A bit of Vitt
RE: What has the season been like for you thus far? "Besides the end result on Sunday it has been challenging and fun. This has been a great group of players to work with and they've fought very hard. Although we haven't had the outcomes that we wanted, it's been a lot of fun." RE: What's been the biggest challenge for you as a head coach? "I'm used to working with one side of the football and coaching just a group of guys. Now you have to manage a whole football team. You have a sense of responsibility to each and every player and their family. You have to evaluate whether or not you've made the right decision for every player and their family. You do a lot of hard evaluations whether or not you've made the right or wrong decisions, because they will affect the whole team. Before the decisions I made only affected the defense or the linebackers. That's the challenge and you have to be very aware of that." RE: What is your message after the Sunday's lost to the Eagles? "We're right where we want to be. We're getting better defensively by creating turnovers and field position for the offense. We had one big getaway run last week, but other than that for the past two weeks our defense has played better. We continue to struggle on coverage teams. We gave up two big returns last week and that's just unacceptable. I was very disappointed with the play of the offensive line. We got the running game going and we only had one turnover on offense. That's still not acceptable, but the numbers got better. The challenge this week is to get better. We have eight quarters left to play. Nobody's feeling sad about our sad story. We're all professionals and we all need to play like it." RE: If Steven Jackson doesn't play will you still emphasis the running game? "Yes, I think that we have to play a certain way. I think with QB Marc Bulger being hurt right now we have to play a certain way. We have to run the football and be technique sound, so that we can try to shorten the game. I know that sounds simple, but sometimes that is hard to do." RE: How disappointing was it to lose to the 49ers in a game that you all pretty much dominated? "We have a lot of respect for the 49ers. You can't look at win/loss records in the National Football League. The National Football League is full of world-class athletes. If you can't play then you're not going to be in this league. So you better bring you're A game every single week and do your absolute best. Otherwise you're going to get exactly what you deserve. I think stats are for losers. The only stat that matters to me at the end of the game is the score." RE: What can you say about your special teams play so far? "We've gotten better and we worked extremely hard at it. We have to do better with our coverage teams. We just can't get any consistency in the return game. It's not from a lack of effort. We just have to continue to work hard on it. We can't give up the big returns." RE: Would you like to be the coach of this team? "I've been asked that question a couple of times this year and I'm going to give you the honest answer. I'm never going to use this format to talk about any aspirations or goals that I have. This is about the football team and our coaching staff hanging together for these last two games. What happens after that happens after that, but it's about our players and coaches." RE: With a nicked up running back and wide receiver is it hard to game plan? "Well we have an offense. Obviously we've cut some stuff back to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick so we could cater some things to him. We can carry a full package with QB Jamie Martin, because he's been in this system 10 years. Our running backs are nicked right now, but our stable of running backs know the system. We have no injuries in the offensive line, so they know the protection. We have Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Kevin Curtis and they surely know the downfield routes." RE: How much easier did it make it for Fitzpatrick to adjust to playing in the NFL as rookie knowing that he had some playmakers with him? "Our offensive line for the most part has really done a good job of protecting him. Torry, Isaac, Kevin and Dane Looker have really worked hard to run meticulous routes for him. This is the National Football League and any time that you bring a rookie into this league there is a learning curve. It's going to take some time. It depends on your footwork, your pre-snap read, the flight, the timing of the ball and getting guys in and out the huddle. He's progressing and his teammates feel like he can progress faster, but it is what it is." RE: What kind of communication is it between you and Mike Martz at this point? "I talked to him yesterday. I'll be perfectly honest. He came in here yesterday and he talked about how he felt and we talked about some teams around the league and what they were doing. We put a nickel blitz together. He stayed for about ten minutes and I said goodbye to him. The conversation hasn't changed one bit." RE: How much of a distraction do you think that was for the team? "We were all concerned deeply about Mike's health and that's the number one thing. Number two is that this league moves on. We have a job to do. We were able to win a couple of games before the bye. We lost some games down the stretch down here that we could've won, but we didn't win. You just can't use any excuse in the National Football League for failure. They're going to play the games on Sunday no matter what. You better go out and play the games the best you can, no matter what the circumstances. There are no excuses. You can sit here all day long and say that we don't have Marc Bulger, we've lost both corners and our secondary is banged up, but there are no excuses. You're paid to play and win in the National Football League and that's the beauty of this league." RE: Does the attacking offensively of Mike Martz still apply with your game plan? "There's only one person that can call this offense the way he called it and that's Mike Martz. So we have to do what our coaches are capable of teaching and what our players are capable of comprehending. At the same time we have to try to cater to the players and what they do best. It's not the same offense and the stats will prove that."
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