Monday Haslett Press Conference

Rams head coach Jim Haslett talked Monday about why Steven Jackson will be day-to-day this week, on if Kenneth Darby is ready to play a whole game at running back, on who will return kicks since Dante Hall is on IR, on injured players' chances for playing this week, and if he is contemplating lineup changes.

Head Coach Jim Haslett
November 3, 2008

(Opening remarks)
"(S) O.J. (Atogwe) came in with a thigh but he is ok. (G) Jacob Bell left the game with a stomach/abdomen injury but he is ok. (WR) Drew Bennett, we will put him on IR probably tomorrow. We are going to put (WR) Dante Hall with a high ankle sprain on IR probably tomorrow. (DT) Adam Carriker came through ok. (LB) Chris Draft has a fracture of his foot and he will be week-to-week. It is the same thing (WR) Drew Bennett had. (CB) Tye Hill should be ok for this week. (G) Richie Incognito has a bone bruise on his knee. (S) Todd Johnson is going to work this week and he is cleared to play this week. (DE) Leonard Little came through ok. (RB) Travis Minor had a concussion and he is getting a neuropsych test done tomorrow and we will see how he is. (DE) Eric Moore is getting a MRI on his neck/spine and we will see how he is. I am not sure. (RB) Antonio Pittman has a hamstring and he will be out this week. (RB) Steven Jackson is going to be day-to-day. (RB) Steven (Jackson) has to give us a full day of work this week or he will not play. We can't go into a game not knowing if he is going to play or not. We decided that if he can go in practice and not just jog through or make it through. He is going to have to give us a good day of work in. I think he will feel better about it also."

(On why RB Steven Jackson will be day-to-day this week)
"Basically we worked him out Sunday and he said he felt good. From my vantage point and from the guy who is calling the plays, (Offensive Coordinator) coach (Al) Saunders, I don't know if that is fair because you have a set of plays for him and you have a set of plays for (RB) (Antonio) Pittman. You are trying to game plan and all of a sudden on the second play he can't go or he is not 100 percent and you are in a state of flux the whole game, trying to call the game. We can't go through that so if he goes out and practices Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and he looks good and he gives us a full day of work, he will be ready to go. If not, then he will not play this week."

(On why RB Steven Jackson left the game early yesterday)
"The play call was more of an outside cutback play and he caught everybody off guard because he did not think he was ready for that play. That is why (RB) Antonio Pittman came in."

(On what RB Steven Jackson has to do to play in this week's game against the New York Jets)
"We have to see full speed, hit the hole, running through the hole like he is 100percent."

(On what will happen if RB Steven Jackson is not able to play against the New York Jets)
"We will have (RB) Ken Darby be the running back this week. There is not much you can do, you have to go with the guys that you have."

(On if RB Ken Darby is ready to play a whole game at running back)
"Would you rather have three guys that are out there injured or somebody that is healthy? That is the situation that we are in right now. We are going to go with the guys that are healthy."

(On if the St. Louis Rams are looking into signing another running back)
"Well we are going to look but there are not many out there. There are some practice squad guys but to come in and know what we are doing in a three day period is hard to do. There are not many veterans out there but we are looking around just in case."

(On RB the possibility of signing Lance Ball)
"He is on Indianapolis's practice squad. He is a guy that would work at least he knows what is going on."

(On who will return kicks since WR Dante Hall is on IR)
"Probably (WR) Derek Stanley with (WR) Keenan (Burton) and (WR) Dane (Looker) can go in and catch them also but I would go with (WR) Derek (Stanley)."

(On the St. Louis Rams putting WR Dante Hall and WR Drew Bennett on IR)
"(WR) (Dante) Hall has probably a six-week injury. It is a pretty bad injury and we just thought that was the best thing right now. (WR) Drew (Bennett) is just not healing. Last week he worked and he had pain. This week we thought the best thing was just to shut him down and get him healthy. I don't know how long it is going to take. We have waited two months now and I really just don't know. It could take another four weeks, it could take another eight weeks. We really can't wait because we need to have some healthy bodies playing."

(On if he has ruled out LB Chris Draft being ready to play this week)
"For this week, no, he's not going to play this week. His injury is probably a three-to-six week injury, but knowing Chris he'll be back in two or three because that's the kind of kid he is."

(On if G Richie Incognito will be ready to play on Sunday)
"Yeah, I think he'll be alright. He should be fine."

(On if CB Tye Hill was healthy enough to play on Sunday and if so why he didn't play)
"Yes, it was just a decision that we made based off of who was playing corner and special teams."

(On how he feels about dressing only 45 players and if he could have dressed 48 would he have dressed RB Kenneth Darby)
"Last week, yeah. People have fought to get the active roster more, but I understand the ramifications of it too. You're going to have specialized players playing and you're going to have an option quarterback playing, so it makes it hard on coaches. You have to have some luck in this business to stay healthy. Teams that do stay healthy usually have a chance to win, so that kind of plays into it."

(On who would back up RB Kenneth Darby)
"Maybe you, Bill (Coats) (St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer)."

(On managing the relationship between having injured players that can tough it out but also wanting them to get healthy)
"I'm at a disadvantage here is some aspects because I don't really know everybody on the offensive side. I haven't been around them enough to know their thinking. If somebody gets hurt on defense I kind of know them, I know them a little better, I know when they'll be back, I have a better relationship, obviously talking to them. That's the disadvantage you have coming in under these circumstances, so you kind of learn the players as you go. But, the other situation I had (as head coach in New Orleans) I can't compare it because I knew those guys and I understood where they were at and what was going on and our needs and their needs."

(On if there are any further problems with RB Steven Jackson's injury)
"He said he was a little sore today, but again I'm not really sure what that means because I'm just kind of getting to know Steven. I think the best thing for him is to go out there and condition and run and get that thing as strong as he can, so when he steps on the practice field he can show us and show himself that he's 100 percent ready to go."

(On if S Todd Johnson was cleared to play last Sunday or this coming Sunday)
"He's cleared to play this coming Sunday. Not the game we just lost."

(On what he was trying to do offensively with the running back situation on Sunday)
"We're kind of building on having a running game and we weren't very effective. We had 17 carries for 29 yards, so when you're not running the ball very well, it's hard to get a play action game, it's hard to get passing game going without them letting loose. Going into the game, we had a package for (RB) Steven (Jackson), a package for (RB) (Antonio) Pittman and a package for (RB) Travis (Minor). That way we weren't going to have Steven run the ball 30 times. All the sudden, Travis gets hurt in the first quarter and then Steven isn't 100 percent, and then Pittman pulls a hamstring and he toughed it out and played the rest of the game, which he probably wouldn't have if we didn't have any running backs, so it was a bad situation. It was one of those deals that you couldn't get anything going in the running game and it was hard for an offensive coordinator calling things because you really had no running back. That's why we ended up playing the fullback (number) 36 (Dan Kreider) in there some at the end."

(On what he has seen from RB Kenneth Darby on the practice field)
"I like him, he's slasher. I think he's very strong, he runs low to the ground, he's a tough kid. I have confidence in him that he'll go in there and do a good job."

(On coming up with a game plan  for RB Kenneth Darby)
"We'll have to come up with what he does best, what we feel he does best. All those guys run different type of runs, they're not all the same type of running back. So, you like to do what he does best."

(On if the run blocking was bad on Sunday or was it not having a healthy running back)
"I thought they did a good job up front on us also, but I think it was a combination of both."

(On why it is taboo to take out a quarterback in football when it is normal, for instance, to take out a pitcher in baseball)
"You want to know the truth? Because the quarterback usually takes the brunt of everything. In hockey that's not necessarily true, I don't think in baseball that's necessarily true. Usually, if a pitcher gets knocked out somebody will give him a standing ovation when he comes out, when the quarterback comes out you have 65,000 people booing him or cheering the guy that comes in, whether it's fair or not fair and I just thought let's see if (QB) Marc (Bulger) can take this team down and score because I was going to take some other guys out also, but everybody wanted to keep him and see if he can go down and score a touchdown and that being said with all the other stuff, we just felt we that we should just leave him in."

(On if he thinks taking out quarterbacks affects their psyche)
"I think (quarterbacks) get beat down enough.  They get booed all the time, they get cheered when things are going well and it's not necessarily the reason why you're so successful and it's not the reason why they play so bad. (QB) Marc (Bulger) threw a bad pass for an interception, it was  bad pass, he should have never thrown it. He tried to look off the safety and then throw it and the safety didn't move, he threw bad interception for a touchdown. The fumble, the guy didn't block, the safety comes around makes a nice play. Would I like to have him hold onto it? Yeah I'd like to have him hold onto it. The last interception, again, a young kid (WR Donnie Avery) jumps inside the corner to make the play and he should have been the one catching it, not the corner, so that's not Marc's fault. You're going to have to live with some of that stuff."

(On if he is contemplating some lineup changes)
"We'll see based off who we have. Coaches are up there working right now trying to find out who we're going to have and what we can do with them."

(On if he was aware when the team finally ran a play in Arizona territory)
"It was. I figured that one out. We didn't get across the 50 (yard line) until… I thought the most disappointing thing in the game when it was 10-7. I think there was 4:40 to go. That last four minutes before the half was probably the worst football I've seen in a long time. You have missed tackles. You have an interception that goes through your hands for a touchdown. You can't get on your way on offense, so we punt back to them, and they come back and get another score. At worse, it should have been 10-7 at halftime or even us intercepting a ball and getting it back and who knows what would happen. It goes in 24-7 in a span of four minutes. That was probably the worst span. We came out in the second half and we played hard. We did things right and we hung in there. That football team is a good football team. They score a lot of points. That's why they lead the league in scoring, with I think a 29-point average. You can't give them points and you can't give them a chance to capitalize and get more points when you really should have been in at halftime 10-7. They are too good of a football team on offense for that to happen."

(On why he thinks the team didn't respond from adversity in this game)
"I thought we kind of fell apart a little bit after the interception. I thought that the players did regroup at halftime and we came out and played hard in the second half, but I was disappointed in that span, like you were saying, at the interception and that last four minutes. I thought we didn't handle it very well. We're in a situation right now where we just lost two games in a row, you are going on the road to play a good football team with maybe the best quarterback who has ever played the game. You're down, you're injured, you have a bunch of nicks and bruises and who the heck knows who's going to play. Not just in a game, but adversity hits in this business all the time. This should be a great challenge for us to see if we go up and respond to this team."

(On having trouble with the play that Cardinals RB Tim Hightower ran a few times)
"It was the same play. It was a little 1960s misdirection play. We didn't play it very well. It was a play the Giants ran against us. We didn't play it very well then either."

(On why that play is so difficult)
"It's a hard read because you are reading backs and linemen are pulling. You have misdirection. You have the fullback going one way, guards going the other way. It's a play you just have to work on. We didn't work on it much, because they didn't run it. Obviously, they took it from the Giants five or six weeks back."

(On what CB Jonathan Wade could have done differently)
"The guy was a receiver, he has great hands. He actually double-clutched. He had it, dropped it and caught it and then bobbled it again. He played the play perfectly and undercut the ‘7,' transferred on the ‘7' and played the route. He just has to go up and make the play. He actually played pretty well when he was in there except for that play."

(On if he can say that's it just not your day when bad plays like the tipped ball with Jon Wade happen)
"Sometimes you have to make those plays. It's bad for Jon (Wade), because Jon actually played pretty well, but you miss a play like that and you don't really have a winning performance, because that's the play you have to make. It's just like the ball with Kurt (Warner) when the ball goes over his head and it bounces right into him, we have eight guys chasing him. He throws it to Anquan (Boldin) and the guy makes a one-handed catch. That's when you start to wonder."

(On what you tell the team going into the next eight games)
"We're not going to change our approach. I think you just take it one game at a time. The most important thing is that we go try to get a win this week. This is not going to be any easy task to go win up there and play this team that just beat Buffalo, in Buffalo. They have a good group of football players. They restructured this year and got a whole bunch of players who have helped their football team. I think they are tied for the division lead now with Buffalo and New England. I don't think you can look ahead, you just have to take one game at a time. It changes every week. Your personnel changes, the game changes, the situation changes every week. It's just how you handle it. We have to go up there and play well."

(On if he is anxious to see how the team responds after the two losses)
"I really am. I know the coaches will get them going. This will be a good test to see what kind of character they really have."

(On if he has talked with WR Torry Holt)
"What would I talk to him about?"

(On if there is a concern when a veteran speaks out)
"I understand. He's not catching as many balls as he had in the past. The guy has caught a lot of passes over his career. We are a little bit different football team right now. We have a bunch of young receivers. You have a line that hasn't been together long. The running back situation is in flux. We haven't had Steven (Jackson), in and out the whole year. It's just the situation more than anything. I thought he did a good job in the second half. He made some nice catches, had some run after the catch. I thought he was outstanding in that one where he had a nice touchdown. Nobody is trying to faze him out, we only have one football and it's just the way it goes. He'll be fine. I understand his complaint. I'd be disappointed in him if he didn't feel that way. I'd be disappointed in all these guys if they didn't feel like they could help this football team. He did a nice job in the second half."

(On if Arizona did anything special to shut down WR Donnie Avery)
"They leaned to him a little bit, the free safety, but no, nothing special."


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