Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
December 23, 2015
Unbelievable challenge this week. Obviously coming off of last week, we got some work to do. Iíll tell you what Ė this running back weíre getting ready to play and this football team is one of the best obviously in the league. We had a good practice today. I thought the guys ran around real well. Of course we donít have pads on, we donít do any tackling anymore. So we just got to find a way to stop the run first and then see what happens from there. Because if we donít do that, it will be a long day. Having said that, Iíll open it up.
Q: Theyíre like 61 offensive snaps a game, the lowest in the league. What does look like on film and what effect does it have?
A: It might be a little bit of a product of when they are running the ball, the clock is running. Iíd have to look, does their opponent have less plays too?
Q: Yes, they do.
A: I would think thatíd be a direct result of running the football quite a bit. We donít count plays; Iíve felt like during this year weíve had too many plays. And thatís our fault. We got to get off the field. It really doesnít factor in terms of game planning, other than I hope they donít have any more than that. I think itís good if they donít.
Q: I guess Iím just wondering, do they do things to slow the game down?
A: Iím not watchingólike Coach Coughlin would know with the big picture, like what theyíre doing defensively and do they manage the game and the whole thing. When youíre watching cutups and youíre not watching the game, itís hard for me to get a feel for that. My guess isóknowing Mike and knowing Norvóthat thatís probably behind it. They got a great running game, got a quarterback thatís managing the game. Heís been really efficient and they got a really good defense. It would make sense, but without looking at the whole thing, Iím not really sure.
Q: Whatís the challenge with Adrian Peterson? How different is it than every other running back?
A: First of all, because heís so talented, thatís the big challenge. When you watch him, heís really good at if you make one mistake up front, heís really good at finding it. And when he finds it, he finds it so quickóand he is obviously talentedóand heís out and he makes you pay for it. Defensive football against the run is gap-sound, that never changes. But theyíre not real tricky in what they do, theyíre just really good at doing it. I think he makes all the offensive lineman really good, like a really good back does. Heíll make you pay for sneaking in a gap where youíre not supposed to be, and heís gone. So we canít let that happen.
Q: Does Brinkley play perhaps a bigger role here because the run-tackling linebacker against the great runner?
A: Thatís a good statement. I would have to agree with that. He did play up there, so I think heíll be juiced up for it. I donít know if you know, he just had a baby. Iím saying that because god bless him. Tackling, and Iím all over him about doing this and that, but thereís more important things in life. I think heíll play a key part in this game. He knows them a little bit. Anytime youíre playing a good running team, the guy right in the middle obviously is really important.
Q: Wrapping up a big talking point for you this week?
A: ďMultiple-wrap tacklersĒ is how we said it. To get this guy on the ground, itís not just one guy, it takes multiple. And I say multiple-wrap tacklers because itís not multiple run in there throw a shoulder pad, duck down lowóyou got wrap this guy up because heíll bounce, heíll spin, you guys have all seen it. Heís a quality back.
Q: How about Bridgewater? What kind of steps has he taken?
A: Of course like any good quarterback with a running game, heís aided by that. Theyíve become really goodóNorv has done a great jobówith the play action concepts that they have. They donít do a lot, but what they do, they do it really well. Because youíre so focused on 28, everybody gets [sucked up]. Thatís the whole deal with a good running game and play action pass off of it. Weíre hopeful that we can play good on first and second down and get into some unmanageable third downs for them, itíd be better for us. Thatíll be the intent.
Q: They had a big game last week, Cam, obviously against your defense. Why do you think they had so much success passing the ball?
A: Talentís one thing, but certainly there were a number of things we could have done better. The drive that sticks out in my mind is the one at the end of the half where the coverageís should have been tighter. I just felt like we should have got off the field there and got the ball back to the offense. The pass, he was chipping away. We really wanted to stop that running game first, too. So there were run calls in there that they end up throwing the ball in play action and we didnít defend very well. I know youíre asking about the pass, but the one that sticks out to me is the quarterback long run. It was a new play, but it was a defendable play. It was just a matter of our eyes getting in the wrong spot. We talk a lot, and it will be big against Adrian Peterson, that when they run the football, the guys on the backside got to track the hip. If you overrun it and he cuts back, itís a long play. Thatís what happened on that quarterback run. We had a couple of guys that needed to track the hip and thatís maybe an eight-yard gain. You donít want eight-yard gains, but when itís a new play thatís sprung on you, it would have been survivable. I was trying to go to Minnesota, you know that was going to be my attempt. I go back to that game, it crushes me, it kills me. That one hurt more than any one. Too much pressure put on the offense when itís 35 whenever that was. Thatís a lot of pressure on those guys. Somehow, someway, thatís got to be limited and then weíll win a football game. The defensive guys are all disappointed, Iím disappointed. Hopefully thatís behind us.
Q: When you say ďthat kills meĒ, you mean the game itself or that play?
A: The game. The game kills me. I just would have hoped to have had certain parts of that game played better, I know the players feel the same way. Had that happened, with the way our offense got going at the end, weíd be sitting here with a win instead of a crushing loss.
Q: Back to the late game thing and end of gamesóthey went down the field and got the field goal when they needed it. I know weíve talked about this before, but what do you do moving forward to try and fix that part of it?
A: We blitzed on the first play. He got it out, we get a knockdown. Iím sure if you look around the leagueóand even when we did it in a couple games, San Francisco and some othersósomewhere in that drive, a big play has to be made for us. Whether itís a sack, whether itís even a pass breakup to get them behind schedule, whether itís obviously an interception that ends the thing. Somewhere in there, a play has to have been made. The concern was Cam running it so you spy him. I donít know if you remember, there was a long down there because you commit only three rushers instead of four because you donít want the quarterback to get out. Well it was a long down, and eventually, people get open on a long down. So you change it up and go to a four-man rush and the coverage is better, then he gets out and scrambles. It was that kind of cat and mouse game. We just made a couple mistakes in there that hurt us. Itís preventing a field goal not a touchdown, and you canít let them get to the 38 or whatever yard line they got to, 30-yard line.
Q: A couple of his plays where he ran through a certain gap, and it was the same gap, they even had some running backs run through that same gap.
A: On the running play? Not the scramble, right?
Q: I think there was a designed scramble, I think behind the right guard.
A: There was a draw play down in the backed up, when we had them backed up, that he called. What he saw was two-man under. When the guys are in man, heíll go to that. He actually avoided where he was supposed to go, and got out the other end. Not 100 percent sure, but I think we had a game put on there that didnít get executed. We were supposed to come around on a man, and that gap would have been secured. So it was a missed-fit and a mistake on the part of one guy. When you make mistakes like that with a player like that, they are going to be plays that are going to hurt you a little bit. I think thatís what youíre talking about. The long run again, had not been a play they had run. We have an end squeeze which we worked on all week, and if we just donít overrun it, itís a survivable play.
Q: Whatíd you see from Barry Cofield?
A: Well he got 10 plays inórusty, obviously. He did a nice job today. We get him in there more and more. Obviously heís very smart, he did some things in practice today and it was a no-brainer for him, he adjusted. Hopefully, and I think he will, we got a whole week of practice, didnít really have that last week. He missed a day last week by the time we got him in here. But I think heíll help us.
Q: He had a nice play by the goal line last week, didnít he?
A: I donít recall. You might be right.
Q: There was a run play that was stopped.
A: Yeah. Heís played a lot of football, so we value the experience.
Q: Do you need from your cornerbacks in your estimation? It was supposed to be your strength.
A: We really need more from everybody in the pass game. Thatís everybody, I say all 11. You canít let a quarterback in this league sit back there, anybody is going to have trouble covering. Yeah, there were moments in there where I think our guys can be playing things a little bit tighter. They know that, weíve talked about it. Maybe I got to call something different to get them tighter, I donít know. Itís all those things.