Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher -- November 23, 2018
Q: How do you get ready for a team that youíve played already and seems to be struggling offensively the way they have?
A: Anyway you look at it, you look at the things they do well, just like any opponent, and you try to find a way, what we need to do in those situations, those personnel groupings, to take those things away. Whether thatís certain ways they like to run the ball, or some certain ways they like to push the ball down the field, or when they try to find a way to target certain receivers. We got to have some good answers. Whether a team is playing really well, or not playing really well, you look at the things youíre doing well and the things they like to do. You donít judge the tape that way, and you just really try to get in and start preparing them. This offense has a ton of weapons, as we know. Has one of the best tight ends in the National Football League. A guy thatís really crafty. He can find a way to get open. A receiving corps thatís extremely talented. A quarterback, he can put the ball and deliver it anywhere on the field. As we know, he can buy time with his legs. Heís not afraid to tuck it and run it. You see a guy that, to me, heís moving around like heís fully recovered. Has kept in some zone option stuff. Has kept the ball in some scrambles and trys to be creative. Itís going to be a great challenge. I think our guys came in after last game where thereís some things we need to clean up from the game. Particularly, in the fourth quarter, late in the third quarter. Our guys have been so great this year about coming in and just continuing to run to things, and wanting to make corrections, and eager to continue to grow as a group, and as individuals. I expect us to keep churning that way until we play Sunday.
Q: What can you all do better in run defense?
A: Number one, we have to win our gaps. When youíre a single-high team for the most part like we are, itís being gap responsible. Thatís up front, thatís second level, thatís secondary run support from the perimeter. Itís as simple as that. Just winning our gaps, doing our jobs. Sometimes, itís eyes that shows up on tape. Sometimes itís bad footwork. Those two things are just fundamentals and techniques, and weíve got to keep working those things, because those little things are what Ė thereís some runs that should be two, that should be one, and end up being four, because weíre pressing a little bit, weíre looking a little bit. We just got to continue to do our jobs.
Q: How much of that is losing (DT) Damon ďSnacksĒ Harrison Sr. up front?
A: I love how (DT) Dalvin (Tomlinson) is playing, and I love how (DT) B.J. (Hill) is playing, and each and every week those guys, and not just those two, but that whole group, theyíre as critical of themselves as any coach is, as anyone who talks about them and itís critical the things they need to get better at. Thatís why this group is going to continue each and every week to get a little bit better. Thatís all weíre trying to do, is just continue to improve. I said it a week ago, something we do with the guys was to go in and a few weeks back, we talked about each individual position group. A couple of weeks ago, we went in and said hey, individually hereís what you got to get better at, and we let the guys talk about it. These guys have been very included into working those things. It shows up in individual. Itís carried over in the team periods. Now we just got to get it to carry over into Sundays.
Q: Is part of it the communication between the first and second level defenses?
A: I would say itís less communication in the runs that have hurt us, and itís just execution. First, it always starts at me. I always look at ways I can give us a better call. Is there anything I couldíve done better? How could we coach it better? How could we work it better during the week? Is there a different way we need to prepare? We look at those things and continue those things. As soon as weíre done here, weíre going out and doing a walk-thru with the guys. We focus on different things that we think we need to defend. At the end of the day, when itís Sunday and itís first and ten, and they hand the ball off, we got to execute. We just got to win our one-on-ones.
Q: Did the Saints do anything in particular to stop (Eagles QB) Carson Wentz? Or, did he just have a bad day?
A: I would never say that quarterback had a bad day. He is a dynamic player. I think when you look at big picture stuff, just like when we look at things on defense, Iím sure they look at things big picture on offense and say, itís not one person on defense when we have a breakdown. You can look at the big play that we gave up in the fourth quarter when we gave up the deep ball. You donít want to give up the deep ball there for a touchdown. We can say itís just the safety and corner that side thatís just on them, but I also look at it as thereís some guys rushing the passer, too, when we have to win the one-on-ones. Thereís a coach calling the plays, and maybe we have to call it a little bit better. Weíre all owning that, Iím sure they look at it the same way. I would never say itís on one guy that needs to play better.
Q: Is the turnover almost as important as ever before because of the way offenses are now playing?
A: I think all defensive coaches would probably say this, the most important stat in the game is the number of turnovers, and thatís been one of the most telling stories to winning percentages is the turnover margin. Also, just defensively, the number of turnovers you create, whether itís two, thereís a 10-year winning percentage when you create two, thereís a 10-year winning percentage when you create three. Then when you score on defense, thereís a winning percentage, and those things just donít lie. Some stats are week-to-week, year-to-year, and sometimes, being a really good run defense might be 3.4 yards a rush, and the next year it might be 3.8. You might say thereís some play with those kind of stats and numbers, but turnovers is one that always matters. Didnít get to see a lot of that game. Saw some highlights, saw the defensive scores. I donít think any of us want to give up 500 yards like we did this last week, or give up 50 points, but at the end of the day, creating turnovers, creating field position, getting some fourth down stops, like we did in the game, and finding a way to get the ball into the end zone on defense is important, especially with the way offenses are playing right now.