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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


Was the fact that this game came down to a Hail Mary an example of the fight this team has given the injuries on the roster?

They fight and I appreciate it. It just comes down to the consistency. I know that sounds like a broken record from me, but with where we are at right now, the margin for error is pretty thin. When you give up some plays defensively, some X-plays, and turn the ball over, there are no moral victories. I am disappointed. They are disappointed. They fight and they compete which I'm appreciative of.

How big of a momentum swing was the fumble?

We have done that. Defensively, to be able to go out there and force them, sudden change. We have had some opportunities this year where we have done well. I thought the way we started the second half was inspiring. I thought guys were clearly locked in and ready to go. Then the guy made a good play. We have to find ways to get everybody to protect the guy with the ball. When guys come in from behind, that is sometimes when fumbles occur. We have to do a better job of making sure that guys are chasing and trying to protect the guy with football.

Did cornerback Roger McCreary forget to turn his head and is that a technique error that can't be happening at this stage in the season?

We will take a look at it. He got beat. The guy got behind him, turned his head.

Is this team maybe not good enough to be overcome the turnovers?

We are where we are. We will figure out the 48 guys that we have for Thursday night. No, we are not built right now to be able to overcome those things. The margin for error is very thin. We will keep trying to improve those things, the consistency, the ability to sustain drives, the ability to try to create turnovers, the things that we would need to do right now.

Was the four-and-out after the turnover the turning point as far as momentum in the game?

All the turnovers are critical and costly. It was great to see us try to get into a flow, get into a rhythm offensively, and be able to use Derrick (Henry). There were times where it was pretty complementary. Then there were times where it just looked like we weren't all on the same page in all three phases, from the standpoint of trying to complement each other, short field and taking advantage of it when we did. That was great but then turnovers are going to catch up to you.

Now that the team knows that the finale at Jacksonville is for the division, does that change at all how you look in the next few days?

It probably will. We have some guys that have played a lot of football for us that are far less than 100 percent. It is those guys that I appreciate. No matter what, they find a way to be here for this team. We will try to figure out who we have, who is available, then make some decisions.

Did you see more improvement from quarterback Malik Willis today than the last time out?

He may have taken a few steps back in some areas, but he settled down and looked OK. Then just some of the situational work showed up there late but being able to extend some plays and make a few plays. We just have to be better with football.

How did you like what defensive lineman Denico Autry was able to do in his return?

We need everybody that can potentially make a play for us in all three phases to be available here the last couple of weeks.

Do you feel like there is any different energy or a spark that he (Denico Autry) brings when he is out there?

Only when you are making plays, which he did today. They are not going to get energy from guys that just come here and show up. You have to come, make plays, be productive and affect the game.

What would you tell the guys with a holiday tomorrow and then a short week?

I just told them to make sure that they get around people that they care about and that they love because those are the only ones that are going to give us a chance. Remember the people that text you when you lose. Everybody texts when you win. I tried to give them the day off tomorrow to recover and be with their family. Then we get back to work at 10:30 a.m. on Monday.

Is the inability to carry momentum concerning or disappointing?

Other than just when you lose, it is concerning and disappointing. Everybody puts a lot into it, the ups and the downs of the game. I felt that we continued to battle. It is just disappointing to lose.

Where do you want guys to find hope or expectation out of this losing streak?

There are so many plays over the course of these last five games. It really just comes down to consistency and striving for that. Penalties and things that are avoidable like lining up wrong. Mental mistakes, things that we can't do right now. Those are the things we have to continue to show them, but then show them all the good things that they've done like their ability to run a football. We got into some rhythm. We hit some cool plays. We hit some big plays. We had a big run. We went three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, then on defense it is just long drives. It is either one or the other. It is either three plays or 10 plays or 13 plays or 11. There is nothing in between. Three, three, three, 13, 10, 11. Somewhere in between there would be helpful.

What's the challenge like for you and the staff knowing you play on Thursday, but that the bigger game will be the following week?

The three minutes that I had to think about that since the game was over, I apologize. I don't have a really informed or knowledgeable answer for you. I'll probably go home and give it some thought. We have an obligation to this football team to make sure that we're prepared or that we do everything we can. I don't know if I could really touch on that. We'll have to see who came out of the game with whatever injuries and try to manage those.

Would you say that this is the most difficult time that you've encountered as a coach since you've been here?

That's part of the job. That's part of this obligation to the football team is to try to be as honest as you can with them. Try to recognize the difference between a guy making a mistake – you hear, 'Man, I hate losing.' I hate losing too. So, maybe we should love preparing and love focusing before the game and doing as much as we possibly can so that we don't make mistakes in critical times or mental errors. Things that could be avoidable avoided. That's part of the job. It's rewarding watching guys succeed. That's why I do this and watching them develop and improve. But the losses certainly hurt.

When you say maybe we should love preparing and doing the things before the game are you saying that you may not have 100% buy-in?

It's not that buy-in. It's how much are we doing outside of the time that we're at the facility? I don't know. Those are questions that if you as a professional athlete just work at eight to four, or eight to 4:30, then I don't know how much you get out of it. Maybe God gifted you with some really cool talents. We just have to all do a little bit more. That's with me and preparation and that's with the coaches and players. Just a little bit more of everything.

Do you have 'eight to four' guys right now?

No. Again, we just make sure that everybody is as committed as we need to be. We've got a lot of moving parts.

The weather delay. Did that affect anything?

 No. You want another one on it?

Was there any damages in the parts of the building that you guys were operating in that you had to work around damage?

Damage? No, no damage. Maybe they couldn't use the microwaves to heat their coffees or something. I don't know.

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