Coach Fisher's Monday Press Conference

 
HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER

(on Keith Bulluck's knee)

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Keith Bulluck has torn his ACL and he will be out for the remainder of the season. Usually the case is you don't do the surgery immediately, you wait and get the swelling out of there. So, he'll be placed on injured reserve today. Dave Thornton will also be undergoing season-ending surgery on probably Wednesday or Thursday to repair a pec and his shoulder. We've got some work to do as far as the roster's concerned. I don't have names for you, candidates or anything. We'll step up, Gerald (McRath) will step up as he has been. Colin (Allred) played well yesterday when Keith came out. We'll probably be looking for some special teams help here as soon as we can find it.

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(on if there is a chance linebacker Mike Rivera will be elevated from the practice squad)

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I'm not going to speculate. I don't have any names or possible names for you for competitive reasons.

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(on what the injury does for the nickel situation)

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Tully (Stephen Tulloch) will play in the nickel and Gerald (McRath) will play in the nickel. Tully and/or Gerald will play in the dime and that's the way we finished yesterday.

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(on if David Thornton and Keith Bulluck's injuries are disappointing)

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Well, they're both devastating losses to our defense. David was playing very well this year when he was able to play. Keith is one of the cornerstones of our defense. He has been for so many years. I don't need to speak about the consecutive starts and the production. He's gone from the AFC Defensive Player of the Week to out for the remainder of the season. So, it's a blow but we'll plug people in and we'll go on. That's all we can do. I was pleased with the production. I was pleased with Gerald (McRath) specifically and I was pleased with how Colin (Allred) came in off the bench, got lined up and made plays.

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(on if the severity of Keith Bulluck's injury was a surprise)

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We anticipated the worst yesterday well after the ballgame after he settled down and the doctors examined him.

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(on Keith Bulluck's future)

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I don't think I'm ready to discuss his future here, his contract and how it affects things. Those are things that will get worked out. I think the thing to address here at the moment is the loss and what he's done for us up to this point and also emphasize when you lose a player in the starting lineup, younger players have to step up and play, and that's what we're expecting to have happen.

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(on Gerald McRath's development)

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He's done a nice job. He did a nice job yesterday. He was very active. He was active in the run game, active in the passing game. He still has a lot of room for improvement, but he is a very, very smart young man and really pays the price. David (Thornton), I think, has been a really good influence on him and worked well with him while David's been unable to practice.

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(on dealing with the injuries on a short week)

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There's injuries and teams are affected differently by injuries. You can't use them as excuses, you move on. So, those guys will come in, they'll spend time, we'll get them ready to play just like we will the rest of the roster.

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(on Gerald McRath learning from David Thornton and Keith Bulluck)

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It's helping to explain the nuances of the position and technique, assignment, your eyes, your feet, help them to learn how to study and prepare for their opponent each week. This will be a great challenge for both of them and they'll do well.

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(on if there is a chance to move a safety or defensive end to linebacker)

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Not a chance.

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(on Keith Bulluck's coverage skills)

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The man-cover skills have been extraordinary over the years, but one of the things that I think is a concern of the offensive opponents is his range and his wing span, all those things that he's done. He really can be a factor in zone defense.

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(on Jacob Ford's consistency)

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Jacob's playing well. I wouldn't say he's inconsistent. He's playing hard and playing well, making plays. He takes advantage of getting off on the snap count sometimes and timing things up. He takes advantage of his hand use and counters. That was a stout offensive line yesterday as we found out the hard way. But they're very, very talented. I thought we did a nice job pressuring the passer considering the fact they are a protection oriented offense. That's what they do first, they protect.

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(on if Jacob Ford is a situational guy)

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He could play 50-60 plays. He could do that. He plays very hard.

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(on if losing Keith Bulluck had any effect on losing the 18 point lead)

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We had a few plays, both of the fourth down plays we should have handled. I thought we knew what was coming, we just didn't defend the plays. I think Keith probably would have made the play on the goal line, on the touchdown run out of their version of the Wildcat. He wouldn't have had anything to do with Griff's (Michael Griffin) missed opportunity and several of the other shots down the field.

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(on if Stanford Keglar got caught inside on the touchdown run)

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Yes, he did.

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(on missing Keith Bulluck calling the plays on the field)

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We didn't have any issues as far as play calling was concerned in the huddle. Tully (Stephen Tulloch) took it over. We switched helmets and he took it over. We'll probably work some of that during this week's practice just so the guys get used to it. We'll have to have one be a backup.

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(on the new leader of the defense)

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I think we've got a real solid defensive group. Keith (Bulluck) will be around. Keith will be there rooting them on. It's an emotional group. Kyle (Vanden Bosch) has done a great job for us and so has Chris Hope and Cortland (Finnegan). They all have their own unique way.

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(on discussions between he and Keith Bulluck regarding his knee injury)

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We have not had that discussion. We just got the results here about a half hour ago. So, I was giving you guys the information. There will be discussions but those will take place between Keith and I.

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(on game planning)

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We're going to expect them to know the defense. Our opponent's quite capable of scoring touchdowns and throwing the ball through the air. So, we're going to have to do things to give us the best chance to stop them. We can't simplify things and have a chance to win. We're going to have to do what we think is going to give us the best chance.

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(on anticipating the Chargers resting any players)

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I can't predict that. I know we're going to prepare to play them as if they need this game to reach the playoffs. That's the only way I can prepare for it.

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(on Chris Johnson being frustrated that he left some plays on the field)

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Miami Dolphins' defense is a good defense. We were concerned about them all week. They're a real stout group. You can see it on film week after week, but you don't really realize it until you get up there and you start lining up and coming off the ball and trying to create opportunities for your running back. Despite the fact he had 100 yards, we had our hands full. I thought we did a decent job. Now if he's referring the screen pass, you get the ball with two blockers and one DB, I think everybody just assumed he was going to score and he didn't. That was a terrific play. The DB guessed right kind of thing. He had some creases. He hit some holes. He had two or three of those 10-12 yard gains where we pickup an additional block or something like that, he may score. I think we all are just hoping that he runs for an 85-yard touchdown run every time he touches the ball. That's not going to be the case. He has the potential to do that and he was close. That was a very, very tough opponent that we beat yesterday.

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(on if the team expects Chris Johnson to break long runs)

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We're calling games to create opportunities for us to move the ball down the field and create plays. Obviously, because of his potential we're trying to get him the football. That gives us the best chance to win.

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(on not using his timeouts at the end of regulation)

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There were a lot of things that went into that decision. One timeout is enough to make a big play down the field and throw the ball on the boundary and kick a field goal. I'll stand by it. In retrospect, if I had to do it all over again, had we done a better job on first down there was always the potential to stop the clock on second and third down to try and create a punting situation. Not necessarily to get the ball back to win, but to try to potentially use your fair catch option or free kick after a fair catch option, those kind of things. As I said, our defense had been on the field for two consecutive drives and didn't stop them. We had a chance to end the game in regulation offensively. At that point I was not going to take a chance and force his hand and let him take an opportunity to let him throw the ball down the field.

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(on if having LenDale White and Chris Johnson in the backfield with Vince Young opened the middle of the field)

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I think it was just the deployment of the defense. We did it just as a changeup and for protection.

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(on if Vince Young breaks the long run if healthy)

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I think he might have picked up another 10-15 yards and probably would have been tackled rather than gone down the way he did. He's smart. He understands he needs to finish the game. I thought it was a heads up play.

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(on why Vince Young is taking such good care of the football)

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It's what we've been saying. It's a better understanding of what we're doing. It's the second year with Mike (Heimerdinger). It's better when you know what you're supposed to do, you can pay more attention to defense and those kind of things. He's sticking with his progressions and making good decisions.

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(on if he's seen so many teams at .500 this late in the season)

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No, if you're a fan of this game it was quite an exciting weekend to say the least. At least for half the fans.

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(on if he saw the .500 records coming for many teams)

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I saw it coming based on the schedules, yeah.

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(on if the focus is on the Chargers or the playoffs)

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This is it. If we don't win this game we're out. This is a huge challenge for us on the short week, replacing prominent injured defensive players, getting a game plan together against a team that can really throw the football down the field and score points. Philip's (Rivers) leading the AFC in passing. His numbers are extraordinary. They've got weapons and their defense is playing better. This will be a huge challenge for us.

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(on dealing with the short week)

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We're not going to do too much physically tomorrow. We'll introduce the game plan to the players tomorrow afternoon and just have a walkthrough and meeting sessions. Wednesday will be more of a Thursday for us and Thursday will be more of a Friday. We'll kind of try to get as much done as we can on Thursday before we allow them to go spend the evening with their families.

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(on when the players report to the hotel)

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They're going to report to the hotel on Friday morning.

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(on when the surgeries will take place)

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DT's (David Thornton) will be Wednesday or Thursday, but Keith's will be in probably 10 days to two weeks.

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(on the defensive line without Albert Haynesworth)

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They've done a real good job inside and at the end position. Wash (Jim Washburn) is keeping them fresh. We're rotating and we're getting pressure. The run game, I've been pleased with how we've handled the run game this far. We've got guys in their gaps and there's times when Albert just didn't fill his gap. We've been for the most part gap sound. Sen'Derrick's (Marks) coming on. Vick (Kevin Vickerson) made a huge play for us on third-and-two yesterday. When Tony's (Brown) healthy, he's been a force inside. And Jovan just keeps playing and having fun playing. So, it's a good group at tackle and I think the depth at end speaks for itself. They're all very active. They're pursuing, they're hustling and they're making a lot of plays. All attention goes to Griff (Michael Griffin), but if Dave Ball's rush is not what it is the ball's not sailed, it's probably completed. Dave (Ball) got his hand on the ball, he barely tipped that ball. That's team defense, that's what you need.

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(on Tony Brown)

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I'll have an injury report for you on Wednesday. I think he'll be okay.

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(on the unnecessary roughness penalty by Greg Camarillo in overtime)

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I think that was the best call of the year actually.

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(on the Greg Camarillo's penalty not spearing with his helmet)

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I haven't seen it. I saw a flash and a late hit is what I saw. I didn't look at it specifically, I will.

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(on if a player can give himself up)

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Yeah, you can declare yourself down just like a quarterback. Any ball carrier or receiver could declare themselves down. When you declare themselves down, what you do is you go up and touch them down. There should not be excessive contact.

(on him making correct predictions and if he was wrong on any)

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Not that I know of, no. I just told them I had a crystal ball.

(on if he predicted Pittsburgh would win on the last play)

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I actually think that helps our cause.

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