OPENING STATEMENT:"Really there aren't any injuries to talk about today other than Dwayne Bowe has a quad contusion and a strain, that's why he did not play today. Donald Stephenson did not play because I need to get the guys who are going to play at the beginning of the season ready to go. We need to do a better job there. All in all I've got to make sure that I put the guys in a better position to do things and then when given the opportunity, we've got to make sure we execute. I thought after the first series, the defense did a nice job. Offensively, it clearly wasn't good enough. Whether it was protection or blocking we've got a seam and holes. But everyone got a piece of the pie. Throwing the ball, there was just no rhythm. Again, that's my responsibility as the play-caller, to make sure we get the guys into rhythm. We need to execute better in the red zone. "
What are your concerns with the offensive line and depth?"Well the depth – I want to make sure guys get in there and have a chance to work. We have a new right tackle and left guard and they needed the work so I left them in there a little longer so they could get a little bit of that. They're good players and we'll continue to work and get ourselves ready."
Can you talk about Jeff Allen at right tackle and the two guards who you shuttled in? "There were issues. I probably need to look at the tape before I say too much here, but obviously it wasn't good enough. The quarterback was hit too many times, you can't do that."
How tough is it to have continuity with no Jamaal Charles, no Dwayne Bowe, no Junior Hemingway, no Donald Stephenson, who you won't have, but how hard is it to get that rhythm?"The positive in that bit that we had there was that some young guys had an opportunity to play. We'll have that on film and we'll evaluate it. If they're guys that we end up keeping, then they're guys that have that much more experience under their belts."
What was going on with the scoring zone issues and Alex's two interceptions in the scoring zone? "Listen, I could have done better with the calls and once the call is made, we've got to be more secure with the ball and that's one of his strengths. They got the best of us today."
It seems uncharacteristic of Alex to throw two interceptions like that. Was it just some younger receivers and working through it with them? "I'm sure it was a combination of things, but inevitably, he's throwing and I'm calling so that's probably where the fingers need to be pointed, at the two of us and it's coming from me first. I've got to go back and look at some of our red zones."
It was 7-2, you're at the 3, why a 21-yard field goal to make it 7-5? Why not take another shot at the goal?"There's a lot of things in it, but the way we were moving the football at that time, I thought it was the right thing to do. Plus, I'm trying to get a look at the kicker and give him an opportunity to get another kick under his belt."
Don't you know he can make a 21-yard field goal?"Well we hope he can."
Speaking of the kicking competition, what do the two need to do to earn the job? What are you looking for?"Well just continue to have the battle go. I mean, they're very close right now. So just keep rolling with it."
How do you feel about the team's depth at this point as you're getting ready to pare down the roster and trying to give guys looks? "Well in certain spots I think we have some depth, at other spots we're young, with potential there. We've just got to keep getting better."
I'll follow-up with the kicking: will next week be Ryan's Succop? "We'll see. We'll see how it goes. I haven't gotten that far yet."
How big of a concern is it to not have scored any touchdowns?"You know, tonight was disappointing. I mean it in a sense that basically it was game week. We treated it as such. There was a little more game planning that went into this and preparation. We got down there twice which was the disappointing thing. To walk away with no points, the turnovers hurt. You'd love to get touchdowns all the time. In a game like today though, the field goals would've helped too especially going there into halftime. Going into halftime would've been a much different game if we could've walked away with points. Yeah, it hurts. You'd love to get down there and score touchdowns every time. With that, I think they are things we'll learn from. Mistakes I don't think I'll make again."
Is that offensive line giving you what you need? "Yeah absolutely. I don't think that had anything to do with it. You know, really on the first one, it was just a matter of being late. He was open and I needed to see it a little sooner and cut it loose in there and tried to fit it in a little late. It cost me. Things are tight down there. When things are tight, things happen fast. Really disappointed in the second one. Third down trying to make it happen trying to move the chains there to force an in and I didn't see the guy until the end. Bad decision, but I think they are two things that are very fixable. Need to be fixed certainly."
How do you evaluate these preseason games without some of your key players? "I mean it's still about execution. I think when you turn the film on tomorrow when we look at it, whether or not Dwayne's (Bowe) in there or Jamaal (Charles) or whoever's out, we're expected to come in and execute. So much of it comes down to the little things. I mean, it's the next guy up. It's not unreasonable to think that you are going to go in this season without those guys. It's the nature of football. You're not going to be able to use that as a crutch. We've got to be able to make plays with whoever is out there."
How comfortable are you going into regular season knowing it is unlikely that any starters will play this last preseason game? "Obviously I think we all would've loved to have ended here on a better note not knowing what is going to happen next week. But this being the big game, you would've love to have shown a little better. I just feel very comfortable with where we're at. We've got a ton of great work in at camp and throughout this preseason here. I feel like we moved the ball well. Just needed to finish and didn't do it today. Obviously we need to get it fixed but I don't think anything is to be panicked or worried about."
Did you get a sense of how the first game will look without Dwayne (Bowe) in the season opener? "Yeah, a little bit of it is realistic, isn't it? He's not going to be there for the first game. It's a good opportunity for those guys, all of us in the pass game because really it's not just on the guy who steps in and plays his position, but all of us in the passing game that need to step up. I think it was great practice for us. It's a great opportunity for the younger guys to come in and play."
Any improvement in this offense tonight? "I think so. With that, it's a different opponent, it's a different matchup, it's different than last week. If we were playing Carolina again, then you would hope to see different improvement, but this is a whole other test. You've prepped all week to get ready for it. There's some unknown there too. They're prepping and getting ready and they don't tell you what they're running. So, a little bit of that yeah. It's expected to go out there and execute and you do expect to take steps as the preseason moves on. Like I said, I felt like we moved it pretty well at times. You've got to be able to finish in the red zone. It's what so much of this game is about, scoring points and when you do get down there, you want to come away with a touchdown. Yes, and no, to answer your question. Yeah, you do expect to have improvement leading up to the regular season. With that, each week and each game is a different challenge."
There was a little more investment in this game this week. We saw more than we've seen in all of the preseason games tonight. Was that to get this offense going? "I think those are things we've practiced all of camp. We do a lot of personnels and trying to find match ups and things like that. Certainly the first time we got some of that in a preseason game. This is a dress rehearsal, right? We've talked about it all week. This was that. So yeah, we were going to get a few more of those things in there. You know, wrinkles."