Featuring postgame quotes from the following:
Head Coach Frank Reich
FRANK REICH: Start out with some injury updates. Mingo had a concussion. Frankie Luvu had a hip pointer, and C.J. Anderson had an ankle. A tough loss. Coming in we knew the environment would be tough. Good football team and a tough place to play. We talked in there. Let me say this as a general statement. First of all, what we said in there, and I mean every ounce of it, I have a very strong belief in our team and our players. I have a strong belief in our coaches, and I know we can be a good football team if we don’t beat ourselves. That being said, the number of penalties that we had on offense was pathetic. That starts with me as an offensive coach. That starts with our offensive coaches getting our players ready, and that starts with our players. That’s unacceptable. I mean, it’s like we never played in the noise before. We knew it was coming. We practiced all week with noise. I mean, Wednesday it was so loud out there you couldn’t even think, but as coaches and as players together — and I mean that together. As coaches and as players, if you have that many self-inflicted things, it’s hard to overcome those. So we’ve got to learn from that for sure. Defensively I felt like we held them in the first half to no touchdowns. They hit some runs on us late. Listen, I said to the defense, I know we put the defense in a hard position. We put the defense in a hard position with the slow starts on offense, and it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Then what happens is sometimes later in the game that mounts up, and then you get a little crack, but we’ve got to stand strong as players and coaches on defense. We got it to a one score — we got it to two points or within a one-score game there in the fourth quarter, and then they drove down and scored, and we needed a stop right there. We needed a stop, and we didn’t get it. I do know this. I do know in this locker room there’s two things that are going to happen. One, there is belief; and number two, there will be no finger-pointing. That’s not going to happen. We’re each going to own our mistakes, man up to our mistakes. We understand that the mistakes are collective. Coaches and players together have got to get better, but we each individually have to look at our specific area and the way that we can individually get better as well. I’ll open it up from there.
Q. Frank, four of those false starts were called on Ickey. Anything in particular you think he needs to improve?
FRANK REICH: Yeah, that’s what we have to figure out. We have to figure out — Ickey has to look at it himself. We have to look at it like what can we do to help him in those situations? That’s the process you go through. Like I said, I just had not experienced it like that before. We have to be able to change plays on the road. The quarterback has to be able to change plays. That’s going to happen. So we talked about keeping our poise, and we didn’t do that.
Q. 58 pass attempts for Dalton.
FRANK REICH: Yeah, you don’t come into Seattle and throw it 58 times and win very many games. So that was not the formula that we wanted. The run game was nonexistent. So we’ve got to continue to work on that. I did think that Andy handled the pass game pretty well. I think he handled the pass game pretty well, made a lot of good throws. We made some plays in the pass game. I thought giving 58 attempts and here — there are times the protection broke down, but it wasn’t horrible. I have to look at the tape, but in many ways I thought Andy was pretty solid. I thought Andy did a lot of good things today.
Q. Frank, after you guys ran so well in Atlanta in the opener, it hasn’t been as much of a factor.
FRANK REICH: It’s surprising to me. It really is surprising to me. It’s surprising to me. So we know for us to be the offense and the team we want to be, we need to have more balance in the offense, so we have to continue to work on that.
Q. You said Bryce would be the starter when he is healthy, but with the way the line is playing right now, are you worried about putting him back in there?
FRANK REICH: No, not at all.
Q. Frank, you referenced preparing for the noise. What do you think attributed to the challenges?
FRANK REICH: I don’t know. Wednesday — I promise you it was louder Wednesday at practice than it was out there today, and we never really turned it down. When they were in the huddle, we had it loud. It was loud at the line of scrimmage. I don’t remember us having a false start on Wednesday. Then on Thursday and Friday we still used the noise. It wasn’t quite as loud because, honestly, Andy was really hoarse after Wednesday just from screaming the whole day, so we had to manage it just a little bit so that he didn’t lose his voice. So we’ve got to figure that one out.
Q. On it being a close game late.
FRANK REICH: Listen, this game, we’re in the fourth quarter, and I think it’s a two-point game at one point in the fourth quarter, or I don’t know. It was within one score. In spite of all those penalties, we got it to a point where we make a stop — if we make a stop and then follow up with a score, we can win that game. We’re in the fourth quarter, and that game is winnable if we can put it together in all three phases just for one quarter. We’re in the fourth quarter, and if we can put it together, we can win that game, and it got away from us.
Q. Do you worry a little bit, Frank, about the message being well received in there when you’re not seeing the outcomes that you want?
FRANK REICH: No, those guys are pros. I don’t. Listen, we’re three games into this. Everybody understands. The kind of guys we’ve got in there, I believe everybody takes ownership. Everybody understands it’s a long season. There’s no guarantees in anything. We know we can be a good team. Again, I’ve been 1-5 and won playoff games, and here’s what I know. When you are in a situation like that where you are 0-3 or 1-5 or something like that and you are behind the 8-ball and you say, well, can you still make the playoffs, absolutely. The way you do it is not thinking about that. All you worry about is the next team. So really right now what we do is go back and look at this film and get focused on the Minnesota Vikings, and it’s one week at a time and keep getting better. I do think there are some areas we got better. You know, we made some plays in the pass game. D.J. flashed making a few plays down the field. There were more positive things. Third down conversion was better. That was progress. Defense in the first half, again, no touchdowns in some pretty difficult situations that we put them in. There’s still plenty
of positives to build on, and I think we all know that. I don’t think anybody feels like we’ve been outmanned in any game. We just have beat ourselves, so just have to continue to get better.
Q. Of all the injuries that you mentioned, any immediate concerns coming out of this?
FRANK REICH: Kind of we have to wait and see how it all — you know, 24 hours later-see — with Mingo going through the protocol, just have to wait and see what that looks like. Xavier, I’m not sure the severity or degree of his hamstring. Then Frankie’s hip pointer, those things, they vary in degree. So it’s kind of wait and see how that and then same thing with C.J.’s ankle. I haven’t heard how severe that is yet, so we’ll find out in the next 24, 48 hours.
Q. Along those lines, how concerned are you about simply the fatigue for guys like Derrick, Brian, who were out there playing a lot of snaps and things have gotten away the last couple of weeks?
FRANK REICH: That’s what we’re paid to do. That’s what we’re paid to do. These guys are paid to play football. We’re paid to coach football, so let’s go do it. You want me to play 80 plays? Let’s go. I’ll sign up and play 80 plays. You want me to do that 17 weeks in a row? Yeah, that’s what we do. That’s our mentality. What does it take? Hey, what can I do to help this team win? Play more plays? Okay. Now we as coaches have to manage that. Is there wear and tear? I think we do a pretty good job during the week managing, getting guys ready physically with how we practice, pulling guys out. We manage reps during the week knowing that certain guys are playing more. When a guy plays a lot of plays in the game, that next week in practice we pull back on him to allow him to recover. So we don’t just count the game reps. They mean a lot, but we look at the week worth of work, and we manage that load and try to make it manageable for each of the guys.
Q. To piggyback off of his question, you’ve had a lot of injuries to key players and new staff. So many new faces here in the building. I know that you have to kind of change your game plan. To what degree have you guys had to make so many changes just three weeks into the season?
FRANK REICH: There’s been a number of changes, but of course, we’re never going to look at it like woe is me. New staff. A lot of injuries. My guess is everybody is dealing with the same thing we’re dealing with. That’s just what I assume because I’ve dealt with this before. I’ve got confidence in our roster, the depth that we have, and I think a lot of guys have stepped up. Yeah, it’s a new coaching staff, and I feel like in some ways we — I know I feel like we’re getting better in some ways as a staff and as players and in each unit. It wasn’t good enough to win for the first three weeks, but we’ll keep fighting and scratching.
QB Andy Dalton
Q. Your initial reaction? What went wrong?
ANDY DALTON: I think at the end of the day we hurt ourselves. There were too many penalties, too many little things that set us back and made it harder for us to have the success that we wanted to. There are things we’ll go back and look at and say that we did things really well. There are a lot of explosive plays out there, but we can’t continue to hurt ourselves because we’re not giving ourselves a chance.
Q. There’s so much made about the noise. Frank Reich, when he was here, mentioned all the prep that went into the week, but how did that compare to the reality of what the team faced and how much of an impact penalties had?
ANDY DALTON: Yeah, the noise and just the operation and everything, you can’t have that many false starts and expect to have success. Like I said, we hurt ourselves. We’ve got to find a way to fix it, and it’s up to everybody on the offense to get this thing done.
Q. A career high in passing attempts today. What on the field transpired, do you think, to kind of cause that, and are you surprised by hearing me say that? Did you kind of know it was getting up there?
ANDY DALTON: I knew I threw the ball a lot. I didn’t know it was a career high. Someone told me in the locker room. But it’s hard to play when you are one-dimensional, and I feel like that’s what we did today. You know, we really couldn’t get the run game going. I think part of the stuff, too, is some of these penalties and different things that set you back, and now you feel like you have to throw the ball. So there are some things that I’m going to look back and things that I wish I could have done a little better in the pass game; but like I said, when you are one-dimensional, it makes it tough.
Q. When you have three straight losses, how do you keep yourself from trending downward emotionally?
ANDY DALTON: I think at the end of the day you put your head down, you look and see what you can do to get it fixed. You’ve got to look in the mirror, see how you played, and be honest with yourself. This is a long season, you know. There’s a lot of really good teams that have lost three in a row. Ours just happens to be these first three. For us, the whole goal is to get things fixed, get things right, and to play our best football, and we have not played our best football yet.
Q. Coming into today if somebody told you you would have thrown 58 times, what would have been your response?
ANDY DALTON: I wouldn’t have thought I would throw it 58, but I just think as the game went on and just kind of how things went — especially when you get into the end of the game, obviously you’re going to be throwing the ball almost every down trying to crawl your way back in it. I think that that kind of inflates the number there too, but we have to find a way to be balanced. We have to find a way to run the ball better than we did. We didn’t run it good enough.
Q. Andy, Frank Reich said in here a minute ago that the quarterback has to be able to change the play. He said that some of these false starts were when you were rightfully
changing the play. Can you sort of describe the process and maybe a little bit of what went wrong there on your end?
ANDY DALTON: Again, when you have to use the silent cadence, there’s an operation to it. Even when mixing up snap counts and different things, we have to make sure that we’re locked into exactly what we’re doing. So I think as a whole we’ll take a look at it. We’ll definitely get that fixed because we can’t have that, can’t have that happen again the way it did.
Q. Teams have struggled I guess before, but Frank said he still thinks you will be a good team. What have you seen these first three weeks that makes you to believe?
ANDY DALTON: We battle to the end. That’s one thing that we’ve shown. Even last week when we scored a touchdown and kicked an onside kick and weren’t able to get it, but we keep fighting. There’s no quit in this team. That’s one thing that you can’t coach. It’s the mentality of just this group. We’ve got to find a way to get it fixed, though. I mean, there’s too many good players, too many good coaches, too many good people that are part of this organization to not get it fixed.
Q. Have you ever been a part of the game with eight false starts? What was it like when that was happening?
ANDY DALTON: Yeah, it was tough. Again, you keep setting yourself back. You make it hard to keep drives going and hard to convert. You get yourself in longer situations, and third and long is tough. Like I said, we have to find a way to get it fixed.
RB Miles Sanders
(On today’s game) “It’s a lot of self-inflicted wounds. We can’t win games in this league doing that. I’m not here to point fingers. We know the offense, this is three weeks in a row we haven’t played up to our standards. Like coach said, there has to be some soul searching going on. We have to fix it. It’s as simple as that. It’s not simple, but that’s what has to go on. No more saying we’re good, we’re getting there, because good is not going to get us [a win] and it’s not winning us games right now. We have to get back to work and keep grinding.”
(On if it’s frustrating knowing that they have the tools to be successful but haven’t been so far) “It’s a lot of self-accountability that has to go on. Everybody has to look themselves in the mirror and know what they did wrong. There’s some stuff that I messed up on. I dropped the ball, stuff like that. You just go back to work and keep grinding. That’s all I can really say. There’s no other answer but to say that. Everybody knows come tomorrow we’re going to start with the film and the Wednesday we’re right back at it.”
(On what they can take from the first three games and improve upon to still be a good team this season) “We are making strides. I believe that we’re getting better each and every week. But it gets to a point where you have to lock in and sacrifice a lot. [Justin] Houston just mentioned not just [doing your job] in the building, but going home eat, breath, sleep football. Especially if we’re going out there and making mental errors.”
(On the eight false starts) “Unacceptable. I don’t have anything to say. I’m not going to say anything else but that. It’s unacceptable and it’s not going to win us any games.”
LB Deion Jones
(On how it felt to get an interception) “It was good, but we still have to finish. We still could get more turnovers. But it was good. It was good for the moment. We have to keep growing, and keep playing.”
(On the message coach had for the team) “To be honest, it’s a long season. I’ve been on teams that started worse. To be honest, we just have to stay together and keep climbing. Like I said, we all have to stay together, we all have to get better. Everybody has to take another step, and we all have to buy in. No one can veer off. Like I said, got to keep going. It’s a long football season.”
(On Kenneth Walker’s game) “He’s a shifty guy; finding open holes with his moves and getting vertical. And as a defense, we have to wrap him up and get him on the ground. Simple; there’s nothing complicated there.”
(On Geno Smith’s game) “Really extending plays with his feet. Throwing across his body. The whole nine, he made it happen. He had a good day today. We’ve just got to, as a team, all come together. All be flawless, in all three phases, to the best of our ability.”
WR DJ Chark Jr.
(On if he has experienced a slow start to the season like this before) “Honestly it’s tough because you can’t put your finger on it. I don’t feel like we are that far away, but when we end the game and we’re done and we lost, it’s tough. Luckily for us it’s still early in the season. It’s three
games and there is a lot to go and we understand the responsibility that we have to win games. So it’s tough and it makes the week long to get back out there again. We just need the lightbulb to click.”
(On how he makes the shift mentally to approach the week with a “clean slate” mindset) “It’s really a mentality that you have to have. Just being a professional and knowing that every week is a different week. If you watch the NFL, you see every week there’s a game where a team is suppose to win and they lose. In the NFL you never know any given Sunday. We just have to embrace that and know that just because we go in the game 0-3 don’t mean we can’t beat anybody because we have the talent. It’s just we haven’t did it together as a group yet. I feel like once we do it and we get that feeling, it’ll be contagious.”
CB Donte Jackson
(On how tough it is not having a win this season) “This is the NFL. Everybody wants to win, be successful, and be perfect out there. Being a corner, I had like three plays that I definitely want back. Those are the ones you feel like ‘this is your fault,’ but you have to keep pushing and keep going. That was a good, tough team. We played in a tough environment, we just have to learn from it and keep going.”
(On how Jackson feels about Frankie Luvu’s injury) “It’s very emotional. You’re in enemy territory. You want to be at full sprint at all times, but you know how hard our feelings for this game is. We’ve got each other’s back. We are going to keep on fighting and work this week through to get better.”
S Jeremy Chinn
(On the toll of playing without key players on defense) “It goes beyond football, beyond the locker room and even X’s and O’s. Obviously you think about those guys and what those guys do, but when you’re out there, it’s not something you can really think about. It’s just what’s my job and we have to execute.”
OT Ikem Ekwonu
(On communication at the line of scrimmage . . .) “I was obviously disappointed in the way I handled the noise today. It’s something that we prepared all week for, and I came out here and I didn’t get it done today. Yeah, it’s unacceptable on my part. Four or five false starts, yeah, just not good. Not good at all.”
(On if the change at quarterback had an impact in causing false starts , , , ) “Honestly, not at all. Not at all. Hundred percent on me. I gotta just focus in at the end of the day. I’ve got a job to do. That includes focusing in on cadence, making sure I’m doing everything I can to put this team in the best position to win every rep, and I didn’t do that today.”
(On if he was rattled when he got flagged for back-to-back false starts . . . ) “I wouldn’t say rattled. I guess just lack of focus, focusing on something else other than the small details. Obviously one of the finer details is cadence, and that’s something that regardless of the pressure or the play that’s called, that’s something you’ve got to key in on. That’s something I didn’t do today.”
(On what he was hearing that caused him to move . . . ) “I don’t want to give too many keys or nonverbal cadences, but obviously if I’m the only one jumping, it’s on me. At the end of the day, you can’t put that on anybody else. Definitely not a quarterback issue. Definitely not a play-call issue. It’s something that I’ve got to lock in on in the noise and just focus up.”
C Bradley Bozeman
(On the game today) “It’s not who we are. We’re a pretty disciplined team and we didn’t show that today. We had too many false starts where whoever it was on, whether it was me, or a tackle, or a guard, or whoever it was, it’s not good enough. We have to fix that and move forward.”
(On how much the noise affected the false starts) “A lot of it is communication stuff. It definitely plays a factor, but we’re not going to blame it on that. We have to be locked on that. We play crowd noise every single day at practice. We pump it in and we try to make it louder than it is out there. We didn’t execute today.”
(On where this team needs to get better to win) “This team is a good team. We have the tools to do it. We just have to put it together. We haven’t put it together the last couple games. We need to come together and figure out what we need to do. We have to continue to build, continue to work, continue to do the things that we’re good at and continue to strengthen things that we’re not so good at. That’s our biggest problem right now. We have to come together.”
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