Bill Cowher Press Conference Transcript - Week 12

<b>BILL COWHER</b> <br> Since it's been less than 12 hours since the game's been over, the only information I really have in regards to injuries is number one Marvel (Smith) will practice Wednesday. We will not be in pads but he took some hitting last week and if all goes well hopefully we'll be able to upgrade him as the week goes on. We'll see but he will practice Wednesday.

Jay (Riemersma) will be doubtful with a bruised sternum. He's had the MRI. Nothing showed up but he's awfully sore. Everyone else should be able to go hopefully by the end of the week.

In regards again to last night's game, it was obviously disappointing. The bottom line is we had a spurt there in the third quarter. We got back to a 10-7 game and the Kevan Barlow run, followed by (Antwaan Randle) El's fumble on the ensuing kickoff and then the following pass. They scored 14 very quick points and certainly at that point it made us very hard for us to come back. But the bottom line is we are sitting here again two games out of first place with six AFC games left to be played. We've left ourselves no margin of error. That's kind of the state where we are.

Q: Coach, if Marvel can play does he go back to left tackle and everything reverts back the way it was?

A: At this time I think that's the direction we would be heading.

Q: Do you think you've become too predictable with trick plays?

A: No.

Q: But there were some plays last night. On one it was third and one, and then a penalty made it third and six. Is it not making plays or is it bad penalties?

A: That was a bad penalty.

Q: Are your problems just a combination of all of that?

A: I guess.

Q: On the long pass to Terrell Owens, did the safety read the wrong thing?

A: No.

Q: So Chad Scott was supposed to have man coverage there?

A: Yes.

Q: What's the safety's read on that?

A: The tight end.

Q: Single coverage on the tight end?

A: It's a zone coverage, man outside. We can discuss it after the press conference if you really want to know the little idiosyncrasies of it.

Q: I just want to know if Scott was expecting any help over the top.

A: No.

Q: Coach, what about Cleveland? They sure look real good.

A: I haven't had a chance to look at them to be honest with you. I think they played well this past week. I haven't had a chance to look at the game. They still have a very potent offense. Look at (Quincy) Morgan and (Andre) Davis the starting receivers and (Kelly) Holcomb put up some big numbers in this game, and they're playing well on defense. Obviously they're coming off a very strong performance.

Q: Coach, Barlow's run was similar to Deuce McAllister's last year. Were there similar breakdowns?

A: We had some breakdowns. There really was no similarity between that and McAllister. Long runs, there's missed tackles and there's poor angles. This one had both of those.

Q: The cutbacks were similar.

A: It was a designed play. They had run it many times in the game, before and after.

Q: Before that play did you sense you had recaptured the momentum?

A: Yeah. I think we had a sense even in the locker room. When you look at the first half it really came down to two plays. Obviously there was the long touchdown pass to Terrell Owens and then the play where we got a first down. He puts a great pass in to Jay, hits him right in the hands. Instead of it being a first down they got a return of 48 or 50 yards. We hold them three and out. That was their 10 points. So I don't think there was sense even at halftime that we had lost any momentum. Certainly we'd created a little hole because of the two plays. We came out and when we put the drive together to start the third quarter, there was momentum. We had created some momentum, and we stopped them the next time. We got the ball back and we didn't do anything with it there. Then the following series, the second play was the Barlow run.

Q: Coach, you talked about the schedule last week. Coming back from a Monday night west coast game, what do you do this week to catch up and get back on a normal schedule?

A: We don't. We'll do that next week. There's no normality to this week. All the coaches, we came right from the airport. We've been in here since we landed. Players will come in tomorrow around noon. We'll work the rest of the week, travel Saturday and get back on a normal schedule next Monday.

Q: Do you have to make any concessions this week because of that?

A: Sleep.

Q: For coaches I'm assuming.

A: Well for players. It's a short week and they're tired as well and they're sore. Certainly they'll be in here Wednesday and having to gear back up to go on another away trip. This will be a big game. It's a big game for us. It will be a tough atmosphere to go into. There's a lot of sacrifice everybody has to make. We talked about it last week. We knew what these two weeks were going to entail.

Q: Is it good to play a rival to get out your frustrations?

A: I don't think it matters who we play. Every game we play at this point becomes very, very important and there's no question about it. We recognize where we are and certainly our backs are against the wall with no margin of error.

Q: Tommy (Maddox) had one of his better games but the receivers didn't make plays for him.

A: We're just not in sync right now. He puts the ball right on at times and we drop it. We get a couple steps like we had with Plax (Burress) at the end of the first half and the ball's two yards overthrown. It just seems that's been kind of the story of what's happened. Right now, you talk about the running game, but people right now are challenging us to throw the ball. They're putting single coverage out there and saying 'Come on.' We've got to be able to make those plays. The play Terrell Owens made is no different than the play we had a chance to make with Plax. Right now other teams are making them and we're not. That's been the difference in these games.

Q: Do you find yourself feeling a little helpless because it seems no matter what you do it doesn't work out?

A: We're going to keep doing it. Helplessness will solve no problems. Right now we've just got to keep fighting and keep going out there and working and preparing and believing and trusting. Those are the things that when the circumstances are as they are, you are tested in trying to take that approach but that's the job we have to do. That's the only approach you can take right now. You can't start questioning things. You can't stop trusting and you can't stop believing. And you've got to play hard. They are doing that. Right now we're not getting the ball on the ground, and the guy punched the ball and we finally get a fumble on a punt but it goes out of bounds. Those things will turn. The thing you can't do is lose the effort, the attention to detail and you've got to keep going out there and preparing each week. Like I said, the opportunity we have is real in regards to where we are in this division. Certainly it's an uphill struggle, no doubt about it, but it's there. We have to seize that one week at a time.

Q: Does it shake your confidence in the players when you don't get results?

A: We're all in this thing together. As a coaching staff we try to put players in a situation where they feel good about what they're doing. If you're not getting opportunities and those aren't being created, than we certainly have to look back and see how we can create more of them. And if we're getting opportunities and we're not capitalizing on them, what can we also do to finally bridge that gap? This is not a case right now where coaches are pointing fingers at players or players are pointing fingers at coaches. That will solve nothing. We are in this thing together and we will continue to try to work and try to get out of it. They've done everything I've asked them to do, so when you look at the results the buck stops here because they're doing everything I've asked them to do. We just can't get a ball to bounce the right way on game day but we've got to keep taking that same approach.

Q: Coach, (TV game announcer) John Madden said long-time coaches lose their audience. I imagine you don't believe that, but how do you keep your message fresh after you've been around the same players for awhile?

A: You've got to be yourself. I can't stop being myself and I can't stop expressing how I feel. Every year is different. Every set of circumstances are different. The players are different. The make-up of your team is different. And I've tried to handle that every year in a way I feel needs to be dealt with. I can't concern myself with speculation. When you lose, people are going to say things like that and they're going to draw analogies and they're going to speculate about this and that. That's all part of this profession. I'm just worrying about the Cleveland Browns this week. Those are questions that I'm probably not the best one to ask. You need to ask other people about that.

Q: Turnovers have been a big key. What do you do to try to rectify that?

A: We've been pretty good about not turning it over the last few weeks. That hasn't been as big of a problem as us taking it away. That's been the one issue. We've got one of the fewest takeaways in the National Football League right now. We've usually been pretty good about that. Down through the years, that's been one of our strengths. It just seems like we're not doing it this year. We've talked about it and we'll continue to work on it and hopefully it'll show some dividends on Sundays.

Q: Bill, how is Hines Ward and what did he do last night?

A: He landed on his head and his neck, he's got a very stiff neck but there's nothing that appears to be any seriousness. He's very sore but I think he'll be fine by Sunday.

Q: On the punt, the penalty, they showed a sideline shot of you pointing 'take them back.' Why couldn't you decline the penalty?

A: They said one of our players told them to leave the ball there, so he said that one of the players said that they wanted to decline the penalty and keep the ball where it was.

Q: Was it miscommunication from sideline to player?

A: I guess. Usually in those cases, if you saw a later one, he usually looks to the sideline anyway recognizing the head coach is going to make those decisions. When you have options like that they always do that, and that's why I was a little confused that he didn't do that this time but then he did it the next time. I said there's a little bit of inconsistency. It was a misinterpretation by the player about what I wanted.

Q: Would you have kicked a field goal then?

A: We would've attempted one.

Q: Isn't it conceivable you could lose at Cleveland and not be out of it?

A: Yes it is.

Q: So theoretically there is still room for error.

A: Whatever you say.

Q: At this time, do you plan lineup changes? Or increased or decreased playing time for anyone?

A: Not at this time.

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