MATT MILLEN'S PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
"I want to thank everyone for coming out on such short notice. After speaking with Mr. Ford the last few days, we will make no changes. I will be here and Marty Mornhinweg will be here. We will continue to work towards what we've been doing and continue to stay with the plan. Hey look, I know it has looked ugly and I know this is a results-oriented type business. I know we've had five wins in the last two seasons and I understand that completely. There are reasons for those things. Some of them are controllable, some of them are not controllable, but I think we fight it, move forward and fight with conviction. And, of course, we need to get some players and make some corrections. Part of it is that we need to play better with the players, part of it is we need to coach better and be coached better. I am responsible. It starts at the top and I point the finger right at me. We need to get this thing straightened out and we need to do it right away. Those are easy words and I understand that words are simple. There is a lot of work ahead and I understand that also."
On whether it was Matt Millen's decision, Mr. Ford's decision or a combination of the two: "It was my decision with Mr. Ford's blessing."
On what Marty Mornhinweg has shown in order to stay with the organization during the 2003 season: "There are a few things. Marty has been positive and this team has not quit. From the beginning, they have been fighters. There have been a couple things that have gone against him. The obvious ones are the injuries and attrition for a variety of reasons. We were working with a new lineup. I don't want to make excuses because I hate excuses. He is still a bright guy. The same reasons that I hired him still exist and we will move forward."
On when the decision was made: "This decision was made here within the last week of the season."
On whether he had to make a case to Mr. Ford in order to keep his job and Marty's job: "I did not make a case. Mr. Ford has to make his decision for his reasons and he did."
On whether Mr. Ford has set up stipulations and goals he would like to reach during the 2003 season: "No, he has not said that specifically, but for myself and those of us who are involved in this, we understand. Nobody is going in with their eye's closed. It is a result-oriented business. The results have not been good and we have to change that. If it doesn't change, we move from there."
On what can be changed with the coaching of the players in order to improve: "When I say coaching, there are several different levels, including in the locker room, in the classroom, out on the field and on the field during gameday. There are all kinds of coaching levels that need to get better. I have to get better and I have gotten better. I have grown in this job and I will continue to grow. We have to get better on the field. We are all responsible. And I think the point is the 'we' part of it. When things go wrong, it is never one thing. It never has been and it never will be. And so we will stand united and move forward."
On whether he anticipates any changes with staff of assistants and on a successor for Bill Tobin: "To answer the latter (question) first, we're moving on that front. We want to make a decision as quickly as possible. And to answer the former (question), yes, we have to continue to assess. If there are areas to improve, we have to improve them. I think in any situation where you can make yourself better, you make yourself better."
On whether any other possible coaching candidates were contacted prior to making this decision, specifically Bill Parcells: "I did not specifically speak to Bill Parcells."
On whether anyone else within the organization has spoken to Bill Parcells: "I can't answer that because I don't know the answer to it. I did not speak with Bill Parcells or any others."
On whether Bill Ford Jr. has been included in the decisions: "He's been kept up to speed."
On what the win number he would like to see for next year: "I'm not good at that. Is .500 good? From a fan perspective someone might say, 'hey, Millen just say 500, eight and eight,' we'd be happy. But I wouldn't be happy. I think you set yourself up for failure when you do that. The reality is that we're where we are at. If we can add a couple more players and stay relatively healthy, we can do better than that. That's what I always think. I won't shy away from anything. We played Tampa Bay, who are going to the playoffs, and we played them until the end. I don't know the specific answer to that question. Sometimes I watch us and we're close and other times I think we're not as close as I thought we were. The answer to that is getting better personnel, and we're not awful. We need to get better in a few areas and we'll have improvement."
On what the decision process was today and when coach Marty Mornhinweg was informed of this decision: "We met for about four hours and went through everything. Basically we discussed what we need to do to improve and to get better and what changes we have to make."
On whether this puts this regime in an all-or-nothing situation: "Yes and I would expect that. I think every time that you go up to the plate and take your swing, it's all or nothing. I think if you don't approach it that way that you are making a mistake."
On what the current plans are for the near future: "We are going to start preparing for the Senior Bowl and we have already started evaluations of the players. The Senior Bowl is an advantage for us this year. And then there are all of the other bowl games that we need to scout and then get prepared for the draft."