Q. What’s the biggest thing you learned over the extra three days you had about your group? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: I thought we did a good job of taking these last three days and looking at some different things. The one thing with a mini-bye, I guess, you could say, or the self-scout evaluation process is we kind of self-scout after every game. Like we’ll say, ‘Hey, did we set up the plan? How did we execute? What did we call? What was good? What was bad? Why, good or bad?’ But you do get a little bit of a time where you can kind of chunk things together, and look, ‘Okay, like this is what we need to improve on each call. This has been really good, let’s call it more. Or this has been not so good, let’s call it less.’
I did get a little bit more time to do that with the three days that we kind of had, where you don’t get that as much on a Monday because you’re kind of on to the next opponent. But it’s always been my job – like the grand scheme of things, how are we calling it? How are we executing? What can we get better at? What needs to be called more and what needs to be called less?
Learned that we need to get better in situational ball, which kind of knew that. And kind of moving forward, want to hang our hat on a few things that’s been good for us, that we’ve been executing at a high level and guys are making a bunch of plays in certain defenses and certain calls and we’ve got to utilize those calls a little more often.
Q. It seemed like you guys were able to turn things around the other night when they were starting to take – they were running the ball and you guys were stopping them and you guys were almost forcing them to do that. Is that what you would hope to happen in the first two drives, is to force when you have an explosive offense like that with an elite quarterback, taking the ball out of Buccaneers QB Tom Brady’s hand? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, certainly how you call it, too – that’s a good question. When the flow of the game kind of changes, where they got up, and then they – how you have to defend people when you’re walking into a game might change as the course of the game goes on. Are we up? are we down? What are they doing?
I feel like our guys – we did kind of change a little bit as we got going, and our guys executed at a pretty good level and had some chances. It was good to see us get back in that game kind of in the second quarter – second and third quarter, fourth quarter.
But our guys are emotionally stable to say, ‘Hey, this is how we said we’re going to start out the game and this wasn’t working. We didn’t execute great to start and let’s change some things or let’s call some different things to get our guys executing at a little higher level.’
I feel like – just would have liked to have started a little bit better from an execution standpoint earlier in that game to keep points off the board, but we’re always kind of working to do that and set our guys up and put them in the best position possible.
Q. I know it’s a week-to-week thing, but do you subscribe to the idea that if you force teams to run early over the long course, it’ll benefit you guys? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: I personally do. To me, the ball travels faster in the air than it does on the ground. Now saying that, you have to be good on 1st and 2nd down. The self-scout deal, we’ve been in a lot in 3rd and shorts. Two, three, four, and that’s just not, ‘Well, how do we get better on 3rd down?’ Well, let’s get better on 1st and 2nd down. You said Zach, ‘How do you become a good 3rd down defense?’ Get it to 3rd and long. Well, to do that – it’s kind of a joke but it’s not – to do that you’ve got to play pretty good on 1st and 2nd down, so it’s always the blend of, ‘Hey, what are we trying to take away on 1st and 2nd down to where we’re not giving up explosive plays or we’re okay in the run game and be able to get it to those 3rd and medium, 3rd and longers,’ So, there’s a blend of that, and that really falls on me how I call the game because when I’m aggressive and I call it aggressively, our guys perform. It seems like looking at the three – for the three days, when we have been aggressive early downs, there’s a pretty good clip where we’re getting it to – where we want it to be on 3rd down. So, that was part of the reflection for myself, is, ‘Hey, let’s maybe call the game a little more aggressively.’
Q. S Rodney McLeod talked a little bit about the 3rd down to Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown. I think it was S Marcus Epps and Rodney double teamed. Is that a call you liked? I think it was dime. Did you like that call? Was it execution? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, I did like the call. We had a couple calls up out of dime. You saw we got off on the one that was kind of a new look. Going into the game, we wanted to give [Buccaneers QB] Tom [Brady] some unscouted looks, and we know that he’s seen it all. But we kind of had those in our back pocket for, ‘Hey, there’s three or four snaps on 3rd down – depending on how the game goes, we’ve got about two or three calls out of this dime package where we think that we could win a 3rd down just because of it’s a different look and playing some different things.’
I would say on the last one, all 11 of our guys have to execute to get off the field, and that’s how it always goes. It’s not just never about one guy, where well – and to the eye, my wife is, ‘Well, this guy screwed that call up.’ ‘No, he didn’t.’ Like there’s another 10 guys that were doing something that – execution is all 11, not just one guy. So, somebody you see a touchdown pass given up, that’s not always just that guy that you see, ‘Well, he gave up a touchdown pass.’ ‘No, there’s some other things going on within that play.’
Ultimately that one comes back to we’ve got to set our guys up a little bit better so we put them in a better position to execute, so that’s all that kind of was.
Q. What are your expectations when you put a young, inexperienced player like LB Davion Taylor out there for a long period of time? (Geoff Mosher)
JONATHAN GANNON: My expectation is anybody that we put out there is going to play winning football for us. And that’s why you see the number of guys that play for us, from the D-line and linebackers to the secondary, we’re trying to accentuate their skill sets and get them in the game to help us play winning football. So, my expectation of all our guys that play is to play winning football.
Q. Experience obviously matters; with him do you have any level of certain patience on things that he’s – (Geoff Mosher)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, I have patience with all our guys, I think, and just because if you’re a vet and you’ve played a lot of ball, this is – what we’re asking our guys to do might be a little bit different, or the coverages or the run fits or whatever that is, it is a new system.
For younger guys, yeah, you know that you’re going to – they haven’t seen everything that a vet would see. There are certain plays in a game that go on that we did not practice that. There’s only so many things you can practice.
I always talk about guys that they need time on task to improve, and those unscouted looks or certain situations that come up, they can kind of like quickly go to their memory and be like, ‘Oh, that was that,’ and then boom.
So, in Indy, a good example is we played with a lot of young guys in Indy and that was a little bit – when we got there, that is what the roster was and who we had to play with. And I liked that because our guys try to do what we want them to do. But knowing that, they’re going to get some things in games that you’re going to be like, ‘He’s never seen that before, that’s tough, coach,’ especially within the pass game really.
My expectation is everyone that goes out there plays winning football, and the patience level comes with we’ve got to make sure we’re not making the same mistakes over and over and over. That’s where I would think it goes.
Q. Percentage-wise, there was a little bit less rotation in the defensive line this game. It seemed like you stuck with the four guys for the majority of the game. What went into that? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: A little bit. Just I think how the game went, where it started with the two long drives and we were kind of rotating a little bit more and then we started to get them out on some shorter – we had some shorter drives. That always is what packages do we have up? What are we trying to get done within that call? Within that package, who’s up and playing? I always go down in between series asking, ‘How do you guys feel?’ Do you guys feel good?’ We knew that we had a little bit of a break and we liked our match-ups with the guys that played the majority of snaps, but with saying that, we do want to keep that to a – everybody up on game day, especially on the defensive line. You want those numbers to be decently balanced out and the reason for that is when it’s late in the ballgame, you want your guys to be fresh.
Q. Why hasn’t DE Ryan Kerrigan been productive? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: On the stat sheet you mean? Because in my opinion, he has been productive.
How would I quantify that is he lines up, he gets aligned the correct way, he plays with his eyes the right way, he’s asked to do the techniques that we’re asking him to do and he’s playing winning football within his role.
What I mean by that is, like somebody that makes a tackle on a run, well, [DE] Ryan [Kerrigan] helped that guy make that tackle by how he crushed the block. I don’t always look at – with [DT] Fletcher [Cox] moving back a couple weeks, like he’s balling.
Now, the stat sheet might not jump out at you and be like, ‘Well, this guy doesn’t have 10 sacks or six, whatever TFLs,’ this and that, but within the framework of what we’re asking those guys to do, they’re being productive.
Now, with saying that, we can – you know, with a DB. He didn’t have any interceptions, he didn’t get any PBUs, yeah, but when the ball came to him six times, he gave up two completions. That’s a winning day for me, with no PBUs and no interceptions. He’s not allowing his guy to catch the ball.
But production is a way to measure; you know what I mean? So, you always have to, as a coach – what’s the blend of is this guy playing winning football for us? And who is producing when the plays that are there for him to make, does he make them?
I think he is doing that.
Q. As the personnel develops and evolves, would you like to get to a point where you have two linebackers who are three-down linebackers? Or is it your personal philosophy that you always want to mix and match at that spot? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, I kind of – if you have a guy that’s impacting the game on 1st, 2nd and 3rd down, you’re not going to want to take him off the field. That’s any position. I do, especially with the D-line and the linebacker spot, guys that we have up on game day we feel like we can play winning football with those guys within the role that we give them. And that’s really the reason for you see a lot of linebackers in the game is, ‘Hey, this guy does this really well. Let’s keep him in that spot. Or this guy does this in this certain package; this is what we’re going to ask him to do. This guy is a little bit better than the other guy at these certain techniques within that call, let’s put him out there.’
You know, it always comes down to can you afford to take a guy off the field or not? If you can’t, then you leave him out there. But if you have some other – if you have a bunch of different guys that can play winning football within the star, within their role, let’s play them. That’s kind of how you see that going.
Q. DT Fletcher Cox mentioned two weeks ago that the system was an adjustment for him, having to play two different roles was an adjustment. Obviously, he felt like he needed to perform at a higher rate. What have been your conversations with him about that and what have you seen since then? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, I mean, not since then. We talk weekly on the game plan and how we’re going to play this week. Fletch is a very smart player and I get a lot of information from Fletch. Like I said, way back when, it might not – I might think a certain thing, ‘Hey, we’re doing this, that’s good for you, right?’ And he’ll tell me, ‘Well, not all the time, because I could get this block and that doesn’t really – it’s not really great for what you think in your mind.’
I do that with all our players. I’ll ask our guys all the time, ‘Hey, the back end, do you like this coverage. I’m calling this coverage to take away this. Do you guys see it like that?’ ‘Yeah, this is really good versus that.’ Sometimes they’re like, ‘No, not really, this is putting that guy in hard duty.’ ‘Okay, then we can change.’
I think that Fletch is doing an excellent job with what we’re asking him to do. He’ll keep being highly productive for us. He’s a tool that we utilize weekly because we understand that teams game plan for him differently than they game plan for just a normal defensive tackle because of the player that he is. I love Fletch. He’s doing a great job.