Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
October 12, 2017
Opening Statement: Alright, I know you have some questions for me, so Iíll just open it up.
Q: What can you tell us about what happened with CB Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie?
A: OK. The DRC issue. In my opinion, itís the head coachís Ė I mean, I know Ben (McAdoo) has addressed it. So, to be quite honest here, I want to just leave it with Ben and what he said and I would stand on his comments.
Q: Have there been any complaints to you or has there been a desire for CB Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie to play more on the outside?
A: No. No. Heís been great.
Q: What would you say about turmoil in the secondary and do you agree that there is?
A: No. No. Turmoil is we have guys injured and we havenít really found a groove. But, I donít feel that. I donít.
Q: Is it a concern for you that there are 11 games left and youíre having issues with players?
A: Well, itís always going to worry any coach when youíre not able to stay with the same 11 or 12 or 13 because we have different packages all the time. Now, when does that change? It generally changes with injuries or whatever happens. I mean, thereís real life going on, too. So, when it does happen, we have to adjust. The players Ė they are still rolling and playing, the guys that have to go in. Coaches, we canít blink. I mean, in this league, you have to go on to the next game. You canít blink. You canít be looking backwards. You canít worry about whatís already happened. You have to worry about whatís going forward. So, we kind of put it in that same box. OK, who has to go now? Then we go. Nobody feeling sorry for you. Things not going to change.
Q: How much does it weaken your defense to go on without CB Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie?
A: I look at defense as a whole. To me, it still comes back to some continuity and playing as a group. Iíve made this quote to you guys before. I put it back up for the guys just yesterday, that weíre going to chase perfection and rely on relentless. If we can get more of that, I think thatíll help us. When you get hurt in this league, you have to overcome it somehow, some way. Weíre looking for a way.
Q: Are there guys that you feel confident playing extended snaps in the slot?
A: Ross (Cockrell) has a done a little bit of work there. Weíll see where we are with other guys. Right now, heís what we got.
Q: Have you talked with CB Janoris Jenkins about leaving the field early in Sunday?
A: Not aware of him Ė no, I havenít.
Q: Why were you jogging after CB Janoris Jenkins after the game?
A: No. No. No. That had nothing Ė I donít even know. That was something else. That was something totally different. Yeah. Donít look at Ė that was just me and Janoris. I had talked to him earlier and he had asked me something and I went out and found the answer and thatís all.
Q: Do you feel that the players have responded well with the CB Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie situation because it seems like they were surprised Wednesday when he wasnít here?
A: Again, I donít Ė Ben (McAdoo) has addressed it. Iím going to just let it rest on the head coachís comments.
Q: Are you sitting here thinking how are you going to convince your team you can win?
A: No. I donít feel like our guys need any convincing. Our guys just keep working. I mean, they do. They do. Thereís a lot of prideful guys. Whoever is behind the guy thatís starting feels like he could be playing, so this is an opportunity for that person to step up. You canít look at it that way. We like to have everybody healthy and all the same guys for 16-20 games, whatever it is. Yeah, sure. But, thatís not reality in the league. So, we have to find a way.
Q: Talk about DE Romeo Okwara getting banged up today?
A: Yeah. I donít know the whole story. I donít know all the specifics of that.
Q: What have you seen from defensive end Avery Moss so far?
A: I think Averyís done a really good job. I thought he did a good job this past week and I think I mentioned this Ė about three weeks ago, I remember watching tape, I put all the clips on for the rest of the guys, I thought he was getting better.
Q: What made you bench cornerback Eli Apple for the first three defensive possessions last week?
A: Yeah, I wouldnít call it a benching. That was more of a compliment to Ross [Cockrell] and what heís been doing out here. Ross has been out here working, we see it and we notice it. So, we want to get guys in rotations and we did, we rotated the guys right through, probably the same thing will happen in this particular game. Youíre going to need more than just two corners to make it through the year.
Q: Do you think Apple got that message?
A: Well, weíve talked, everythingís fine. Weíre going to need these guys to play. Thereís going to be guys playing and not playing all the way through the year, thatís not going to change.
Q: It didnít seem as though you rotated the cornerbacks, so what was the thinking?
A: Well, part of it depends on what weíre putting in. If we got three corners in, it could if itís only two corners in because weíre in base defense. So, if I have to go back and count and you want to quote me on rotation and say itís not right. But, what weíre trying to do is get guys on a rotation so that everybodyís playing. But a little bit of it is dictated by what the offense gives us.
Q: Did somebody bump a referee last week, which caused a penalty?
A: I donít remember who. It wasnít [linebacker] B.J. [Goodson], B.J. was on the field.
Q: Do you know who it was?
A: I donít, I donít. But probably what happened, was somebody was in the white, or whatever. I hope it wasnít me [laughs]. But I didnít bump into an official. I remember the play, now that youíre taking about it. Because they had a long gain and then they added on to it, it ended up being like a 37-yard play when it was all said and done. I donít remember exactly who.
Q: Why such trouble on third downs in the second half?
A: Good question. This is what happens on third down: anytime I make a third down call and it doesnít work, I question what I called and think I shouldíve called something else. Thatís just how I am, thatís just how I feel. So, could we have changed the calls? Yeah. I can remember a couple specifically. One was a blitz angle, they were a step away and if we just come with the angle weíre supposed to, itís a successful play. What youíre talking about is exactly what I talked about in the meetings on Tuesday, that to me is was third down in the second half that kind of got us. And we had some long ones, too. Third-and-nine, third-and-10. And Iím so into Denver now that I canít remember all of the plays, but I remember one specifically where it was a blitz angle. I do know we pressure a lot, but that was the game plan going in, so we werenít going to change that. And for whatever reason, they didnít work as well as we thought. They need to.
Q: What did you see from your run defense last week?
A: Again, Iím being honest with you now, Iím [onto] Denver, itís been three days. This is the disadvantage of answering these questions four days later. If Iím not mistaken Ė I remember two weeks ago, we had like a 35-yard run. We didnít have any of those [last week], but we had some eights and nines, and I know there were three explosive runs and an explosive run is a run over 10. I mean, our run defense needs to be better. Our tackling was better, itís not exactly where we want it, but we grade that all the time. So, if we keep continuing to improve there, hopefully our defense will improve. Youíre right about this group that weíre playing this week, this is a really good back. I think heís really good. Strong. Heís a one-cut downhill - if youíre not tracking the hip or taking care of the cutback, he can make you pay.
Q: Did you end up using Rodgers-Cromartie more at a lot of different areas Ė safety, outside, inside Ė than you intended to at the start of the season?
A: That answer might be yes. But sometimes we do that to get other people Ė there was a time we were putting DRC back there because we wanted [safety] Landon [Collins] to be closer to the line of scrimmage, so it was a little bit of that going on. And I know we put a package in last week and that that was one where DRC was back, so there was a little flexibility. But, I think sometimes as you go through the season, you realize you need to put a couple of wrinkles in.