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Mike Pettine conference call - 10/12

Opening statement:

"Certainly, a great feeling for our organization, the team and everyone included to get the victory and sense it in the building today. We constantly talk about how important it is to play inside the division, and to get a win on the road in overtime was huge. We have to be able to build on it. We are not going to get too high from it. Again, I say after losses, you have to compartmentalize, but certainly hope that this win, team-building win can create some real positive momentum for us.

"I can't say enough about the way the offense prepared and played yesterday. (QB) Josh (McCown) obviously had a career day. I think that is a function of a lot of things. As I have talked about before, if you want your quarterback to play well, you have to play well around him. I thought Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) put together a great gameplan for us to be successful against their defense. We knew it was going to be tough sledding to run the football, especially early. We knew our success was going to come through the pass game. Offensively, we were able to execute. It was impressive how well we played around those guys and a total team effort. I thought the offensive line blocked well. We caught the ball. I know Josh is going to get heaped with praise, and it is well deserved, but I just think we functioned extremely well as a unit.

"Defensively, the positives, we came up with some key stops, particularly holding them to a field goal late in the game to get it to overtime and then the three-and-out in overtime when it counted and put us in position to win the game. The negative side, there are still way too many mistakes, giving up big plays. We have a handful of good ones and then give up a bad one. That is the NFL. You have to play well consistently. Our theme this week was every play matters. Defensively, we still have a ways to go. Very confident in the group, the men in the room, coaches and players, that we will get it headed in the right direction.

On the injury front, (DB) Joe Haden will be in the concussion protocol. (LB) Scott Solomon, stuff with the knee injury will likely take some time. Obviously, very unfortunate for Scott having just gotten back from his injury from Week 1. Josh's ankle is sore, but at this point, we don't think it is anything that is going to force him to miss any time."

On assuming Haden will miss one game as most players entering the concussion protocol usually miss a minimum of one game:

"I think as you look over time, that is accurate. I would say that would be average."

On when Solomon was injured:

"I am not sure of the exact play. It was definitely in the first half. It was pretty early. (Head athletic trainer) Joe Sheehan came to us and said once they evaluated him, he was in no danger of doing anything further so he went ahead and gutted it out, but I do believe the original injury occurred early."

On McCown's performance over the last three weeks in terms of team stability:

"It has been tremendous. I think he is a guy that you root for, but a big thing to talk about is understanding how well we are playing around. The backs have stepped their game up. The offensive line is improving. The receivers are playing well. Just to have a guy that can be that calming influence, he doesn't get too up, he doesn't get too down. He is always very positive on the sideline. He will be the first person to criticize himself and say he missed a throw or he missed a read or missed a chance in the protection or getting us in the right play. His success, while on the outside of the building is surprising, the people that were here in the spring with him and watched him through training camp and how he handled his business, we knew if we played well around him that he was capable of this."

On adjusting playing time at OLB with OLBs Paul Kruger, Barkevious Mingo and Nate Orchard:

"We had those guys paired up. They were attached to different packages. Some of that just ended up being a function of how the game played out. When we make a personnel call, certain guys are assigned to it and they go on the field. (LB) Nate (Orchard) was certainly a guy we felt like we wanted to get out there some more."

On why the defense seems to 'flip a switch' and play really well or poorly throughout the game:

"That is puzzling to us, and it is a source of frustration, but at least we feel like when we have had to bow up and make a play at a critical time that we have been able to do it. It was certainly evident yesterday. We found a way. I would much rather be sitting here pointing out the negatives from a win than trying to pull some positives out of a loss. Our guys are thrilled about how it ended but know that we have a formidable opponent coming in this week and we have a lot to clean up."

On what he has learned about offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and DeFilippo during games:

"To me, the one thing I learned about him very quickly when I hired him was that it is a combination of passion and football intelligence. He sees the game, and when a play breaks down, he knows immediately why it happened. He is very good at troubleshooting and very good at understanding defenses and what they are trying to take away and how to take advantage of it and how we can get our guys in the right position to make plays. Gameday, he does a great job. I think he has his moments every once and a while, a hot-blooded Italian like myself. For the most part, he is very even-keeled and he is thinking ahead, and in-between series, I think he does a good job of getting into the prints with the quarterbacks and getting feedback from the rest of the staff on what went wrong, what we need to fix and what we like for an upcoming series."

On TE Gary Barnidge being under the radar and having such high production:

"I don't know that we can say we expected him to have the production that he has had. Gary is a good football player and we have known that for a long time. When teams want to concentrate their efforts defensively other places and they want to open up the middle of the field, Gary Barnidge is a master of doing his job. He gets open. He catches the ball. He can run after the catch. Certainly, I don't think any of us knew of his ability to make the circus catch, but he understands defensive football very well. He understands how teams are trying to play him, leverage, recognizing coverages. He is a combination of, he is a good athlete, good ball skills, but I think he has very high football acumen. I think (tight ends coach) Brian Angelichio does an outstanding job, not just with Gary but with the rest of that room preparing them each week."

On what Barnidge means when saying he runs 'weird':

"I wouldn't say that if you watched him run that you would necessarily put that on a form-running clinic tape. He is effective. He gets open. He is not necessarily running away from guys, but I think he is faster than people give him credit for. He is a big target. It is good to see. Obviously, good for us that he and Josh have developed the chemistry that they have."

On if McCown's success the past three weeks should affect the running game positively:

"I just think the success we have had throwing the football should certainly open some things up. I think our best runs in the last two weeks have come from opened-up formations where we had some run-pass options on them. We had the ability to throw it if they are packed in and run it if they are not. Josh and the offensive line have done a good job in those situations. The backs have run well. I think we need to mix it up. Each week is going to call for a different plan. I think the successful offenses in this league almost have that chameleon-type ability that they are going to change with their circumstances. We knew that we weren't likely early in the game going to be able to run the ball. We were going to have to throw first to set it up. I think the success that not just Gary has had but all our receivers have had will contribute to that."

On Orchard's performance:

"He did some good things. Unfortunately on the play that Joe (Haden) got hurt was where he tipped the [pass]. I think it was a screen, but he ended up tipping it up in the air. He did some good things, did a nice job controlling their tight ends at times and got some runs to turn back in. He's getting better."

On finding consistency to avoid a yo-yo response following a win or loss:

"You have to, and that's going to be a big point of emphasis this week. We want to take the momentum from the game and understand how good it felt to win, knowing that we did a lot of little things right that contributed to the win. We're not in the position to take anybody lightly. It'll be emphasized all week, like I said. Hopefully, we'll have another great week of prep like we did last week and we'll get the result we want on Sunday."

On if he spoke to DL Danny Shelton about the unnecessary roughness penalties:

"Yes. (Defensive line coach) Anthony Weaver talked to him on the sideline. I didn't want to pile on. Just talked to him after the game about controlling his emotions. Rookie mistake. I think he let those guys get to him a little bit and he got frustrated, and that's something that he has to learn from."

On the trip home after the win:

"I got a chance to smoke a cigar outside of the stadium. My one daughter was there so it was nice to be able to see her. She was mad at me because the wind kept changing and she was getting cigar smoke in her hair. Other than that, the flight home I thought was great. It's funny, you check your phone after you go in and I think after the San Diego game, I had four text messages; after this one, I think it was 54 when I first turned my phone on. You know very quickly how the game went based on how much your phone gets blown up. I just think it's a sense of relief because of how much we've put into the season and how we weren't getting the results. We exercised a lot of demons with the division. We were 0-2 against Baltimore a year ago. We played them tough two times, had leads in the fourth quarter and couldn't finish – no moral victories. The fact that we went down there, a tough place to play, and went through the adversity we went through down 14-3, down 21-9 and that we had the resolve to come back in both those situations and find a way to win it. I was just so happy for the guys and so happy for the staff because of how much has been put in and how the first quarter of the season went. Like I said, we're hopeful that we can relish this one briefly and use the momentum from it to move forward."

On his comments that the team had a 'clunker of a practice' a few weeks ago:

"It was actually during the Tennessee week, and then we got our first win and then superstitious people were then saying, 'Hope we practice bad.' That's not how it works. It was during the Tennessee week that we just had one of those Murphy's Law practices – a lot of penalties, a lot of missed assignments and a lot of dropped balls. It was a frustrating day, but I thought the guys responded great that Friday and came out and had one of the best Friday practices I've been around and it carried through to the game. Our issue has not been practicing. I think our guys have real good focus and energy. We throw a lot at them from a gameplan standpoint that they need to absorb and get dialed in. I think our scout teams do a good job. They're very conscientious, and we coach those guys hard just like they're playing because they have to understand their role. We get a lot done during the week and that has to continue."

On if previously had a kicker get called for an unnecessary roughness penalty:

"Yeah, I remember one of our kickers I think got a horse collar penalty. That was unfortunate to see because it was right on our sideline."

On saying anything to a kicker who got an unnecessary roughness penalty:

"That one did not have the maybe malicious intent that maybe some other penalties would have. I just think he had the guy pinned to the sideline and was trying to finish the tackle, and unfortunately, got him in the white."

On naming McCown the starting QB:

"To me, it's confidence in the people around me. I didn't make that decision alone. I talked to a lot of people about it, and specifically, the guys that I would rely with that position on the most are Flip and (quarterbacks coach) Kevin (O'Connell). We make a lot of decisions that we make them and we move on. I didn't get caught up in the external debate about it. We made a decision we thought was best for our football team. The way Josh has played, and like I said the guys have played around him, certainly looks to have validated it."

On changing his philosophy on the run game:

"I'm not changing the philosophy, but I also – like I just said a couple of minutes ago – think you need to have that flexibility. We talk about the game plan in terms of a custom suit and there are going to be some weeks where we're going to go in and we're going to run the football and we're going to set up [the pass]. We want to run, we want to go play-action off of it, let the run set up the pass. There are going to be some weeks, and this was one of them, where we felt that our efforts were better served getting them spread out, having their base defense out there, getting them spread out, getting them running around, getting them tired and maybe late in the game having the ability to hit some runs. You're hitting the reset button each week. I don't think you can ever talk in extremes as far as 'We are going to be this. We are going to run.' I've said this before, ideally we want to be able to run the football; we want to be able to stop the run. Those are two things that we've struggled with at times, but the NFL is a find-a-way league and that was certainly evident yesterday."

On clarifying if McCown's ankle would result in missed practice time:

"We'll see. If we have to give him a day off, we will. We'll know more as we get towards Wednesday."

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