Is this team going backwards right now? Does it feel like that to you?
“I don’t think forward, backwards. We’re not doing what we need to do to be successful on Sunday’s right now. Come out to start the second half, and the defense gets a three-and-out. We’re moving in the right direction and then we fumble the punt. Then our first series offensively in the third quarter we have a sack fumble. We’re turning the football over too many times to be successful right now.”
What happened on that punt play?
“Our returner was signaling for a fair catch. He should be calling that he’s signaling for a fair catch. I haven’t talked to [WR Aaron] Burbridge yet. I don’t know if he had heard what was going on. He was the gunner, but the gunner ran into the punt returner on that play.”
Consistency, you had a great opening drive and struggled after that. What is keeping you from being consistent quarter-to-quarter?
“That’s the key, I think, right there, that you have to be able to sustain it and then obviously over the course of an entire game. It just can’t be in spurts and right now it’s in spurts, with playing in spurts like that, it’s just not good enough. I think part of it is the little teeny things. Again, we didn’t have many penalties but the penalties that occur, occur on third down. We have a third down, but we have an offensive tackle lined up in the backfield. We converted on that third down but now with that penalty that brings us back. The turnovers, the back-to-back turnovers from a drive standpoint to start the third quarter obviously affected you. You’re playing, at least in the beginning, our defense went out there, I thought they went out and played well in that first series. Now we get a stop. Now we get a chance to put the ball in our offense’s hands and let’s get moving, but then we turn it over on special teams. It is that consistency that’s holding us back.”
What about your decision to go for a field goal when you’re down two touchdowns?
“It was third-and-11 or 12 and again I don’t think we were getting a whole lot of time. They do a good job of putting the ball in the end zone, so we were just trying to get anything at that point in time points-wise. It put us down 10, it would have put us down a touchdown and a field goal at that point in time. I think there was eight minutes to go in the game. You felt that you were at least going to get three drives left so we could still convert. Get either a field goal or a touchdown and you put yourself in a situation. We just didn’t feel like throwing the ball in from there that we were going to get it completed and score anything. So, we wanted to come away with some points at that point.”
What adjustments did you make at halftime?
“In terms of what?”
“On offense? We talked about protection in terms of being able to, it was a very difficult, we had some match up problems I think with [Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT] McCoy when he was isolated and was in one-on-one. So, we had to make sure that we had some help to his side in terms of who were or whether it was the back on his way out. We have to get our back there to make sure that we have protection with that three-technique in terms of where he is. So, most of the talk at halftime was about protection.”
You have a bye coming up. Will you consider any changes to your defensive coaching staff?
Will you spend more time with defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil during the week?
“No, we spend time together during the week. We carve out time in terms of how we watch film and what we do and then understand the plan as we’re moving forward. There’s good communication going on from that standpoint. It’s not like I don’t know what’s going on on the defensive side of the ball.”
How do you feel QB Colin Kaepernick played today?
“I think it was up and down. I think there were sometimes, and again, I wish there was one thing that you could just put your finger on and say, ‘Hey, it’s this.’ He obviously kept some things alive and kept some drives alive with his legs. They were playing a little bit more man coverage than we thought. Coming into the game they hadn’t played that much man, but they started out playing a lot of man. So, obviously, he can beat them when they are playing man coverage and everybody is locked up and now there is noone responsible for the quarterback. But, I think sometimes protection broke down for him. We had a couple of drops in there that would have sustained some drives that could have kept some things going and then there were some times when I think he missed some throws also. So, it’s a combination of the protection, the drops, and not putting the ball where it needed to be. It wasn’t just one thing. I think at times he did a really nice job.”
What did G Andrew Tiller do to lose his starting job to G Joshua Garnett?
“Josh has done a really good job as he continues to grow and learn our offense. Obviously, he missed the springtime for us, so he was a little bit behind as he got here in preseason. But, then he’s worked his way through preseason into these games to give himself an opportunity to play and that’s what we’ve seen from an in-game standpoint and a practice standpoint.”
The swing of snaps between LB Gerald Hodges and LB Michael Wilhoite, they kind of flipped this week. Can you talk about that?
“Yeah, Mike played a lot against Buffalo and then evaluating the film we thought we’d give Gerald another shot to go back in there. So, Gerald had a good week of practice taking that role and kind of running with it, so we felt that we felt comfortable as a staff that we were going to start Hodgy in there with [LB Nick] Bellore and then also rotate Mike through. We talked about Nick Bellore playing too many snaps, so trying to rotate those three guys through there so we really had three inside linebackers roll in there.”
Outside of that trouble at inside linebacker, are there issues on that defensive line why the run defense is getting carved up each week?
“I mean, obviously we’ve got a couple of guys banged up. [DL Glenn Dorsey] Dorse couldn’t go again today. [DL Arik] Armstead went down. I think he tried to go back in but then was out for the rest of the game. So, there’s some bumps and bruises along the defensive line, but that’s not an excuse. We have to be better on the defensive side of the ball in terms of stopping the run.”
Obviously, you guys are now 1-6. Is this a 1-6 team talent-wise? What is going on?
“I don’t look at it that way. We’re a 1-6 team. You are what you are. You are what you’re record says you are. We’re 1-6 right now.”
Fans always want hope. What’s the hope for the rest of the season?
“That we’re going to continue to fight. We’re going to continue to work hard at what we need to do and we have to get ready to go play the Saints game here when we come back after our bye. That’s all we can.”
A lot of big holes for Tampa Bay runners today. Without watching film yet, do you see mental mistakes from your front seven or is it more guys getting pushed around? What’s going on?
“I’d have to look at the film to be honest with you to tell you on those specific, exactly when those runs broke, what exactly the deal was. There’s a couple of times it looked like we had him wrapped up and had him in good situations but he came out of some things. But, there were some other times it looked like he got right through. Again, I’d have to evaluate the film before I could make a blanket statement on what the reason was for that.”
Have you ever gone through a six-game losing streak in your career previously?
“No, I have not.”
What goes through your mind in the middle of it? Do you get frustrated? Do you get angry?
“No, I think anger, it doesn’t help you. What you’ve got to do is you’ve got to find the solution. I think if you continue to try to just get mad and get angry and all those other things, it’s not going to help you. What you need to do is you need to find a solution to identify what exactly the specific thing that’s gone wrong and how do we fix that. That’s what we’re trying to do right now.”
Do you understand what’s going on in the second half? I mean, you guys have been in the games at half time this week and last week and the week before--?
“Yeah, I think the two games are totally different. Again, I think the turn at this point was those two critical turnovers to start the beginning of the third quarter are I think the huge things that put ourselves in a big hole. Too big of a hole for us to be able to get out of, but you look at it, as I said, in the framework of the thing our defense went out and did a good job in that first series. Did what we asked them to do. Create a stop and then get them to punt the ball and probably going to get the ball in a pretty good situation. We’re near midfield and then all of a sudden we turn it over from a special teams standpoint and those are things you can’t do against good football teams.”