Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
November 16, 2017
Q: What did you think of cornerback Janoris Jenkinsí effort last week against San Francisco?
A: Okay, Janoris and I talked, he obviously agreed he didnít have his best game and he realizes that. We had a good talk, really good. He wants to do that, heís ready to go, I love that guy. Heís all in, he gives everything heís got. He missed a few tackles, it was more technique than anything, we thought when looking at it and Iím sure heíll be better this week.
Q: Do you think Jenkins gave the effort last week?
A: Yeah. When youíre talking about a missed tackle, I mean, I think he was trying to make the tackle there. A guy stiff armed him, he didnít do a good job knocking down the stiff arm. We always talk about, if you get your feet in front of your hips, youíve got no balance, you canít make that play. And the one that he missed on the edge, I thought that was part of it. I donít know what other plays you might be talking about, but Iíve got no problem with Ė Iíve got a problem with missing tackles, but I donít have a problem with his effort.
Q: Why sit down and talk with Jenkins if you didnít have a problem with his effort?
A: Youíre talking about the tackles and the plays and Iím talking about the overall, I think he can play better. And he believes he can play better, he knows heís got to play better. We need him to play better. Itís the overall play when you look at it. He knows he needs to play better.
Q: After the past two games, do you still think that your defense is all in?
A: Yeah, I do. The three things I listed was I think weíve got to be better at technique and weíve got to have better eye discipline and then weíve just got to get after it. Thatís when you play good defensive football. To me, itís that simple.
Q: Are you concerned about your linebackers with all of the injuries?
A: Itís been hard and it seems like every time we get one back, we lose one, and especially when itís the person in the middle. We havenít really had the continuity of having the one person in front of the huddle talking to the guys every down, or most of the downs. Really, when you think about it, itís been B.J. [Goodson], itís been Keenan [Robinson], itís been Kelvin [Sheppard], itís been Curtis [Grant], itís been Calvin [Munson], all the Kís and Cís. But, thatís hard and itís hard for our guys because itís easier to have one voice that they listen to all the time. But, weíve got to grind through it, thereís nothing we can do about injuries.
Q: Is it possible that the constant injuries at linebacker are why there have been miscommunication issues?
A: Little bit, yeah, little bit. Itís like anything else, when things are rolling and itís the same people and you hear it the same way and guys are used to hearing that same voice, everything works. It all begins with communication. That does have something to do with it.
Q: How do you think Kelvin Sheppard played in his first game of the season last week and will he be healthy enough to play this week against Kansas City?
A: Really good. I donít know yet on the Kansas City thing, [Head Athletic Trainer] Ronnie [Barnes] will let us know. But, our guys feel really comfortable with Kelvin. I mean, heís a very smart football player, he steps right in. For not having played a lot of football, you run the risk that when youíre out there, pushing on people that havenít done that in a while, of injury. Hopefully heís going to be okay, but when heís in front of the huddle, I bet you all the other guys will tell you, everybody feels real comfortable. He knows what heís doing, he does it fast. Heís a confident football player, thatís what you need in the middle.
Q: What concerns you about the Kansas City offense?
A: [Laughs] Everything. Theyíre as multiple as multiple gets from an offensive standpoint. And theyíve got really good players doing it and theyíve had the same players doing it, which is an advantage for them. And the guy in the middle that gets the ball in his hands every down is really good. This is a challenge, a great challenge, great opportunity for us to come out. Itíd be a great thing for us to do good against this offensive football team. Iíve always respected [Kansas City Head Coach] Andy [Reid] and what heís done. Itís not the Philadelphia offense, thereís more wrinkles to it, thereís a lot more to it and they obviously do a really good job and [quarterback] Alex Smith is having a heck of a year.
Q: Do you have to make sure you help lift the defensive playersí confidence as much as you can?
A: I think thatís a part of any coachís job. Confidence by working with them during the week, getting them in the right calls. I always try to have the perfect call, it doesnít always work out that way. I always think when a play doesnít work, itís my fault, I didnít call the right thing, I know thatís not always the case because the guys have to play. But, confidence will come when we get in a little bit of a groove, have things go real well and we canít let one play deflate us. We talked about that this week and sometimes that happens and thatís where we as coaches have to get in there and say, ĎLook, forget about it, move on to the next play.í I worked with a guy down in Philadelphia, a longtime D-line coach, Pete Jenkins, who always used to say, ĎDonít let a good play or a bad play affect the next play.í And when you do that and youíre thinking about the last play, itís not good football. So, I agree with what youíre saying.
Q: Can you talk about the number of explosive plays given up the last two games?
A: Yeah, thereís been a couple of things there. The one long one was a number of people, there was coverage and pressure, we shouldíve been to him way before he had time to launch the ball up. Thatís what you do when you bring pressure, you want the quarterback to get it out quick. With the one at the end of the half, it was probably my fault, I probably shouldíve put another substituted group in, taken it easy on ĎJCí [linebacker Jonathan Casillas], those are the two that stick out the most. Run plays are all 11 guys and itís make a tackle, set an edge, all those things. The very first play of the game, six plays later was played perfectly and was tackled for a loss, so it was really technique more than anything on that, we talked about that this week.
Q: After saying the loss to Los Angeles two weeks ago was embarrassing, how would you describe last weekís loss to San Francisco?
A: Yeah, they kind of add up. Weíve got a lot of pride. You can use the word, your pride is hurt, you can use embarrassed, you can use whatever you want. But I do know this and I say this every Wednesday: when we go in that meeting room and itís time to get ready for another game, all thatís done. Thereís nothing we can do about that. All we can do is about what weíve got going forward and all weíve got is one game in front of us and thatís what weíre going to focus on right now.
Q: Have you seen pride on the defense?
A: I have. I know that we have prideful guys. Do we get discouraged in the course of the game? A little bit, yeah. Do we get a little bit frustrated? Yeah, and thatís what weíve got to filter out, I think, in the course of the game. And like I said, donít let a bad play or a good play affect the next play. If we do that, I think weíll play much better.