How much of the offense's problems lately is play-calling and how much is the quarterback perhaps making conservative decisions?
Mariucci: Certainly, when we look at the films, we go through it with a fine-tooth comb. We analyze every step, every technique, every concept, every play call, every game-plan thought, that sort of thing. When you win a game, you feel good about your plan. And when you lose the game, it's easy to feel like you're conservative, or you should have done this more, or that sort of thing. We haven't been getting a lot of plays on offense, so you have to take advantage of those few opportunities that you get. You analyze how many attempts did we make at things, and what were the decisions that were made. We're they conservative decisions or are they good decisions? And so, we analyze that. And we analyze how do you run the ball better. We know we want to run the ball better.
So what's your analysis of your quarterback's decision making?
Mariucci: We're not getting completions down the field. The calls are there on occasion. But I've said it all along, Jeff (Garcia) is a terrific decision-maker. He really is. It's one of his strengths. And if he starts taking chances down the field too many times, then we're going to turn the ball over more than we should. And so, he's good about that. And when you go through the film, I wanted to find, ‘Hey, Jeff, this guy is open. You should have taken the shot.' I didn't see that very often. Because I saw pretty darn good coverage. I saw deep zones. I saw them dropping off with eight and nine people quite a bit.
Do you think Garcia is checking down to his secondary receivers too quickly?
Mariucci: There might have been a couple of times where, on film – from the eye in the sky – when you say, ‘All right, maybe you got this guy.' But to stand back in the pocket, and add the linemen in front of you and the defensive pass rushers and all the things that might hinder one's vision, he's got to make that decision on the field. It's easier to look at that after the fact and say, ‘Maybe if he hangs on, you could stick it in there.' And in every game, there's going to be a couple of those. In general, he completes a lot of passes and he makes some good decisions. We would all like to get more chunk plays. That's what we need to do. You've got to get big plays to score points. You really do. It's so hard to go down the field in 14 plays with five and eight yards at time. Those need to come. They will come. But we haven't had a lot in the first couple of games.
Are you concerned that your receivers aren't showing the ability to get open down field?
Mariucci: To give you an example, sometimes you run four verticals, which everybody does. If you get four-deep coverage, somebody's got to win, or they're going to just play on top of everybody else. You have to have a mismatch, or somebody's got to play tight and you've got to win at the line of scrimmage, and otherwise you're checking that thing down to a back that's singled up with a linebacker. Or if you've got three verticals, and they roll the coverage to a three-deep zone, or get the jam on the receivers, or whatever that might be, if it's not there, it's not there. The interesting thing is, we haven't seen a lot of man coverage against our bunch so far. So, when the time comes, we'll shoot it in there. But if it's not there, then Jeff is asked to do the right thing. And he's been doing the right thing most of the time.
Should you be able to run the ball better if the other team takes away your vertical game?
Mariucci: Yes, you should. That's where that balance I hope to have comes in. You've got to be able to run the ball. And part of running the ball better, and part of running the ball well is to be stubborn with it. Because you can't run the ball 14 times and think you're going to have a lot of rushing yards because part of that is wearing down defensive linemen, and backs get stronger toward the end of the game, and then they can pop the big one.