Q. K Jake Elliott had two of his five kickoffs, I think the last two on Sunday you kicked it to Steelers WR Ray-Ray McCloud, intentionally? Will there be more of that going forward or is it something that you’re looking at doing more as the weather gets colder? (Paul Domowitch)
COACH FIPP: We will see how it goes. One of those things I think he took out of the end zone like five yards, six yards deep and then the other one I would say was more of a returnable ball. We’ll play with it. Obviously, there are not as many touchbacks, or there’s more touchbacks earlier on in the year, as you get later in the year it’s not as many. So, we’ve got to get ready to cover a bunch of those things, but I feel like our guys did a good job. We knew those guys were good in the return game. They had two good returners, both on punt return and kickoff return for them. I felt like our guys did a nice job against them. I’m not going to get into specifics on our strategy all the time necessarily, but we all know that as the year goes on, more and more balls are returned. So, we’ve got to get ready to continue to improve in coverage there.
Q. What were some of the issues that occurred on the kickoff return? It looked like there was times the ball went short of the goal-line and you guys had trouble getting it up to at least the 25-yard line? (Chris Franklin)
COACH FIPP: I agree with that. At the end of the day, we did not play well enough in that phase. We’ve got to do a better job on kickoff return. We just didn’t do a good enough job at executing. I would say I did not do a good enough job of coaching it. We had moved some guys around. We had some players in and out and I shuffled some guys around. I think I talked a week ago to you guys about moving some guys, trying to get them in more optimal positions. I would say some of those decisions, looking back on it in hindsight weren’t great by me, that’s my fault. I don’t think we probably had our best execution. I think a lot of guys would say that on some of those plays. I would say this, at the end of the day we got to get a lot better, in a lot of areas. There’s a long season to go. We’ve got to continue to look to improve and certainly we’ve got to improve a lot on our kickoff return.
Q. I know you said you don’t want to spend each week talking about what the range was for that particular game, but this was noteworthy because the 57-yard field goal. I think that would’ve been the longest field goal in Heinz Field history. Going into the game, what was Jake Elliott’s range and how do you think that kick went? (Zach Berman)
COACH FIPP: I’ll say the same thing, I’m not going to talk specifically about the line and the range and the target line and how much time was on the clock and what we were trying to get, but I do know that I felt really good about him hitting that kick. I hear you when you say that’s one of the longest field goals or the longest field goal in Heinz Field, but I would say that that adds into it. You think about that to some degree, but at the end of the day what we really go off of is how a guy is playing on that day, in that stadium, with those conditions, that wind, that temperature, all that stuff.
Jake was really confident going into that game. His pregame warmup was really good. He hit the ball really well going in that direction. We chose the side of the field in the second half, so that we would have that side in the fourth quarter. He was hitting the ball better that way in pregame. He felt real good about it. He had hit a number of deep kicks on that side of the field right there in the pregame. I think the last one that he took was a 58-yarder and he had made all of those. I felt real confident in him. Going into the kick I had said that to [Head] Coach [Doug Pederson] in that situation in the game and we ended up pushing it a little bit wide right. At the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done. It’s our job to do that. We all know that. I’m glad we got the opportunity, I’m glad Coach believed in us. I’m obviously disappointed that we didn’t get the job done for him. I still got a lot of confidence in Jake going forward, and I think he’s striking the ball really well and in a really good spot. I think he’s got two misses on the year and both of them are in the 50-yard range. I think one at 53 and now one of 57 and I think he made a 54-yarder there. So, I’ve got a lot of confidence in him and feel great about where he’s at, where that group is at. Obviously on that play we did come up not short, but a little wide right.
Q. It looked to me like on the kickoff returns that they were just getting on top of RB Boston Scott very quickly, but you have other guys with kickoffs and punts other than WR Greg Ward. Have you thought about switching up any of that, any of those duties? (Les Bowen)
COACH FIPP: I’m glad you asked that question. I would say this, I have thought about it. I mean, we think about all that stuff every week, but I totally believe in the guys that we’ve got out there. I said that to those guys in our meeting earlier today. I believe in the group blocking for them, I believe in the returner, I believe in Boston obviously and those guys blocking for him. I know we can do a better job, and I didn’t put those guys in a good enough spot. We didn’t execute well enough, they got on us. I know we’re all disappointed in that. We know we can help our football team better than that. It’s an important play that the first one started the game. It’s not a good way to start the game. We take a lot of pride in that and we always have since I’ve been here and really this organization. We’ve got to do a better job. We’re working really hard to get it right and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll fix it.
Q. On Jake’s kick, typically if somebody pushes something that close right on a 40-yard kick, it’s going to be the snap, maybe the hold, maybe just the kicker mishitting it. When you’re that far out, was it just a matter of the distance or was the mechanics of the kick, were they all there for you? (John McMullen)
COACH FIPP: I felt good about the operation. I think Jake would say the same thing. Truth be told, I felt pretty good about his kick, I think he may have toed just a little bit. At the end of the day, when you start pushing the ball back really far, back there 57 yards on that one, the further back it goes, the less margin for error there is and you just have to hit everything perfect, you’re talking millimeters. We’re probably just millimeters off a little bit, but that’s why those long kicks are really hard because it’s very little margin for error. I felt good about the execution of everything. I even felt good about the kick obviously he probably just toed it off just a little bit, which pushed it to the right just a little bit. When it’s 57-yards out there just a little bit to the right over the course of 57 yards ends up being just a little off.
Q. When you have a long field goal attempt like that, when do most of the conversations between you and head coach Doug Pederson occur? Is there setting up before that series of plays, is it before the game, is it right before the kick? (Dave Zangaro)
COACH FIPP: I would say it’s probably all of the above and even more than that. We talk during practice, during the week. We talk about where we’re at, where Jake’s at, how we’re feeling, how he’s feeling. We see that early in the week. We talk in the offseason about some of this stuff. I’ll say it’s a lot of conversations, it’s more than just one conversation on game-day. On that one we talked before the kick, I felt really good about it. Sometimes leading up to it, we talk about it at halftime which direction we want to go, why, the wind, how we feel about it. So, I would say there’s numerous conversations that go on, but it’s more than just one conversation. It’s a lot of dialogue through a long period of time including game-day.
Q. If you look at this weekend’s game, the Ravens traditionally have strong special teams obviously Ravens K Justin Tucker, Ravens WR Devin Duvernay had the kickoff return touchdown. What do you see from this unit in particular? (Zach Berman)
COACH FIPP: These guys do a great job. [Chris] Horton, their special teams coach does a really nice job and then they got [Ravens Head Coach John] Harbaugh there – you guys all know him, he did an unbelievable job here. He’s a great coach. They do a really good job in all four phases. Then all their big four core phases and they do a good job on field goal, field goal block. They’re well coached across the board. They got good players that play hard and they do a good job of execution, which is really what all these plays come down to.