Todd Haley Postgame Comments

Posted Jan 9, 2011


Opening Statement: “First I want to give great respect to the Baltimore Ravens, their coaching staff, Coach Harbaugh, the entire coaching staff. They have done a terrific job. They have a terrific team that has done a lot of special things and I would venture to say that they’re going to do something special from here on out. I want to take my hat off to them.


“It was a tough one. In the game I thought we got great experience for a lot of young guys that hadn’t been part of this. If they take from this what they need to do, which is to understand that in these big games it’s about playing your best football, or close to your best football, and it’s all the things we talk about from day one, which is to protect the football. You can’t turn the football over and expect to win, you can’t take sacks, you can’t give up scoring opportunities in playoff games. Every point’s going to count. I thought we did some good things in the game and we did some not so good things. I thought we were in the game. Obviously in the third quarter we were sitting there, in their end, with a fourth down. We were a little worried about the field goal there, we went for it, which I don’t have a problem with. It just was not a well-executed, well-conceived play, just probably what started to turn the game into the situation we ended up in.

“We got a lot of guys some great experience in a much bigger game so that they understand and take that with them. I take my hat off to our guys. I thought it was a really good year for us; year two of our program and what we’re trying to get done. I thought we clearly got the ship turned around and going in the right direction and were able to have a lot of fun. I think we were able to get things going into the direction it’s going to continue to go. Now we just have to keep building; we have to keep building, keep adding, keep creating competition, keep getting better. It was a tough ending to a really fun year and a year where we made a lot of progress. My message to our guys was don’t let a tough ending over-shadow a lot of really good things. We made some really good progress. Now the important thing is to build on it and continue to take the steps that you have to [in order] to win a couple of those.”

In your best game, could you have beaten that team? “That’s not fair for me to say. We just did too many things that get you beat. We were doing some good things. The game was going about the way playoff games go. We had an early turnover that was a killer because we had the lead, we were moving across the 50, I believe, we had moved into their territory and we turned the ball over. I don’t think points came out of it, but that’s just a momentum changer because we were moving the football, having success running it, and turned it over. If you get points there, now you’re putting yourself into a position where you can succeed, so that was one of those game-changing moments that we need to learn from.”

During the week there were some match-ups that you thought you could win? “I don’t think that was a case of us…the score would indicate that we got dominated and it is what it is, but at the same time, I think our guys understand that we need to go out and do things more efficiently in the future against a team like that, an experienced team that has played in a bunch of these games. As I said, experience wasn’t going to be the factor if we didn’t let it. We had to go out there and play football the way we have this year when we’ve played well, which is much more efficiently than what we saw there and if we had, there’s no way for me to say how the game would have gone, but I know we would have felt a lot better about ourselves.”

Jamaal Charles seemed to be the only one able to move the ball, but he was also the one putting it on the ground. How do you balance that? “I just think you do what you know as a coach to try to have some feel for the situation. Jamaal had taken some big shots, he was fighting to be out there for us, but he was struggling through. He went through a stretch there where I knew he was hurting pretty good; they’re a physical group. But we put the ball on the ground. We can’t do it. We talked about it and we knew if we did that, we would probably have a hard time winning the game. We ended up getting a good break off a hustle play where they were a little careless with the ball after the tipped ball interception and I thought that would give us a little life and then we moved it and ended up in the fourth-down situation. As I’ve said all year, we’ve had some really good team wins and some really good team losses. This was a team loss. That’s the way the guys want it and that’s the way it will be.”

Going into next season, what does Jamaal have to do to show you that he can be a guy that can handle more carries? “I’m not going to second guess how we’ve handled this year. We have a lot of experienced coaches that handled things the way we handled them throughout the year and some of those will look like the right way and some of those will look like the wrong way. Unless you go and win the Super Bowl, that’s life in the big city. Jamaal did a great job of continuing to develop; he’s one of our developing players that’s really exciting to be around and exciting to continue to see him grow. We’re in here every day and we’ve got to make decisions as we see fit for our team, and that includes the state of health, all different factors that you have to take into account.”

What did the Ravens do to keep Dwayne Bowe shut out? “I have to look at the tape. You have a game like that and one of the guys that you’ve kind of ridden throughout the year, appears to be un-involved in the plan. I have to take my hat off to the Ravens and their plan coming into the game. Again we’ve got to do a better job of figuring out ways to get the ball in the hands of our guys that have consistently made plays.”

Is Bowe fully healthy? “He was good to go, fought back from that and had a good couple days and was good to go. Dwayne is just as frustrated as anybody.”

What do you think the giveaway/takeaway ratio would need to be for you all to have a chance to win this game? “I think you need to be in the plus. If you’re in the plus at home history and the statistics dictate that you’re going to win a little over eight out of 10 games and 2 gets you up into the nineties. Our goal each and every game is to create a few turnovers and protect the football on the offensive side. We were able to get the ball off of them, but turnovers will get you beat and that was the case today.”

What were some things that you saw that were not characteristic of this team? “At halftime the guys felt good about where we were in the game. We knew we were going to get the football, and much like 16 other games during the year, we understand that it’s important to go down the field, offensively and try to get something positive to happen and make some first downs first and foremost, and turn it into points, and we did that. Again, we had a hustle play, made something good happen early after the first third down; sometimes those plays can really jump start you and it appeared that that was happening. I felt we did a good job with tempo and moving the football and we get into a fourth and inches and we’d probably like to have that one over.”

How do you get control of it? How do you calm everybody down and prevent future mistakes? “We just have to review the tape, learn from it, all of us, coaches and players alike. I thought our players. I was proud of the way they were handling themselves, especially through the pregame and the early parts of that game, the guys were settling down and playing football and that’s what it comes down to is just playing football. There’s some additional hype but they were handling that. We just didn’t execute in the first half well enough because I think we could have been in a much better situation, and then in the second half we did not execute a whole bunch, it did not appear. I want to watch the tape and see exactly what happened. There were good things and there were bad things and the bad things clearly out-weighed the good things and turnovers, loss of downs in the fringe will do that to you.”

Through 15 weeks, your quarterback had thrown five interceptions, then the last two weeks he’s thrown five interceptions. Is there anything that stands out about the last couple of weeks? “I think I’ll save the year-end review for another time. I think what’s important here is that our guys came out as a team, lost a big game, but there’s a lot to learn from that game. The important thing is that it doesn’t overshadow [the season], though this is what we play for, all the sacrifice, all the hard work is to have an opportunity to play these games and your goal is to win them so that you can play another one, but we didn’t do that. We did grow as a lot as a team and we’ll grow a lot from this, I’m sure.”

Was Jamaal limited at all in the second half after the injury in the first? “He was struggling through some things, but Jamaal’s a fighter. I can’t say enough about so many of the guys on this team and he’s one of them. The desire is there, so when you have that, combined with a bunch of skill, that means we have a chance. We just need to continue the process we are in because I’ve been very clear that we are still in the process. We’re not there; I think that’s been pretty obvious throughout the year. We’ve made a lot of progress and we just need to continue doing the things that we know you have to do to become a consistently good team that can go out there and win some of these games.”

What was it that you saw on that fourth and inches call (early in the third quarter) specifically that prompted you to do what you did? “We had a play that we practiced that we obviously thought a lot more of than what occurred. When they work, they’re good plays and when they don’t they’re bad plays, bad calls, and that’s one of those.”

How would you categorize your feelings right now after this great turnaround mixed with this playoff loss? “You have a great amount of disappointment. I’ve said to the guys that once you get into this portion of the year, when you’re playing this second season, the post-season, it ends quickly. There’s no way to put into words the feeling that you have when one of these goes the way. It doesn’t matter if you lost by one point, or 90 points, it’s the same feeling. There is no pat on the back that’s going to make you feel a lot better right now, but I think as the head coach, the leader of this team, we have to understand that, much like any loss, you can’t let losses drag you down and take away all the progress that you’ve made and I think that’s what’s important right now.”

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