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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


MIKE VRABEL: Where he [QB Will Levis] had to step up and there were times where he got sacked. And so whether he needed to get the ball out or had time -- the red zone one, they brings six, so we've got six to block six. They zeroed us out. Got on him pretty quick. So if you're looking at that one specifically, not good enough. Probably some other times where it was. So it's always going to be a combination.

Q. What was the problem with the secondary? Looks like you guys would go zone. They were picking that apart.

MIKE VRABEL: Sometimes you got to get on them, challenge them, cover them. Looking at Rogers' [CB Roger McCreary] third down, I thought he was over there square, challenging it. I didn't necessarily see the same thing that Aaron [G/C Aaron Brewer] saw over there. But he saw some restriction on third down. And then maybe get a little gun shy. We got to get a little better effort from the safety over the top, playing two-man, and they throw the ball deep. I've never seen that. That's new for me around this league, throw the ball vertical in two-man. So I guess that would be something, then just making sure that we challenge when we need to challenge, that we're playing with vision and break. When we have those zone opportunities. And then making sure that you tie everything in. It's never going to be about the pressure and make sure that's talked about, sometimes there's pressure. We got to start combining both of those. We have to combine what the coverage concept is and execution and knowing what we can give up and knowing what we can't in each coverage. When we play man coverage, not getting picked on third and three when the running back leaves the back field, that should not be any surprise that those things would happen on third and three in man coverage. So keep coaching it, keep repping it and keep working.

Q. What's one area where you feel like there's some kind of steady improvement going on?

MIKE VRABEL: Again, when you lose it's hard to identify those types of things. You look at some of these plays that we hit. We hit a few plays offensively. It's just the ability to sustain one guy here, one pressure. You know, in the red zone, hit a couple plays that we liked. We just needed to get down there more often. Like I said, defensively it seemed like it was one or two plays a drive and the penalties, one of the keys to the game was winning the pre-snap matchup, whether that's the shifting and the motioning, the hard count that we knew that [QB] Trevor Lawrence was going to use. So those things, those penalties cost us on third down. So there were some decent first and second down plays defensively early on, but just not consistently enough and then turned the ball over. We give them field position; we've done well in the red zone traditionally this year, but every week is a different week.

Q. They got 14 points off of those two turnovers. It seems like Brewer [G/C Aaron Brewer] has had some issues with snaps here somewhat recently and then obviously punt return has been a consistent issue with us.

MIKE VRABEL: Long snapper is a good player. Gotta account for him, which we did and got to the tackle. We got the first down, and we know how critical taking care of the ball is, and whether it was close to him being down or not, they raked it out of there, so that was one. Then the snaps, he has to snap 100 a day instead of the 50 that we snap right now. We can't operate under center the entire game, that's probably not going to be a possibility. We better get it figured out and making sure that everybody is on the same page and where the ball is coming, needs to be there. The quarterback has got to help him out just like the quarterback throws a ball that's imperfect, like to see the receivers try to help him out. Not saying that that's Will's [QB Will Levis] responsibility. But when things like that happen, hopefully other guys can catch the ball, get on it when it's on the ground. We let one mistake turn into a couple more. Frustrating to give up 14 points off turnovers. We're not in a position to do that.

Q. How much of his [QB Will Levis] ability to run the ball hurt you again today?

MIKE VRABEL: Well, I mean I think that it's always going to be a factor. I thought we had some runs that we liked and we were probably close on some and had some good positive gains. Then, just the efficiency and the volume and the ability to create and run more plays, run 40 plays and think that we're going to beat anybody, that's not going to be possible. That's not fair to the defense and that's not fair to the players on offense who if we can make a play and then we can counter balance that with another play and then comes back to somebody else, and then Derrick [RB Derrick Henry] gets touches and Tyjae [RB Tyjae Spears] and Hop [WR DeAndre Hopkins] and Nick [WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine] and the receivers and the shot to Chris [WR Chris Moore] or Chig [TE Chig Okonkwo] and everybody starts to get some plays that complement each other, but when you run 40 plays, it's not going to be enough.

Q. Is Jeff [DT Jeffery Simmons] lobbying maybe for that play awhile on a tough day?

MIKE VRABEL: No. Jeff just does his job, comes to work every day, tries to do his job, tries to help lead this football team. He's frustrated like everybody else. It was a play that we've liked, a play that we've repped. Tim [Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly] felt comfortable calling it and then they executed it.

Q. Do you think job security is at issue or going to be?

MIKE VRABEL: I don't try to concern myself with that. I really am focused on these players. I hurt for them. I played 14 years, won some games, won some championships. I am frustrated for the players. I'm disappointed for the players. I want them to have success. I know how hard they work. I know they put into it, so that's what my focus is. My focus is on coaching this team, on trying to get these guys to understand that there's a fine line in this league of winning and losing. Finding a way to get a win. That's what I'm focused on. I'll let you guys fire me each week or not fire me. I apologize. I appreciate your question, I do. I will always understand that. We have to improve and we have to win. Those are things that we have to do.

Q. Why can't they get better results?

MIKE VRABEL: Sometimes we do have some results, and it doesn't translate into victories because of some of the mistakes. I have to do a great job of trying to continue to show us the things that we did well, the things that are minor mistakes and then the ones that get us beat. Those will be the things that we always do and start to complement each other, start to play better field position and try to create some turnovers on defense and take care of the football. Win the kicking game each week and be able to flip fields when we have to with Stoney [P Ryan Stonehouse] and get the first down and all those things that we've done that we have to get back to.

Q. You guys have focused so much of your time here on week to week. When your situation is what it is now and the goal is seemingly getting harder and harder to get to the playoffs or win the division. Can you continue to focus on the week to week or how do you keep them centered inside that locker room?

MIKE VRABEL: That'll be something we'll have to figure out here real quick. Stay consistent. Like I said, that it is what I've tried to always do here, stay consistent and figure out who we got. That'll change this week based on injuries and everything else. And put a game plan together, coach them, teach them. And I think the consistency in the end is going to work. I know it. This sucks right now. Nobody wants to be where we're at, not me, not anybody. But we are. We put ourselves in this position. So we'll get ourselves out.

Q. Do you see that wearing on guys at all? You said it sucks. Like is that wearing on guys in the locker room at all? Does it wear on you?

MIKE VRABEL: I don't know. You'll have a chance to talk to them. No. I'm going to come to work. I'm going to get up. I'm going to sleep five hours like I do, and I'm going to come with a resolve. I'm going to be thankful -- this week, with Thanksgiving, I'm going to be thankful for this opportunity that I have to coach. I'm going to be thankful for my family. I'm thankful for this team, and I'm going to coach the hell out of them like I do every week. And I love Romeo Crennel, not only was he my position coach, I got to coach with him, and he always used to say it's a great life if you don't let it beat you down. And we're not going to let it beat us down but we're going to get back to work. And you can still be frustrated and upset and disappointed, but I'm also going to be thankful and hopeful for the opportunity that I get to coach this football team. Thank you.

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