COUGHLIN: Good afternoon. I tried to point out to our team today right off the bat how long our game is, and how things change and how they can happen. Even looking at the second half, there were two circumstances which could've turned the game around. The ball was unfortunately on our 27-yard line and our 30-yard line. On the one hand, we forced them to kick a field goal and on the second hand, we made Blackburn's big interception. Those were huge factors in the ball game and the way the game came about. The other thing that took place that we always strive for and we work hard at, but doesn't always come to the surface is our four-minute offense. We held the ball, finished the game with the ball in our hands and did not have to give the ball back to Cleveland. I thought that was a plus. Our running game was much better; much has been discussed, you don't need me to comment on that. Statistically, we did very well with that. We had a number of big-play runs, which was very instrumental in our victory. I didn't think our special teams played as well as we've been playing. I think our return game and our cover game goes to show that. The veteran kicker did move the ball around on us a little bit. I didn't think our angles were very good when we brought the ball out. I thought that their speed and ability to out maneuver our blockers was apparent. We didn't get the ball to where we wanted to get the ball in a continuation to having played well the week before with our kickoff return team. We obviously didn't cover well, that's not to take anything away from (Josh) Cribbs, he's an outstanding return man, powerful. A lot of low-target tackles were missed against him. We've recognized that. I thought defensively, unfortunately again for us, was a little bit of 'two different halves.' The one thing that I would comment on would be the missed tackles from a standpoint of our defensive side of the ball. I would again remind you that Cleveland has played everybody very, very tough this year. One week removed, or ten days removed from playing Baltimore very tough, in which they threw a pick-six. If that had been a touchdown, it might've been a little different story in the game. They are a good team; a physical team. They came in here with many, many stats. We did have a good day from the standpoint of our offense, with regard to that. However, it wasn't all the way around, and we're still searching to play all three phases in harmony with one another. Questions?
Q: On the shorter kicks by Phil Dawson, what should've happened?
A: He had a 'mortar kick.' He had a couple that he directed, the one to Andre Brown was obviously directed away from the returner. Andre should've kept the ball in the end zone. He should not have brought that one out. The ball that was kicked short, the 'mortar kick,' should've been taken right up the sideline, which I think would've been a little bit more productive than trying to really out distance a fast cover team. We could do some things about that.
Q: How much better are the 49ers offensively than last year?
A: Apparently they are a very good team, and I'm not ready to talk about the 49ers. I'll talk about them on Wednesday.
Q: How is Andre Brown feeling?
A: He's not 100 percent, that's obvious.
Q: Was that David Wilson's call as to whether or not he should bring the ball out?
A: Well, in theory it is, yeah, but he probably should've known that the timing of the return was not going to be very good and stayed in. Then again, it's the off-returner, he has to help him stay in there.
Q: What's wrong with Andre?
A: Were you at the game?
Q: Yeah, I didn't hear what it was.
A: He has a concussion.
Q: Three concussions in five weeks for your team, what are your thoughts?
A: Well, you don't want that to happen. That's something that a lot of time, energy and effort has been put towards trying to make sure that this doesn't happen, but they are all different circumstances. The one, Ramses Barden seemed to indicate he got hit in the back of the head. Of course, Andre was straight up. You just hope that these things don't happen. The equipment is as good as it can be, but you have big, strong, fast people running into each other.Q: What were your thoughts on the blocking of the tight ends and the wide receivers?
A: And the full back too, and the full back as well. That was a group effort, no doubt. Our runner ran very hard. He was very passionate about his play yesterday. I heard the remark that he made about the fumble upsetting him. He was upset with himself for that. You have good plays; you have not-so-good plays. Yesterday, we had a few more that lined up in that plus category. I thought that the tight ends did block well, and the full back did block well and in key situations, in particular Victor (Cruz) and Domenik (Hixon) did a nice job blocking in front of the ball.Q: When Bradshaw was close to the 200 mark, were you aware that he was approaching that milestone?
Q: Is it gratifying to see him so appreciative of getting that mark, it's a big deal to a running back.
A: It's a big deal for a coach. It's a big deal for the offensive line. The first thing he yelled out when he came into the locker room is he congratulated the offensive line.
Q: Were you satisfied with the pass rush yesterday?
A: How could we be satisfied? We didn't touch the passer again.
Q: Have you been able to figure out what's wrong with the pass rush?
A: No, most of the time I spend talking about the opponent's strategy. Strategy or not, it has definitely slowed us down a little bit. We have to look hard at how we can get this thing resolved, and get some pressure on the quarterback. We're going to try to do that. Again, we're going to try to help the players be in the best position they can be in to pressure the quarterback.Q: Coach Fewell said that sometimes guys just have to make a play, do you agree?
A: You're always hoping for that. When things are really rolling your way, you see that, and it's very obvious. Maintaining discipline, getting off on the jump, creating some situations where it is single, you are singled up rather than the back hanging around or the tight end having to confront the defensive end first before moving on. We've had pressure from inside too. We've had Linval (Joseph) put pressure on. We didn't have much of that yesterday. Our linebackers, when you bring people, you hope you would get home, or when you come off the edge, you hope that you would get home. There wasn't a lot of that, but when we did, it obviously didn't have much of an impact.
Q: How much could Chris Canty help with that after he returns from the PUP?
A: Well, we certainly hope so.
Q: Do you not want Ahmad Bradshaw to have 30 carries in a game, or is it more situational?
A: That's not the point. The point of the matter is, Andre was out of the game right away. I think David's (Wilson) play, he had two good runs. One was a solid, physical run. The other one he burst through some arm tackles and ran into the end zone. The ability to bring him along has been first and foremost in our mind, as well as making sure Andre had a chance for a bigger contribution than he did the week before, but when pressed into this situation yesterday, Ahmad rose up and did an outstanding job. That's a lot of carries; he caught the ball as well out of the backfield. He had an outstanding game. Certainly you would applaud that kind of play. If we could take a little bit off of him in different ways that would be fine, and continue to develop these younger guys along the way as hell.
Q: If he's that hot you have no problem letting him go?
A: I'm cheering.
Q: David Wilson had two rushes for 44 yards and a touchdown. Does that give you some confidence in him?
Q: Will he see more snaps on offense?
A: We'll see.
Q: When Wilson is in the game, he seems to touch the ball a lot. Is that an indicator in his status right now?
A: You're watching the games. Yeah, there's certain things he does, and we'll continue to do that with him. He may go in as a decoy too.
Q: How is the defensive line handling the run?
A: Well, we didn't stop the run very well yesterday. The yardage overall wasn't the feeling you had during the course of the game. Again, we did a little bit better job in the second half than we did in the first half. It wasn't just the run; the screen hurt us yesterday, and everyone's standing on the sideline yelling out, 'watch the screen.' The missed tackles are the concern.
Q: Is that the best your offensive line has played this season?
A: Well, we've had some very good games protecting the quarterback. We haven't had the running numbers that we had yesterday. From a run-standpoint, you'd have to say yes.
Q: Is it good to get that going before a physical game with San Francisco?
A: Yes, very well said.
Q: How much of an emphasis has been put on pass protection this year?
A: The emphasis is always there. This is how you play and how you try to put things together and win. You can't afford any type of deficiency. If you're going to be well rounded and do the things that we would like to do; we did hold the ball well yesterday, which was a good thing; you're going to have to be able to accomplish things in all different phases. That's no more emphasis now than it has ever been in the past and the run equally.
Q: * *Do you believe in the notion that if the defense keeps playing the way they are, the stats will come?
A: Absolutely. The more we play, the better we'll get. There are some things that we do have to tweak and look at, naturally. It's ongoing, you always have to change and adjust. We'll continue to do that.
Q: Rueben Randle spoke about his one-on-one meetings with Eli Manning, have you seen an improvement in his performance?
A: I saw an improvement in his performance with regard to just handling the pressure. It wasn't too big for him. He wanted it. He was looking forward to it. He showed you the ability that we all believe that he has, and we can take advantage of. It is a continual process, but what I saw for the most part, I liked.
Q: Is there something you can do to get your offense going earlier in the games?
A: Well, we'll take the 500 yards. We don't need to give anybody a 14-point head start if that's what you're getting at. I'd like to take it every time and score. It doesn't work that way. Those other guys out there are pretty good. Yeah, we need to start faster, but we also need to finish. Finish, finish, finish. We finished pretty good yesterday.
Q: Do you know if you'll have Hakeem Nicks back at practice this week?
A: I'm going to wait until I gather all of that information, no. I would say no.
Q: Has Ramses Barden been cleared yet?
A: Yes, he did. He was in the meetings today and when I had an opportunity to visit with him, he was bright-eyed and very excited about being back; smiling, that type of thing.
Q: When will you make a decision on Tyler Sash? Around four o'clock deadline?
A: Probably at four o'clock.
Q: To clarify, did you say that you don't expect Hakeem this week?
A: I didn't say that at all. I'm saying, let's take it one day at a time here. Let's see how it works out.
Q: Seemed like Boley loosened up as the game went on, was he able to take more snaps?
A: Yeah, but he also was a part of a package that they ended up having to go to because of the lateness of the hour and the fact that they had to score relatively quickly.
Q: Eli seems to pick up all the replacements on offense, is there anyone on the defense that can do that?
A: Well you have a whole different kind of a relationship there. You have the guy who initially has the ball in his hands, and many times is dealing with who is going to get the ball. From day one, Eli meets with the running backs about protection. He meets with the receivers and the tight ends about the passing game and what his expectations are, coverages and adjustments to coverage and that kind of thing. I don't know if that same relationship happens in other spots on the defensive side of the ball, but to say that someone wouldn't be a catalyst for taking someone aside and letting them know how important it is for them to make a contribution week in and week out. Certainly we have that. I hope that would happen. I know on special teams it happens a lot of times. I think on defense it would too with Chase Blackburn probably being a pivotal guy in that.
Q: Is Martellus Bennett's knee an issue?
A: I hope it's not, but he's being evaluated.
Q: Still just hyper-extended?
A: They're just trying to see what they have to work with.
Q: Has Nicks had an MRI on the knee?
A: Yes. It's a knee. He has two of them.