Monday Coach Haslett Press Conference

Rams Head Coach Jim Haslett talked Monday about if Steven Jackson will be limited in practice this week, on if he has input on the offensive play calling, on scoring touchdowns in the redzone, on if this was his toughest loss as a head coach, on breaking the losing mentality, on if he would stay with a 3-4 formation next year, and on if Marc Bulger is someone you can build a team around.

Head Coach Jim Haslett
December 22, 2008

(Opening remarks)
"(TE) Daniel Fells had an MRI and he has a bone bruise on his knee. He should be ok. (G) Jacob Bell is getting an MRI tonight at 7:30 on his hamstring and he is probably questionable. (RB) Steven Jackson's hamstring looked like it was ok today. (S) Eric Bassey also has a hamstring. He had it on the first kickoff and ended up playing the rest of the game. He will be limited this week."

(On if RB Steven Jackson will be limited in practice this week)
"Tomorrow is going to be more of a walk through because of the schedule change. If he is alright tomorrow then I think he should be alright for Wednesday."

(On how T John Greco played yesterday)
"Not as well as you would have liked. He struggled in the last couple of series and it hurt us a little bit. If you are going to play young guys then you will have to deal with the growing pains. He actually gave up a sack on (QB) Marc (Bulger), a quarterback hit and then on the draw, there was a blitz and he should have picked it up. If he would have picked up his man then it would have been a pretty good play. He struggled down the stretch."

(On the running back draw late in yesterday's game)
"You had two guys in the A-gap and if he gets his block, (RB) Steven (Jackson) probably gets to the safety. With the ball being at the 45 and knowing that you only need 7-8 yards for a field goal attempt, you had enough time with two timeouts so I thought it was a good call. Obviously, we have to block it better."

(On if he has input on the offensive play calling)
"No. I will say to run the ball or throw it. I will say that once in awhile. I get more input on the defense obviously."

(On what offensive plays he helps call)
"I don't know the plays. I don't know the verbiage well enough. I know what post means and belly but I don't know all the verbiage and all that stuff. I think you have to be here through an offseason and training camp to understand offensive terminology. It is like learning another language. I haven't really paid attention to it since I have been here. I was always worried about the defensive side."

(On if he helps with the offense when he was head coach for the New Orleans Saints)
"(Offensive Coordinator) Mike McCarthy and I did a lot together. We game planned third down together. I sat in on the game plan meetings. I would say it was 50-50 with the offense and defense when I was down there. "(Offensive Coordinator) Mike McCarthy and I actually did third downs together on Thursday nights."

(On scoring touchdowns in the redzone)
"We have had 25 attempts in the redzone and we only have seven touchdowns. I was looking at some numbers today and you have some teams that have 35 touchdowns, 25 or 26 and we have seven. That is disappointing. We had one touchdown and we had 87 plays. We had the ball for almost 40 minutes and we got one touchdown. That is disappointing. We you can do that and get the yards and play defense like we did, you are not going to win a lot of games. You have to score more points in this league. Our defense has played well the last four weeks. I think we have giving up 16, 17, 17, and 20 points the last four games and we haven't won a game. We are playing well enough but we have to generate some points. Especially, when we had the ball at the 50 after a turnover and we ended up punting and the one in the redzone when we had a chance."

(On if this was his toughest loss as a head coach)
"I'm being positive on this, the good thing is you're one play away from beating a team in your division, yesterday and last week we're one play away from beating a team in your division, Arizona was four or five plays away, so like I said before, I think if you fix a few things you can play with the teams in your division; the teams you need to beat. We played with a lot of energy yesterday. Guys were flying around, they were having fun. Somehow we have to break the mentality, the losing mentality, you have to overcome it and win some games. We're not at that point right now. We found a way to lose it yesterday. They just threw the ball up at the end of the game, there were two guys running, I don't know if they were running the wrong route or what, they were running side-by-side, but they threw it up and we had three guys there and they come down with it. Somehow teams that win, the defense comes down with it and they win the game."

(On if it's normal to have two receivers running close routes)
"No, it was a messed up route; a screwed up route."

(On breaking the losing mentality)
"That starts in the offseason, that starts with training camp. Training camp has to be a little grueling and there has to be a togetherness being built at the training camp, there has to be an attitude that you believe that you can win that starts in training camp and all that stuff, you just don't do that in the middle of the season. That's something you start in the offseason and it's something you deliver and you develop as you're going and it starts basically at training camp. And obviously, winning some games and playing well that helps, but when you're struggling like we are right now it's hard to believe that you're going to win a game."

(On what changes have made a difference in Atlanta)
"They have a heck of an offensive line. They have maulers up front, they have a heck of a running game, they picked up (Michael) Turner, probably their best offensive player, he has almost 1,491-yards rushing right now. (WR) Roddy White has developed into a good player. Their receivers block, they do a great job blocking and I think they're averaging about 160 yards a game rushing, I think that's the number one thing. Don't turn the ball over a lot; don't take a lot of sacks. It starts with the guys they have up front."

(On if he had a good feeling about the season after training camp)
"I didn't get a feel for the whole team. You try to take care of your side of the ball and can't really get a feel for everything you're so involved in what you're doing."

(On if he did a major overhaul in New Orleans to make them a winning football team)
"We did. We brought in a couple quarterbacks, number one we brought in Jeff Blake, Aaron Brooks we had Jake (Delhomme) there, drafted Marc Bulger, had Ricky Williams at running back, signed Joe Horn, signed Wally Williams offensive lineman, signed a couple other offensive linemen, signed a defensive linemen, I believe, at myself, in order to win in this league you have to win up front. It starts with your offensive and defensive linemen. If you can develop five core guys up front on offense and four on defense with a couple backups, you'll have a chance to win almost every game you're in because of those guys up front. You'll see that development in the team we're playing this week that's what they do. They have a mentality up front, they're physical up front. They're going to come beat you up that's how they play and that's how they play on defense. Then you can build from the outside and you can build all around that, but those guys up front that's what wins games. I think that's Philadelphia's mentality over the years. That's what they draft, that's how they play, that's why they've been so good for a long time."

(On if he would stay with a 3-4 formation if he comes back next year)
"It all depends on who's going to be back. We did a lot of 3-4 again yesterday; we did a lot of different things yesterday with that."

(On what kind of time frame would be ideal to have as the head coach next year to make the changes he wants to make)
"During the offseason and training camp. You see it at Miami, Atlanta, the Jets are doing it, Carolina's actually done it. They gave away their first round pick for next year and drafted an offensive lineman in the first round. It starts with free agency and then it goes to the draft; the most important part is the draft. Then, the mentality you build and what kind of team you build on. To me, you build this team around two guys on offense, it's your running back and your quarterback and everything else goes off of that. That's how I look at it. This particular football team, you build it around Steven Jackson and you protect the quarterback."

(On how RB Steven Jackson played)
"I thought he gutted it out. I thought he played hard. The guy was struggling at the end of the game and played hard, ran hard and gave us everything he got, rushed for 100 yards. It was some tough sledding in there and I thought he stuck it up in there and played well."

(On how LB Pisa Tinoisamoa played)
"I think his big issue was being injured. He's not the biggest guy in the world so he has to stay healthy. He's very active, has good coverage skills, he had a couple of blitzes yesterday that he got sacks on. When he stays healthy, he's a pretty good player."

(On if he is concerned with Steven Jackson's durability)
"Well I think with all running backs, if you're going to run 30 or 32 times, they're going to have a durability issue. I think that's why you need two running backs. If you're going to build your football team as a power running football team, and that's how you want to build it, then you have to have a couple. I'm not going to say you are going to have two great ones like Steven (Jackson), but you better have one that's similar that can run the ball. I look at Atlanta, they have (Michael Turner) and then they have (Jerious) Norwood as the other guy who has great speed, so they have two running backs. Looks like everybody in the league who's running the ball has two good ones."

(On if he feels that QB Marc Bulger is someone you can build a team around)
"I do. I think you have to give him great protection. I think you have to build around the front and then you have to give him some playmakers."

(On how Ts Alex Barron and Orlando Pace have played)
"Both of them have played well in spots. I don't think anybody has played as well as you would have liked, but they have played well in spots."

(On if he thinks this season is an accurate barometer to judge him as a head coach)
"I'm the one who took the job, so I knew what I was getting into. At least from the defensive standpoint, I knew what I was getting into. I knew that it was going to be an uphill challenge, so from that standpoint, I would have to say yes."

(On if he plans to rotate OL John Greco and Alex Barron)
"We'll see. I thought (Alex) Barron played pretty well. We're going to try to find the right combination. (John) Greco will play a lot this week, if not start. We'll try to keep looking at these linemen."

(On if it was somewhat gratifying to watch the team play this week)
"They played hard. I felt bad for them from the standpoint that they wanted to win the game. They were flying around and they were into it. It's a shame that we didn't win the game because we really did give the game away. We should have won the game. They gave everything they had yesterday. We are what we are, but I will say this, they played their hearts out, every single guy on that team. I didn't see one guy not playing hard to try to win the game. It's gratifying from the standpoint, most people in this league, a lot of teams in this league, those guys aren't playing like that with this record in the condition that we're in. I commend them on that. I think that is something that you can take to the future, but obviously you have to have better players in certain areas for us to win games. Trying hard and doing that is commendable, but you still have to win games."

(On if it is meaningful that 95 percent on the locker room would like to see him back as head coach next year)
"It makes me feel better when I come to work. Will it pay off? I don't know. That's something I can't worry about. I treat those guys the way that I would want to be treated when I played. I don't bullcrap them, I tell them the truth. I'm up front with them from that standpoint. If they do anything that breaks a team rule, they're punished. I think they understand that and I'm going to treat everybody the same from that standpoint. But, I think everybody is different from a status standpoint. La'Roi Glover is a different person than Adam Carriker, but if Adam Carriker is late for a meeting or if La'Roi is late, they're both getting fined or if they miss something, they're both going to be fined. I think there is a different statute in this league that you have to treat people a little different."

(On having a fullback to help out Steven Jackson)
"It would be nice to have a fullback. I think Steven (Jackson) would love to have a full-time fullback and I'd like to get him one. I think he needs one. I think if you have a running back like Steven (Jackson) with his stature and speed, and you're going to pay him that type of money, that's the guy you have to build your offense around. You have to match him up front with offensive linemen and you have to have receivers who are going to block and tight ends who are going to block, because that's the guy who you are going to hang your hat on."

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