Press Conference: Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs answered questions today for the media about the Lions game and other topics. Here is the transcript:

"It was a great effort on all of our players. I really appreciate them and the coaches. As everybody knows, it was a bitter lost the week before. Over the break I think there were a lot of us looking at all of that and seeing where we were. I knew this was going to be a big game. We all did. It's an NFC game and it's a tie breaker. For a lot of reasons it was very important to us. I really appreciate our fans, the way they showed up and always help us and got us going. Just a quick review for all three areas for us, it was a heck of an effort all the way through."

On special teams:

"On special teams we won the battle of field position. We started at the 33 and the Lions started at the 25. Derrick (Frost, P, #4) continues to do a great job for us with punting. We averaged 18.3 yards with James' (Thrash, WR, #83). The big play on the punt return may have been one of the best efforts I have been around. There were five guys on that team that did things that were unbelievable that showed the hustle. Sean Taylor (S, #21) wound up all the way on the far bench on the ground, got up and got all the way across the field and got his guy. Carlos (Rogers, CB, #22) made a fantastic effort on getting his block and turned around and got another one down the field going like mad. James, great effort, not much more you can say about James, just great effort all the way around. At the end of the play, when you get all the way down there with Rock (Cartwright, RB, #31) and Reed (Doughty, S, #37) hustling the way they were, who would have believed they would be all the way down there when the ball pops up. It was one of the better plays and it certainly came at a great time for us. Our protection was very good. They did a heck of a job for us, as far as rushing field goals and punts, so we were worried about that. I thought our special teams certainly contributed and did a heck of a job for us. We felt like they played extremely well."

On defense:

"On defense we played physical and fast, no touchdown. We had two interceptions and six sacks. It was mostly a great job by our defensive linemen. Coach Blache (defensive coordinator/defensive line) and his guys put real heat and pressure on and did a heck of a job there. They were 1-out-of-10 on third downs. We gave up no explosive gains. It was one of those rare games on defense where with a great effort everything went our way. Our award winners are Andre Carter (DE, #99), Carlos Rogers (CB, #22) did a heck of a job for us, Phillip Daniels (DE, #93), Marcus (Washington, LB, #53) and Fred Smoot (CB, #27). All of those guys did a heck of a job. On special teams, I forgot to mention over there, we had Lorenzo Alexander (DL, #79). He did a great job for us. Carlos, again, on teams, Sean Taylor (S, #21), that group had a great day on special teams."

On offense:

"One of the best things offensively in this game was that we knew they were a very explosive team and they scored a bunch of points. Their passing attack-you don't want to leave them out there. What you would like to ideally do is hold the football on offense. We had a 12-play drive, a 14-play drive, and a 10-play drive. Our two scoring plays were 80 yards and 83 yards, so our possession was excellent. I felt like Jason (Campbell, QB, #17) had his best game for us until this point. That is great for us to see him step up like that. It was all the things you picture in a quarterback. He was very consistent with his throws. There were times in there where things weren't there and he did a great job of either moving out of the pocket or taking a check down and coming off of things which shows a lot of maturity. I felt like he had a really good day for us. The other part of play was that we gave up no sacks and that we had a number of big plays for over ten yards. We had two penalties which is a negative. We had three fumbles on the ground which is a negative. We only averaged 3.4 yards per rush, which is not good for us. We missed two short yardage plays. There is a lot for us to work on there. Defensively, we didn't get fumbles. We had two defensive penalties. The timeout due to substitution was not good. On special teams we missed a field goal and we had a penalty on a late hit. We had a kickoff return that they had a heck of a return on and put us in a bad position. What I'm saying is that it was one of those things where you really feel like standing here today knowing how fortunate you are. You are kind of humbled by the fact that so many things can happen. It looked like for awhile in the second half, ‘were we going to get it going, were they going to get it going'. I felt like it was a great job by Andre (Carter, DE, #99) getting that safety, which kind of got us going. You realize some of those plays could have gone the other way and turned the game around. I appreciate our fans. I felt like it was a very good effort for us all the way around. The bad news is that we have to go to Lambeau Field now. All of our efforts today after grading the film have been focused on going to Green Bay and it's going to be a huge challenge for us. I thought the game was really hard-fought and our guys really went after it. I was really proud of how our guys went after it."

On playing after giving the players time off during bye week:

"As a coach, what runs through my mind a lot of times is when we lose ball games, the first thing that runs through my mind to be honest is all the things I'm going to have to answer to. For everything you did do, you are holding on to, ‘I hope this works out all right.' In that case, I appreciate our players responding and doing a good job. It's one of those things you go off your gut feeling on as a coach. I felt like in that case, yeah there were a lot of things we could do by working here but a lot of our guys were nicked up. I would have complained, and I did complain, having a break that early in the year. As it worked out for us, it was great timing, and we still had guys that couldn't go. Santana (Moss, WR, #89) being the example. It probably came at a good time for us. One of my concerns now for us, is it seems like this year, there are an unusual number of injuries each and every week. This week we had some real heroic efforts. Phillip (Daniels, DE, #93) goes back in and plays. We aren't sure if he is going to have a real sore shoulder. Marcus (Washington, LB, #53) had a heck of an effort and played extremely well but now he has a hamstring. Randel El (WR, #82) played as good a first half as anyone could expect and now he has a hamstring. I don't know how those will go. I think I got the right injuries there. Please protect me in case I didn't and bring it up now. In any case, it's a concern for you because you are going week-to-week. A lot of hitting is going on. Teams are playing very physical and getting after it and there has been a lot of injuries in the league and you hate to see that."

On injury reports for those players:

"We can't talk about that. There may be somebody else too that I don't have on the list so you will have to check with them. What usually happens is that on Wednesday, when we show back up and get going, is that you will have a better feel for it. We will see as the week progresses who can go."

On the value of Santana Moss (WR, #89) and Antwaan Randel El (WR, #82):

"We do value them. Each and every week you like to say to the players that each week you are going to need new heroes, guys who give great effort. Some weeks that is going to come when guys have to step in for somebody. Our depth at receiver, James Thrash (WR, #83) playing the way he did in this game. Reche (Caldwell, WR, #85) getting his first chances to play in there was great for us. Keenan, (McCardell, WR) getting a couple of catches was great to see in there. It was such a short work week. I think some guys really stepped up at receiver, and a number of other positions. All across the board it makes you feel better knowing that those guys can play, are capable of playing, showed up and played great."

On Mike Sellers (FB, #45):

"The thing about Mike is that he takes on a huge role for us. He plays teams and of course now we have reduced his role over there because he has been playing so much at tight end. That is good because now we can split Cooley (TE, #47) out and then when Cooley comes in to play tight end he goes to the backfield. Obviously he has done a great job for us running the football. You keep watching him and get a feel for him. I think he loves to play. He's an unusual physical guy. He's one of those few guys who wants to run the isolation plays as linebacker. Most guys are like ‘hey don't give me that one again.' He is a joy to be around when it comes to football. He is what football is all about. When I say that, he likes it. You can kind of tell that before the games. He loves to play and loves to compete. It's hard to brag enough about Mike. We will keep expanding his role each and every week and see what he can do for us, how does he fit in. We are fortunate back there with Clinton (Portis, RB, #26) Ladell (Betts, RB, #46, and Rock (Cartwright, RB, #31). We have guys that are very explosive and get the job done. How Mike fits in there certainly helps us."

On the upcoming games on the road:

"Being here at home means so much to us because the fans get you going and you are in familiar surroundings. Now to go on the road, we are going to one of the toughest places to play and they are red hot. Their quarterback, it's hard to believe he's playing at 38 because he looks like he's 18. I think their defense has played extremely well. Their team has also been a big part of that. What got them the other night was that they turned the ball over. They turned it over four times and it's tough to win. Your odds are about three percent when you do that. I know what this will be like and I think our players do to. We have to get ready to go on the road and this will be a tough trip for us."


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