Coach Whisenhunt's Monday Press Conference



(opening statement)

I'll go ahead and answer the first question, which I know is going to be about Jake (Locker). He bruised his thumb. He's got a good bit of swelling in there, so I'm really not going to be able to tell how it's going to respond until we get into it in a couple of days. I'll probably know more Wednesday.

(on Bernard Pollard's injury)

Bernard (Pollard) has a ruptured Achilles, unfortunately, which is what we suspected.

(on the impact of losing Bernard Pollard)

Bernard (Pollard's) been a good leader and a good player for us. That happens in this game. It's unfortunate, and we'll certainly hope that he stays involved with our team, which I think's an important piece of it. I know how disappointed he was last night, as we all are.

(on who will replace Bernard Pollard)

I think as we get into game planning Jacksonville a little bit more we'll get a sense for it at that point. Right now, I've had a lot of other things going on besides that.

(on Achilles injuries and the recovery time)

I think different guys respond different ways. Some have been shorter, some have been longer. It's a significant amount of time, though, I believe.

(on Craig Stevens' injury)

He's got a quad. We'll have to see how he progress, too. I can't give you a timetable on him right now.

(on watching film from the Browns game)

It was tough. We had some technique errors. We had some mistakes in the second half that we didn't have in the first half. Basically it just comes down to not making enough plays when we had to. I was encouraged by the way our team responded in the first half of the game. That was one of the things we said going into the week, that we wanted to start better. We needed to do that. We did that. I don't know that we could have started much better than we did. In the second half, we didn't get it done. The two penalties on the turnovers, I know that took a lot of wind out of our sail. That was tough. In the long run, we had opportunities to make plays to win that game, and we didn't. That's something that we've got to take a look at and correct and work to do better.

(on the penalties in the second half)

I can tell you this, on the punt, on the one that Marqueston (Huff) got called, there was two where their gunner ran down and actually was out further than him, longer than him, that weren't called. That was a bad call in my mind, just because the consistency of the call was bad. There were two other ones, multiple instances of that happening. It wasn't called before. As far as the penalty on (Jason) McCourty, I'd have to get an explanation on that, because he contacted the defender within five yards. That's what we're being coached to do. I think the runner pushed off of him at about seven and broke out. I know that we've talked about established position as being one of the things when the officials came in this summer coaching them up on. We tried to play it that way. Unfortunately, there was a penalty on him.

(on the punt block)

We had a technique error, and our center didn't get the help that he was supposed to get.

(on special teams issues)

That's an area that we need to play better. It's an area that has got to be more consistent for us going forward. We understand offense and defense, there are going to be games where maybe we do better or we do worse based on matchups. Special teams is an area that we expect to be better than it was yesterday.

(on relaxing after taking a big lead)

I don't know if relaxed is the right word. I think that we had an unsportsmanlike penalty on a drive where we were driving the football that was a crusher for us. We go from second-and-seven to second-and-23, I think it was, or something along those lines. That hurt us. It seemed like every time we had something going, we made mistakes. We had a third-and-two where we had a play where we moved, we jumped offsides, that was going to be huge. We had it all set up. It's one of those kind of plays that can make a huge difference in the game like we saw in the first half. Defensively, we did make some plays. We got off the field twice on fourth down and competed. It's very frustrating from that standpoint. It hurts. I don't think it was relaxing.

(on Andy Levitre's unnecessary roughness penalty)

That unnecessary roughness penalty there was a dumb penalty. It was the same guy, and I think that was a very cheap hit by their player on our quarterback in the end zone. That set a bad tone for the game going in. That's unnecessary, and it was unfortunate, but if it was (intentional), and I don't know that it was because I didn't specifically talk to Andy (Levitre) about it, then that's unacceptable on our part. If that happens again, he'll come out of the game.

(on Andy Levitre's penalties this season)

There are a lot of things that we have to look at. That's certainly one of them. He has played better since we've been on him. I'll go back and say what I said before, the unnecessary roughness penalty, that's unacceptable.

(on Taylor Lewan's penalty)

I did give him an earful. That was a pure setup. Their player took a flop, and it got called. He's got to understand he's a marked man because of that. The guy talked trash to him, he gave him a little shove, and the guy fell back, took a flop and got the call. He can't do that. Obviously, he's got to understand his perception in the league now.

(on Jake Locker's hit)

The league has a system in place. They'll take care of that. They're not going to listen to anything I have to say on it, that's for sure.

(on clock management at the end of the game)

I was still thinking, 'We have to make a play or two.' If you take away that last series, when there was a minute left where we had to throw it, I felt like we were more than fairly balanced run and pass at that point. I knew they were going to load the box at that point, and we'd just come off a series earlier where we hadn't gotten much on the run. You want to put in a play that has a run-pass check if the box is stacked. We'd had success with our receivers winning one-on-one pretty consistently during the course of the game, so you felt like at that point what you can't do is lose your aggressiveness to an extent. You can't be stupid, but you have opportunities. Let's face it, we didn't execute. We had things that were open if we'd executed them correctly, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now, but we didn't do it.

(on when running the ball is the best option)

Sure. I don't know, being that far out. I know that, had we gotten the first down on fourth down there, there wasn't going to be another pass thrown.

(on Charlie Whitehurst making the correct checks on the run)

Yeah, Charlie (Whitehurst) made the right checks. They were alternating between putting more guys in the box than you can handle and not playing that. That's what normally happens at that point. We felt like we still had an opportunity to move the ball and make some plays. Like I said, if we make one of those plays, we're not having this discussion today.

(on Shonn Greene as the short-yardage running back)

We have used him. We used him in the goal line two weeks ago, and he did get in. I'm not 100 percent sure on this math, but I think if you look at it, 85 percent of quarterback sneaks have been successful, whereas 62 percent of the run game has been successful. If you're talking about something for less than half a yard, I'm going to go with the percentages on that and feel like we're going to make it. Had we blocked it correctly, we would have made it.

(on the fourth-and-one play)

We didn't come off the ball correctly. We weren't ready, we didn't have a sense of urgency there, and that's something that we've got to learn from.

(on the offensive linemen not having a sense of urgency)

I can't agree with you more. Youth is a part of it. I think that situation is part of it. I'm not making excuses. It's unacceptable to me. All I can tell you is that we've got to learn from it. What you just said is exactly what went through my mind when we were in that situation. A half a yard with what we had with our offensive line, feeling like we had a play that was going to work, with a chance to win a football game after everything that had transpired, especially the two turnovers that were taken back because of the penalty, yeah that's why we did it.

(on regarding Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke as young players)

At times they certainly play like they're young, that's for sure.

(on Derrick Morgan's ejection from the game)

The only one I've seen is the one Derrick (Morgan) had on his phone. I don't know if he manipulated it or not, but it certainly wasn't anything. One of our players was on the ground with one of their players on top, and all he was trying to do was get that player off, and there wasn't anything that was out of the ordinary that would have led to an ejection from what I've seen. Once again, that's the only thing that I've seen. I got no explanation.

(on second-guessing during the game)

There's second-guessing. The whole night last night was second-guessing. I think that's human nature. I did that as a player, I do that as a coach. This play, that play, this situation, that situation. There were some good things that we did yesterday, but those seem to pale to when you lose a game like that. It makes it very difficult. Like I said, as tough as it is, we had chances to make plays to win the game, and we can only learn from it and get better.

(on the whistle blowing on Charlie Whitehurst's fourth-and-one sneak)

I thought he'd made it. I never got a confirmation on that. I'll be honest with you, it's hard to hear the whistle on the field sometimes. I couldn't tell you when the whistle was blown. I know that it looked to me like he'd made it from the side. Once again, the only thing I'll say is that it went to review, and there was not anything to overturn it.

(on teams respecting Kendall Wright as a runner)

I hope they can. That was a nice run yesterday. He's made some nice runs for us this year already. Hopefully we'll continue to find ways to use him.

(on Avery Williamson's playing time and him wearing the defensive signal helmet)

He's been playing better, and we wanted to get him in there with more opportunities. That's something that, younger players, you'd like to see. He was going to be in there in some of the third-down situations, which is when you make those calls. That was why. I think he's part of a rotation, which is what you've got to have. His play is going to merit that if it continues.

(on Wesley Woodyard's playing time)

I think part of it, too, is we've got to look at how many plays Wesley (Woodyard's) getting and understand that that's a lot of plays during the course of the year. We want to be able to spell Wesley in there. We feel like he's making progress towards doing that, and that's why he was in there.

(on Justin Hunter's performance)

I think we've got to build on that. I still think that it was nice to see Justin (Hunter) make some plays for us. In the second half of that game, we had opportunities to make plays that would have put that game away on all fronts, and that's where we really have to focus our attention, on making sure in those situations that we align correctly, we run the right routes, we use the right techniques, because that's really what it's all about. We didn't handle that very well.

(on his message to the team)

It's tough. This may sound a little out of whack, but there is positive to what we did this week. We went in at home, and we played a lot better in the first half. A lot of that was because of how we worked during the week at practice. Whoever is going to be in there, that's all we have to do. We have to go out and practice that same way, prepare that same way. It's coming. We're getting better. We're going to be OK. We just have to continue on this same track and be consistent.

(on the impact of the loss to Cleveland)

I have a lot of scars. We all have scars if you're in the NFL. Some are physical, some are mental. The one thing I'll say, it gives us an opportunity to learn from it. If we get in that situation again and we win the game because of it, it doesn't leave a mark.

(on his reaction to the loss)

I think some of it in large part was a little disbelief, maybe shock after that game. It was a hard thing to process. When we walked off the field at halftime after the way that first half went, it felt like we'd made a lot of progress with our football team. I'll be honest with you, the two penalties that overturned turnovers for us, they hurt. That, along with everything else that went on in this game, when it ended it seemed surreal. Maybe that was part of it. I was disappointed beyond belief, but that's hard to put words into what you experienced yesterday. I was definitely upset, but I was extremely disappointed, not only for our players and our fans, but as hard as we've worked to get a win at home, it really hurt.

(on veteran players comparing this season to previous ones)

I don't sense that. I don't get the feel from it when I'm in here with the team and we're talking. I certainly didn't get the sense of that when we were on the field working. Are we frustrated that we're not better, we're not playing better football or we haven't had more success? Sure. Everybody wants to win. That's what this business is all about. I feel like our guys believe that what we're doing, we're doing it the right way. The thing that's important, and I've learned this from being in the NFL for a number of years and being around good coaches, is consistency. We have something that we believe works. We've shown glimpses of it against Kansas City and the first half against Cleveland. We've got to stay consistent. It's coming. We're getting better. I know the injuries are tough, but that's the NFL. We're going to continue to work, and we're going to get it. I fully believe that we're going to be a good football team.

(on the impact of streamlining the game plan)

Maybe it helped us in the first half, but we still had some mistakes in the second half that we've got to work to get better on. That was the message today. There's evidence, you can put the tape on and show our guys, and I think that we'll see as we progress.

(on Jake Locker being comfortable scrambling)

I had a sense that that might be the case, but it was not something that we talked about. I think one of the things you have to be careful about is getting into a quarterback's head when he's going through his progressions that are part of the plan. I know he felt from the way the earlier weeks had gone that he went in with a specific plan, and he did a nice job.

(on being comfortable with Jake Locker running more)

I think you always worry about the injury, getting hit just like he did when he scored that touchdown. I think the one thing, part of that is Jake (Locker), and it is a weapon. That's going to happen. The one this time, he hit it off a helmet as he was trying to make the throw in the pocket. I just think we're fortunate that it's not something that's real serious or maybe it's not a long-term thing.

(on Blidi Wreh-Wilson's and Coty Sensabaugh's injuries)

I don't think it's long-term for Coty (Sensabaugh). I think we'll know more on Wednesday and see where he is. I think that Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) should clear the protocol tomorrow, so he should be available to practice on Wednesday.

(on Taylor Thompson's injury)

We'll see where he is on Wednesday, as well.

(on what he sees from Jaguars QB Blake Bortles)

I haven't watched a lot of tape on him as a pro other than what I've seen in preseason. Talented player coming out of college, big guy that can do a lot of things well. I really haven't watched any of the game tape this year yet. That's something that I'm getting into after I'm finished with you guys.

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