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REX: We'll All be Cheering for Detroit

Posted Dec 16, 2013

Again as always, you watch the tape and maybe not everything jumps out at you like you thought after the game, but for the most part, it’s not surprising when you pretty much have the idea after the game and I think that was the case. Some individuals absolutely had tremendous games and then there’s others that never played quite as well. The challenge to our guys is, are we doing what we’re asking you to do? In this league, no matter who you are, no matter how good you are, you’re going to get beat physically in this league. It happens. It’s not something you accept, you step right back up and you take that challenge again, but that does happen. Are our mistakes physical or are some mental? Is it something that’s, why we’re not doing exactly what we’re asking you to do or something like that, and that’s the challenge to the team that I put out. And then as a coach too, is put your guys in positions to be successful and that’s always going to be the thing that you look for. The other thing you do is you get out there and you do the corrections and you can’t move forward unless you correct some of the mistakes that were made, and that’s what we did today. And that’s what it’s always about, win or lose.

On the blocked the punt…

The three flyers is something that we’ve done in the past here. We’ve been fairly successful with it and by numbers, we have the numbers that you look for, you know what I mean. There’s six rushers and you have seven blockers. We have seven blockers, but are there things that we could’ve done a better job physically? Absolutely. It wasn’t really necessarily a bust in assignment, it was more of a technique deal. But, we could’ve helped. Obviously, certain guys are in a tougher predicament. Tanner [Purdum] is in a tougher predicament because he’s got somebody over his nose. So, you’re challenged a little bit that way, but we just have to do a better job of it.

On if he could tell that the block punt was going to happen before it happened…

No. You know what the rule is, even yesterday when you guys asked me about it. You cover the guy up. Whenever you get a guy outside, you can cover that guy up, so we know that obviously that’s a possibility. But, just by the sheer numbers of it, we can get into technical terms, you always count outside in. You have three this way, then it’s one, two, three and back here it’s one, two, three, four. Whatever the case may be, that’s how you count. Everybody knows we’re a man protection team. Sometimes you have an uncovered guy, so I guess you’re punching holes. You can do different things like that, but we’re a man protection team and we know how to count. We assume that there’s going to be somebody on the nose. At least we’re ready for that.

On if he saw the way that Carolina aligned their punt block formation and knew the punt was going to be blocked…

No. I mean, maybe Tanner did because you’ve got a guy over your nose [joking]. But again, that’s something we’re aware of.

On if he thought the punt would be blocked before the play occurred…

No. We had the numbers. Again, they hadn’t really shown that they would bring the guy over but they did. But you’re certainly aware that that’s a possibility. And again, it doesn’t really change your number count. It’s just obviously you’re not in an ideal situation if you’re snapping the ball and then having to protect. But, that’s always been the case in this league. Before they changed the rule, that happened all the time.

On how he approaches the final two weeks…

This team’s going to play hard regardless. Whether there’s a playoff scenario out there or not, this team will play hard. I’m confident of that. I’m confident we’ll prepare, we’ll do everything, we’re professionals and this team is close. You never want to go out that way. You want to go out being true to yourself and everything else. Did I flash the playoff scenario up there? Absolutely. Absolutely I did. And I think there’s only one playoff scenario of all the lists of a million of them. A lot of things have got to happen. Are we aware that Detroit needs to beat Baltimore for us to be alive? Yeah, we’re aware of it, there’s no doubt. I don’t care how small the chances of getting in. I think this league has proved that you’ve just got to get in. I don’t know what the percent is. A one percent chance of getting in then, by gosh, we’re going for it. We’ll see tonight. There might be a zero percent chance if tonight doesn’t go right. Our guys certainly are aware of it and I’m sure we’ll all be cheering for Detroit.

On how he assesses the job Marty Mornhinweg has done…

I think Marty’s done a tremendous job. I think the job that all of our assistants have done has been a tremendous job. Obviously, it’s a big challenge. Any time you’re implementing a new system and I think there’s maybe six different starters from the previous season, even though it’s a brand new system, you’ve got that. You have a rookie quarterback. Obviously, there’s big challenges there but I think he’s done a nice job. I don’t think there’s any doubt.

On if the reasons he noted about Mornhinweg’s performance are why the team has the 29th-ranked offense in the NFL…

No, I absolutely have spoken highly of him. There’s a lot of contributing factors. I’ve always said that. Injuries are part of things and certainly we don’t make excuses. It is what it is. But I think we’re a better football team when you have your weapons available to you, a [Jeremy] Kerley, a [Santonio] Holmes healthy, or whatever. I think that helps you. But we haven’t been set up in an ideal situation. There was one point earlier in the year where you thought two of your best receivers were Stephen Hill and Clyde Gates. Clyde wasn’t available to us almost the entire year and Stephen went down. But again, it’s not that I’m making an excuse, I’m not. It’s just the reality that you’ve had guys you’re picking up during the season that really hadn’t even had training camp with you and all of that. Sometimes I think it just makes sense that you’re not, probably, going to be as productive initially until these guys get caught up to where you would be. Again, it’s challenging. We’re not proud of those numbers but I’m proud of the job Marty’s done. I’m proud of the job all these assistant coaches have done.

On what he attributes giving up big plays on defense to…

Well, I don’t know about that. Unfortunately we’ve been giving up a lot of big plays all season, so I don’t know if it’s been more recently. Maybe more run after the catch or something like that than we’ve given up in the past previously. The ball’s really not getting shot over our head like it was. Carolina ran a screen pass on us. I’m a little mystified by that one still, but again, they executed it well. There’s no question they did. A great job on their part. They made a huge play on it. You’ve got to give them credit. We’ve just got to play it a little different I think.

On what Milliner could have done to get off of that block better…

Again, there’s a lot of things that contribute to it. Number one, you try to attack the guy at the line of scrimmage, not letting him get the down filed is a big thing. We had some contributing factors involved, I’m not calling out specific guys. Unfortunately, we’re a team that doesn’t make that many mistakes and we made a couple of errors that way. We made a technique error, we made an assignment error in that. They ran our corner down the field. We’re in man coverage so my eyes are on my man so when it was time, ‘Oh, shoot. It’s a run.’ Now the guy is down the field and I have to put myself in position where I turn the guy back inside and that didn’t happen. We have to get physical with the guy. It looked like, in that situation, our corner was almost caught in a two-way go, ‘Do I take it inside or outside?’ We have to turn it back. That’s something we wish we had over.

On the amount of breakdowns…

We had a couple of those things. We had an error up front, we never ran a stunt right that I thought we would have been played, we missed that. Sometimes it gives you another opportunity to hit the screen, that’s why you put the stunt in. We missed it. It just wasn’t played the way I thought it would have been played.

On if he thinks he needs to win the final two games to remain the head coach…

We need to win these two games because we have two games left, that’s what we’re trying to do. Again, I’ve said it I don’t know how many times, we need to get a win. All that other stuff, it will take care of itself down the road. We know what we have in front of us. The opportunity to make the playoffs might not be big but I still hope it exists tomorrow. If it does, again, we still have that and that’s what we’re playing for, the opportunity to get into the playoffs. Even if not, even if that opportunity is taken away, we have two more opportunities and we’re going to do everything we can in our power to play as well as well as we can possibly play.

On having three non-winning seasons and he thinks it affects his job security…

Again, I’m not sure how it does. The only thing I know I can do is do the best job I possibly can and keep my focus on the job at hand and not worry about other things.

On if he feels that he has the support of the locker room…

I mean, again, I don’t know guys. I think we’re better served as a team to be focused on playing [and] doing a great job. If I’m player, just doing what I can do as a player to play the best I possibly can and to coach the same way, to put everything we got on the job at hand. I think [we would] be better served that way. I certainly appreciate the comments by Willie [Colon], but again, let’s just do this job and everything will take care of itself. 

On his relationship with John Idzik…

It’s been tremendous. I think we both want the same thing, we both want to win. From the day I met him, it was clear that’s what John wants to do. He obviously wants to build a team that’s a perennial winner. There’s no question about that. I understand that. There’s no doubt. As you say, we haven’t had a winning record or something like that, but hopefully these next few weeks we can get a couple more wins. Again, I’ve had a great relationship with him and that hasn’t changed one bit.

On if he believes he is the right person to coach the team…

Of course I believe it. Of course, no question I believe it. There’s no doubt, but again I’d rather get out of this press conference and go to work [laughter]. That’s how I feel about this.

On if it ever crosses his mind that he might not be retained as head coach…

No, not until you guys bring it up.

On if he ever has any inkling of where he stands with management…

No.

On if speculation about his job security bothers him…

No, because my job is not to speculate on this or that, my job is trying to get this team ready to go. Right now, that’s where my focus is going to be, and whether you guys believe me or not, I’m telling you the truth.

On if he thinks the team has played to its potential…
We certainly haven’t played to our goal. We want to win. We don’t go into any game that we don’t think we’re going to win. We think we’re going to win every single game. Clearly, that hasn’t been the case, but to a man, if you ask anybody if we think we’re going to win, absolutely I think we’re going to win regardless of who we play. I haven’t seen any tape on the Cleveland Browns yet, but I think we’re going to win. It’s just the way it is and as a competitor, you into that arena thinking that.

On why he believes he is the right person to coach the team…

Look, I’m a confident guy, even though I know that will be questioned a zillion times forward and backward, whatever, that’s fine. But I know I’m a good football coach. I believe in this team. I believe in this organization and I’m determined to bring a winner to this team, there’s no question about it. I know and I believe that I’m the right guy for it. Now again, I’m not the guy making that decision. If I was, it’d be easy and you guys wouldn’t be asking me the questions anymore. But that’s not the case. So again, all I know is what I can do is get this team ready to go and play at the very best of our abilities. That’s exactly what I plan on doing.

On if he ever thinks “what went wrong” when the team was on the path to the Super Bowl three years ago…

No, but again, I guess I kind of disagree with you. I think that this team is on the right path. It might not be reflective in our record right now. I understand that, but I believe this team is going in the right direction.

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