A transcription of Tom Cable’s press briefing with Bay Area media today:
OK, before we start, the team and I, the coaches, would like to send our hearts, thoughts and our prayers to the George Blanda family. Obviously, that’s a tremendous loss for the entire Raider family. I got a chance to meet him in Chicago for the first time. So, for me, to meet one of your heroes was a pretty special deal. I just felt like I’d like to open it up that way.
OK, let’s talk about the game now. As I talked to the team, we need to really evaluate the last 30 minutes prior to the last play of the game because that’s where we lost the game. We didn’t lose the game on a kick. We lost the game in not doing more in the last 30 minutes to put ourselves in position to not have to go through all that. We left so many plays out there on the field offensively. The players, coaches, we would all tell you the same thing: 1 for 5 in the red zone is not good enough. It’s totally unacceptable. There’s so much out there that we’re bothered by it, we’re kind of mad about it right now, just because we had a tremendous opportunity, and we really did not take advantage of it. We will. We have to.
Our defense continues to improve. The negative there, in my opinion, as I mentioned to you, too many pass interference calls and illegal contact calls. There’s going to be some of that, but not that many. For a while there, that was really Arizona’s offense. But they ran the ball for too much average. They didn’t run it for a lot, but too much average. Their explosiveness with their offense was through their running game, and that’s too much. Offensively, we left way too much on the field. We’re moving the ball well. We’re showing some explosiveness. We’re showing the ability to run the ball with some consistency but we’ve got to get that ball in the end zone in somebody’s hands.
The kicking game, really became the difference in the game. Not because of the last play but when you open up the game not getting off a block and two guys miss a tackle, that should not have been a big return at all. That’s pretty disappointing. So, we continue to work. The things that I’m real proud of. We’ve done got over the hump. We’re no longer soft or not tough or can’t come from behind, whatever that is. Hell, we spotted them a touchdown and answered it right away and kept on playing. I like the mentality of our team a ton. It’s just getting us over the hump here to be as good as I think we can be.
Q: How do you get over the hump in the red zone?
Cable: We’ll spend, really, we’ve already started on it, but that’s one of the things that we’re going to really evaluate critically here in the next 48 hours. That, and third down again was kind of an Achilles heel for us a little bit. But, we will tear it apart and find out if we need more balance, if we need to go one way or the other more than the other, whatever. But we’ll certainly do that, because the plays are there. We’re just not making them, that’s the bottom line.
Q: Does the red-zone inefficiency have anything to do with your
Cable: Well, actually , yesterday was pretty good for them. We had two sacks, but the run game was solid. There was a couple of critical things that I would rather not have happened. In terms of time, there was a number of times he’s back there patting it, patting it, reading from one side to the other. We seemed to be getting some improved play. Not by leaps and bounds but incrementally we’re getting better at some spots there. So, I wouldn’t put that on them at all.
Q: What did the Cards do to take away Zach Miller?
Cable: We missed a couple throws to him. The one in the far corner, we had a smaller guy on him, might get a jump ball kind of throw. We missed one in the seam, overthrew it. I don’t know if it was so much them taking it away but it’s an example of what I’m talking about. We left plays out there. I think he should have caught two more touchdowns, I guess that’s
what I’m saying. Have to throw the ball a little bit better and maybe a better route on one of them but that’s the details I’m talking about when I say we’re leaving too much offense out there.
Q: Eleven passes to Heyward-Bey . . . because of the coverage, a coincidence? . . .
Cable: I think it’s more of what they were doing. Rogers-Cromartie is a very good player but it was apparent right away that the matchup was OK. Darrius could handle him as well as Louis. With what they were doing coverage-wise with Louis and Zach, it gave us the opportunity and Darius the opportunity to have some chances. And that was good, it was a good matchup.
Q: Your impressions of Nnamdi’s matchup with Fitzgerald?
Q: Going forward with Nnamdi vs Andre Johnson?
Cable: I’m proud of Nnamdi. He took the challenge and went after it, and played him tough all game. If you watch his body language he was really into it. He looked forward to it and prepared himself and certainly the outcome showed that. As we get ready to go with Houston and Andre Johnson coming in here, then we’ll talk about that. You have to take your hat off to him. Excellent, excellent game.
Q: If you had a do-over, would you leave Asomugha 1 on 1 with Fitzgerald on the TD?
Cable: Down there because you’re on the short field you’re kind of limited as to how you want to do that. History-wise, the last three or four years we’ve been an excellent red zone defense but they were 2-for-2. The short field puts you in different types of coverage. It doesn’t have to but history says we’re pretty good playing that coverage down there.
Q: Why the continued problem with penalties?
Cable: As I said to them, I gave them the analogy that every one of us in life has wanted something so bad when they’re a little kid, even as adults. And you want it and you want it so bad and you’re so focused on the want to and getting it that you forget how to get it. I just feel right now as we continue to grow and get to where we want to be as a team, we still have to pay attention to the details and the discipline that it takes for those details to work. The penalties are an example of that.
Q: What happened on the delay of game?
Cable: At the 1-yard line?
Q: Yes . . .
Cable: Really the clock was running down. Made the assumption that the quarterback would get time out and we wouldn’t have an issue. He didn’t and when I tried to it was too late.
Q: How important for Darren to back it up for another week? Three good games in a row . . .
Cable: It does show that he is doing some good things. But it also shows that people around him are doing very good things too. I’m very pleased. As a team we need people like that to step up for us. I think we’re getting that. I just know where we’re headed and we’re so darned close. Now we just have to get over the hump here the last little bit. His play and what he’s brought to the table here the first three weeks is very good.
Q: Did Bush not get many carries because of his health or Darren’s production?
Cable: Yes and yes. It’s all of that. Think about it, he really hasn’t taken a shot since before the injury. We wanted to get him back in and get him hit a little bit and for him to be able to say, ‘I’m OK.’ He’s OK now and obviously Darren has had the hot hand.
Q: How is Seymour’s health _ he talked about his hamstring issues _ will he be limited this week?
Cable: We’ll see what he is on Wednesday and kind of determine then in terms of a plan for the week. Everybody is pretty sore today, especially after you lose something like that at the end there. It maybe hurts a little worse. Twenty-four, 48 hours, it will feel a little better and we’ll move forward.
Q: What do you say to Seabass?
Cable: I told him I love him and I’d go to him again in the same situation and he’d probably have to win two or three games just like that for us this year and he’ll probably do it. To me, what’s important is he was out early this morning kicking balls. What do you do? When you get a setback, you analyze it, you look at it and you say how can I fix it and you go to work. And he did that.
Q: He usually does not kick on a Monday?
Q: How did left tackles do?
Cable: Again, both of them up and down. Both allowed a sack, both had a penalty. They both did some really good things too. It would be nice to eliminate the sacks and the penalties. I think we can do that. I really think we’re close with both of them.
Q: Is Walker hurt?
Cable: He’s got a sore elbow. We’ll go through all that on Wednesday. It doesn’t look to be anything serious at this point.
Q: Mitchell got some time in base defense as a strong safety, is he making a push for a starting job?
Cable: No, actually it was more because of guys getting knocked out – Walter McFadden. So we put Huff at corner in some nickel stuff, Tyvon was playing some free as well as some strong, put Mike in there for a few snaps. It was really just out of need.
Q: Plan on keeping Stevie Brown on the roster?
Cable: Well, I hope so. We’ll see. We’ve got some other decisions to make about other things in the next couple of days.
Q: How would you evaluate the pass rush?
Cable: I felt like we were hot and cold. Remember this about Houston. They can run it. They can run it for real like big boys. If they have to throw it, they will throw it all over the yard. If that’s the case, then we’re going to have to crank up that pass rush.