Coach Whisenhunt's Saturday Press Conference



(On the game)

Obviously, a lot of things went on during that game. It was really, essentially, from an evaluation standpoint, our first preseason game. Even though I know it's our second one, but it was a different game, obviously, than our first one, and there are a lot of things that transpired. I thought, offensively, there were a lot of good things. Obviously, the turnovers are something that we've got to get eliminated. We're doing good on third down. We're doing good in the red zone. We can't give the ball up. Defensively, the first drive, we had some mistakes, we had some communication errors. We had some technique errors. We got those addressed after that first drive and did a decent job after that, but those are the things that we've got to do a better job of starting. Special teams-wise, I thought we had some penalties on one return that was a big return, but there were a lot of good things from that standpoint because we got a chance to evaluate a number of our players. I thought some of our younger guys really did a nice job, which was the ones that we wanted to see, which I feel like is important. I thought (Avery) Williamson and (Marqueston) Huff really did a nice job on special teams, which is something that we need those young guys to be able to step up in that area as they're learning how to play in this league, so that was good.

(On the penalties)

I think this a process of us understanding what's going to be called and how we have to play. If you really think about it, this is our first chance, being with as much rain as there was on the field in the first game. That was a different game, so it's a process of working through it for us.

(On miscommunication on the first drive)

This was a different environment. That offense has been in that system for a number of years, so they operate efficiently getting in and out of the personnel groups and those kind of things. Even though we would like to have handled it better, we didn't. We addressed it and played better after that. We still had a number of missed tackles. There was one, for instance, on a Jimmy Graham throw to the flat that we missed a tackle, but he ended up getting seven additional yards, which puts them in a third and short. There are a lot of those kind of things that tie together, and we've just got to work to clean those things up.

(On Jake Locker's performance)

For his first chance of really operating the offense, there are a number of things in that situation. We were on the road, we were handling the noise, we were playing against a team that will give you a lot of pressure, so there are a lot of things going on that you have to manage outside of just the offense itself, and I thought he did a nice job with that. He was good in his reads. When they gave us the prevent defense, which they did a couple of times, he took off and ran with the ball and made some plays. I thought he was in control of it and did a nice job, made some accurate throws, was very efficient, and we were successful when he was in there. It was a good start.

(On Bishop Sankey)

He's a rookie. We've got to work through a lot of things with him.

(On Jake Locker sliding)

Every situation's going to be different. I think he has to be judicious in his decisions when he runs with the football, but if teams are going to drop eight in coverage and rush three, there are going to be opportunities for the quarterback to run. He does that well. I think we all saw an element last night of what Jake (Locker) can bring to the offense, which makes it tough. Teams have to be aware of that, so yeah, we want him to be smart when he's running with the football, and that's something that we've had discussions about.

(On Zach Mettenberger)

Well, we got 40-something snaps with Zach (Mettenberger) last night, and that's all valuable. That's a great learning experience for him. From his progression reads to how he handles the protection checks to how he does a lot of different things, that's great experience. He made some plays, obviously he had some turnovers. We all make mistakes, and I think the best thing to do is try to learn from those, so it was a great experience from that standpoint.

(On Zach Mettenberger's fumbles)

The one that he gave up this week, he was actually in the throwing motion, so it was, like, a split second from going forward and it's an incomplete pass, so it was different from the one that it was the week before. That's just unfortunate, from that standpoint.

(On the defense struggling to generate turnovers)

We got one. We had a penalty, and it got erased, so you've just got to keep working. It's not something you can say, 'Hey, we've got to generate turnovers.' Everybody tries to do that. You've got to keep working at it, and hopefully those will come.

(On Jake Locker's touchdown pass to Justin Hunter)

I'd like to see Jake (Locker) combining with a lot of different guys in the red zone. It was Justin (Hunter's) turn just based off of that one play, and he answered the bell. Jake made a good throw, and Justin did a nice job, but we're going to have opportunities for all of our guys. I hope that we can be as efficient as we can be in the red zone.

(On Leon Washington not playing much in the return game)

We wanted to look at some other guys. I feel like we know what both he and Dexter (McCluster) can do. We're going to talk about that this week, about potentially getting them some opportunities. A little bit more of a known factor with those two guys.

(On Marc Mariani's returns)

It was unfortunate that we had the holding penalty on the one 57-yard return. He definitely has a feel for it. Good vision. It was nice to see us get something positive out of that, even though it was erased by a penalty. It was nice to see Marc (Mariani) do that. That's one of the things that I remember, from being an opponent, having seen him done it. That's what he went to the Pro Bowl for the one year. It was a good start for him, in that area.

(On Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson playing at cornerback)

The competition is still going on, and they're both fighting, getting reps, which is valuable to assessing that. The one that we can't do is give up deep balls. We gave up too many of those last night, and that's one of the things that we've got to eliminate.

(On the offensive line contributing to yardage)

We're still going, I think, as a group. Last night we had a couple of things. Charlie (Whitehurst) on the one, getting hit, and that was a little bit of a protection mistake that we've got to do a better job with. We're doing a lot of things. We're asking a lot of that group, and the only thing that helps them gel is time. We're running the ball effectively at times. We're throwing the ball effectively at times. The more snaps we can get that group together, the better we can feel like they're going to play.

(On the significance of last night's injuries)

I don't know for sure. The players have just started coming in, right now. We got in late last night, so I should have a better feel for it as we go. I'm not aware of anything right now that's going to be major.

(On Colin McCarthy's shoulder injury)

He still hasn't seen his doctor that he was going to see yet.

(On Shonn Greene's knee injury during the game)

It doesn't matter that it's Shonn (Greene), you worry about any player that's down on the field. That's a part of this game, especially when you're on that surface. That's the first time we've really played, we haven't even practiced on that surface much, and it just seems like when you get on it, it's a different surface, and you're going to have some of those things pop up. You're always concerned. I was just glad to see that he was walking around pretty good at the end of the game, so that makes you feel better.

(On Bishop Sankey's early performances)

I'm impressed with a lot of things about Bishop (Sankey), but he's a rookie, and a lot of things that are causing these problems are things that he needs time with and he's got to get better at, whether it's footwork, whether it's how he's taking the balls on handoffs, understanding the protections. He missed a lot of time. He's a smart young man, but some of those things you need to work with. He's got to continue to get those things, because there's no question he's a talented player.

(On Delanie Walker's fumble)

It's funny. I think in the end zone, that would have been a touchdown, but in the field of play, you've got to show a football move. I don't know that that was, the second step's got to be down and you have to show a football move. In other words, it looked to me like he was still in the process of tucking the ball when it came out. That's what I saw, and that's my understanding of the rule.

(On the kickers' performances)

I did like what I saw. Obviously, (Travis) Coons's field goal, that was pretty impressive what he did. I thought Maikon (Bonani's) kickoffs were very good. He didn't get the opportunity in the field goal area, but it was a good performance by those guys.

(On Justin Hunter understanding the offense)

I think you're seeing just a glimpse of what he can be, but because of what he did last night, let's not make the mistake and think he's, by any stretch, close to what he can be. There are a lot of things, from route depth, to discipline on his releases, to those things that, even though he made some big plays for us last night, those have got to become more consistent. He's still got a lot of work to do; although, I'm excited for two things. Number one, because he can make those big plays, and number two, because he seems to have the right mindset to work on those things. Part of being a young player is you've got to be able to do that yourself. Right now, he has to be reminded at times to do that. Not from a negative standpoint, just because there's a lot going on. There's good leadership in that group, in that room. Coach (Shawn) Jefferson and coach (Kevin) Patullo are definitely on them, and I'm seeing growth. We've got to continue to see that.

(On Justin Hunter's "J.A.G." jersey)

It's hanging in his locker. I don't think he'll have it out at practice. Maybe it's a little reminder for him. He definitely was not a J.A.G. last night.

(On evaluating players for the 53-man roster)

That's what we've been doing in here since earlier this morning, going through the tape and evaluating a lot of players. We had 70-something plays on offense, and I don't know how many defensively, and you've got so many different guys rotating through at positions. It's a long process. You're excited, like I said, about special teams-wise. It was nice to see Avery Williamson and (Marqueston) Huff make some plays in the special teams. That's what excites you about it. Then you get a chance to see these guys do some things offensively and defensively and trying to construct your 53-man roster, it's a process. It's not something that you can do in one week, because you have to have a large enough base of information that you can make that. It's a lot going on, but that's part of camp.

(On the team's current position)

I think we're ahead in some areas. We're probably not as far along as I had hoped we'd be in others. That probably puts us right smack dab where we should be at this point. The one thing I said about these guys is they're working hard, and that helps. If you can do what they're doing on the practice field, we'll get better as we get into these games. We've got to get better starting these games out, some of the mistakes that we're making, but we can't lose sight of some of the plays that we're making in these games, too. We're doing some good things.

(On the third preseason game)

I think for us, this year, we're still in the process of evaluating players. It's going to depend on what we're trying to get accomplished with certain guys this week. As far as saying we're going to play guys a certain length because it's the third preseason game, I'm not going to subscribe to that. We need to see certain players for a certain length of time, and we're going to base it off that as we get through the week.

(On starters playing longer in the third preseason game)

I don't really think that it's that important. I've heard coaches say it's important to go into halftime and come back out. There have been times when I've done that and times when I haven't. I think it's going to depend on where we are in this game this week.

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