Wednesday Haslett Press Conference


Posted Nov 20, 2008


Rams Coach Jim Haslett talked Wednesday about the free agent signing of T Anthony Davis, on how he feels about players playing to keep his head coaching job, on his message to the team today, on what has gone wrong in these last games, and on why he believes Marc Bulger is the right quarterback for the Rams.

Head Coach Jim Haslett
November 19, 2008

(Opening remarks)
“(G) Richie Incognito did not practice today. I think he will be alright tomorrow and if, for some reason he cannot go, (T) (John) Greco will be that guy. (DE) Leonard Little worked some and he will be fine.”

(On the status of DE Eric Moore)
“We are going to get a second opinion on his neck just to make sure it is alright. He has a strain neck and it is just going to take some time. I think (CB) Tye Hill will be ready to practice next week. He has been going out and running and I thought he did ok today. Everybody else is out, like (RB) Steven (Jackson) and the rest of them.”

(On the status of DT La’Roi Glover)
“We kind of rested him at some things but he did team. He did all of the team stuff but he is a guy that has been around a long time and knows what we are doing so he does not need a lot of reps.”

(On the free agent signing of T Anthony Davis)
“We think he can play right guard or tackle. I obviously like the size of him, 6-4 about 340. He probably needs to get down a little bit but he is a guy that is proven. He has played in the league and has done well in the league. He tore a pectoral muscle this offseason and he never really came around. That is why he was available now but he looks fine and we just have to monitor what he is doing lifting wise. I think he is a pretty good athlete as well. (Offensive Line Coach) Art Valero had him in Tampa so that kind of helps us. He is a great kid.”

(On how he feels about players playing to keep his head coaching job)
“I just want us to wins some games for them to be honest with you. Our practices are pretty crisp for an NFL team. Guys are into it and they move around pretty good at this time of year. As a coach, we try to get the best out of them. They are doing everything right to win games but we have to carry things over to Sunday and that is the disappointing thing. We haven’t carried it over. We carried it over the first couple of weeks and even the third week and now we are falling back. We need to get back into that attitude where what we do on the field, we will take to the game on Sunday.”

(On his message to the team today)
“My message to the team today was, we are going to go back to the way we played when we first got here. We need to pick it up and we can’t worry about things. We can’t have two or three or five things go wrong in a quarter. The word was we need to get going and get out of this funk and start playing.”

(On what has gone wrong in these last games)
“We have had five turnovers in one quarter and three in another. If you look at the stats the second half, it wasn’t like San Francisco was cashing it in on us doing a double reverses and throwing the ball and everything else. We scored 13 and they scored none. They had 67 yards of offense in the second half on 38 plays and we had 200 yards of offense. We had 200 in the first half and (QB) Marc (Bulger) was 12-19 in the first half. We had 93 yards rushing in the first half and we get three turnovers that led to 21 points. You are not going to beat anybody doing that, so my message is, cut out the turnovers and let’s play ball like we did in the second half. Be effective, finish drives and let’s score some touchdowns on offense and make sure we are tackling better on defense.”

(On the defense)
“That would be great and I agree with that I think that if the offense will turn the ball over at some point then your defense has to stop them and they can kick field goals. And if you can do that, then you really win. We had them at the 10, we had a chance to get off the field and we let them off the field. We had them at the 30, we had a chance to get off on third down, we let them off the hook. The defense has to step it up in those types of situations and obviously we can’t turn it over that many times.”

(On how under-manned the Rams are when playing these other healthy teams)
“I can’t answer that. We play with the guys we got. You have the hand you’re dealt and when you’re playing with them we’ll do the best we can. I think there’s some good young players on this football team and they’re getting opportunites to play like those receivers and we have a bunch of other guys that are playing well and we just have bunch of injuries and we’ll fight through that and get them back.”

(On why he believes QB Marc Bulger is the right quarterback for the Rams instead of QB Trent Green)
“What would make me believe (QB) Trent (Green) is? You can flip this any way you want to. Marc Bulger is the fifth fastest quarterback ever to get to 20,000 (passing) yards in the NFL. He’s been the Pro Bowl MVP, he’s led the team to an endless amount of wins here, why would anybody think his play is falling off? Did he manage the game well enough last week? No, we know that. He has to do better and make better decisions. There’s a lot of people on this team that have to play better. Now, I like (QB) Trent (Green) and I think Trent could go in there and do a fine job, but I’m going with the guy that I think gives us the best chance to win games in the long run. And to be honest with you, it may be not this year, but for the future, I think, my vision is Marc’s the quarterback here for the next so many years and that’s not going to change. That’s not going to change. Next year it’s not going to change, Marc’s going to be the quarterback. So, all the people out there that are screaming and yelling they don’t want Marc, well, he’s going to be here, that’s just the way it is.”

(On if he thinks the amount of hits QB Marc Bulger has endured has hurt his play)
“Well, he’s taken some hits like most quarterbacks, but I think the (offensive) line’s actually done a pretty good job lately of protecting him. He made a bad decision, made a bad decision on the one ball and under threw another one. The fumble was actually the center’s fault.”

(On if he gets advice on the QB situation when he’s out in public)
“I don’t see anybody, besides you guys. And I get all kinds of advice.”

(On what he sees in the Bears defense)
“I see a team that plays unbelievably hard, they’re opportunists. They’ve been getting a lot of turnovers, they have 21 turnovers. I think they’re second in the league, punching balls out, getting interceptions. Here again our offense has to be smart with the ball, they’re going to have to secure the ball, the running backs and receivers because they punch a lot of balls out and Marc’s (Bulger) going to have to make good decisions and manage the game well because they have a heck of a defense that plays hard. Offensively, great running game, a quarterback that they inserted and is playing really well, a tight end that is really their go-to-guy, the guy plays like a wide-out and he can run and catch and is excellent and they have speed on the outside, so that with special teams and a great returner. We have our work cut out for us, but we’ll play better and I expect us to play better this week.

(On if LB Brian Urlacher is still the player you always have to cover or is there someone else)
“He’s a heck of a player. I remember when he came out of New Mexico he was returning punts, he’s playing safety, he’s playing linebacker, he’s playing wide-out. The guy’s a great athlete and he still can run and he makes a lot of plays. He’s a big body. They try to keep him free and let him run and make plays, but he’s a guy that, obviously, he’s hard to throw over. He’s a good football player, he’s been in numerous Pro Bowls.”

(On his plan for handling T Orlando Pace’s injury)
“I think Orlando will be ready to play in a week or two. He might be ready next week. He was out there jogging today, I thought he did a pretty good job and he’s going to get a brace and put that on. I would say based off what I know of Orlando and what I saw today, hopefully two weeks, but you never know. He wants to play again, so maybe next week.”

(On G RIchie Incognito’s injury status)
“I think he’ll practice tomorrow. In the meantime, I think (G) John’s (Greco) getting worked in there. He had a few mess ups today, but I think the guy’s going to be a pretty good football player and if we have to go with John I’m fine because I want to see him play anyways. I think he’s going to be a pretty good player.”

(On if G Richie Incognito’s shoulder is still sore)
“Yeah, he said he started punching and it’s just sore, but knowing Richie I don’t think that’ll hold him back.”

(On what happened with the fumble by the center last week)
“(C) Nick (Leckey) said he didn’t get it up there, it came off to the side. Him and (QB) Marc (Bulger) worked on that today and some shotgun snaps to get those things corrected.”

(On if he sees any of himself in Brian Urlacher)
“No, I was about 260 (lbs.) when I played. I was kind of a little box player. This guy’s a great athlete. I didn’t have any of the skills he has that way. We were a 3-4 team, we took on guards. This guy’s is one of the best that’s played the game. Yeah, I’m not even close, but I appreciate that.”

(On if it’s tough for the team to keep a high confidence level)
“It’s hard in this business because you get two games that you played really bad. They’re out there in the public, they see everything. They get out there at four o’clock today, so they go home and they hear it from the fans and they hear it from the people and they’re on the radio all the time, so it is hard when you lose your confidence. It’s like anybody else. A baseball pitcher has a hard time getting the ball over the plate and he loses confidence, it’s hard to get him back. Just like a corner, a corner gets beat and he has no confidence, well if you’re playing corner you’re going to get beat, so you better just keep on going. That’s kind of what I was trying to tell the team today, in this business you have to have a little swagger and you have to have some confidence in yourself because if you don’t, when something bad happens in the game you might not want to say it, but you can feel it. I think at some point this team is going to have to get over that, obviously winning games helps, but you have to get over that; good teams get over that stuff. They fight through that, if something happens they just keep on going on. We watched Tennessee today, bad stuff happens at Tennessee and they come back and make a play and the ball pops out. Our guys were laughing because we do some of the same things and we get gouged for 40 yards. They do something, a guy comes off a block and makes the tackle, so I think that’s a big factor in this league.”

(On why they looked at Tennessee film)
“We kind of showed them that here’s a team that made some mistakes on defense basically. They didn’t get lined up right a couple times, they had a couple guys running around on blocks, but then other guys made up for it, other guys made tackles. Where that stuff happens to us and we give up a 30-yard run, so that’s the difference between us and them. They do the same things, but they don’t worry about it. They line up and they play the next play and they make the big stop and that’s where we need to get to and that’s why they’re 10-0, there’s a reason why they’re playing good.”

(On why the team’s performance has changed when his message to them is the same)
“Because you had so many bad things happen to you that’s hard to overcome. You can overcome one or two things in this business and little things you’re going to have, but when you get like five turnovers in a half, you’re not going to overcome too many of those times. That’s the same with last week, we had three in one quarter, three-in-a-row. All of a sudden they’re at the 10, the 30, and the 40 and we don’t stop anybody, so that happens.”

(On how the public’s perception that the Rams are bad tacklers)
“Who says that? You watch the National Football League? Yeah, there’s not too many great tackling teams right now because that’s the way it is. You work at it, you work at it all the time. Worked at it today, did you watch practice today? Did you watch them? Every group tackled, they tackled bodies, they tackled sleds, so all you can do is work at it. To me, tackling’s a will. You want to get it done or you don’t want to get it done. Sometimes you have to fly over bodies and get guys down and to me it’s more of a will than anything else. I don’t think it’s so much technique, so much that it’s a want to, you have to go get it.”

(On if practice is less physical at this point in the season)
“There’s teams in this league that don’t wear pads all year, there’s some teams that wear pads all year. We’re kind of 50-50. We take the pads off on Wednesday and wear them on Thursday, so I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. I think if you have a veteran team that understands what it takes to practice without those things on and to use your technique then you can get away with not having your pads on all the time. If you’re a young football team that’s kind of learning and you have a young line on the offense and defense, then you have to have them on for a certain amount of practice, so their techniques don’t fall apart at the end of the year.”

(On if sitting RB Steven Jackson one week out is going to be enough time for him to heal)
“You know what, I really don’t know because I’m kind of out of this. I’m letting the doctors handle this and they thought the best thing to do was to shut him down this week. He’s still doing rehab and cardio and then see if he can run next week. To answer that, I really don’t know. I hope he works because we would like to get him back as soon as possible. It’s been what, five weeks now. Obviously training camp was a big issue. Not having training camp under his belt and he’s been hurt two years in a row with a groin and a quad, so this offseason we just have to come to grips that we’re going to have to do something to fix those problems.”

(On if he’s surprised RB Steven Jackson has been out this long)
“Yeah, I really am, but again I don’t know the nature of the injury and didn’t really understand it completely until really this week. I’m kind of mystified by it, but again I’ve never had one of those personally, so I don’t know how to handle it. Someone asked me about a hamstring, (I said) ‘I’ve never had one, I wasn’t fast enough to pull a hamstring’.”

(On if he thinks RB Steven Jackson is an example of how missing training camp can hurt a player)
“Oh yeah, that’s endless. Guys don’t go to training camp and when they come back they either pull a hip flexor, groin, something and you hope it’s nothing major that keeps them out in time. You hope it’s one of those one week injuries, four or five days and they come back, but it happens all the time. Guys that don’t go to training camp, unfortunately when they come back…because football, you can run all you want, you can lift weights all you want, but until you put pads on and you actually cut and move at full speed, you can’t replicate that until you actually do it. It’s like guys that are in great shape and they go out and try to play basketball, they die after the first couple games because they’re just not used to doing it. I believe that. That goes back to when I was playing. Guys that don’t go to training camp get hurt.”

(On what RB Steven Jackson should do in the offseason to prevent injuries)
“That’s something that I can sit with the strength coaches and nutritionist people and make sure that whatever he’s doing we have a good regiment for him so we can cut those out. Because he had the groin last year, he had a quad this year, so obviously it’s soft tissue. It’s not broken bones or any of that, thank god, but whatever it is we have to make sure we fix it. Give him the best chance to play 16 games so he can be productive.”



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