Head Coach Bill O’Brien
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Now that you’ve watched the tape, is there any chance that QB T.J. Yates will play on Sunday?
“Well first of all, I’m not done watching the tape. We got in at 2:00 a.m. There were obviously a lot of things to learn from on the tape. Tom (Savage) will start the game against Arizona. Like I said after the game, we all have to do better.”
What are one or two things you would like to do better?
“We have to finish drives. I think it was five or six games in a row where we were scoring a bunch of points. I know that there was a different quarterback in there but it seemed like we were finishing drives pretty well. We’ve got to get back to finishing drives in the end zone, not with field goals and obviously not turnovers. I think we just have to be more consistent in running the football. I just think consistency’s really the key theme. Unless we had a six-hour press conference, there’s just too many things to cover. Just really, overall, it’s the theme of consistency.”
Did you see any mechanical flaws with QB Tom Savage or maybe he was throwing off his back foot a little bit?
“Well, yeah. A couple of times he only had a second to get the ball off. So yeah, by physical force he was throwing off his back foot. There were a couple times where he didn’t even have a chance to get the ball out. If you guys are really going to study the tape, which I know you do, you’re able to watch the tape and stuff, you’ve got to really look at it in all phases of the offense. It starts with coaching. We’ve all got to coach better, starting with me, but it’s never about one guy, it’s never been about one guy. Football’s about 11 guys trying to do the right thing on every play. How many times do you think that happens in a game? Very rarely, but that’s what you’re striving to get done. If one or two guys break down, including the quarterback, but if one or two guys break down, the play’s not going to be successful, and that happened obviously a lot yesterday.”
While you said you have to coach better yesterday, all the players said there is only so much you can do and that they have to play better.
“The way that I was brought up in coaching is I never worked for or played for a successful coach that pointed fingers. I think the thing that I’ve always tried to do is look in the mirror. A coach is being a teacher. A coach is trying to get the most out of your players, trying to get your players to produce at a high level and play at a high level, and when that’s not getting done, then you have to look in the mirror and think about how you’re teaching it, how you’re practicing it, how you’re implementing it, how you’re calling it, whatever it is. Obviously at times this year it’s looked really good, but lately it has not. I think it all comes down to that. In my opinion, you’re not a coach worth your salt if you just stand up here and blame players. That’s not going to get you anywhere and that’s not going to get the team improved. The players play very hard. We have a great group of guys in that locker room. We’ve dealt with a lot of different things this year, it’s not an excuse, but these guys are playing hard. I’ve told you time and time again, I’m 100 percent behind these players. I love these players, I enjoy coaching them and I think it starts with me. I just need to figure out how to do a better job.”
You mentioned trying to get all 11 players on the same page at the same time, but when you get to practice, what’s the balance of preparing for the opponent but also continuing to develop the skills you want your guys to have?
“Well that’s a huge question. I mean that’s a great question, and that’s really what it comes down to today and tomorrow as we head to Arizona. What are our players doing the best schematically, tempo-wise? Sometimes you need to follow the KISS theory, keep it simple, and I think that’s something that we have to look at. I think that yesterday’s game plan, I don’t think it was a real complex game plan but I think we have to go back to looking at what our players do really well, what they have confidence in and get back to doing that.”
Even though the players don’t believe that you’re to blame, do you still blame yourself?
“I believe the players believe me. I think I’ve earned their respect in that regard through my work ethic and the way I speak to the team. Like I said, coaching is about teaching and trying to get the best out of your players in a consistent manner. And if we’re not doing that, and the players are giving really good effort, then where do you start? Well, you start with yourself. Now look, if a guy’s consistently jumping offside, making the same mental mistakes, poor attitude, poor body language, all those different things, you’re going to make a change with a player. But that’s not the case. These guys are playing hard. Everybody makes mistakes. We’ve got to eliminate some of the mistakes and we have to do a better job of coaching. That’s the same answer you’re going to get from me from now until however long I’m the head coach here, that’s the answer you’re going to get from me when we don’t play well.”
In the midst of a losing streak, is it difficult to always look ahead and not look back?
“It’s definitely hard to move past, especially a loss. It’s a lot easier moving past a win, but with the losses, you’re always looking at the could’ve, should’ve, would’ve part of the game. I think that you also understand how much of that carries over to Arizona and you better turn the page pretty quickly. Like I said, we’re not done kind of grinding on this tape right here, but we’ll be done pretty soon and we’ll move on to Arizona and we’ll try to figure out what carries over to Arizona, what we have to do better that relates to the Arizona game.”
Was it something the Rams did or something you all did that prevented you from running better in the second half after some success in the first?
“I don’t know. I came out and I ran a weakside lead and Aaron Donald blew us up in the backfield and that wasn’t a real good start to the running game. I don’t know. That’s what I’m kind of saying about me. I think I just have to figure out how to do a better job in those situations and try to call some better plays.”
Was this one of CB Kevin Johnson’s better games since coming back from his injury earlier this season?
“Yeah, he played pretty well. There’s no doubt about it. He was decent in coverage, he was quick to trigger in the running game. (He) really made a nice play on (Tavon) Austin, outside play on the sideline, made a nice hit. Yeah, he definitely played a good game.”
Former Texans WR Andre Johnson is going to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at the game this Sunday. What are your thoughts on him and the honor he is getting?
“Andre, just personally meant a lot to me, and when I first came here, especially – you know, he was out for a little bit there in the spring, but then he came to training camp and he was a true professional. He was obviously in the latter part of his career, but he was a true professional. He worked very hard. Very smart, very detailed guy. Team guy. Players had a tremendous amount of respect for him. I remember when he came back into the team meeting room when he had held out for a little bit in the minicamp there, I think they gave him a standing ovation. I mean, it was incredible, just the respect that the players had for him. I had respect for him just from where I had been in New England. I can remember Bill Belichick standing up in a team meeting before 2009 when we played them out here, New England, just reading off his stats and what he’s meant to this organization and the respect that he has around the league. I’ve gotten to know Andre a little bit as the years have gone by. I wish he could’ve ended his career here. I know maybe he wishes that too, but it didn’t work out that way, and I think that the fact that we’re doing what we’re doing for him is a credit to us and obviously a huge honor for him to be honored that way. I’ll be glad to be a very, very small part of it.”
In terms of preparation this week, do you handle QB Tom Savage the same way that you did last week? Do you have to pump him up or how do you prepare him mentally?
“No, this is pro football. If you have to pump guys up, I mean, you got a problem. So, I think it’s about correcting, ball security, reads, correcting people around him, making sure that people around him – like I said, it’s not just him. But it’s not like, I’m not going to come into the quarterback room with two pom-poms and do handstands and try to pump him up and say, ‘You’re the best, you can do it,’ like the little engine that could. That’s not what I do. I just try to coach him, try to get him to play better.”
Is G Jeff Allen hurt very badly?
“Jeff Allen’s a tough guy, so I think he’ll be all right. But, I think everybody’s pretty banged up at this time of the year, but I think he’ll be all right. I don’t think it’s going to alter whether he can play or not.”
Do you see teams handling OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney the same way they did DE J.J. Watt?
“Oh yeah, they’ve definitely focused a lot of attention on JD (Jadeveon Clowney). I mean, you have to. He’s an explosive player. TFLs, sacks, chases the ball down, plays very hard. And so, yeah, there’s a lot of attention paid to him on the front, and that’s what gives some other guys a chance to make a play.”
WR Will Fuller V seemed optimistic that he wasn’t hurt too badly.
“Yeah, I mean, he took a pretty good shot. So, we’ll have to – he’s a tough guy. He’s a Philly (Philadelphia) guy. Very tough guy, especially for the way he’s built. He’s one of our better receivers when it comes to blocking. He does a lot of different things for us that people probably don’t even notice. But he’s slightly built, so I don’t know. We’ll have to see how that goes during the week.”
RB Lamar Miller looked really explosive in the first half, how do you guys get that to happen so quickly like it did in this past game?
“Lamar (Miller) ran well. I started D’Onta (Foreman) and he pounded it in there a couple times, got a nice third-and-1 for us. Lamar went in there and did a nice job. I got to figure out what to do on my end of things to keep that running game going.”
Nobody wants to be in this position, and you’ve had a couple years where you’ve turned things around. Are you someone that enjoys coaching with your back against the wall like this where you know there’s so much pressure to keep getting wins now?
“No. I would much rather be 9-0. I can honestly tell you that. I don’t enjoy being 3-6.”
Can you talk about WR Braxton Miller and what you were hoping to get out of him when he was in at quarterback?
“Just trying to mix it up a little bit. I just felt like it didn’t really help the rhythm of the offense. It wasn’t Braxton’s (Miller) fault. It just didn’t really help what we were trying to do. It didn’t have the effect that I thought it was going to have.”
You mentioned some of the extra attention that OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney is getting, and after the game, he mentioned the Rams 94-yard touchdown play as an example of that. What can be done for a guy like OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney or what can he do to get the referee’s to see when certain things might be happening to him?
“This is a great question, and I have to be very careful the way I answer it. On that particular play, he beat the guy and he was running toward the quarterback, and that’s where I’ll kind of end because you guys can watch the tape. Look, it is what it is. They made a play, we didn’t get the call, so that’s just kind of how it is when you’re not winning.”