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Herman Edwards Interview 10/10/05

Head Coach Herm Edwards 10.10.05


Opening Statement…
Injuries, DJ Askew is questionable. Eric Barton is questionable. Jay Fiedler is out. Chad Pennington is out. Blaylock, he’s out. His situation is this, I might have spoken too soon on Sunday and I apologize if I did. His right foot, his metatarsal, fifth metatarsal, he fractured that, and he will go into surgery Wednesday. They are going to try to put a screw in there and they say it could get take anywhere between six to eight weeks. So that’s kind of where he’s at this point. I think I said he’s probably done for the year. I told him in the training room, I said ‘it’s going to be hard to go through a metal detector, but get a screw in there and that will be all right.’ He’s definitely out the next six to eight weeks. We’ll see after eight weeks what happens.

As far as the game goes, the game for us was two halves. Our first half, obviously really wasn’t good for us, good in a sense, but not really. When you look at time of possession they had the ball for 22:50 and we had it for 7:10, and we had 15 plays to their 48 at halftime. So, that’s not a lot of plays on offense. You wonder why we didn’t run it a whole bunch; we really didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities. We were 0 for 4 on third down and they were a stunning 1 for 9 on third downs, so it wasn’t real pretty football.

I thought for the most part, though, when you look at the game we had some miscues that really gave them the ability to score some points. Three of our miscues ended up being 9 points for them. They had one big miscue, the interception by Ty Law, it gave us seven points and got us to the 8­yard line, provided seven points for us. I thought the second half was key for us. We came out, we knew we were down; we needed to get some points on the board. We had a great return by Justin and then we went on the 59­yard drive and scored a touchdown and got the lead and from there, just a matter of both defenses playing well and field goals. Defense did a great job on the red zone. We didn’t allow them to score; they had to kick field goals. It was a game well­fought.

I thought Vinny for the most part, coming off the couch, probably a lot of guys sitting on the couches are going to want tryouts, Vinny doing what he did. He’s a veteran quarterback and he did a good job. I thought our line did a good job of protecting him, kept him up most of the day. He made some throws. He wasn’t perfect. But he did some good things. We made some plays in this game that we had to make when the previous two that we lost post games like this, we didn’t make those plays. I think the one Laveranues made that big third down catch, which was really big, especially at the end there when we were trying to run the clock down and keep them from getting the ball back. That was a big one.

So we did some things pretty well as far as making plays, but we have to do a lot of things better offensively. I think our defense is playing pretty well. They are flying around, we stopped them from running, we put them in the passing mode, which we were able to get after the quarterback some, but the fouls hurt us again. Two fouls really caused us not to have three interceptions and we ended up with one. But we had two others in our hands going the other way with us, and fouls caused us to bring them back.

We are not doing a good enough job with the ball in our hand when we have the ball in our hand offensively as far as protecting it. The ball has been on the ground too many times already this season for us, which is not characteristic for us or the guys who carry the ball, so we have to do a better job of that.

We found a way to win the game and that’s what you do, you try to win and we were able to do that.

On the running back situation with Blaylock out…
In the early plan right now, Houston is up and if he has to play, he’s going to have to go in the game and play. I think B.J. Askew is close. He’ll probably practice this week, he’s going to try, but we’ll see where he’s at but no at this point.

On Cedric Houston’s thyroid problem being taken care of…
Yeah, he’s really doing well. He’ll have an opportunity. If something should happen to Curtis, he’s going to play and if something doesn’t happen to Curtis, he’s going to have to play, to give him a breather at least. He’s our next guy.

That’s a big loss on special teams when you lose a guy like that. We’ve lost some pretty good special teams guys, we lost a couple linebackers earlier. Darrell McGlover, we lost him. Mondoe Davis, we thought he was going to be pretty good. Andre Maddox we thought he was going to go pretty good on special teams, and now we lose this guy. Special teams is a key for us, especially when you play a game like we’re playing. That could be a big factor in winning.

On Curtis Martin’s status…
He’s okay. He’s a little sore but he’s fine. He’s not on list. He’s going to probably get treatment, stuff like that but he’s fine. He’s doing okay. He scored two big touchdowns for us, so that was big.

On how Vinny feels the day after…
Yeah, I was visiting with him and Chad and those guys in the training room, a bunch of guys were in there.

He’s fine. He’s okay. You know, like he said, he didn’t get hit a whole bunch, a pretty good day, hopefully we can do that again next week. But he feels okay. And I think it’s kind of going to work out for him, we were talking about it because when you look at our schedule, he gets an extra couple of days next week on Monday night, and then we get a bye. So it’s kind of working out. He’s going to kind of wing his way into this, and that’s good, and then it’s nine games after that. It’s kind of working it out. He figured it out at home on his sofa.

On Vinny’s standing ovation…
I anticipated that, though. I thought that our fans would be grateful, I really did. I thought that he would get a warm welcome. We don’t introduce our team, obviously we come out as a team. You guys probably noticed that the last couple of years, we don’t introduce offense, defense team players, we just come out as a team to be quite honest. But I thought when he stepped out there on the field, he would get a warm welcome and it was good. I thought throwing the pass and completing it to Laveranues was good, got the juice in everybody flowing in the stadium. Now the home comers, wore his welcome off now, now got to go play. All that stuff is good, good drama, but now we’ve got to go play Buffalo. We have a tough task ahead.

On Vinny’s arm changing the way the Buccaneers defended them…
Well, I think it didn’t do fairly well because these guys were No. 1 against the run, I think the No. 1 defense in the League.

So, it did well enough. It did well enough to where certain occasions, you know, they couldn’t just sit there in an eight­man box because of the way Vinny could throw the ball. I think that was demonstrated in the first play. They brought the safety up and they figured we were going to run the first play of the game with Curtis and that’s just a chess game. They brought the guy down and we had a date (ph) called and make a big play. I think when you can do that, and when you can throw it and complete it, that’s probably more important. You always put a little something different, and you make defenses play you a little different. So you’re right. We didn’t run it like we’d like to. We only had 62 yards, they had 84, so really, both teams didn’t really run it as much as they would like. I know the Bucks don’t want to go back and pass the ball 42 times, either.

It’s one of those games where both teams played the run fairly well. You knew that going in because both teams are going to try to run the ball because it’s a ball­control game. That’s how both teams play. Both teams I thought did a pretty good job against the run and really made teams throw, and when you look at the third down conversions for the whole game, they were 14 percent and we were 30 percent.

So that kind of sums it up. We were one­for­one in the red zone, I believe it was. On 4th down we were one­for­one; they were two­for­two. We were two­for­two in the red zone; they were 0­for­three. That’s the game right there. When we got in the red zone we scored twice. When they got in the red zone, they kicked field goals. That’s the game in a nutshell.

On training camp being overrated…
There are a lot of people saying that already. They have always said that. Training camps have changed obviously compared to how they were five years ago compared to how they are right now. I think a lot of coaches are looking to the off­season programs, too, changing those things up.

But you’re talking about unique guys. I mean, there’s two, three guys out of there’s 2,200 guys. Okay, a couple are exceptions to the rule, but that’s like in life, there’s always a couple exceptions to the rule but you can’t say it’s always like that for everyone, because I would say three­fourths of all of the guys need training camp and they know that. We just had two exceptions thus far, with Vinny and John. But most guys need it.

And Vinny has had enough of them where he probably doesn’t need them anymore. He’s gotten more training camps than guys ­­ he needed to rest really. Like I said, it worked out good for us, because he only had 15 plays in the first half. And I was more concerned about the middle of the third quarter, fourth quarter if we were down and he had to go back and throw, how his legs were going to fair on him because of the plays. It ended up, he only had 15 in the first half, so he didn’t play a whole lot. So the second half, it worked out for us. And we had a lead, which was good, too. That was the thing I was concerned about going into the first game.

On the confidence level of the team being raised up with the win…
I think when you win a game, you gain confidence. But we also know we still have a long way to go offensively. Defensively we have to continue to play well and continue to do what we’re doing and we can’t lose our edge on defense.

But our offense is coming. We made a couple of strides, but we have to do a lot better than that, though. I think we know that. The problem I keep saying is that, the problems these guys got every week, they face another good defense. Here we go again; we have another good defense to deal with. So we have to play good defense and keep it low­scoring again. And if it is, so be it, but when it’s like that, you’ve got to make the plays.

You know, I don’t want to seem like I’m always the bearer of bad news and say we don’t want to score 30 points. I wish we could score 30 points. That would be great, but if it doesn’t happen, we have to play this way. We have to do what we did Sunday. We have to make the crucial play when it’s there to be made.

On having a sense that the team is liberated…
I think our whole offense, because all of a sudden one big pass play covers 20, 25 yards and you’re not sitting there running against the wall all day. I think that helps you. And Vinny has that type of arm where he can throw it like that; and he hits them, he hit some of them, he hit some passes. Didn’t hit them all, but he hit the ones in the spots he needed to hit, he hit them; it was good.

I think Vinny will get better. It all depends on protection. You have to protect him, too, now. He’s not going to run around. He had the one on the end when it was third and nine, but that was a planned play, a little roll­out to take some time off the clock if the guys were not open to slide and run the clock down as much as you could. But he’s not going to be scrambling around now. He’s going to be standing there.

On the catch Laveranues Coles made being difficult for a WR…
Yeah, and I said this from the beginning, I think I said in training camp, I like our receivers because they do have the ability to go up and compete for the ball. With all good receivers in this league, that’s what they do, that’s what sets them apart. When they are tightly covered its hard and most guys are not wide open all the time. You have to make a real tight throw and the guy has to go up and challenge a DB for the ball, and Laveranues is capable of doing that; he’s done that in the past. And he did it big­time in this game and that third down was a big, big, big catch for us, so it was similar to the one Justin made for us in Miami. We were in the hole and we went on a long drive. Those were two games that we had to make a play and we did it. There was a couple other games where we had the same opportunity and we don’t make the play. When you don’t, when you play in close games, like I always say this, it’s tough to win them when you don’t make those plays.

On what he told his team last week…
I just know the team, I know the players. I’ve got a good feel of their mind set, kind of certain things that you have to say to them and always remind them. I always tell people in life, my dad used to tell me this all the time, “You know, son, you can’t let other people’s perception become your reality.” I always live by that. You just can’t go with the perception of what people are thinking, because all of a sudden it becomes your reality, and really that isn’t what you want. You don’t have to believe that. It’s your life; you live your own life.

And so I just always let these guys know where they are at and how it’s all going to shake out. But you’ve got to win. The bottom line is you always have to win, and if you win, it all takes care of itself. But you have to figure out how to win again, and winning is hard in this league, as we know. I think sometimes, you’ve had a stretch like these guys have had, where they have won a lot, won more than they have lost here, and I think sometimes you take it for granted. I think sometimes when you don’t; you figure out, it really is hard to win in this league.

On the win bringing a sense of relief to the team…
You know, I don’t know if there’s relief. I’m really happy for the coaches and the players because of what you go through when you go through something like that, and I think it’s the first time these guys have gone through it. The first time I’ve gone through it as head coach, that’s for sure. It they just kept hanging in there. They kept fighting. When you fight and continue to go hard, good things happen for you. You come in the game and you’re playing a team that’s 4­0, very good football team and you’re playing them at home and you walk in the stadium and the crowd is behind you, because they know what you’re dealing with and you win the game, that gives you some energy.

We’ve got to play better, though. We still have to play better because that’s a game where you look at a couple of plays here or there, you don’t make, all of a sudden it can get a little shaky when you’re not sitting here two wins going the other way. When you play close games, I keep saying, your good players have to make plays. That’s what this league is about. You see it every week, every Sunday or Monday night, you see those good players step up and make the play. Whether it looks like there’s a play to be made, all of a sudden they just do it, play made, and you go, “Wow, how did he do that?”

That’s what this league is about. It’s about the good players making plays, and when they make them and everybody has a handful of them on their team, on offense, defense and special teams, they have to make the play, and when they do, in tight games, you win. And when they don’t, you’re not going to win the game.

On Dewayne Robertson…
Yeah, he’s had some hand and he’s got a knee. But you’re right, he got going early. It’s always good when the D­Line gets going early because they set the tempo for the defense. Because when they can play on the other side of the ball, it allows our linebackers to run to the ball. When that’s happening, all of a sudden, a lot of good things are going to happen, because you know that you’re creating negative yardage on first down. And that’s always good, because you get them in second­and­longs and all of a sudden third­and­longs, like I say, they were 14 percent.

So now you’re playing third downs with downs that you can manage at the defense and get after them a little bit. And Donnie Henderson does a good job with dialing certain things up. He doesn’t always say in the same coverage, has different fronts, different personnel groups going in there. So it always keeps the quarterback unsure of what we’re actually going to do. When you can play defense like that, you have the ability to play attack defense. We’re trying to play a style of defense where we’re playing offense, we’re trying to attack, attack the offense and take the ball away. That’s our mind set when we play, take the ball away, create negative yardage, take the ball away from the offense, whether it be fumbles, tackles, interceptions, whatever you can do, take the ball away. But you’ve got to get them in downs where you know they are going to handle the ball that way. When you do, you can be more aggressive.

On how Donnie Henderson runs his defense…
It’s good for everybody. I think it’s good because when you can change guys and put them on different guys, it’s always good. You know, sometimes you put a different lineman on a different guy and you say, we have a mismatch here; maybe we can make something happen here. What it does, it gets all the players on defense involved. It’s not just 11 guys; it’s 15, 16 guys playing. Now they are into the game. They know they all have a role. You come in there, you keep guys fresh, especially on the line, especially on the secondary and the linebackers, you just roll those guys in and they all have a role and they all feel accountable to teach other and that’s always good.

On Victor Hobson…
Yeah, he’s a lot quicker now than he was. He lost some weight. He wasn’t a big guy anyway, but he slimmed his body down some and he’s quicker, a lot quicker. I think he knows he has to have that quickness to play in this defense, because it’s not the biggest defense in the world, but it relies on speed. It relies on speed. And when you can play fast, you have a chance to make a lot of plays.

On Ronde Barber hitting an official…
No. What he was trying to do, he was trying to get Kevin’s hands off of it. And when he went to go get Kevin’s hand, the official was trying to break it up and accidentally when he hit Kevin’s hand, he hit the official at the same time. He wasn’t swinging at the official. Kevin had his hand on him like this, he was trying to knock it off, when he swung, came over the top, you know, it was an accident. I know Ronde Barber, he didn’t try to hit the official.

On it being an accident…
They didn’t see it and you can’t use the replay to do it because that’s the rule. They didn’t exactly see who hit him, what happened. It was all piled up in there. Ronde was trying to get Kevin off. And Kevin was giving him the business and Ronde was trying to get his hands off. The official was trying to get in there and it’s one of those bad spots the official gets into.

It was an accident, really. He wasn’t trying to do anything. He hit him, and the league will probably get him, because they are going to look at the tape and say, hey, you hit an official and you’re fined for it.

On the officials not seeing what happened…
They were all up in there. They were all in the pile and they couldn’t see what was going on because there was so many guys, you know, and trying to break them all up. I mean, that’s what I saw. You’re asking me, you have a better seat than me; you’re way above. Just what I saw on the tape, looked like to me Ronde was trying to get Kevin’s hand off and hit him and the guy was stepping in there and he hit him and it was an accident.

On having to talk with Mike Nugent…
I don’t talk to him during the game. Yeah, I’ll talk to him.He’ll be fine. He’s just trying too hard. I think the one he hit right, he just left it out. The one he hit left, he kicked it too hard. His rhythm was a little off from what I had to check. He needs to slow down, that’s all. Don’t press. He’s pressing, I think he’s just pressing right now.

He’ll be fine. The good thing is, if you get anything out of it, that it didn’t hurt us from winning the game. He’s going to miss some kicks. So he’s missed some and he’s going to make some, too. Once he starts making them, he’ll be fine. Kickers go through this sometime. He’s a young kicker and he’s a good kicker. He’s going to be our kicker. So he’ll make the kicks.

We might be rolling that way all year, so that’s why I tell you, you have a lot of opportunities hopefully. Last week, we couldn’t get him in the zone. We couldn’t get in the atmosphere of kicking except for the warm-up.

You know, I think I’ve seen him in practice do that. In warm-ups he was fine. He was kicking them good. I’ve see him do that in practice sometimes, too, kick one right where it doesn’t hook back in and then over kick the next one and kick it left. He just got out of rhythm. I think he pressed a little bit. But he’ll make those kicks, and the way he’s going to do it, the one thing I do know, when we get in field goal range, he’s the only guy going out there kicking. We’re not bringing in five kickers. He’s going to kick them; he’s going to make them. He’ll be fine.

On things that the offense needs to be more consistent on…
I think one making positive yards on first down so you stay out of third­and­longs. When you look at our third downs in the first half, we were very bad, we were 0­for­4, and a lot of those were third­and­long situations because we were not going anything on first.

We just have to be more consistent with the ball and stay on the field longer. Because if not, you just ­­ you give the opponent too many shots at your defense, and no matter who you play, they are going to make a play or two, no matter how good you’re. Tampa Bay has the No. 1 defense. Well, you know, we made plays on them. But that just happens. That’s called ball. You’re going to make a play every once in awhile. But if you can keep your offense, which we did on the third quarter, our offense stayed on the field, I think we only had the ball one possession the third quarter. We stayed on the field, but our defense got us energy and rested now, and they are rested, they can go play fast. But if you keep going out there three­and­out, three­and­out, eventually that’s not good, that’s not a good sign.

So we need to be more consistent offensively, and I think it all starts with us on first down because when you can make good yards, four or five yards on first down, now you have a chance to convert third downs, get a drive, stay on the field, and rest your team. When you look at the first quarter, offense hardly ever got on the field first quarter once we fumbled the punt. They kept the ball for quite some time in the first quarter.

Q. What is it about they don’t seem to mind having ­­ inaudible?
I think they like the challenge. And they know the situation of the team. And during all seasons things happen.

You looked at us last year, our offense came out and was scoring a lot of points early because we had a young defense. And they kind of held us in the games, and then as we got better defensively, we kind of took over in some games. And I just think it works that way and I think our guys know what’s going on on defense, on offense and they know, hey, we’ve got to carry the load right now, and they are playing against good defense. I think they want to try to out play the good defenses they are playing against every week, too. That’s a challenge for them as a defense. Hey, we’re playing these guys, everybody is talking about these guys defense, let’s see what we can do.

Hey, that’s what you want good defenses to do. You want them to step up and say, hey, these guys are supposed to be pretty good, let’s see how we play against these defenses. I think if you look at both defenses this week, our defense might have played a little bit better because we didn’t let them score. This week we didn’t allow them to score any touchdowns, they kicked field goals, our offense was able to score two touchdowns and our defense set up one of the touchdowns. So that’s kind of how you look at it.

On Chad Pennington’s long­term prognosis…
Chad will be in here as soon as I get done. He’ll answer all your questions.

On giving his perspective…
I’ll wait for Chad to answer it. It will be best and that way you get it from the horse’s mouth and it’s not me talking for Chad. I think that’s the best way to do it and that’s why we’re doing it that way. It’s fair to Chad, fair to the doctors. Like I said, that one day I had my mis­fire on my good friend back over there, my doctor suit is off. I don’t wear a doctor suit no more. Chad can come in here and he can talk and he can explain it. He’ll do whatever he has to do.

On Chad having the medical information necessary to figure out what’s going on?

On the press speaking to the doctors?
Not that I know of. I’m just the messenger. He’s going to be in here in a moment.

On a Jay Fiedler update…
Jay? No, like I said, it was six to eight weeks or something like that. So wherever it is, it is. We’ll see where he’s at. Still in his brace, I know that.

On his thoughts about the long­term status of the quarterback…
At this time, no. I’m not even worried about that at this point. I’ve got to worry about Buffalo. That will all take care of itself.

On keeping Chad involved with the team…
He’s going into classrooms. He’s involved in the plan. Last week he asked me, he went in with the defense, one of their meetings. But he’ll be involved. He can help on the sideline obviously like he did before. So, yeah, he’s good.

On Chad hanging around with the defense…
He looks at it a different way now. He hears what they are saying. Sometimes quarterbacks need to hear what the defense are saying, coaches saying, hey, we’re looking at this coverage and these routes. It’s good, sometimes you hear it from the other side.

On Chad’s position in the future…
I’m an optimist and I look at who we’re dealing with, and we’re dealing with a guy who has always been very resilient coming back. He’s going to come back. Next year kind of handles itself. We’re only guaranteed the day we got. I just live for the day. Hopefully I can get up tomorrow and live for tomorrow.

All that other stuff, next year is next year. Who knows what’s going to happen next year. I have no idea. We’ll just wait and see. Hopefully we’re all around in this room next year, I don’t know. We all take that for granted, we’re all going to be back. You never know what’s going to happen between now and tomorrow. Just count your blessings.

On Chad addressing the program and when he can start to throw…
I think so, but I don’t know about the throwing part. You can ask him. I don’t know. You can ask him. I don’t know. That’s going way down the road, but you can ask him the question and he’ll answer it I’m pretty sure. He’ll answer it. I’m out of it. I’m not the doctor. I’m staying away from that. I got in that trap already. Not going down that road no more. All right? Thank you.

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