Q: What are some of your next-day impressions of the loss to the Saints?
Mariucci: It was one heck of a football game. I hated to see it get away from us because we had chances. It was a hard-fought game between both teams. Both teams had chances to win it at the end in the fourth quarter. They simply made more plays than we did. If the Saints are certainly one of the best teams in the league, which I think they are, then this game was probably a pretty good barometer for us, to see exactly where our team is, how competitive we are with one of the better teams in the league, on the road, short week, a little nicked up, that sort of thing.
Q: No time now to worry about what's behind you, right?
Mariucci: Every week this team knows it's going to have a big game, whether it's against the Saints – a first-place team in a different division – or a Monday night game against a division foe, or a Rams game, or you name it. Here we go again. This is for the division lead against an up-and-coming Arizona team who I think is surprising a lot of people because they're very good. We've got them here. Our team right here is going to be hungry, is going to be determined to take the lead in this division. We're not going to sulk over this Saints loss.
Q: How did you feel about the way the offense played?
Mariucci: I was pleased with our offensive play, except for the fourth quarter. We scored on our first three drives. We started fast. We started the second half with a touchdown drive. We only punted once. But in fourth quarter, we turned it over, which led to points. We put a nice little drive together at the end to give us a chance to tie the game and then didn't finish it like we needed to. So there, too, we've got some work to do. All in all, the team is determined and full-speed ahead and can't wait to play our next game.
Q: What exactly do you emphasize to get better on third-and-long situations?
Mariucci: Well, what we have to do is we have to evaluate what we've done. And we did that this morning with I and the defensive staff. We went through all of our calls. What defenses have we been in? Is it one guy, is it one scheme, is it one thought? Is it three-deep, two-deep, man, pressure, what is it? So, we need to evaluate that first. And then we need to decide what we'd like to do to proceed. Do we want to narrow that down a little bit and hone in on three or four different coverages, or do we want to keep six or eight or 10 coverages available? The amount of practice time we give it, certainly, the look that we're getting from the offensive scout team, it just has to be a little bit more of a point of emphasis.
Q: What are your feelings about that fan running into your huddle during the final minute of the Saints game?
Mariucci: It was bizarre. I think he tried to sign Jeremy Newberry's jersey. Taking the Sharpie thing to another level. I know that, as a league – and not just as a league – as stadiums in general around the country in any sport, we've got to be conscious of the security involved. We've all got to do a better job of keeping people where they're supposed to be. And behavior in the stands is an issue in some stadiums more than others, as we all know. And we've got to be paying more close attention to that sort of thing. How in the world can somebody end up in your huddle with 40 seconds left in a game? A big drive, I would say. And all of a sudden, there's a 12th man in the huddle. And for once, it's not our guy. That could have been very potentially dangerous. It happened not to be, but it could have been. So we've got to look at that and address it, I think.
Q: Do you still feel it was a smart move to let the Saints score near the end of the game so you could get the ball back?
Mariucci: You'd like to be a bug on the wall down on the sideline when you start talking about that. Here I asked Jim Mora, ‘We should let them score, huh?' And his job in life is to keep people out of our end zone. And now I'm asking him, ‘We should let them score?' And you should have seen the look on his face. But he knew that it made sense. Same with your defense. Here's a group of men that live for keeping people out of an end zone. And now you have to tell them, no, give them the touchdown. But if we don't do that, and they manage the clock properly, like I would assume they would, we're just not going to get a good chance to win that game at all. We had to do it. That was our best chance. And we put together a 12-play drive. We had a chance.