Head Coach Ben McAdoo**
Defensively, we played good run defense in the first half and we didn't let 84 (Antonio Brown) wreck the game. What we need to work on, our second half run defense was not up to our standards. We need to clean up our tackling, defend the screen game better and get off the field on third down.
Offensively, what we did well, we took advantage of a sudden change opportunity. What we need to work on: when you're struggling and it's tough to move the ball, it's hard to overcome setbacks and we have to eliminate the setbacks, the unforced errors. We had four penalties that were costly and at inopportune times, like I talked about last night. Turnovers in the green zone that changed the complexion of the game and Timmons made a tremendous play right there, but it changed the complexion of the ball game. Third and fourth down production must improve. Blocking fundamentals at every position need to get better and we need to finish and fight for every yard available.
Special teams, what we did well, no penalties and drew five on the opponent. Punt after a safety was productive. We generated field position on a couple of opportunities and we kept 84 from wrecking the game. What we need to work on, we need to eliminate the missed the tackles and tighten up the wedge spacing and timing.Q: To be as committed to the three-receiver set as you are, why not commit to getting all three of those receivers involved? *
A: That's a good question. I'm sure you're referring to Victor's (Cruz) comments. When you have been as inconsistent as we have on offense, it's a challenge. Victor, like everybody else, including myself, wants to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. So my door is always open for any of these guys that want to come in and have a conversation.Q: The week before, it was Sterling Shepard, so it's not as if it's a one-time thing with one receiver. It's been a problem all season long.*
A: Yeah, we are inconsistent there. Victor played, I believe, 26 snaps and Roger Lewis played 23 and we had one reception between the two of them.
Q: How much frustration is there on the offensive side the past couple of weeks?
A: I think there's a heightened sense of awareness that we need to get better and we need to improve and we need to keep working at it.
Q: You say keep working at it, but do you think it's time to make some more drastic changes?
A: When we see the film, we see there are opportunities there. Again, the unforced errors and the setbacks when you're playing inconsistent football on the offensive side, they're hard to overcome. That's where we are right now. Q: I think you said last night, 'we are who we are right now.' At this point, is this offense you have a playoff offense?
A: Right now we believe we have the players and the scheme to make a run at this thing. We know we need to get back to work, we need to get some pads on this week if that's the smart thing and the right thing to do based on the injury report and player health, we'll do that. We need to play good football on Sunday.
Q: You were asked if the offense is getting frustrated, but do you sense the defense getting frustrated at all with the offenses inability to cash in on turnovers and things like that?
A: We cashed it on a turnover yesterday and the second one we didn't convert. But no, I don't sense any frustration or finger pointing. Q: Do you believe it would help the offense to get Ereck Flowers some help even if that would take away from the skill players?
A: We try to give all of our offensive linemen some help. We try to create as many 2 on 1's, 3 on 2's and 4 on 3's as we can. Whether it's chip help, whether it's help from the tight end or help with a slide.
Q: Ereck seems to be the guy giving up more pressures than anybody else. Is there a concern?A: Ereck, we have a lot of confidence in Ereck. He needs to get better with his hand placement and just fundamentals.Q: Odell last night said that he didn't think that ref crew should work your games anymore because of the history they have with your team. What are your thoughts on that?
A: We don't have any control over any of that. We have a process to gain clarification on calls that are made during the course of a game. We're going to get plenty of use out of that process this week. Other than that, we need to focus on what we can control and learn from this game and prepare for the next.
Q: Do you sense that Odell does get targeted more by refs?
A: I would say that I thought there were a few times yesterday that he may have been interfered with, but that is part of the process. We are going to send it into New York and to the officials and let them take a look at it and get some feedback from it and some clarification.Q: Are you okay with the amount of time he spent talking to the officials yesterday?
A: Again, we have a process that we go through. We are going to send the plays to New York that we want clarification on and we will go from there. Q: There has been a lot of talk about Odell being out with Antonio Brown on Saturday night and the way he reacted to Brown's touchdown. Are you okay with all of that?
A: Odell, the reaction that I saw from the TV copy, to me was, 'Hey, he made his play and now let's go make ours.' That is really the way we go about it as a team. It is, 'Hey, we just play the next play.' If we can just focus on playing the next play and get better as the game goes on, if we want to be the best in the league at something, let's be in the best in the league at playing the next play and to me, that was his reaction.Q: Do you have any injury updates on JPP and Harrison?
A: JPP is still in the process of being evaluated and we will know more sometime tomorrow afternoon.Q: What about Damon Harrison, Dwayne Harris and Johnathan Hankins?
A: Hankins is sore. It is a quad type contusion. Dwayne has an ankle. Who was the other one you mentioned? Q: Harrison?A: Harrison seems to be fine. He went back in the ball game.Q: What do you think went so wrong when you guys cut it to seven and the Steelers went right down the field on your defense?
A: I thought that Pittsburgh came out, they were aggressive, we had some opportunities to make some plays and get off the field, we didn't get that done and you learn from it and move on.
Q: Since Week 7, your offense is 30th in the league in total offense. What is prohibiting this group that was so good a year ago and has many of the same parts back from being even a mediocre offense at this point?
A: Like I said going into the season, you can't switch and expect to be the same type of outfit in the past. Each year is a new year and you have to earn it and up to this point, me included, we haven't earned it. We have to find a way to be more consistent moving the ball, eliminate the setbacks and the unforced errors and take advantage of our opportunities.
Q: I think you said that you might consider wearing pads this week. Is that the case?A: Yeah, if we have an opportunity to get in the pads, we will on Thursday.Q: I know you have limited time that you can put the team in pads, but why would you think this week is important for that? Do you think you need to kind of get them more squared away on fundamentals and get into the more physical aspect?
A: Absolutely. It is December and anytime you look at December football, it is the physical teams, the heavy-handed teams, the teams that are good at the fundamentals, that have the chance to win and play good football in December when the weather turns. So when we have an opportunity to get the pads on, we need to take advantage of it, whether it is for part of the practice, whether it is for the whole practice. But we need to get back to fitting our pads in.Q: Does that help your running game get on track?
A: I think that helps every position because it is not just up front, it is not just the offensive line – it is the tight ends, it is the backs, it is the wide receivers. We had some opportunities to throw some perimeter blocks that would have made a difference in the ballgame and we didn't get that done, so it is everywhere.Q: Is it your hope to have Shane Vereen activated for this Sunday against the Cowboys?
A: Again, we will take Shane back as soon as we can get him back, but that is more of a medical question. If it was up to me, we would have him out there rolling already.Q: I think Odell was out there for one punt return. What goes into the decision making when to use him and why not to use him more?
A: Again, each and every week we will have a process to take a look at it and see when it is beneficial to have him back there, if it is beneficial to have him back there and we will take a look at it each and every week.