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Frazier On Injuries, Sunday's Loss to Cincinnati, More

Posted Dec 23, 2013

Head Coach Leslie Frazier 

Good afternoon guys. I had a chance to go back through the tape and take a look at our game from yesterday and it’s just like what I said after the game, watching our third-down offense and our third-down defense and the turnovers, you’re not going to win very many games when you have that type of performance in those areas on the road. It cost us dearly, and it definitely made a difference in that ball game yesterday. We weren’t able to capitalize on good field position by the kickoff returns by Cordarrelle, but I thought our guys did a great job of blocking as well, we didn’t use that momentum to get in the end zone or get points off of great field position and that made it tough. We had a few guys that got banged up, Audie Cole was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain so we won’t have him this final ball game of the season. Toby Gerhardt strained his hamstring so we’ll have to see how he does throughout the week and whether or not he’ll be available for this ball game. Some of the other guys we’ll learn a little more about as the day goes on. They’re still going through some work with our trainer, Eric Sugarman. Big game coming up. We have to be able to turn the page for our final game at Mall of America Field. We have a lot of work to do and with this being Christmas week we’ll have some distractions but some how, some way we’ll make sure to be focused on getting a win in our final game in our home stadium.

Q: How did Erin Henderson perform after Audie Cole’s injury?

A: I thought he did a good job when he stepped in in the absence of Audie. Came in and made some nice tackles for us and did a pretty good job coming in and directing the defense. I thought he did a good job moving from the outside linebacker position to the middle linebacker spot.

Q: Are you playing more younger players because Detroit isn’t in the playoff race?

A: We’re going through our roster right now. We don’t have a lot of guys that are sitting and not playing. We’re playing a lot of people. So we won’t have any issues with playing guys. We were in a position yesterday where we were just reaching for guys just to make sure guys were available so that’s not an issue for us.

Q: Is there part of you that says to just shut Adrian down for the final game so you don’t have to worry about his injuries?

A: We’ll see where he is this week when we get back on the field, and make a determination. If he’s further along than where he was yesterday, we’ll try to do the right thing.

Q: Did Adrian Peterson show improvement then to play Sunday?

A: I think there were some moments in that game where he did some good things and some other moments where we just weren’t sure he’d have the burst we normally see, so we all want to see if he’s better this week with some more time.

Q: What are your thoughts on him saying that he would go to ownership to support you as coach?

A: He’s a special player, special guy. We always want to do the right thing by him when it comes to playing the game of football. He means so much to our franchise and organization so we have to be wise when talking about how to use him.

Q: Any chance of seeing Josh Freeman Sunday?

A: I’ll give it some more thought. Matt Cassel will be the starter for this ball game and Christian will be in that back up role. I don’t know what will change that throughout this week but that’s the thought process as we speak.

Q: Why did he never get another game chance?

A: He did a good job of picking up things, that’s one of the reasons we played him in that New York game. He picked up things well and worked hard in practice and he’s still doing those things. He’s picking up our offense, working hard, spending time with our coaches and doing all the things he needs to do but with one game left, and having a chance to watch Matt play again, we’ve made that decision that that’s probably the way we’ll go.

Q: How do you block out all of the speculation about your job?

A: I think for our players it’s important to stay focused on the task because that’s what I’m asking them to do and I need to do the same thing. It’s very, very important when we have the chance to win these games down the stretch that I stay focused on what’s involved with leading our team and I want them to follow so it’s important that I handle it the right way.

Q: Any discussion with Rick or the Wilf’s about your status?

A: No.

Q: What about your agent?

A: No.

Q: What was the over riding things wrong with the defense?

A: We had some changes personnel wise early on that took awhile for the guys to get in touch with what we are trying to get accomplished. But now we are into our depth and we have been for a few weeks so that has something to do with it. I thought we were playing better there for a while but yesterday on third down we struggled. Our running defense was very, very good but there was a number of different factors where we haven’t hit our stride on a consistent basis. I think more than anything some of the changes of position and trying to get those guys to come along as fast as we needed them to early.

Q: What changed for Cassel from last week?

A; The team that we were playing was playing some pretty good defense. We probably could’ve protected it a little better. There were some things we could’ve done better as an offense and as a whole that maybe could’ve helped Matt some, but he still has to do a good job protecting the ball. That first fumble, sack-fumble, he’s got to find a way to get that ball tucked away and take the sack. Protecting the ball is a big deal and he’ll be better this next week but I don’t know if there was anything schematically that was a whole lot different. We were doing some of the similar things we’ve done in the past, we just didn’t have the same success.

Q: Was the wind a factor in yesterday’s game?

A: It didn’t seem to be a factor. We went through it in pregame and talked about as the game went on but we didn’t think it really became a factor in the game.

Q: Were there blocking issues on Cassel’s fumble?

A: There were things we could’ve done different to help us there. We could’ve done better. We did better as the game went on, but on the very first one we didn’t handle it as well as we should have.

Q: How big was it to have that turn over?

A: They’re big. Any time you turn a ball over and have a drive start, in their case, on the plus four, that’s tough. Pick six, those are tough to overcome on the road so you don’t want to dig yourself a whole. If anything you want to give people things on the road.

Q: What was the plan with Chris Cooke? Were you counting on him to play?

A: It was dependent on what they were doing personnel wise. We wanted to see how Chris worked out in another week of practice and he did some things fairly well but we made a decision to go with Shaun. But then of course Shaun get’s injured and then we had to get Chris out there and he’s a little banged up but the injury to Shaun participated that we get Chris on the field.

Q: They were clearly targeting Chris, weren’t they?

A: It seemed that way, coming off of an injury. We’d probably do the same thing so tough day for him.

Q: Have you seen more issues with personnel than schemes and game plans?

A: We can do some things better schematically as well. The injuries definitely played a role in where we are, but there are some things we can tweak to help us schematically as well.

Q: What do you think allowed Andy Dalton to find guys that were open against cover-2?

A: If you’re playing two deep, it’s a combination of the rush and the coverage and if you don’t get the rush, it’s going to affect the coverage in that particular coverage. There were times we were man on third down, times we were in the zone, at times we were bringing pressure and it was a mix of the three of the most part throughout the day. Trying to combine a rush with the coverage, whether we were bringing five sometimes or six, we were just trying to mix it up.

Q: It seems like the biggest surprise of the season defensively is not bringing as much rush as in previous seasons?

A: We haven’t been as consistent rushing the passer as we have been in the past and that definitely affects what we try to do systematically, without question. A lot of what we do revolves around being able to rush with four, and we haven’t had that consistent rush like we’ve had in the past and that’s definitely affected some of the things we’ve tried to do. 

Q: Is it age catching up with guys like Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, or why haven’t they been as effective?

A: I know yesterday they did a good job chipping out, just keeping another guy in whether it be a back or tight end and trying to keep our ends from affecting the game. We get that sometimes and there are some things we can do to alter that but it definitely makes a difference when we can keep our two ends at bay. They did a good job of keeping us from being able to rush with our four and having to add another guy which puts a little more pressure on our secondary. Now, we’re not quite as established in the secondary as we’d like to be and we put some guys on one-on-one situations where we don’t want them to be in one-on-one situations but good job by them.

Q: What do you think of how Everson Griffen played yesterday?

A: Everson did some good things at times. We like to get some more push up the middle when he’s on the inside in third down situations and when he’s on the edge I think he ended up getting a quarterback hurry or sack somewhere in there, a hit on the quarterback, but just get more. More consistency out of him when he’s an inside rusher.

Q: Do you feel like there was missed opportunities this year knowing that 8-7-1 could win the NFC north?

A:  For where we are, the most important thing is trying to focus on this final ball game and do what we can to get a win at home. That’s probably the most productive thing we can do as a team and as a staff. Figure out a way to get our guys ready to go play this final game at home.

Q: How is Harrison Smith doing?

A: He was a little sore yesterday. Played through it, but he was sore for a period of time. We’ll work with him in practice and he’ll be a little sore this week, but should be ready to go for the game.

Q: Is he still sore from the previous week?

A: Ya, from the previous week. We’ll get some work with him and that’s how it will be probably throughout this ball game.

Q: Will Rhodes be back this week?

A: We’re hoping so. We definitely need him so we’ll see if he can practice tomorrow or after Christmas, but we’re hoping so.

Q: What went into the Carlson move to Injured Reserve?

A: Just from the recommendation of our training staff and medical staff based on his history and where he was, this was probably the best thing to do.

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