OPENING REMARKS: “OK, had a chance to review the tape. Pretty much as suspected, just did too many things in that game that if you do those types of things will get you beat in the NFL, across the board. Offensively, if you turn the ball over, if you make execution errors, if you don’t convert third downs, you’re generally going to have a hard time succeeding. Defensively, when you allow 160-plus yards rushing, when you don’t create enough turnovers, when you miss tackles, you’re going to have a hard time succeeding. Special teams, same thing, when you don’t kick the ball well, when you turn the ball over, you’re going to have a hard time winning games. We really did all three yesterday. That accountability really falls to me as the head coach. I sincerely mean that, I feel that and I will do a better job here in that area for this week coming up and those ones to follow. But really, all we’re worried about is this week. We’re 0-1 in the first quarter of the season. As I tell the players all the time, 3-1 is our goal. That gets you in the playoffs if you do that every quarter. 13 teams, as I said – I was wrong because there was a night game last night – 13 teams lost yesterday. We were one of them, and thankfully we’ll have an opportunity to learn from this as coaches and players get better and our focus is trying to get back to 1-1 so we have a chance to accomplish our goal in this quarter. The positives to me are I saw throughout this game, even very late in the game when we watched it together as a team, 11 guys going full speed on punt cover when it was pretty clear the game was over. I saw all areas that occurring where you saw everybody giving everything they had. To me, you can’t let a loss like this drag you down. This core group of guys have shown that in the past that they’ve been able to overcome a game like this. You don’t ever want one, but if you have one you can’t let it drag you down. And that’s why I believe in this team and this group of guys because of what I saw on tape throughout the film, and especially, especially late, right down to the last one or two plays, guys giving everything they had. And that’s why I truly believe our team and this group we have right now, we will bounce back from this and this team will do special things this year that a lot of people will be excited [about], starting with the people within this building.”
Q: You say it’s never as bad as it seems the next day. Was it easier to take watching the film today?
HALEY: “No, it’s never easy to take. But that being said, I think that there wasn’t anything on that tape that didn’t look like it was correctable. If we were sitting, watching the tape and seeing a lack of effort and seeing just guys get beat in one-on-one matchups and saying, ‘Boy, this guy’s got no chance,’ I would feel differently, but everything that occurred in that game that got us beat is correctable. There were a lot of near misses on the tape also that would have really potentially changed the atmosphere and the emotion and momentum a number of different times in the game. No bigger than, the score is 14-0, we have the [Leonard] Pope touchdown or what we thought was a touchdown, comes back, it’s 14-0, we take a sack on the next play which we lost 12, 13 yards on, miss the field goal which then gives them the short field, defense holds them to a field goal and we fumble the next play. Things like that were just momentum killers, but all correctable, all things that I know we will be better in.”
Q: If the effort was there, then that portrays it was mental more than physical?
HALEY: “That was a big part of it. I would say that was a big part of it, and that’s why, again, I think I’m accountable and should be held accountable for that game. I need to do a better job of putting each and every one of those guys in a better position to succeed, and I think again that that’s doable. That will be done, and we’ve moved on. The players are ready to go. As I said, we just had a real good meeting and we’ve watched it together and we’re moving on. We’ve got to get ready and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Q: A few players used the term embarrassed. Do you use that term at all or is that up to individual motivation?
HALEY: “I hadn’t used it at all, it was an individual feeling. But I will, without speaking on behalf of anybody, I did today talk about that we all are. It’s coaches, players, the entire organization – when you have a game like that – is embarrassed. And I think that’s a good thing because that means you care and it means something to you, it’s important to you, then that gives you the impetus to make it better. Because like I told them, it can’t stay the same because if it stays the same the result will. It’s got to change and it will.”
Q: You said yesterday and you said again today that you’re 100 percent at fault. Are you at fault for the training camp and preseason plan or was your fault last week’s preparation?
HALEY: “I think just in the result. I felt right up until kickoff that we were ready to go. We as coaches always do that deal as you come off that final pregame warm-up and [ask], ‘What’d you think, what’d you think, how do you think they’re going to respond today?’ We do that all the time and we were all feeling pretty good that we had a chance to go out and play a pretty good football game and we’re excited about it. That being said, that’s not the way it went. So immediately I felt that to be wrong in that area, to think you’re ready and you’re not, you’ve got to make an improvement. As far as training camp and all that, we were not ready for yesterday. Our approach and direction that we took to be ready was for September 11 and beyond, all the way into February, hopefully. There’s no way for me to be judging that. I can only judge yesterday and yesterday we weren’t ready to go and I’m taking responsibility for that.”
Q: You said you watched the tape together. Can you describe what that was like? Was there anger? Was there frustration?
HALEY: “We do that a lot, especially when we have poor games. We’ve done it through the years. I believe that the more guys in there the better and nobody’s going off into their own little area. When things get called out it’s a little different when it’s the whole team. It was open. We always say no room for sensitivity. Let’s figure out what we need to correct and get ready to correct it and move on.”
Q: Was there a lot of that between guys when you’re watching film?
HALEY: “It’s coaches coaching. It’s no different than a practice film. Sometimes we watch the practice together – if we have had an especially good or a poor one. Usually poor practice leads to everybody being in there so that everybody’s clear on what needs to improve and there’s no doubt. It was coaches coaching and correcting and making sure we understood where we needed to get better on both ends – the coaching side of it and the execution side of it.”
Q: NFL.com is reporting S
HALEY: “Yeah. I won’t go into details but I will say it appears he’s going to be out for the season.”
Q: He played every defensive snap last year. You have to plug the next guy in, but what impact does losing him have on your team?
HALEY: “I think Eric is a special and will continue to be a special individual and player. That’s one of those that really digs you deep, first and foremost, just from a standpoint of I know how hard he’s worked, I know how much it means to him, I know he was really excited, he was named a captain by his peers – voted on to be a captain by his peers – and it’s devastating for him. That’s the biggest heartache for me. On the other end of it, I’ve said it a million times, injuries happen. People are going to go down. I’m sure across the league a number of guys were probably lost for the season yesterday. I don’t know that to be fact, but I’m guessing. The teams that are able to handle that and have guys step in and up, and in the case of Eric’s, I believe it’s not going to be just one person. I think it’s going be every special teams player, every defensive player, every offensive player will have to elevate their game to kind of counterbalance that loss of a pretty neat, great kid that I think is going to be a great player in the league.”
Q: Did you guys think that was an illegal block on that play?
HALEY: “I just know we lost one of our best players and that hurts.”
Q: What’s the rule on that? Isn’t it supposed to be above the waist?
HALEY: “I’m more concerned with us and what we’re going to have to do to just make sure that we don’t let yesterday, in any way, shape, or form, drag down our team or our ability to have a successful, exciting season and to accomplish our goals.”
HALEY: “I’m going to speak for the whole team. The whole entire team, we know now the areas that we have to make improvements in. We knew it yesterday when we knew it was occurring because it was pretty obvious stuff. It was a team loss that I take full responsibility for. I will say I am very encouraged by how today went that our team and our group of guys will not let this keep them from doing great things.”