As I looked at yesterday I felt good about the fact that Ginn did not hurt us. His presence there is always something that you have to be totally concerned about. We only punted twice. One, the ball was allowed to bounce and the other one was out of bounds. In the kickoff area we really pounded the ball very well. Lawrence did a nice job of that. They had two returns. I think 26 and 25 were where they were. Frank Gore as a rusher didn’t hurt us – as a matter of fact, holding them to 77 yards rushing, where they had averaged 138. We got hurt by the touchdown run after the second turnover and a few runs in between there, but by in large, we did a pretty good job with that. We did lose the turnover battle, we know we preached about that. And then the turnover thing, we were minus-one. The second turnover really hurt us and they scored on a running play immediately following that. Then we were one-for-four in the green zone, which we talked about all week as being critical. We have to score touchdowns. They kicked field goals, but that’s not something that we knew in the long run was going to be an issue. That pretty much sums it up. We waited until late. We drove and scored. Our defense got us the ball right back. We drove the length of the field and then you know the result. It was fourth-and-two. We had converted two fourth downs, felt really good about what we had and had a ball batted-down on us. That frustration that you come away with, having come down the field – and felt good about it. Your team is all rallied up and looking forward to a finish of a score and overtime – didn’t happen.
Q: Can you go over the injuries – Boley and Ross?
A: Boley – hamstring. It will end up being day-to-day. Ross has the left quad contusion. He would be day-to-day as well.
Q: Anybody else?
A: Not significant. We have some bumps and bruises, but we’ll see how they come out tomorrow.
Q: Are there any particular reasons why you haven’t finished the season the same way you’ve started it and how to alleviate them?
A: You have to take each year one at a time. You have to take each game one at a time. This is a game against a team that was 7-1 in the NFC. It’s not that we played poorly. It’s not that we da, da, da, da. We didn’t win the game. I don’t feel that we should ever give up 27 [points] and I’m certainly not satisfied with [scoring] 20 points. But as a far as analyzing why and what, we didn’t play well enough to win. That’s it. Does it have anything to do with the second half [of the season]? No. It has to do with the ninth game of the year, which I felt we had a great chance to win. With the ball on the ten yard-line with a minute to play, I felt very good about it. It’s been the same scenario that we’ve won game after game with. So here we are again and this time it didn’t happen.
Q: Because you’ve been able to come from behind and win, do you think there’s a false sense of ‘we can come back?’ Would it be better to get a lead so that these late-game heroics are not necessary down the stretch?
A: It sounds good. It’s a good scenario. If that would to be the case, that would be fine, but it hasn’t been the case. We do have great belief in what’s been going on. We didn’t win the fourth quarter yesterday, but we do have great belief that good things are going to happen, whenever they are going to occur. It’s a 60-minute game. We play it that way. Sure it would be nice to have a cushion and a lead, but you’re always going to have to play your way through the end of the football game, no matter what. However you do it, if you win the game, that’s the objective.
A: Everybody is important. I don’t agree with the statement necessarily. Michael’s very important to us. He’s our middle backer. He communicates. He’s played very, very well. We want to get him back as fast as we possibly can. That’s our goal, to get him healthy again so he can come back on the field and play the way he’s capable of playing and that’s the whole purpose of this thing. It’s not about any one individual, it’s about a team. Someone now is going to have to step up, if he can’t go, and perform the duties that he had and try to help us win a game.
Q: How do you clear up the confusion that the young linebackers seem to have?
A: The guys that are going to have to play will have an entire week of practicing whatever spot it is and how we determine that it will be played. The practice week is the important thing.
A: That’s the way it should have been, yes.
Q: Whether Eli has led a successful fourth quarter comeback or not, does he always come back to work the same way?
A: Absolutely. I use the term valid self-analysis. He does a great job of that. He is straight forward. He wants the answers. He’s not afraid to be wrong or admit that he’s wrong on a certain play. He’s good for his teammates that way. All he wants to do is be the best he can be. If there is something that needs to be ironed out, he wants it that way. If there’s ever a situation where he could have done something better, then he volunteers it. But he is always the same.
Q: The special teams problems that we saw this weekend, are they correctable? Do you think it’s a personnel problem?
A: What problem are you referring to?
Q: The penalties.
A: They’re correctable. Penalties are correctable, yes. I can’t imagine someone thinking they’re going to get away with happened there yesterday and not be called for a penalty. That’s easy. You either do it the way it’s supposed to be done or you’re not going to play. That’s not a hard one.
Q: And the onsides kick preparation?
A: [David Akers] is exceptional at it. What is he – nine of 19 in his career with surprise onsides? You talk all week about it. You do the best you can with that. We let our guard down just a little bit, didn’t attack the ball and that was the consequence. So I take responsibility for that. It’s a very difficult thing. There’s nothing different about his approach to the ball. There’s no substitution pattern. It’s a little bit of a two-edged sword. You have to, on the one hand, be prepared to defend against that and then on the other hand, you’re responsible for being downfield making a block that helps us with a return. He’s very good at it. I make no excuse for it. I’ll take the responsibility for it, again. We talked about it all week long. We talked about how impressive he is. We showed [the players] everything about his approach and so on and so-forth, but we obviously let our guard down a little bit and they got it. That’s correctable, yes.
Q: Michael Vick has two broken ribs. How does that alter your preparation?
A: I haven’t even begun to gain or gather information about Philadelphia. I can just tell you this, they are a talented football team. We’re going to prepare as hard as we can and whatever the circumstances are, we’ll have to deal with it in our preparation. But as of this time, I have not begun that aspect of it.
Q: When Tollefson was drawn offsides, was that stretching the rules a little bit or is that an acceptable play?
A: You have to understand that the intent to deceive is something that has to be determined. The officials did not think that that was intent to deceive. We can disagree all we want. It happened before, on a fourth-and-one, for them and they were called for it. But it’s obvious that it’s a part of their plan and they execute it very well. On that particular play, the backside tight end did false start and that wasn’t called.
Q: Ballard on the last play, was he being tackled?
A: I think that it’s safe to say that that was defensive holding, yes.
Q: Do you think you might be able to get Bradshaw back this week?
A: We’ll see. There is no sense speculating. He’s going to have to go out and practice and he’s certainly had a couple of good, solid weeks of rest and hopefully he’ll be able to do some things. Probably won’t know until we get him out there.
Q: Going into a game where you might play two quarterbacks, how does that affect the preparation?
A: In this case you have two very gifted and talented quarterbacks who can do some of the same things. So there are some areas that are similar and there are some that will have to be differentiated.
Q: You don’t play the Cowboys, who seem to be your primary competition in the division, until the end of the season. Would you prefer that was different?
A: I don’t even bother with that kind of stuff. We play the Philadelphia Eagles this week. It is our schedule. That’s what’s been dictated to us. I don’t try to get involved with the what-ifs kind of stuff in terms of that. I think you waste a lot of time and thought in that type of thing. There’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing is going to change. You just go about your business now. We have our next opponent and it is in the division and it is a very big game, as you know.
Q: Is there a part of you that comes away feeling some positive things about yesterday?
A: Absolutely. We have a group of fighters. We have a team of guys that will fight you and battle you. It’s not always going our way. Yesterday wasn’t. We didn’t play especially well yesterday, but we do fight and we do battle. Despite some errors and so-on and so-forth, our effort is good and we do fight. We do battle. That’s the key thing. As long as we continue to do that I think we can correct a lot of these other things. I know we can play better because many people who played yesterday didn’t play as well as they did the week before. That’s something that we have to get straightened around, no doubt. But there are a lot of positives, yeah, a lot of positives.
Q: Are there certain characteristics of this team compared to others you’ve had?
A: I think there’s good unity in this team and I think they believe in each other and I think they enjoy being around each other and working with one another. I’m not comparing them to any other team that we’ve had. I’m just talking about this team.
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