"I think that against Atlanta, I think we hit the quarterback about ten times in that game, maybe a few more. 8, 10, 12 times we hit the quarterback, and I think [Phillip] Merling had a sack, Jason [Taylor] had a sack. This game this week, I'd say we hit the quarterback half of those times, probably about five times if I'm correct, maybe even four times we had quarterback hits in this game. So, not enough pressure this past week which is not – well, you guys asked me last week about sacking that quarterback, and that's not, that's not an easy thing to do. Those guys don't give them up many times, and he [Peyton Manning] gets the ball out pretty quick. So I would say for a pressure standpoint we're always looking for more on the quarterback at least, and we'd like to get it in a way that we don't have to generate."
On the tight ends not producing as they did last year –
"The key is coverage, and first two games, the coverage was pretty similar. Little bit different this past game because it was a little bit softer, but it's not a coverage that the tight end's going to catch a lot of balls in. It's a coverage more that Teddy Ginn's going to catch more passes in, receivers are going to get more balls, but not necessarily the tight ends. So the other thing that came in play this last week - and this isn't Anthony Fasano's fault or anybody else's – it's just that we need to protect. We needed to be sure that #93 [Dwight Freeney] wouldn't be the guy to beat us at the end of that, so doing some of that, Anthony was called to duty that way as well, and I think that takes opportunities away."
On what Philip Rivers brings to the quarterback position that is similar to Peyton Manning –
"I mean, I think they're pretty similar players. I think that they both get rid of the ball pretty quick. Both can get the ball down the field. I think his arm strength is tremendous, Philip Rivers, I think he plays with a really competitive toughness about him out there. I mean, you just have to watch film from the game the other night, you want to talk about – he got hit a few times and hung in there coming after him every way they could come after him, and the guy hung in there and made some tremendous throws. So I think he is a really tough competitor and I think his team kind of thrives off that."
On what has to be done to defend TE Antonio Gates this week that has not been done the previous two weeks against opponent tight ends –
"I'm not going to argue whether or not it was good or bad. I mean, again, I think [Tony] Gonzalez had 70 yards [receiving] the first game. I think last week wasn't very good. I would say to you that both of those situations we could be better. [The] player that we're playing this week in [Antonio] Gates, in my mind he is every year one of the best guys at that position, so what can you do? You can do a lot of things: you can play man-to-man against him, which we did last week, might need to do it with some help over the top one way or the other. You can just play all zone, you can get in his face and try to crowd him a little bit, maybe try to make it tougher that way at the line of scrimmage. So, those are some things you can do, but they're all things that he's seen before. The unique thing about him, well not unique in that we've seen it with really all three of these tight ends that we face, is that that's easier said than done. He doesn't just go to the line and put his hand in the ground. He moves, he's lined up outside, he's lined up in the slot, he's lined up in the backfield, so you can't crowd him, you can't get in his face, there's not enough opportunities to do that. They force releases with him, they do a great job of using him. At some point, you just got to cover him."
Coach Tony Sparano
J. Pat Carter/AP
"I'm by last game, I'm on to San Diego. I'm bye it."
On what LB Cameron Wake needs to do to get playing time –
"Special teams. It's not anything other than that. It's, to be honest with you, we were hoping to get him to a point special teams-wise where he could be a little more familiar with some of the techniques and things that we were asking him to do that way. We will get him there, and I think he's close to that point, been getting better and better and we've been repping him – we've been preparing Cameron every week, the first two weeks, like he's playing in the game. So, he's putting in reps, doing those jobs so that he can be more familiar that way. The other thing I would say is playing his position against the run. It isn't pass rush with him, it's playing his position against the run. The things that Jason [Taylor] did, he will do faster than Cameron, in other words, learning the fundamentals of that position. And again, were preparing him during the week like he's playing, so he's getting more and more of those reps too."
On Wake specifically in the pass rush –
"He's getting better and better at it."
On if he feels Wake can contribute to the pass rush –
"All I have to go on is what I've seen in the games. And the games did matter, the preseason games did matter, and I have to go by what I've seen in the games, and during those games every game, he might have had a sack, or hit the quarterback, or did something that way. So, I have to believe that Cameron, from that standpoint, can do that. Now, did he do it against the type of people he's going to be playing against when he's out there now? We got him a few opportunities against the first team in the preseason, but we didn't get him a lot of opportunities against the first team because you're trying to get other people in."
On if this year's 0-2 start feels like last year's 0-2 start –
"0-2 is 0-2, it stinks whenever you have it. Honestly, 0-2 last year coming off of 1-15 smelled the same way 0-2 smells right now. It's not a good taste in your mouth, I don't love it, nobody in that locker room loves it, guys are out there working just as hard whether there's expectations or not. I felt we had expectations last year too. It's not a good feeling, but we're beyond it, and if we don't watch ourselves we could be 0-3 if we think about 0-2 too long. We're not interested in that."
On if this year is more positive after playing well in the second game versus being blown out in Arizona in the second game last season –
"We feel like – and I'm glad you asked that question because I've been here now for two press conferences since that game and I haven't been asked one of those questions yet. Quite honestly, this team got better in a lot of areas the other night. They really did. All you have to do is look at the numbers and look at from week one to week two. All I hear about in week one was the offensive line, well damn, the offensive line played pretty well the other night. They protected pretty well the other night, we ran the ball, you don't get to 240 yards rushing by accident in this league, just doesn't happen. They played pretty well, Jake Long played pretty well the other night. I thought our special teams played pretty well the other night. I thought there was some pretty good things that came out of that ballgame the other night and at times. Our defense went out there and got those guys off the field in a hurry a couple times. We felt pretty good about a few things in the ballgame the other night, I really did. The Arizona game, I didn't feel good about anything at the end of that game. I felt like jumping out of the plane [laughter]. I really did, I didn't feel at that point, David Lee and I were sitting in a closet on the plane coming up with this wildcat deal. That's the truth, were sitting there and we're having those kind of conversations. Where we are we compared to where we were last year to where we are right now? We just played two playoff teams, we really didn't give ourselves a chance to win the first game and I think we – coulda, shoulda, woulda's – we didn't give ourselves a chance to win the first game. Certainly had a chance to win the other night."
On if the players are self-motivated or if he has to fight disappointment with them –
"I don't think so. I think as a team, we're by that. And one of the things that you have is that you were 0-2 a year ago. That doesn't smell and better just like I said, but you were 0-2, you have experiences, you've been down that road, we lost two games in a row twice last year, and I think guys have something to drive from. They understand – coming to work on a Monday or a Wednesday after a loss around here right now, there's really no surprises, they know what to expect. They know exactly what we're going to do, they know how I'm going to be. They might have been a little surprised this morning, but I don't know. My thing this morning was we're moving on. I don't have time to spend on that game. Coaches made the corrections, they did what they have to do from the film, but we don't have time to sit there and beat it up for hours. I mean, move on. The more time we spend there, the less time we spend here, and that's what happens in a short week."
On how hard it would be to restructure the defensive line if the nose tackle was injured as is the situation in San Diego –
"I think difficult. I think that those guys, and I say this with great respect for the player who got hurt there, nobody wants to see anybody get hurt in this league. And to see a player like that of that caliber that's out, he's really a heck of a player and has been for a lot of years in this league. I know the value to the defense if [Jason] Ferguson were hurt, and that's not taking anything away from [Paul] Soliai, I have a lot of confidence right now in Soliai, what Soliai can do. But, a guy like Ferguson in the middle of our defense, that'd be hard a hard job."
On how the short week affects preparation for this game –
"Well we did a lot of work last week. With the added day last week, we as coaches did a lot of work in preparation on Saturday, on Sunday, and even on Monday. Monday before the game, we were here after our morning meetings and kind of stayed here, a lot of the guys stayed here until they went to the stadium. Did a lot of San Diego work, heavy days Sunday and Monday so that was out of the way. Yesterday we were just able to get into the meeting room and start our game plan."
On if there was a difference last year traveling to Arizona the day before the game and traveling to Denver two days before the game –
"I did. Rookie coach mistake at that point. In other words, I went out there to Arizona the day before the game and I just felt like we were really sluggish and all those things. So when you evaluate what you did at that time, when we came around to play Denver, we really had that trip set up to be the same way, leave the day before, and go play the game. Then, I called Phil Dangerfield in and grabbed Jeff Ireland and said: ‘look, we don't want to do this, we need to go out day before and get them out there, maybe just be there a little bit earlier and let the guys rest and see how that goes.' Well, I thought that was great. I thought from a setup standpoint, meetings down there, you have their attention all the time, it's not like you're losing them here for x amount of hours, you have their attention all the time. I thought it was really good for them and they got enough rest going into the game. So, that's why we're doing what we're doing and hopefully we'll get the same result."
On not having any take-aways yet this season and if he thinks the team is close in that regard –
"We had a chance the other night for one with the ball on the sideline with Gibril [Wilson], we just didn't finish the play there. I felt like we were close, but when I say that, I think we're in good position on some things, I thought we were in good position a couple times in Atlanta and just didn't make the play. They got the ball from us, so we need to get a few more of them. It's hard to go a couple, two, three games without them. We need to start to even this deal out. It's 5 [turnovers] for us with that last ball that was thrown, not sure you should always count those, but I guess they count. It was the last play of the game and you're trying to do what you're doing. So, I was pleased with the way they took care of the ball the other night. We're 0-5 and we got to find a way to even that up."
On how much applying pressure to the quarterback is the responsibility of the front three –
"I think it has to start with the front three. Those guys I think have done a pretty good job in the first two ballgames, I would say of doing those things. [Kendall] Langford had a couple hits on the quarterback the other night. Kendall had two, I believe, on the quarterback the other night. And then in the first game of course, [Philip] Merling had several and [Randy] Starks had a couple in that game as well. And I think Ferguson might have got around on him once or twice. I think those guys have done a nice job creating a little bit of pressure. I do think it stars up there, because the more attention you can draw from the inside people on the people inside for us, the better off you are with your outside linebackers. We created a sack the other night with what we did on a pressure, you know, Paul [Pasqualoni] did a nice job scheming one up and getting Joey [Porter] to the quarterback the other night. We need to create some of that by winning our matchups."
On if the players were receptive to going over the fundamentals of tackling at practice—
"I think so. I think the guys were very receptive. I think sometimes they think: ‘he's a little anal' about stuff like that I'm sure, I think [Jason] Taylor called it ‘nit-pickety' or whatever it was. Yeah, I think they were receptive. I think they understand why you're doing what you're doing. I think today we had a one-on-one period out there, we had the tight ends, and the running backs, and the outside linebackers, inside linebackers, well that's an important period for us, so you got to break the fundamental down. It is an important period. During the course of that ballgame the other night, they were faced in those situations several times. I think then more you make it important to players, like the balls security things, the gauntlet drills that you asked me about last week, the more we make it important to the guys, the more they think it's important."
On the game-winning touchdown last game and that it looked as if the receiver was over the line of scrimmage –
"I didn't think he was."
On if that's a call that is awarded at the beginning of the game but not at the end –
"I would say maybe, yeah. I would say maybe."