Defensive Coordinator Keith ButlerIs Joe Flacco getting the ball out faster this year?
He's always gotten it out fast. That was his trademark for the last 2-3 years. The more he knows about the game the quicker he is going to respond in terms of getting the ball out.
Re: Ross Cockrell:**
When he came in, the first thing he did was he started going over and covering Antonio Brown all the time. That's a good way to make yourself better. I was impressed by it, because he has enough confidence to say I am going to try to cover one of the best wide receivers in the league. He's done a good job with it. He's played well for us.
Re: Losing a starting quarterback and if that puts more pressure on the defense:
I've talked about this before, Coach Tomlin is always on everybody about not seeking comfort or making excuses about what we have, because we lose one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The only thing that matters is if we win or lose. People don't care what the problem is. They just want you to win. That's what our job is built on. That's the only thing that is important right now. We have to win despite our circumstances.
Re: Steve Smith, Sr.:
He's a real competitor. He's a very good competitor. He plays a little nasty. He plays kind of mean, which I think is the frame of mind you have to have when you are combative in this atmosphere that the NFL is. You have to be willing to stand up, and he's willing to do it.
Re: Stephon Tuitt:
We hope he continues to get better. I think the more he plays with the guys around him, the more of the same guys we can put around him, the better the whole team is going to be. So, hopefully, we will continue that progress.
Re: Mike Mitchell and Will Allen at safety:
I think they are both very smart football players. They understand what we are trying to get done. A lot of times, when you have people like that ton the field, they know where everybody is supposed to be, and they know what we are trying to get done on defense. It gives them a chance to put themselves in position to have success.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley
Re: Mike Vick last Sunday and this week:
He did a good job. Obviously this is going to be his first time getting a lot of reps for us, as he gets a grasp of the entire game plan. That's a big job, but he obviously is prepared and he came out, and for the most part I was happy with what he did.
Re: Being the next man up at QB:
It's still our mentality, but with that being said, this is the quarterback, who touches the ball on every single play. So, just like any other player out there, we work hard as a coaching staff. What we take pride in is playing to each player's strengths. When you are talking about the quarterback, you are going to do the same thing. He is not just stepping in and doing what Ben did, so to speak. He is going to be doing what gives Mike Vick the best chance to help us succeed.
Where do you get your perception about what he can do? Is it from what you remember or what you've seen since he came here?**
A little bit of both. Obviously I stood on the other sideline enough and held my breath at different times in my career when he was out there playing quarterback to have a vision. At the same time, you have to go by what you see. He has been here now long enough. I watch him close, when he has been running card offense and those types of things. I think you get a feel for what the guys like to do. We had a good sit-down last night to get his likes and dislikes, his comfort level, all those things. I think it's all important.
Did you tell him not to get hit under any circumstances?
I told him to win under any circumstance.
Does the short week make it even harder to get him ready?
I think on the surface, yes, but at the same time it forces us coaches, sometimes we like security blankets, more is better. Coach Parcells would kill me for saying it. So knowing it's a short week, you have to use your head and keep things pretty simple, and maybe in the long run it's a blessing.
Have you experienced anything like this, where you lost your QB and had to go with such a different style in your backup in such a short time?
I don't know off the top of my head. I have been in this situation. But I don't know if I can answer that without thinking about it a little bit. Any time you have to do it, you have to be on your toes, and you have to push forward. If you are, and you have good players, I think you will have success.
Re: The way the offensive line is playing and how that helps Vick and the offense:
I think you have 10 guys that are real comfortable with what their job is, and I think that's critical. You don't Mike going out and trying to be something he is not. You don't want Antonio Brown going out and getting outside of his comfort level. I think that's when you have poor results. You have 10 guys very comfortable doing what they are doing. They have to do their job well. Mike has to step in and do his job well. If you do that, I think you will feel good about how you are playing. Having 10 guys that are comfortable is a good thing.
Re: Marcus Gilbert being the blind side protector now:
It changes for a lot of us. It changes how you call the game from a pass standpoint, all those things. Everybody has to adjust a little bit. We've been in enough left formations with Ben under center that I think Marcus understands when he is the open tackle and when he's not. Again, do your job to the best of your ability and you should be alright.
How much does a left-handed QB change things?
I think you become a little more left handed formationally. Like I said, when I call plays, everything is based off of the left hash mark when you have a right-handed quarterback, because generally you want your three-receiver side out to the field. So, when a lefty is in there, I think it kind of flips in your brain. We had a game plan one day that was funny. We kept writing three to the right instead of three to the left, but we felt comfortable today.
Does it change anything for Antonio Brown?
Catching the football from him, that's a whole different thing. But again, we made sure that these guys were catching a lot of footballs prior to this, and he's obviously getting as much work as he can this week. We switched all the JUGS machines. We spun them the opposite direction.
Re: Vick in the no-huddle:
Yeah, I think we will be able to do some. Obviously, we aren't going to be able to do all the things we were able to do with Ben.
Re: Game planning for your number-two quarterback:
You have to be ready. Any time you have a quarterback in there, the next guy in uniform has to be ready to go. I know Landry is excited. He is preparing like he always does, but obviously there is a little pep in his step, knowing he can be the guy pretty quick. That never changes. When Ben was in there, Mike had to think the same way. The second and third guy, if you have three guys in uniform, have to prepare as best as they can mentally to be ready to go, because they are not going to get as many reps.
When you sat down with Mike did you find anything surprising that he liked or disliked?
No, I wouldn't say surprised. I've tried to pay attention, and we've had a lot of discussions in the last month, as you discuss plays and how you look at them. A lot of people are doing the same things, but calling them different things a lot of the times. So I think the key is putting your guys in the best positions to succeed. Comfort level is one of those factors that I think is very important.
Re: Vick's grasp on the offense:
He's a pro. He only got the initial game plan last night, but you can tell he put a lot of time into memorizing the calls on the sheet. I can tell that when I give him the play, with how quick he spits it out. He's been around a long time for a reason, on top of his abilities. Pro quarterbacks prepare like professionals.
What do you do with him between now and Thursday?
We will just sit down tomorrow. That will be the biggest thing. We will kind of go through everything that we practiced. It's nice in that way that it's a short week. We've kept things pretty streamlined. If there is anything that he loves or anything that he hates, those are the big things to me.
Does your run-pass ratio have to change?
No. I think that will still be dictated by how the defense is playing, how the defense we are playing is defending us, all those things.
Re: Haloti Ngata finally not being in this game:
This is this year. That's what is important to me. This is a nationally televised game against our division rival. Really every time we played them, whether it was the playoffs last year, that's how you have to prepare. It's the biggest game of the week.