BILL COWHER: I just got in less than 12 hours ago. From an injury standpoint, the two most serious injuries - without having a chance to look at it since both players aren't in yet - are Kendrell Bell, who re-aggravated his ankle, and Hank Poteat, who got a little bit of a turf toe.

"> BILL COWHER: I just got in less than 12 hours ago. From an injury standpoint, the two most serious injuries - without having a chance to look at it since both players aren't in yet - are Kendrell Bell, who re-aggravated his ankle, and Hank Poteat, who got a little bit of a turf toe.


Coach Cowher Transcript

<p style="margin-left: 3; margin-right: 3"><font face="Arial" size="2"><b>BILL COWHER</b></font>: <font face="Arial" size="2">I just got in less than 12 hours ago. From an injury standpoint, the two most serious injuries - without having a chance to look at it since both players aren't in yet - are Kendrell Bell, who re-aggravated his ankle, and Hank Poteat, who got a little bit of a turf toe.</font></p>

Both of those players are probably doubtful for this game as far as I know at this point. Again, I'll have further information probably by tomorrow and anything else that were to surface.

As a recap of the game, not much different than what I said about 12 hours ago. It was an opportunity that we had in the first half. And we had a very disappointing third quarter. You can't turn the football over as many times as we did. I thought it was not a very good performance that we put on the offensive side, and certainly, defensively, we gave up a lot of third downs in that third quarter and a lot of big plays. We did to ourselves what we didn't want to do and consequently we lost the game. Those will be things we're going to have to have rectified and get rectified if we want to come away Sunday with a victory, because it's a very good Oakland Raider team that we're getting ready to play.

Q: Coach, with so much attention to this game, did the players need to get New England out of their system before they moved on?

A: I don't think it's about New England. I think it was about playing on Monday night, the opener. Certainly it was a marquee matchup, as a lot of people had envisioned. There's ebb and flow in every game; there's opportunities and mistakes. And we didn't take advantage of the opportunities that were there. If someone would've said that, in the first half, you would turn the football over in your own territory twice and you would be first and one at the one and you would come away with zero points, and they said the score would be 10-7, I'd say, ‘OK. I'll take that.' Given that, going into halftime, having kind of weathered that scenario, it was disappointing that we came out in the second half and didn't try to pick up where we had kind of left off after that initial start. Like I said, we came back in the fourth quarter, and yeah we played hard, but it was kind of like last year when the second quarter of the Jacksonville came and went and the damage was done, it appears it was like the third quarter of this year's game, where you played hard for three quarters but in that one quarter they came and they went and it was too much to overcome.

Q: Were you surprised by the no-huddle?

A: They came after us with the no-huddle in the first half. That no-huddle wasn't a surprise. We talked about it at halftime. It was no surprise. In the first half, we made adjustments on the field and I thought we did a pretty good job with it. The third quarter was a case of them converting a third-and-13, a great pass from Brady to David Patten. And then we turned around and gave them a 40-yard pass on two or three missed tackles. After we fumble two plays later, we had a third-and-17. If we stop them on third-and-17, we are off the field. They're going to punt. And Troy Brown makes a great catch. We allowed them to convert that and they went down and scored. If we're going to be the team we want to be, you cannot allow teams to convert third-and-13s and third-and-17s and you can't turn the ball over with that fumble, three times, and expect to win many games. Not against good football teams and certainly not against the defending world champions.

Q: Would you rather get the wake-up call now or later?

A: I'd like to not have it at all. I don't think you can win football games playing that way. I mean, the penalties, the turnovers, the big plays. You're not going to win football games like that. You can't. You're not going to. I don't care who you're playing. You're not going to win football games doing that and those are the things we have to correct.

Q: Were you surprised they'd passed so many times with an empty set?

A: They'd shown it. It wasn't much of a surprise. It was a little bit of a chess match. We were OK until the big third-down play in the third quarter. We expected that. At times we left our 3-4 personnel on the field by design and then we went to the dime. It wasn't so much what they did, it was our failure to get off the field on those third-down situations. You can analyze everything else and take out of it what you want, but that's what to me it came down to. That and the turnovers.

Q: Considering all those passing attempts, were you surprised to have only one sack?

A: Well, we had a couple sacks. No, that's how we played them. We were dropping a lot of people into coverage. We were giving them the underneath things. A lot of what they were doing was basing on us wanting to blitz and trying to get some of those players free with run after the catch. You know, the screens they'd run to Troy Brown in the past that have gone for a lot of big plays, we were prepared for that. A lot of the dinking and dunking, that wasn't going to beat us. It was making sure you don't miss tackles, and you've got to get off the field on third down. And that's really what the game plan is going in. You've got to be patient. They may make some first downs, but somewhere in there you're going to make a play. There's going to be a minus play. You're going to get yourself into some third-and-long situations and you've got to get off the field. Again, you've got to tackle well when you're doing that and we didn't do either one of those in the third quarter. In the first half, we did that. We got off the field on third down. They seemed like they were moving the ball, but they only had 10 points. And to be put into the situations we were put defensively, I thought coming away with that in that scenario we had kind of weathered the storm.

Q: If Kendrell can't play, who will?

A: We'll probably stick with Larry (Foote). He's more suited for that position. That would certainly leave us with John (Fiala) being able to play them both. He did a good job when he stepped in last night. I thought Larry played very well.

Q: Coach, a couple times you've opened with some real tough opening-day losses -

A: A couple times? You're being kind.

Q: But a lot of times you bounced back and had real strong seasons. Could you comment?

A: I don't know. I don't really look to history to say we're going down certain paths, because if you're doing that you're thinking it's fate. We got to do something about where we're at right now. We can't be worrying about where we've been. Certainly, there's a lot of football left to be played. And the one thing you can't do right now is get caught up in what people are saying, good or bad. That's the challenge you have every year. There's going to be scrutiny, peaks and valleys, and what you've got to do is deal with where you are right now with what's going on the field. Those are the things you have to address. It's really that simple. No one has to go around pointing the finger, they just have to look in the mirror.

Q: Well, you're still in first place.

A: You are the eternal optimist. But it's a fact.

Q: What did they get (Wayne) Gandy for?

A: I watched everything, and that's a good question. I watched it on tape. I've seen the TV copy. I've seen every view. And Tunch (Ilkin), you've asked a very good question.

Q: How critical was that?

A: That's huge. I told you, there's points in the game where there's plays and opportunities. Momentum is such a fine line, and certainly you score a touchdown there or a field goal. And you go up 10-7 after starting out throwing two interceptions, that's big. Even going in at the halftime tied up. It's big. And who knows? Maybe the outcome isn't any different. I don't know. But certainly, on the road, you can't go down and have that opportunity and come away with zero points.

Q: Did the team get frazzled?

A: That, to me, with what happened to Chris (Fuamatu-Ma'afala), is inexcusable. That's a very selfish act. I don't care what's being said, whether he's taunting you, getting in your face, you cannot do what he did. You don't shove him. They're always going to get the second guy. And that's a fact that as long as you're in this game - they don't get the first guy, they get the second guy - you've got to walk away from those things. So I thought that was a very selfish act on his part.

Q: Is there anything you can do about the Gandy penalty? Can you complain?

A: Waste of time.

Q: If Poteat is out, what will you do on kickoffs.

A: Probably (Antwaan) Randle El I would think.

Q: Coach, (Jeff) Hartings left the game and missed some snaps. What happened to him?

A: He had an MCL sprain. Obviously, he finished the game. I don't have any - a lot of these guys aren't in here yet. The training room just opened up at noon. I just don't have an update at this point.

Q: Bill, in the fourth quarter, with the score 30-7 and the game pretty much decided, Kordell (Stewart) took some pretty solid hits. Did you consider taking him out?

A: No. Everyone else is out there battling. We're going to play for 60 minutes. I'm not sitting here worrying about people. We're playing for 60 minutes. The regular season's here, we play the game 60 minutes -- win, lose, tie, draw. That's the way we approach the football game. That's why we used every timeout and that's why we went down there and tried to score and were in the red zone. I don't sit here concerned, and I hope no player's out there concerned about looking at a score and wondering whether they're going to get hit or not. And I don't think he was. I know I wasn't thinking about it. I was thinking about playing the game of football for 60 minutes and that's the way our football team will play.

Q: Was that score at the end important?

A: I don't know if it was important, but we play the game for 60 minutes.

Q: Bill, Tedy Bruschi criticized you guys for trying to score. That's what he said.

A: Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion. You just heard mine.

Q: Coach, you threw a lot on first down. You didn't think you could run the ball? Were you trying to get them on their heels?

A: Yeah. It's a little bit of both.

Q: Coach, does it help you that you got beat as opposed to explanations and rationalizations?

A: Yeah. That's what I told them. There's no need to dwell on it. We have a short week. To sit here and ponder on something like that would serve no purpose. We'll look at it as a staff. I'll point out to them what I thought. But at this point, with a short week, we need to address Oakland. We'll make sure we point out the things that need to be corrected and let them know. Like I said to them, it's the first game, we lost, don't accept it, deal with it, and let's move on.

Q: Will Oakland be different with a new coach?

A: They have a new head coach. I haven't had a chance to study him much. But I don't think a whole lot of that staff has changed much. They have some very good football players and were a very good team a year ago. If you look at their score from last week, it's a talented team. It's a very veteran team. It's a good football team. Obviously, we all know we're playing the two playoffs teams that were right down there near the end. They played against New England. It's a good football team. It's going to be a stiff challenge.

Q: Do you think they'll run the no-huddle?

A: Like I said, I don't think the no-huddle did anything. It wasn't so much a big deal to us. Now, maybe you guys think it is. And if they do, so be it.


-- Jim Wexell





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