Q: How much concern do you have with the position changes on the offensive line?
A: You always have concern, whatever the position change is that takes place. Obviously up there it can have an impact everything. Not just passing game, but everything, run game, pass game, protection of the quarterback, what have you. You’re concerned and you just hope that whoever you put in there is going to rise up and play the way you think he can, or he wouldn’t be on the team. We wouldn’t put him in in the first place. We’re confident. We have some guys in the backup role who can play.
Q: 19 yards rushing, just a bad game all around?
A: It was a bad game all around. There’s no question. You hope that it was an aberration, that it’s not a downward spiral. We actually thought we were making some headway, not as fast or as much as you’d like, but we thought it would get better and improve. But last week is not what you were looking for.
Q: Is this where it’s good to have those versatile backup linemen?
A: No question. Guys that are both experienced and you believe are physically good enough that you can go out and plug them in and perform and not be overwhelmed or outmanned physically. We think we have that.
A: I think so. He’s a tough kid and has been practicing, hasn’t missed anything. I’m sure it’s sore. A lot of guys are beat up, but they just keep going. And knowing the way he is, I’ll be shocked if he allowed this to affect his play.
Re: Ballard’s drops against Philadelphia.
A: It wasn’t good. It wasn’t like him. He’s made some spectacular catches. I had just read in some article that he caught 15 of his 17 throws his direction and then last week. I hope we got all out of our system, every which way, both drops and protection and run game and this week we’ll be back the way that we’ve been.
Q: Is there any thought of practicing in some crowd noise this week?
A: We do that every week when we’re away. Yeah, we have that in. They’re out there, the systems. I get a headache every time we’re playing an away game on Thursdays and Fridays.
Q: Do you think that the identity of this team is changing toward the passing game?
A: We’ve always tried to be a balanced team. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’ll do whatever we have to to win. If we’re running the ball well we’ll continue to do that. I think when you can do both, that certainly makes it much more difficult for defenses. That will always be what our goal is and our objective is, but there’s no question that last week we were throwing the ball better than we were running the ball. So we wound up going to that. It actually hurts your ability to throw, too, if you can’t run a little bit. A lot of defensive people just pin their ears back and it also allows them to do some things schematically to make it more difficult. For us, it wasn’t scheme-wise. It was primarily two-deep. It was fairly simplistic, but they just outplayed us, there’s no question. Hopefully it was an aberration and not a start of a downward spiral. I believe in our guys. I think they’ll come back and we’ll try to run it.
Re: Wide receivers and tight ends developing since training camp
A: I think they’ve done a good job. I’ve been very fortunate that the coaches have helped certain guys that people didn’t think enough of to draft and we’ve made them household names. It’s a reflection of the character and the ability that they have and the quality of the Sean Ryans and the Mike Popes that have helped to make those guys and develop those guys into quality, contributing players.
Q: If it has to be a track meet with Drew Brees and
A: You’re going to play out every game as it unfolds. If it turns into that, then hopefully we’ll play in a way that allows us to keep pace. But I have confidence that our defense will be competitive and will slow him down and keep the game in a style that we find manageable. And we can contribute to that, too, by holding onto the ball and doing it a little bit more effectively than we did last week, hopefully more like we did in San Francisco, where we did a phenomenal job of holding onto the ball.
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