Head Coach Bill O’Brien
K Ka’imi Fairbairn
RB Lamar Miller
NT/DE D.J. Reader
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Considering how QB Tom Savage played against the Colts, does that change your thinking on bringing in free agent QB Colin Kaepernick?
“We talk about the roster and what’s out there every day, Rick (Smith) and I. Look, we haven’t even watched the tape with the players today yet, so it’s like two separate discussions. I haven’t even seen Rick yet today. I’ve been watching the tape and getting ready for a noon meeting with the team.”
Was there a discussion about bringing in free agent QB Colin Kaepernick between you and Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith?
“There’s a discussion about the roster and what’s out there every day.”
So free agent QB Colin Kaepernick has been discussed by you guys?
“Yeah. I mean, everybody gets discussed. Is that a problem? Isn’t that the way most teams do it? People seem shocked by that.”
What makes you think QB Tom Savage can play like he did the last two series and not the rest of the game?
“We got to get Tom playing better. It’s up to me. We’re going to watch the tape closely today. I think he has the ability to play better but he’s got to do it. We all have to do better. I have to coach better. Like I say every week when we lose – it’s been said quite a bit this year and it is what it is – but we’re going to all try to work together to get everybody playing and coaching better.”
How can you help QB Tom Savage make some of the throws that he is missing?
“We just have to go back to the basics, like how we read coverages, where we’re putting people. Go back to the basics. He’s been here for four years. He knows what we’re doing. We just have to do a better job of coaching and playing. We just haven’t had any type of complementary game this year really, other than maybe Tennessee and Cleveland. Cincinnati was a decent complementary game but it’s either been offense brutal (and) defense good (or) defense brutal (and) offense good. That doesn’t lead to winning records.”
Do you expect QB Tom Savage to be your starter against the Rams this weekend?
“I do expect that. I do right now. I do expect him to be the starter.”
That’s the status as we sit here right now?
“Yeah, as we sit here right now. Again, I’m going to watch the tape with these guys, with the coaches and the players. Like I said, defensively I thought we did a lot of great things. We gave up some shots and (T.Y.) Hilton beat us a few times, but I thought we played really well – less than 100 yards rushing gave up. Special teams there was a lot of good things but offensively it just wasn’t very good, so we have to try to improve.”
How hard is it get stability and consistency when you are coaching players that have only been here for a week or two?
“Yeah, I think that’s part of the NFL. You know what I mean? Especially when you’re dealing with a lot of injuries. Now you go down the road of what somebody might label as an excuse, and that’s not – the way that the NFL works is if you’re experiencing a rash of injuries, which we have with (J.J) Watt, (Whitney) Mercilus, (Deshaun) Watson, (C.J.) Fiedorowicz, various other guys that have been injured during the season and been out. First of all, you have to have a 53-man roster, you have to make decisions on whether guys should be on IR or not and you have to go out and, you know, you’re depending on, obviously Rick (Smith) and Jimmy (Raye III) – they’ve got a good grasp of what’s out there – and go and bring in a guy like Lamarr Houston who’s been a good addition, good signing. He made a big play yesterday. So, that’s part of the NFL. You have to get guys, like what happened last week – Deshaun gets hurt on a Thursday, Rick left the practice field right when he went down in case the prognosis wasn’t very good and then you have to start getting on the phone with guys because you can’t go into the game with just one quarterback. So, that’s just the way it is. That’s the National Football League. That’s the way the process works.”
How much does playing so many new guys hurt your defense, especially in the pass rush?
“Look, I think that I would just answer that by telling you that defense was not the problem yesterday.”
Were QB Tom Savage’s passes to the sidelines part of the issue, and should he throw them toward the middle where the players have more room to operate?
“Yeah, I mean – I always try to answer your questions to the best of my ability but I’m not going down the road of how we design our passing game. Our passing game I thought, route-wise, was designed, with the exception of a couple plays, pretty well. We just – look, we’ve got to do a better job of timing, when to call it and we have to do a better job of executing it.”
Do you want Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith to sign QB Colin Kaepernick?
“Again, we talk about everybody that’s out there, every day. I coach the football team. What you saw yesterday, that’s what I’m in charge of. So, I just give my input, and then I coach the football team.”
Do you think QB Colin Kaepernick would help you coach the team better?
“That’s an interesting question. I would tell you that I like the guys that we have and we’re going to continue to coach them and try to do a better job of coaching them.”
How much does it change the job of the offensive line with a quarterback like QB Tom Savage as opposed to someone more mobile like QB Deshaun Watson?
“Obviously some of the things – again, it’s not one guy that you can point the finger to. If you point the finger at anybody, you start with me, especially on offense this week. Look, we’ve got to do a better job of coaching, we’ve got to do a better job of blocking, we’ve got to do a better job of throwing, getting open. I mean, it’s just a combination of a lot of different things. We went from averaging 30-plus points a game to scoring one touchdown yesterday. I mean, that’s pretty bad. So, we’ve got to figure it out.”
After watching the film, did you notice that the linebackers where hovering in coverage more because they know QB Tom Savage wasn’t going to be as mobile as QB Deshaun Watson is?
“Sure. There are certain ways defenses are going to play you that are going to be different than when they play you with a guy like Deshaun (Watson) back there. That’s obvious. You know what I mean? We kind of knew that going in. We had a plan for it and we just didn’t get it done.”
You have obviously been through a lot in the last few weeks. Every time you have gotten yourself in a rough spot, you have always found a way out of it. Do you feel like this team is able to do that again this year?
“Yeah, no doubt. We have good guys in there. We have good guys. We know that your guys’ job is to critique us. We understand that. That’s the arena that we’re in. We also know what we have in that locker room. We have to keep staying together and have good practices. We’re not going to be able to be, I think, in pads a lot moving forward just because we have a lot of guys banged up, but I think we still need to go out there and have good, fast, sharp mental practices and we have to play it one game at a time. We’re obviously behind in the race but we’ve been 1-4 before, we’ve been 2-5. We’ve been down this road. I don’t ever doubt our guys in that locker room. They’re a great bunch of guys.”
The quarterback changes have come in short weeks this year. Will having the whole week to prepare QB Tom Savage for the Rams help?
“Yeah, a full week, hopefully he gets more of the reps. The bulk of the reps last Wednesday went to Deshaun (Watson) and then he got most of the reps on Thursday because that injury happened fairly early in practice. But still, yeah, it was Thursday. He will get most of the reps and hopefully that will help him.”
Do you think QB Tom Savage lost his confidence? He was really hard on himself after the game.
“No, I think he’s a confident guy. Any time you step under center and you’re playing quarterback in this league – I don’t think it’s a confidence issue. I think he has to process faster. I have to do a better job of coaching him. He’s got to get us in and out of the huddle or get the ball snapped faster. Just everything has to speed up, especially from me and obviously with him.”
Can you talk about Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and going against his defenses?
“He’s one of the best of all time. He’s a great defensive coordinator. It’s an attacking defense. It’s a one-gap defense. You better be ready on third down for a game plan-type blitz. You better be ready for man coverage. Going to stop the run, going to get after your quarterback. Everybody has to be on their A game when it comes to playing these guys. These guys are playing at a high level. They have Aaron Donald up inside there. Wade’s one of the best to ever do it.”
How much do you game plan for a defensive coordinator instead of just players?
“I think you have to do both. If you’ve been in the league for a while, you have to have a notebook of what you’ve done against that coordinator in the past – not the team, but who’s calling the plays. Then, you also have to, obviously, look at the team that that person’s coordinating for and see how he’s using the personnel that he has.”
Can you talk about the offensive line’s performance yesterday? It looked like QB Tom Savage had some time to throw.
“Sometimes he did, yeah. I didn’t think the protection – I think it can be better. But I think it’s improved and he did have time, but other times he didn’t. We’re so inconsistent.”
What about the left tackles?
“Julién (Davenport) started the game. He went in there – again, Chris (Clark) was banged up during the week. I don’t know if we made that clear enough. So, we gave Julién an opportunity. He hung in there. Gave up one strip-sack. We were supposed to chip for him on that play. We didn’t get it done. So, I thought he did some decent things. Then, Chris played the second half and he did some decent things.”
What do you tell your team after a play like the one where Colts WR T.Y. Hilton went to the ground but no one touched him down?
“We show these guys every week plays from around the league. You just keep teaching them, like, ‘Look, you have to tag him down.’ That was kind of a unique play because it looked like – if you’re chasing the play it looked like Kareem (Jackson) had hit him, had at least hit his knee. They went to the replay there and they said that he didn’t. We just didn’t tag him down. You just have to learn from it and you always have to play to the echo of the whistle and make sure that you tag the guy down. It’s like with under two minutes to go in the game, (DeAndre) Hopkins gets both feet in bounds but they didn’t review that. So, why didn’t they review that? I can’t challenge that.”
If you wanted to add QB Colin Kaepernick to the roster, do you believe the organization would allow that to happen?
“Look, again, I’ve studied him from when he was coming out of college, when we scrimmaged against them and then obviously when he was in professional football. We scrimmaged against him last year when we went out to San Francisco. Spoke to him. I’ve known him for a long time. Again, these things are discussed basically daily. And it’s not just one guy. Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player. Hasn’t played football in a while. These things are discussed daily and they’ll continue to be discussed.”
K KA’IMI FAIRBAIRN
What happened on the miss yesterday?
“Just a miss-hit. It was on me and I’ve got to put that one through for the team, obviously.”
How do you feel your rookie season is going overall?
“It’s always one kick at a time. The next couple of games are going to be big for us and I’m just going to focus on each and every kick.”
How cool is it going back to Los Angeles and getting to play at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum again?
“I wish it was at the Rose Bowl, it’s at the Coliseum, but excited to get back out there.”
What are the memories you have of playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?
“We (UCLA) beat USC on that field my sophomore year, and that was a big win. Always good to beat the Trojans. Pretty good memories there.”
What does it feel like to go back to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as an NFL kicker?
“It feels good. Just got to go out there and do my job.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
What makes this offense click when it’s at its best?
“I think when we’re at our best, we’re a more balanced offense. I feel like when everybody’s on the same page doing their assignment, that’s when we can move down the field and make plays.”
What did you see out of QB Tom Savage yesterday and how he improved toward the end?
“I think toward the end, he started building that confidence and he was just trying to lead us to a victory.”
How do you build on QB Tom Savage’s late game efforts moving forward?
“I think it comes with time. I think he was just getting his feet wet. He hasn’t played since Week 1, so I think he was just probably getting his feet wet and he started getting comfortable toward the end and just started making plays. I feel like heading into this week, he should be ready to go.”
Is there any benefit of having two West Coast trips in three weeks?
“I mean, it doesn’t bother me, personally. It’s like a two hour flight. For me personally, I don’t think it will bother me in any type of way. I treat it like a regular game.”
What led you to break off a couple of long runs in the fourth quarter?
“I think the offensive line did a great job of opening up holes yesterday. I was just trying to be decisive and make plays when my number was called. I give the credit to the offensive line.”
Is it an easy transition to go from QB Deshaun Watson to QB Tom Savage because you worked with Savage so much in the preseason?
“I mean, we haven’t been with Tom since Week 1, so it was different because they have a different skillset. We’re going to have to keep improving in practice and just try to improve this week.”
How much are you guys focusing on finishing games?
“That’s always been a big focus. Our main focus is to start fast and finish strong. I feel like yesterday we started slow. We’ve got to do a better job of just moving the ball, keep the chains moving early on and I think toward the end of the game, we’ve got to find a way to finish. I feel like every time we take the field, we can score as an offense. We had that mindset. Everybody believes, but in a critical situation, we’ve just got to find a way to score points.”
NT/DE D.J. READER
What do you take from the defensive performance yesterday?
“We’ve got to correct some things. It’s a step in the right direction, it’s a step in where you want to go but we’ve got to get the corrections made. At the end of the day we lost, so we’ve got to get that corrected.”
Does the second half of the season feel like a fresh start?
“A lot of football left. A lot of things left. A lot of division games left. We’ve got the second half of the division coming up and we’ve got time to make things happen. We’re just going to take it a game at a time and do what we can.”
How important is it to force turnovers and score on defense?
“It’s big. It’s always important to help the offense out at any time. It’s always something we try to do. Just got to keep focusing on that.”
Have you ever played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?
“No, never played out there. Never played on the West Coast, really.”
Are you excited to go into one of the most historic venues?
“Yeah. I guess I don’t get wrapped up into it too much but I guess I’ll probably think it’s cool once I get out there.”