becomes fun, when stakes get high, when each game is crucial. It builds this time of year. That’s just the nature of the NFL season. Understanding that, understanding the intensity that we have to match when this time of year comes along and how we have to be confident, we have to be focused and we have to understand what we have to do to be effective and get our job done.
Q: How about the challenge of Drew Brees?
A: Like I said, they do a lot of things very well on the offensive side of the ball down there. We have some challenges. We have to take a look at these guys. We don’t really know this opponent that well. We’ve got to really watch film, familiarize ourselves with them, what they’re trying to do, understand some of the things that they might try to do scheme wise to neutralize our effectiveness and understand that they might be piggy-backing on some of the things that they might have seen in the last two weeks that have given us trouble. So we have to learn some of those lessons that we’ve had over the past two weeks and we’ve got to get those things corrected moving forward.
Q: Looking back, are you satisfied with last week’s preparation?
A: Obviously it wasn’t enough because we didn’t win the football game. And that’s all it comes down to. That’s how we’re measured, in wins and losses. And what we did last week was not enough.
Q: So what do you do different?
A: Whatever we need to do to be effective, whatever it takes for us to get a win Monday night. Whatever it takes.
Q: Do you feel that you need to speak up more?
A: No. To be quite frank with you, there’s enough talking. There’s enough talking. There’s enough talking. There needs to be more doing. There needs to be, flat out, more doing. Show me. You love your teammates, show how much you love your teammates by going out there and putting it on the line for your teammates. At the end of the day we’re a family. We’re a team. We have to go out there and play as a team.
Q: A common theme around here is the second-half swoon. What gives you hope today?
A: For as poorly as we played yesterday, we still had an opportunity at the end of the game to win the football game. And I think that’s one thing that this team has that we didn’t have last year or the year before, since I’ve been here – just that belief that no matter what happens, we still have an opportunity to win the game. We’re still in the game. We’re never out of the fight. We’re never out of the fight. We just came up a little short. We came up a little short, but we left a lot to be desired in our performance. And that’s what’s so disheartening – understanding mistakes, understanding the opportunity that was in front of us last night. I apologize for not being professional last evening if I was not. I was upset. I’m still upset, but there’s nothing that we can do about that ballgame. We just have to move forward.
Q: You seem more upset this year than past years.
A: I’m frustrated more so now because I understand the potential for this football team. You don’t get a chance to be a part of teams that have a real opportunity to do something all the time. You don’t have that shot. That’s just not how this league works. But here I stand, in a locker room with a team that has an opportunity to do something. So I’m excited. I’m encouraged by that. I’m energized by that. At the same time, it’s frustrating when you don’t take advantage of opportunities.
Q: Last week you missed a lot of opportunities and lost the game. This week you missed a lot of opportunities and now it’s gloom and doom.
A: I don’t think it’s gloom and doom. I just think we missed an opportunity, another opportunity.
Q: Was the meeting today just a normal meeting or was it something you called out of the ordinary?
A: No, this was a normal meeting. This is what we do. We meet with the coaches, we go through the film and then the players meet after that, separately. In the meeting with the coaches we talk, we talk candidly, we talk frankly as men. Then as players we do the same. I think guys said what was needed to be said and the fruit of that has to come this week.
Q: Did you see some leadership?
A: Yeah, absolutely. The leadership on this team is strong. There’s no question about it. We’ve got strong leadership, that’s not the issue. It’s just that when we say something, when we correct something, when we address something, we need to see the fruit of that moving forward in practice, in preparation. Come into the game, be in the right mind frame, being ready to go. We need to see to see the fruit of what we’re talking about here on Monday throughout the course of the week and then in the following Monday night in
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