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Chudzinski press conf. transcript - 9/23

Posted Sep 23, 2013

The transcript of Coach Rob Chudzinski's Monday afternoon press conference.

Opening statement: “Pleased with the win yesterday. Obviously, Minnesota is a heck of a team, a playoff team last year, very well coached and has some outstanding players on their team. I thought our guys, as I mentioned last night, showed a lot of toughness and determination. I’d like to give a lot of credit to our coaching staff, particularly our position coaches. Assistant coaches did a great job in preparing our players for the game all week long. It wasn’t always pretty, but our guys scrapped, fought and found a way to win that game. As always, this was one game and we’ll make the corrections. It’s a good opportunity to learn. There are a number of things we can improve on and we’ll continue to work to improve on, and we’ll move on to Cincinnati.”

On if he slept with the game ball: “(Laughing) No, I didn’t. I’m already on to Cincinnati.”

On this team: “This is a group, as I mentioned before, they respond to any sort of challenge, the things we’re coaching them to do. They really, really take to heart and work on those things. To have some success, it was no surprise for that group, and for us that we have success. It reinforces the things that we‘re coaching and teaching and expect to continue. Again, it’s one week, one game and we’re on to the next game after today.”

On if QB Brian Hoyer will start against Cincinnati: “I’m going to wait to make any determination on that until I have all of the information.”

On what he liked about Hoyer’s performance: “I thought it was a gutsy performance. He had some turnovers in the second half, a couple of throws I know he would like to have back. But that didn’t phase him. When we needed to rise up to the occasion on the last drive, he was able to do that and make the plays ultimately that helped us win the game.”

On how Hoyer handled adversity after turnovers: “Like I said, it’s huge. You have to be able to do that at that position in this league. No matter what kind of game you’re having, so many of the games come down to the end and you have to be able to do that and perform at the end and have a short memory of what happened.”

On what information is needed to determine if Hoyer will start against Cincinnati: “Just find out (QB Brandon) Weeden’s status. From a process standpoint, what we do today is just evaluate the previous day’s game, coach our guys and go through the directions and those type of things. Then we’ll sit down later on today and talk moving forward in terms of this next week’s game. We’ll find out from a health status where guys are coming up in the next day or two, from a game-plan standpoint, what we think we need to do and make those plans going forward.”

On status of Weeden’s thumb injury: “He’s made improvement with it. Again, we’ll see it in the next day or two where that’s at and be able to determine going forward.”

On if Weeden has thrown since his injury Sept. 15 at Baltimore: “He has not.”

On having Weeden as the starter or going with the best guy: “Well, that’s ultimately my responsibility, to make the decisions to give our team the best chance and the best opportunity to win as I perceive that. That’s what we’ll do in this case, as in all cases.”

On why he will not commit to starting Hoyer after the dramatic win: “Again, I just want to have all of the information. That’s how we did it last week. We’ll look at it every week and make the best determination of who it is that’s going to play that position, as well as any position.”

On scoring sevens instead of threes in the red zone: “I like sevens. Again, I think a lot of credit has to go to the players, how they navigated last week and kept their focus when a lot of things were happening and swirling. That was that type of week. That credit needs to be shared with our assistant coaches and the job that they did, and keeping guys focused. Guys responded and guys played yesterday. You watch the type and there was some fabulous efforts, and a lot of guys believe in this team. Those are fun games to be able to play and win in that way at the end.”

On not giving his players the day off for a Victory Monday: “We have too much work to do for Victory Monday. We’re coaching them up, teaching them up today. We will give out game balls and do that. That’ll be our first opportunity to do that, when we do that after wins.”

On being aggressive in executing two successful special-teams tricks: “That’s always our mindset. That’s just the way I’ve been. I’ve always been. I think form Day 1, when I talked to you about what our philosophy is going to be, we’re going to attack and we’re going to be aggressive. Sometimes it’s going to work, sometimes it’s not going to work. I felt like we had real good opportunities in those situations. The situations just happened to come up in the game where we felt we could use those plays and they worked in this case. Sometimes they won’t work. But that’s how we’re going to play.”

On aggressiveness manifesting itself in other areas: “You’re always weighing our opportunity. I have so much faith in our guys and belief in our guys. I think that what encourages them to want to get better is when you have that faith and belief in them that any opportunity we have, whether it’s on offense or defense. We’re going to capitalize and we want to be aggressive in that way.”

On communicating with Special Teams coordinator Chris Tabor regarding the fake plays: “Well, I have to tell him so he can call it. So from that standpoint, there’s communication there. We talk prior to the game of where the potential situations we may want to use some of those types of things are. Some of it is luck of the draw, whether it comes up in the game. Some of it is the timing. You try to find the right time to use the right things and yesterday they both came up.”

On practicing the fake plays this past week: “We’ve practiced those plays for a couple of weeks.”

On if he feels Hoyer’s interceptions are a concern: “No, they were just decisions that I know he would like to have back where from a coverage standpoint, he would want to be somewhere else on one of them. Then the other one, just thinking the guy was going to be open and he wasn’t, and just being able to see that and get to a secondary option.”

On importance of ball placement and if it played a factor in Hoyer starting: “Yeah, that’s important. Guys being accurate is one thing. Putting the ball in a place where receivers can catch it and be able to do things with it after the catch is another. I think all of the guys have grown and gotten better in that area. When you get a quarterback to the elite level, that’s the thing that they’re able to do better than the guys who are just good guys.”

On handling Hoyer after his third interception: “Most of the time, from quarterback standpoint and my background and my belief, is you ask them what they saw. Everybody else sees the obvious, but only one guy is playing that position and sees from behind the facemask what he saw at the particular time. He knew right coming off of the field what happened and understood it. You move on and Brian did a great job overall of moving on, and that’s how you have to handle it at the time.”

On Hoyer knowing not to throw the interception: “Yeah, and now today is a time where we’ll coach him a little harder. He’ll see it and that’s where you expect guys to grow and get better.”

On if offensive success was due to Hoyer or WR Josh Gordon being back in the lineup: “It’s tough to determine what percentage. Obviously there was things that we did better as an offense that helped, overall. I think we protected better and that was our best game as far as protection went. As the game went on, later in the game we had some issues with protection. I thought (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) did a great job adjusting to that and calling some things differently at the end of the game. That was a key for us to go and win the game. But I think Josh Gordon being back, there was a number of factors that I think factored in with our offense doing a better job. I think we’re improving. Every week I think I see progress and we’re getting better. I think all of those things combined, you see us going hopefully in the right direction offensively.”

On if Hoyer was limited due to joining the team in May: “He’s been here long enough and knows the offense. So there wasn’t limitations from that standpoint that we had, I just have a very small, limited package for him. He understand football, he processes well. So really, the playbook was pretty open for him.”

On if he has talked to Gordon about the trade rumors: “I have not.”

On if he plans to talk to Gordon: “I don’t really need to because there are no plans. If there was, I would talk to him. If there was an issue I would talk to him. Otherwise, I’ve talked to these guys in general. The things that are out there that people say, the rumors, the things that swirl around, are just all noise. The reality is what’s in that team meeting room.”

On if WR Greg Little is on the trade block: “We have no plans on any other trades. I think (CEO) Joe (Banner) addressed that the other day (Wednesday, after the Trent Richardson trade).”

On improving on third-down defense: “We need to continue to improve on defense. On offense, we improved on third down. On defense, we need to continue to improve on third down and work on it. One of the things (the Vikings) were able to do, (Minnesota QB Christian) Ponder did a nice job of breaking contain, getting outside and running and extending some plays. So it’s something we have to continue to work on.”

On if he calmed the waters with players by saying Gordon will not be traded: “We have no plan on doing it.”

On injuries to players in the game against Minnesota: “Yeah, so the three guys: (LB Jabaal) Sheard has a knee sprain as we mentioned last night. We’ll have a better idea for Wednesday where we’re at with him. (DL) Billy Winn, I think I reported last night that it was a knee; it looks like it’s more of a quad. So again, he’s still getting looked at, so we’ll have a better idea for you on Wednesday. (K Billy) Cundiff, it was just a quad strain, so we’ll see where he’s at in the next couple of days and how that responds.”

On bringing in another kicker: “Let’s just see how Billy does and we’ll go from there on that.”

On Buster Skrine and the secondary improving: “It really has. Those guys have improved. (DB) Buster (Skrine) played his best game. I’m glad you mentioned that and mentioned him because there was a number of guys. I think our secondary is playing very well. (DB Tashaun) Gipson is playing well, (DB) T.J. Ward had his best game, made some big plays and some great open-field tackles. (DB) Joe Haden has been outstanding all along. So, I think again, I give a lot of credit to (defensive backs coach) Louie Cioffi and (assistant defensive backs coach) Bobby Babich and the job that they’re doing and how those guys are improving. That’s one area we’re talking about. I just see a lot of that on this football team at other positions as well. Let me bring up a couple other guys. (DL) John Hughes, I thought played outstanding, was really active, and you look at the progress he’s made from April until playing the way he did the other day. I thought Jabaal Sheard had his best game that he’s played so far. (TE) Gary Barnidge played well, did a great job with pass protection and some things. So I think we have some guys that are really improving and I just wanted to mention those guys to you.”

On how the rush defense has prepared since the start of the season: “I think those guys did a great job and have done great job. (Defensive coordinator) Ray Horton and the defense, that scheme has always been really strong against the run. That’s one of the things that I wanted to bring here for that reason. Also the priority of addressing the front and the front seven in the offseason. I think you see those things paying off.”

On using P Spencer Lanning to replace K Billy Cundiff in the second half Sunday: “It is. I haven’t really experienced it before, having to use a punter in those kicking situations. It’s happened. I don’t know if he was, but maybe he was a Punt-Pass-Kick champ when he was a kid or something (laughs). I don’t know. But I heard it was 1968 since the last time a guy kicked an extra point, punted, and threw a touchdown pass in a game. So that sounds like a Punt-Pass-Kick guy to me (laughs). But I put a picture up in our team meeting with the guys, and the picture was that last extra point (end zone angle showing Lanning kicking and Hoyer holding for Lanning, the normal holder). I’ll tell you, I was ecstatic when we scored the touchdown and it took me about a second or two to realize, ‘Okay, now we have to kick this extra point. And this is an important extra point,’ knowing that Brian Hoyer was out there holding, and Spencer was obviously kicking it. But I put the caption underneath it (in the meeting) to show the team, we talked about the theme of the week was, ’Do a little bit more.’ That’s really what it ended up being at the end of the game, for those guys especially.”

On coming into the job with a philosophy of taking risks: “I’ve always been that way. You have to attack. Again, I think it creates a mentality for your team. Those guys, they don’t flinch, they don’t blink. If we don’t make it, the defense goes right out there and stops the other team in three plays. I think guys like playing football that way because it’s an aggressive game, it’s an attacking game. That’s the mentality I’ve always been around.”

On sacks being inevitable in games, as teams pass more and more: “Well, it is part of it. You want to do everything you can obviously, to eliminate that and minimize those sacks. But everybody’s trying to get the chunk plays which you need to score. It’s hard methodically to drive the ball down the field; you have to get that big play. Whether that comes on a special-teams play, on a fake; that was the big play on that drive that we were able to get a score on. Or, obviously in the pass game, it’s easier to get those type of bigger chunk plays. So with it comes some of the things you don’t necessarily want.”

On interceptions: “They’re going to happen. It’s football. Turnovers are going to happen. You want to eliminate the ones that you can do something about. Those decisions that, maybe you’re forcing something or somebody is not there or you misread the coverage. Those are the ones that you want to try to eliminate as much as you can. But if you’re going to attack, if you’re going to play the way we’re talking about playing, there are some bad things that are going to occasionally happen. I think that we’re building a mentality that, whether it’s on offense, whether it’s the players, all the players on offense, or whether it’s the defense, that we just move on and keep playing.”

On confidence in Hoyer and how he played: “That was the belief that I had in him and the hunch on him. We saw it in the preseason. Again, I’ve mentioned it before and I know it was the fourth preseason game, but he was able to do something very similar in that game. Looking at the guys’ eyes on the sideline, all of them, the whole offense and the group, they believed. When I saw them, when I looked at them, talked to them and talked about how much we would enjoy this after this series was over, and we scored the touchdown, the looks I got back from those guys, I knew we had a great shot at doing that.”