HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"It's tough. Simple as that. Never could get the running game going. It's tough. Protection wasn't good again early on. Didn't give ourselves a chance. And defensively, we just -- the big plays in the first half really hurt us. We knew we were playing good football players, especially on the offensive side of the football, and it would be tough duty. First half-wise we didn't get a lot done, all of us. Coaches, we've got to be a better job. And offensively and defensively, just gotta get more production, gotta start the games off a lot better than that. On games like today, when you're down 30-0 at the half, you have to look at the positives. Could have gone, of course, two different ways in the second half. But I like the way the guys fought in the second half. Couldn't let them score anymore. I don't think they scored in the second half. And offensively we're able to get a little bit going in the passing game. Protection was better. Made better throws. Caught the ball better. Never really got the running game going. And I thought we had a chance. Right before -- we turned over the ball that last time. If we had gotten it in the end zone, now it's a one-score game. With everything that happened, we can at least at the end feel like we got, we made progress. We understand what the record is. It don't really matter unless you get a win. And we didn't get that. But we have to find things to build on right now. Injury wise, we had a few guys that went down. Christian Harris went down early. We'll see the extent of some of those injuries."
Kyle Allen, [inaudible] change quarterbacks, what did you think of his game overall, including the interceptions?
"It's never good when you turn the ball over. It's as simple as that. You can't win football games when you turn it over. And those turnovers early in the first half, they scored a touchdown. And, of course, they got one inside of the 5-yard line. We as an offense can't allow that to happen. And our quarterback starts it all. So Kyle didn't start and the offense didn't start the way we needed to. But in the second half we had our moments where we looked like we could get some yardage and have a chance."
How would you evaluate where this team is going under your leadership, and where does the confidence come for you that you're the man going forward?
"I think it's little bit early -- I could talk to you about this game, how about that? This game, we didn't start well, as I said, but I liked the way we finished. Most of the times when you come into a new game there's a reason why there's a coaching change. And most times you don't come in when you're ready to win right away. You start building. And that's what we're doing. We're building, and eventually we're going to get it done. Right now it's kind of easy to take shots at us because we're not quite there. So we'll take that, but eventually we'll get over the hump."
From today's game, what are the signs that you're building?
"Well, when you're down 30-0 at the half and you come back and make a game of it at the end and we put ourselves in a position to win the game, that's what I saw today."
You had plays where you had OL Kenyon Green out, is that to teach him by watching?
"It's not necessarily teaching anyone. Yes, we're always teaching, but if the play, we don't feel, is what it should be, you have to look for other options. The plan going in was to spell Kenyon and get Justin (McCray) some plays. So that was just the base part of what we were going to do coming in. It's like getting Dare a couple more carries and different things like that."
Do you anticipate (Kyle) Allen to continue to be the starting quarterback?
"From where we are right now. As you know, it's pretty hard -- yes, to answer your question. We're not going to put a guy, give him his first start and start yanking and things like that. We let a guy play. We want to see him. We've got to eliminate those turnovers. But I thought he did some good things throughout the game. But we're not quite there yet as a team."
How much do you think -- I know throughout the week you split his (Kyle Allen) and Davis Mills' reps in practice. How much did you think that effected his--
"I don't think we split his reps in practice. Our back up, we have two guys that get reps each week. It wasn't a split of the reps. Take it from there. I felt like we practiced enough -- every time a guy goes out there and he gets more reps he's going to play better, but I can't say that that's the reason why."
Talking about some things to build on, DL Maliek Collins and the way he played today?
"Yes, it was. Maliek is capable of that. It's not just about the sacks. I'm thinking overall, defensively, that's a pretty good offense. For us to hold them without points in the second half, I think that's something that probably, I think that's a positive you can kind of talk on a little bit. But Maliek did some good things. Maliek, Jerry (Hughes), some of those guys are going to play that way always. A game like that you just look defensively, they scored a touchdown. They set up another. When it's games like that, just the offense on their own, 16 points. But what their defense was able to do, that's what we need to be able to do, get a couple more of those flash plays to help the offense when we're struggling."
The early portions of games the last couple of weeks leading to this game they sat Tua in the third quarter, where are you seeing how you guys are getting started in games?
"As far as sitting Tua? Is that what you're asking me, on them?"
Where do you feel like you guys are progressing, whenever it's times --
"We play the Miami Dolphins, or whoever they have out there. In the second half, whoever they chose to play, I saw progress on our part. That's what I saw. Based on what they did, I don't have any -- I can't judge that. I saw progress at the end. And we moved the football and had a chance before that last interception. That's what I saw. Were you watching the same game? I guess not."
How much of a grain salt do you have to put on that they did have their back up quarterback out there, and that the defense did have--
"Let me start back over. We're down 30-0. And we didn't play well enough early on. So I understand where we are. Second half we're down 30-0, I saw some positive life simple as that. We didn't win the football game and we're not patting ourselves on the back, but we're looking for positives as we go forward. We're not there yet. That's obvious to everyone. But we have to talk about what happened during the game, not based on who they played or any of that. Just basing it on the how the game ended up. Simple as that."
Teams have slowed down RB Dameon Pierce. Today, kind of rough getting going with him. What did you see from him today from that and how they were able to stop you with him?
"It's as simple as that. I don't exactly how. I mean, y'all know when someone stops someone up front, it always starts up there, up front, the last few weeks. We played good defensive lines and they haven't allowed us to get our run going. It's kind of as simple as that. We need to play better. There's no other answer than I'm going to give you 30 minutes after the game, because believe me, if we saw that problem we would have been taking care of it out there."
You did sack Tua four times, which is more than he's been sacked throughout the last four or five games. That might have been why they took them out because you were starting to get to him?
"You were watching the game, I see. That was the case. We did sack Tua few times. That's when I say that, I mean, we lost the game, but there were some positives. We made a couple of plays while we were out there against a pretty good offensive team, I'm going to say that also."
The fumble by TE Jordan Akins, they later scored. But do you have to take care the football?
"Gotta take care of the football. Gotta secure the ball better. As simple as that. When you turn the ball over like that, I mean, it's tough. Normally something bad happens when you turn the football over. Yes, we acknowledge that. Believe me, we want him to protect the football. That's a part of the game too. Heck of a job by them."
Nine losses to this point, how do you manage the locker room? How do you address -- what's the way you approach it at this point?
"Because you can't take those nine. That's how we're going to approach it. Even this one, we're going to watch this video and analyze it, see what we need to do better. There's a lot of things we need to do better. And then we're going to get ready for the next opponent. I think it's what everybody does. Whether you win or you lose, you can't bring the past with you. I think we'll have enough to prepare for, enough to get ready for with our opponent this coming week where we don't have to concentrate an awful lot on what's happened in the past. And as we go through, as you have a disappointment right now, we've had a little bit of -- we've been in situations a few times, I mean, you can't. You have to move on to the next one. And that's where we are. We're going to -- the positives that we have from the game, we're going to try to highlight them. And the negatives, the things that we did wrong -- from turning the ball over, fumbles, giving up some big plays, all those things -- you start working. You try to improve upon it. It's as simple as that. There's no other answer you can get in this situation except for that."
RB Eno Benjamin and WR Amari Rodgers we inactive, are they not ready yet or --
"Answered your own question. They've been here a few weeks. They're making progress. We felt where we are right now that the group that we went with gave us our best chance. Simple as that. Will they be active? We hope we get in a position where we get a chance to see both of those guys because we think that's the reason we signed them."
Do you have an update on RB Rex Burkhead? Do you know what happened there?
"No, I think right now he's being evaluated for concussion."
QB KYLE ALLEN
What are your initial thoughts on your start today?
"Just not good enough for me. I just didn't put our team in any type of position to win today. The interception early was just a bad ball, I can't do that. That's essentially a pick-six with them getting the ball on the 2-yard line, and then we're down 17-0 at that point. I've got to be a lot better if we want to win games."
What were you thinking when you guys did get the scores in the second half? Defense did get some stops, you got a little bit closer. What was the mindset there?
"You're just trying to fight. You're just trying to stay in the game. It's nice to score, but it's too little, too late at that point. We're down 30-0 – that's more of a mentality than anything. You're just trying to fight and execute and just keep playing."
What was halftime like?
"I mean, people were frustrated, rightfully so. Down 30-0 at halftime, after all the work you put in during the week, it's not where you expect to be. It's frustrating."
Were things just moving real fast for you in the first half maybe?
"No, we just didn't execute. We just weren't executing. I think offense, we struggled early. And like I said, the interception put us in a really bad spot. We blinked and it was 17-0. We just got to be able to start faster and play better early in the game."
To not be able to provide that spark today from the change, from the change, where does that come for you going forward? How do you evaluate that for yourself?
"I'm just here to execute. It's more of I didn't execute my job today, and I know at the quarterback position, you can make things right when things are wrong. That's my job to do that. I've just got to play a lot better."
Lovie mentioned about how you're still building as a team, where does your confidence come in that?
"I'm confident. I'm confident – I know I'm a much better player than what I showed today. Every team is still building, especially us. We have one win. We're trying to just get a win every week. So, I mean, we've just got to keep pushing."
Other than turnovers are there things that you identify, like "I can do this better, I can do this better, fix this?"
"I've got to watch it. It's tough to say just right after the game. But I'm sure there's some decisions, some technique stuff here and there. I've got to watch it and see."
With the pressure they had today, was there anything that -- how would you evaluate how just right off the bat here, what did they do well that kind of got to you guys today?
"I mean, I thought the pressure was fine. I thought there was times where I could have stepped up in there and got to my checkdowns quicker and got to my outlets quicker. I don't think the pressure was that big of an issue. I think they played well in the back end and then they got a lead quick, so they played soft the rest of the game. When they play soft, you have to take your dinks and dunks down the field until you score. That's tough to do. We've just got to play better earlier."
They seemed to be sealing off the running lanes early, too, where do you think that came from?
"I mean, it keeps going back to the same thing. When you're down early like that, you've got to start throwing it more. You've got to try to get back in the game. So, we're calling less runs because we needed to score. I think if it was a closer game and we ran the ball more, we might have had more success."