Q: What kind of challenges does Detroit pose?
Mike: "Defensively against them, they're a little bit banged up. They had that really great young guy from Michigan State they drafted (Charles Rogers) and he's injured. But they have Bill Schroeder, who played for me in Green Bay. He's a good speed receiver they have. The young guy that was with the Rams (Az-Zahir Hakim) is another receiver they have. But I think they are kind of trying to build everything around Harrington. And I really like Joey Harrington. He got off to a tough start this year, and the normal stuff happened, and it's tough. But I think he has a chance to be a very, very fine quarterback in this league. Again, if he can be healthy and those things. So they're going to build it around him. They've got some injury problems this year on offense. Defensively, they've got two very big strong guys inside (Dan Wilkinson and Shaun Rogers) that make it tough to run in there. Their front seven is, I mean I like their front seven. Their secondary has been hit by injuries pretty good. In fact, Doug Evans, who was with is, is (was) a starting corner for them now. Doug was there about two days and, boom; he is their starter. They've had some injury problems. But what Steve does well, and I think it's a challenge, is to - a little like what we went through last year when we were having our injury problems - keep them going. Keep them having fun. Keep them playing hard. Then you win one, you feel a little bit better. Then you win again. Just keep them going. Because that's what this league is about. You've not going to have a season all the time where you get lucky and you don't have injuries. Normally, you don't get hit like they've been hit."
Q: It seems almost impossible to sack Joey Harrington.
Mike: "He doesn't hold onto the ball at all. He's going to drop back and it's going somewhere. He's just not going to take the sack and obviously he's been coached that way. I think the guys who played at the University of Oregon for Mike Bellotti, the quarterbacks there; they are very well coached in college at how to play the quarterback position and the things that are important. And then you couple that with his skill. I mean, Harrington is a good player. So he brings that part of it in already and you don't even have to teach it. He's going to go back there and, bang, throw it somewhere and not take the sack. You're right. You don't get to him. Every week it's the same thing. We don't have a guy that strikes fear in your heart as a singled-up pass rusher. So we've got to do some other things or the thing has to be just right or we have to game it. You start with that and then you say, OK, this guy throws the ball quickly or they do a lot of two-step throws and it's tough to get to those guys anyway. But you still have to try. You have to make sure he can't get too comfortable."
Q: What do Lucas and Springs need to do to be as consistent as Trufant?
Mike: "When I say that, that (his health) is part of it. Trufant has not come out of a game. He's been there. Part of consistency is playing all the time, being in there and not having to come out. The second part of that is, he's a rookie. I guess I never have expected a rookie corner to play like he's playing. It doesn't happen that much. So that's another part of it. And Springs, we already talked about Shawn Springs. Coming off the injury, I expect that down the stretch he'll be as consistent as he needs to be. And Lucas really has been pretty good. I just think Trufant's been really good. So it's not like the other guys are playing poorly. It's just that Trufant...I'm reluctant to talk about rookies a lot, I really am, but he's a special kid. He seems to be handling this pretty well."
Q: Is Hasselbeck playing better now than he did down the stretch last season?
Mike: "I think his decision-making is every bit as good, yeah. Now, we played those games differently. We were a little more wide-open. A little more wide open in those games. And the other part of that was that we were making plays. Catches, bam, and these wonderful plays. We haven't had that many of those great plays. My hope is that we get it going down the stretch that way. But as far as decision-making, and as far as being efficient and effective, I think Matt's doing a great job. We had a couple overtime games where we gained 80 yards in overtime. Again, we're playing with numbers. The important thing is, and I think this is the difference, is that in that stretch of games the ball would be up and Koren Robinson would go up and he'd make that play. He'd catch the ball. And Jerramy Stevens made a couple unbelievable plays during that stretch, just catching passes. That's what we need to have happen."
Q: Can you define the level Matt is playing at?
Mike: "I don't know how to define the level. He is doing everything I am asking him to do."
Q: Are you considering whether to open the offense up?
Mike: "Sure. I do that all the time. Believe it or not, even when I am angry like I was after the ball game on Sunday, the first thing I do is evaluate myself. I don't go to someone else first. I think about that all the time. I want to help the football team, and am I doing my job that way? So, yeah, I think about it a lot. Maybe I do have to open it up. A lot of times, the game dictates the plays that you call and things like that. Maybe that's an answer. If I open it up, whatever that means now, I can open it up. It's easy to do that. But then you've got to make the play. You've got to protect, catch and throw it, all those things. Run hard. But these guys, they're playing hard. They are playing hard. They are. We stumbled in a couple games that, really...if I think about it, I can get a little cranked up about it. But if they pop and can kind of do some things, we're going to be OK. We're going to be OK."
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