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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

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Q. Mike, what went wrong in the third quarter on the two punts and what did you see was the problem on the missed field goal?

MIKE VRABEL: We missed the field goal. It didn't go in. We didn't punt it well enough the one time and then didn't block well enough on the other. Certainly things that we'll have to improve quickly.

Q. What's the frustration level for not being able to get off the field on defense and what has to change with seven games to go?

MIKE VRABEL: I mean, there's a lot of things that need to be changed. When you don't play well, you don't coach well enough, you lose. They had some fourth-and-ones, so third down we were pretty decent and got some stops and long drives that we got the stop early, which, proud of the guys for that. But everything's going to have to change when you don't play well. You got to coach better and you got to play better. That's really what it is and that's what we'll have to do. We'll have to take a couple days off here, get healthy, take a good hard look at what we did and what we're doing and continue to try to improve. We got to play complementary football in all three phases and that doesn't happy for sixty minutes right now.

Q. Can you talk about what went into the decision to switch punters for this game? And then also, how much of a momentum shift occurred with those two back-to-back punt errors?

MIKE VRABEL: The process is always what it looks like in practice and what we felt like was best for the team and those are all the things that we look at during practice, during the week of practice, and the evaluation of those guys kicking. That's the decision that we made.

Q. And the momentum, how much did those two punts change things?

MIKE VRABEL: I think it pretty much spoke for itself there. Being able to get the ball where they did, and I guess they got it in the 30-yard line maybe the one time and then they got it in the end zone the other.

Q. Are you getting concerned yet about Stephen (Gostkowski)?

MIKE VRABEL: I think we're going to have to evaluate everything that we do, how we're coaching, what we do in practice, the performance. So, we have to be better and I'll say that in all areas. So, we'll look at what we're doing and try to do what's best for the team like we always do, but we all have jobs to do and we have to try to do them better.

Q. What does the defense have to do better when the quarterback is able to release it as quickly as Rivers was able to release it today?

MIKE VRABEL: I think try to get – we talked about trying to get into throwing lanes and be in tight coverage and then tight coverage and not getting picked and all that stuff. So, making sure that we're into the pocket, making sure our hands are up, making sure that we're contesting, getting in tight, being in tight coverage, and contesting them and challenging them.

Q. We keep harping on the special teams problems today, but it's obviously the story of the game tonight. What did you say to your guys in the third quarter when this started to fall apart, like how do you try to get them to come back here?

MIKE VRABEL: I think that there's momentum changes in the game throughout, and I think that's the challenge that you have against a good football team, which the Colts are. That there's challenges to the ebbs and flows, and I think you have to stay the course and know that it's a long game. Guys know when they may have made a mistake. Everybody does that. It's just going to be tough to win not creating any turnovers and then obviously having those types of things happen that, again, are uncharacteristic and need to change. Those are like turnovers, and obviously when you give up scores on special teams that's not going to be easy to overcome.

Q. You talked about evaluating changes that you guys might make when it comes to the whole special teams and talked about coaching. Have you thought about making any coaching changes, specifically at special teams, the way it's gone this season?

MIKE VRABEL: No, I haven't thought – no. No, I've got a lot of confidence in Craig (Aukerman) and Ryan (Crow) and what they do. We have got to continue to hold people accountable and continue to improve. But no, I think that those guys, I'm fairly, I'm very confident that they know what they're doing. I know what they coach. I'm in those meetings. I'm there at practice. So, we just, we'll keep working and making sure that we start playing better in that area and performing better because we have.

Q. Do you feel like three holders in three different weeks, is that affecting Stephen at all in his approach and how he's kicking?

MIKE VRABEL: I think that that would be a great question for Stephen (Gostkowski). I know what he's going to tell you because he's a professional, and he's going to say that should have no impact. But things happen. People get hurt. You're going to have to play with different people. So that's nothing new to the National Football League or any football, that you're going to have different guys in different spots just for different reasons.

Q. You got a lot of questions about the defense, but that's been a sort of a season-long struggle. The one thing you could count on the first half of this season was being able to out-score people. Is it as simple as to say you lose Taylor (Lewan) and it just changes things that much, because since him, it seems like it's kind of powered down a little bit, maybe Ryan's trying to get it out quicker or there's just some timing there. How much of an impact can one guy going down have on an offense?

MIKE VRABEL: I would tell you I don't think Tyler Sambrailo would be the first place that I would start to try to improve our offense and what we're doing. Tyler's a great player, but I just think that we all have to just play better and the timing, the consistency, you can see that when we did indeed have a rhythm, we went down there and scored, and then give them a lot of credit there in the second half for how they played, and some penalties that, untimely penalties that kind of cost us, and just again, it wasn't good enough. We didn't take advantage of our opportunities.

Q. If not left tackle or anywhere there, where has that timing gone and that rhythm gone?

MIKE VRABEL: There's a lot of places. But again, it's never going to be about one guy, not in football. So just being able to get some of these plays, and again, you look at it and then you say, 'Well, there's a lot of good things,' and then third down-wise we didn't give ourselves enough third-and-shorts. We were playing too many third-and-longs that again, that consistency early on in the series, just developing that rhythm of getting that first, first down, and we'll go back to work. That's what I told the team. We'll go back to work and we'll get away for a couple days and try to get healthy.

Q. Does something need to change in the evaluation process of the specialists? You rolled through kickers last year with little success and now with Stephen. And now you've gone through two punters in two weeks, that you weren't satisfied with the first one, clearly, and it seems hard to be satisfied with this one.

MIKE VRABEL: Well, I mean, the evaluation process is when they make them or they kick well in practice, that you hope that leads to kicking well in the game. The operation needs to improve to help those guys. That's something that we harp on about protecting our punter and kicker. So, there's a lot of things that have to improve and I would imagine that the evaluation process that you alluded to is something that we can certainly look at as well.

Q. It looked like you guys had a lot of off-man coverage and had some zone. With Philip Rivers getting away with the ball so quickly, was there any thought to having guys press a little bit more?

MIKE VRABEL: Sure. Yeah. When they do, they threw one and they completed one down there and that's the battle that you wage, and we got picked a couple times and so we have to be better there. We can get up there and press them and then make sure that we're not getting picked and that we're conscious enough of what's going on there. But I thought, I mean, there were some great efforts down there on the goal line that I'm proud of. It can be better, but we'll certainly look at playing a lot of press coverage as we move forward.

Q. Real quick on Corey (Davis), what can you say about him for what he went through and then turning around and playing today?

MIKE VRABEL: I mean, I think that I'm proud of not only Corey (Davis), but his teammates and it's – I'm proud of Corey. I'm proud of him and his ability to come out here, and again, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and I'm proud of his teammates for supporting him the way that they did.

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