Coach Reid's Monday Follow-Up

The team's head coach assesses Sunday's game against San Diego

OPENING STATEMENT: "Okay, let me give you the injuries here, Jeff Allen has a groin strain; he was able to finish the game. He's a little sore today, but working it out. Jon Asamoah had the shoulder contusion and didn't play. He is actually making progress here. Tamba Hali has an ankle sprain, did have an MRI on it and that's what it is, a slight ankle sprain. He'll continue to work this week. He was moving around a little better today than he was after the game yesterday. Justin Houston subluxed his elbow and we weren't able to do the MRI because he has quite a bit of swelling there and they weren't able to get him into the position that they wanted to, to do the MRI. We'll wait a day or so to get the swelling down and then go from there.  Mike DeVito is making progress with his knee. He had a sprained knee and didn't play. Eric Fisher is also doing better with his shoulder. We'll just see how it goes by Wednesday.

I say this after winning and I'm going to say it after this loss, I do appreciate the fan support. When it came down to that last drive, they were all in. I do appreciate that from a coach's standpoint. It was a crazy day in football, when you can have six games in the National Football League come down to the last 50 seconds, you understand the intensity of the games at this time of the year and the parity within the National Football League. We were one of those six. We have to make sure that we take care of our game and learn from this. There were some good things, during the game, and there were some things that we can definitely learn from and we will learn from. Offensively, the turnover ended up in points. You can't give the turnovers up in any situation, particularly in that field position. The red zone, with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter at the seven-yard line, we weren't able to get it in, punch it in there. We came out with three points, so obviously we want touchdowns.

Defensively, we have to—I would tell you about both sides of the ball and special teams—we have to execute better. The short catches and long gains, you have to negate those. Good passing teams are going to catch the football and you have to tackle them at that point and not give up the big yards. We had a chance again for a couple of turnovers there, one right down the stretch. The ball bounces funny, so we weren't able to pick up on that, but we had a chance for two big ones, one for a score that they ended up throwing the ball in the end zone for a score. We were in a position to make an interception there and it ended up being three points, but points are big in a game there, when you're going back and forth.

That last drive, we had a chance. We had a 3rd-and-10 there. I'll tell you that my defense, I have tremendous confidence in them in situations like that. I think we all felt that something good was going to happen right there, and 99-percent of the time, my defense is going to hold the team when the offense has put up 38 points. My trust level hasn't decreased a bit in the guys at all on either side of the ball. The main point here is that we need to get better. We're sitting here at 9-2, and (when) you come off a game like that—and this is everybody—you feel like your heart has been ripped out and you have to learn from it. That's what you have to do. Normally, it means that you've worked hard enough that it hurts. If it doesn't hurt then you have a problem. Special teams wise, we had some good returns, which probably the negative was that we had some penalties there that gave opportunities for good field position. We have to do a better job with that."

Q: Was Tamba Hali a high ankle sprain?

REID: "No, not a high ankle."

Q: Is that better?

REID: "Yeah, that's better than a high ankle sprain. I think both he and the doctors and coaches all felt better after his MRI."

Q: Do you expect Tamba Hali at practice this week?

REID: "I don't know that, we'll just see how he does. He made big improvements from yesterday, but we have to see just how he does."

Q: Is he off crutches now?

REID: "He was on crutches after the game and today was able to walk in the pool. He came in with one crutch, so we're half way there."

Q: Is this the best possible outcome for Tamba Hali?

REID: "Yes it is. The MRI was a positive."

Q: How surprised are you that you weren't able to get the MRI on Justin Houston done today?

REID: "I wasn't surprised, it swelled up. You could see it swelled up, after the game. They tried to keep the swelling down, but you could see that it was puffing up after the game in the locker room and then overnight it swelled up more. I get it, I understand how that works and we'll wait and see."

Q: Did you stay up to watch the end of the Broncos-Patriots game?

REID: "I did."

Q: Is it better to play a team that is also coming off a tough loss?

REID: "You'll have two of them that are playing that came off of heart-wrenchers. We're meeting with the players today, so we'll get this one knocked out, and we have to continue to learn and get better. That's what we have to do. We'll learn from our mistakes and then get ready to play a good football team. It should be a great atmosphere. You have two teams that are 9-2, same division. That's what it's all about. We just have to get through today and get this son of a gun knocked out, learn from it and get better."

Q: Do you like playing teams back to back? What are the pros and cons?

REID: "Well, you're going to play each other anyway. I haven't really put much thought into that part. I've played them literally back-to-back before. That's a little different. At least we have a space in here where we have seen some different things, seen some different things that we've done. It lets you build a resume between games there. It's different things that you do that they have to work on. It's a reciprocal effect there. They have a pretty good idea, by this time of the year, of what we're doing and we have a pretty good idea of what they're doing. Now you come down and you go play good football."

Q: What happened with you and Philip Rivers there on the sideline?

REID: "That was nothing. He's a competitive kid, and he played a heck of a game. We were just giving each other the business. It was all in good competition. He made me feel young for about two seconds there."

Q: You have these two games so close together; are you trying to change what you're doing somewhat or keep doing what you're doing and do it better?

REID: "This game is constantly changing. You're always making adjustments. Within the game, you're doing it and week to week. In this case, playing a team for the second time, you have to try to make subtle changes in there. Are you going to change the whole package? No, we put a lot of time and effort into what we are doing. We can get better in some spots and as coaches, we can put our players in better spots. I say that every week, but that's what's real. We can all do a better job."

Q: Is Frank Zombo the next man up for either linebacker spot if Justin Houston or Tamba Hali can't play? What side?

REID: "(Frank) Zombo would be the third guy, yeah. He can do either side."

Q: What are some of his characteristics that enable him to step into that role?

REID: "He's played a little football. He's had to do that at Green Bay, where he filled in and he did a nice job. You saw the hurry that he had yesterday and the pass rush ability. He's consistent; he's a smart kid. He's a consistent player."

Q: How important is the idea of team accountability?

REID: "That's important to have within the locker room. We all know we can get better. We have to make sure we fix a couple of things and get it right. As long as everybody is real with themselves—I mentioned that feels like you had your heart ripped (out) — well that's how it feels after a loss. You spend so much time and effort, both physical and mental, getting yourself ready to play in a game, that when you come up short, then you feel that way. You're real with that and you don't want that to go away. That's an important part of it. The important part is that you look inside and make sure you get done what you need to get done so that you can rebound that next week and play good football."

Q: A year ago this week, this franchise went through a pretty dark day. Do you remember where you were? What comes to mind and how do you relate to it?

REID: "Listen, I mean I can relate to him. I had something similar in my family. I got it. Talk about gut- wrenching experiences, that's what that is. My heart went out to him. I understood what they're going through. As it was then, it is today, that my thoughts and prayers are with both families. Life moves on; that's the reality of it. I said this when my son died, was that sometimes life throws you some curveballs and you can't bail. You have to stand in there and you have to swing. I thought this organization was phenomenal in how they handled this whole situation. That was a tough thing on everybody. You're going to be critiqued in a million different ways, but they handled it so well. They kept this team together, you know Romeo (Crennel) and Scotty (Pioli), I mean they kept this team together and probably even brought them closer together, which is a tribute to everybody."

Q: You approach this season as 16 separate games. As the season comes closer to the end, each game becomes more important. These last two weeks, is this an adjustment period for your team to take it up a notch?

REID: "Well, this is kind of what's fun about this business. You're within shooting distance right here and you get to this time of the year and you're in the hunt, what a beautiful thing that is. You remember where this thing started, way back in February, March; these guys have been busting their tails from that period on and all of the sudden you're sitting here and you have an opportunity where these games mean something. Good stuff, it means good stuff. That's the exciting part of it."

Q: Have they made the adjustment to the fact that maybe what they did to go 9-0, they have to do more?

REID: "Well, we're working on that. We're all doing that, as coaches and players. I can't sit here the last two weeks and tell you we're not in the win column, so we have to do more. That's the fact of it. We have to do a better job—a better job coaching, a better job playing, keep working hard and keep the attitude right."

Q: Have the rule changes from the league affected play calling? Do you see more rub routes, pick routes and crossing patterns?

REID: "That's a good question, because there were probably a few crossing routes in that game on both sides; they had a few and we had a few. What you're seeing is man coverage; everyone's playing it and matching up and that's when these crossing routes come in. (You have) big bodies and they're rolling around, so you're going to get these natural picks that take place. That's a bad word in the NFL, but they just take place. Rubs, you're in tight, tight quarters. You saw one play we ran from an offensive side, we released and like four guys fell down. They had a blitz coming, the one that A.J. (Jenkins) caught. You go back and look at that, there was no design to that. They were blitzing a bunch of people. We released two people up the field and it was like a train wreck. Those things happen; that's why you're seeing more of those with man coverage."

Q: How do you combat that?

REID: "You hope you end up with more than they end up with, positive plays. That's what you hope. There are techniques you can work on in your matchups, fundamentals and techniques you can use."

Q: Does this feel like a five game season?

REID: "Realistically, it is a five game season and you're down the stretch. You get past that halfway mark, and you're down the stretch. The importance of the games, they're all important, but at this point in the year, there's even more sugar on them than before."

Q: What about the timeout at the end? Was there a reason not to let the play clock run down more?

REID: "I mentioned I was just there with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. I wanted a touchdown there, obviously. Every point was a crucial point. Then we got snuffed on that next series and all of the sudden we're down there. We had had a couple of big plays and I can't tell you the tanks were full in the fourth quarter, I mean, guys are tired. It's a crazy time in the game with about 1:28 on the clock and so, I wanted every second that I could have to make sure we had three downs. We're talking about first down. I had the three timeouts. I wanted every second I needed to get (us) in the end zone to get a touchdown. I didn't want a field goal, that's not what I was shooting for. I wanted to make sure we gathered up, gave my guys a blow, get the best plays called, settle the situation, let's go score a touchdown and win the game. We happened to do it on the first play. I told you this at the beginning of this, I have the ultimate trust in my defense, that's how I feel. You tell me that my defense is going to hold them down with a minute and whatever on the clock, shoot, I'm betting on my defense. I just felt like, our team felt like, nobody was sitting on the bench. Everybody was up on the sideline going; we just knew something good was going to happen. I mentioned this; it's a game of inches. We were that close to having an interception right there. Dogonnit, 3rd-and-10 right there. It didn't happen. But, I thought that was the right thing to do."

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