JONATHAN GANNON: Obviously, didn’t do enough on our end to give our team a chance to win, gave up too many points, have to be better situationally. That’s me first, coaching it better than what we did last week, obviously, and we have to execute at a little bit higher level, and that comes down to me, as well, coaching it and calling it a little bit better.
Excited about getting back in the lab with the guys and making the corrections and we’re going to learn from this game and be better for it, and on to New Orleans.
Q. The 3rd and 30, what was the call? What was the breakdown there? (Tim McManus)
JONATHAN GANNON: It’s me. I have to do a better job of coaching what I want out of that call. I’m not going to get into specifics of the call, but I liked the call. But looking back at it, we have to do a better job putting our guys in position to make that play and get off the field because you can’t give up a 3rd and 30. That was a play in that game that I felt like was a little bit of a tipping point when we let them convert and then they scored that drive, that hurts the ball club.
Got to do a better job myself.
Q. Was disguise involved in the call? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: There’s always disguise in every call, depending on what the situation, the down and distance, everything like that. But ultimately it falls on me, and have to get our guys in better position to make that play.
Q. When you’re in dime there and LB T.J. Edwards is not on the field, what are the mechanics of getting the call in? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: [LB] T.J. [Edwards] a lot of times, we’ll just tell him the call before he comes out of the game, and then we also have a wristband for that because you know we don’t have a green dot in. That’s something that we looked at evaluating, hey, can we make it a little bit easier and quicker for our players, especially that wasn’t a tempo play, but sometimes they go tempo and I like to get dime on the field.
I learned a good deal from that game with how we want to move going forward, and we’ll be better because of it.
Q. Seemed like the communication on the back end wasn’t up to what it typically is. Do you think that’s fair, and do you think that was some of the issues? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, I mean, anytime you give up explosive passes and situationally conversions on 3rd down like we did, it always falls on me to coach that a little bit better and put our guys in better spots. Then for our guys to know exactly where their eyes have to be, what technique, what calls they have to make pre-snap and post-snap and just function at a little bit better level to do what we’ve been doing and really playing good pass defense in known pass. It was a good learning experience for us.
Q. How did losing CB Avonte Maddox change the way you called the game? (Chris Franklin)
JONATHAN GANNON: A little bit. I probably could have got to some different calls when he did go out. I thought he was playing extremely well. But we always look at we feel comfortable with anyone that’s out there and the spots that they’re in. We always talk about if you’ve got a jersey and you’re playing, we feel good about you. [CB] Josiah [Scott] has played really good ball for us when [CB] Avonte [Maddox] has been out a couple times this year. When we set up the game plan, you always have, hey, here’s who our guys are playing, here’s who their guys are playing. Then you have to adjust that in game as it gets going if you lose people or they lose people or what they’re trying to do. We’ll have a good plan moving forward.
Q. When you mentioned you want to coach what you want on that 3rd and 30 better, how much does having the backup nickel in there affect that? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: It affects everybody that’s up because they all have to know it. I think everybody that’s out there playing has to know what we want out of every call, so that ultimately falls on me.
Q. How comfortable are you with S C.J. Gardner-Johnson playing more of a full-time role in that slot spot if CB Avonte Maddox is out for an extended period? (Jimmy Kempski)
JONATHAN GANNON: When [S] Chauncey [Gardner-Johnson] is ready to get back and play, we’ll evaluate who’s up and who’s down and what our guys can do and try to set up the game plan and put our guys in the best spots to play winning football for us.
That’s one of the reasons we like versatile players, because the more you can do typically the better. We have a very versatile room, and we’ll make that decision as we get going.
Q. In terms of the chess match of putting a game plan together, what they were showing, what you were showing, how much do you think it was on your mind or a factor that you might see this team again in four weeks? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: Honestly, not much. That’s a good question. I’m at where my feet are at, and we’re trying to win a game. I don’t look ahead. I don’t look behind.
We were trying to do the best job that we could do to win that game on Christmas Eve, and obviously we fell short.
Give them credit because they made some good plays, and they’re a good offense, but we have to do better to give ourselves a chance to win.
Q. When you give up the 3rd and 30, what effect does that have on the guys, on the coaches, on the players, to see guys hanging their heads? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: No, that’s a good question. We’re a resilient group, and we stay connected, and we’ve done that through the whole year. We did that last year. That’s kind of a tribute to the football character of the people that are out there playing. With me, I’m literally off of it in a second because I’m thinking about, okay, now 1st down.
I think if you don’t have good leadership and they’re not psychologically prepped to get hit in the face every so often and how you respond to that, then it’s going to be tough to get over.
Even when we came off there, I was very proud of our group. We were ready to go back out there and put the ball out and let’s play.
I never look at certain things that go on in a game, bad or good. It’s always on to the next play, and our guys have done a really good job with that.
Q. What have you noticed out of S C.J. Gardner-Johnson over the last few weeks as he’s been down? Do you get a sense that he’s going to need to ramp up physically when he gets back on the field? (Tim McManus)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s a better question for the head coach and [Vice President of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer] Tom [Hunkele], our head medical guy. But I think he’s doing as much as he can do to get ready to go, and when he’s ready to go, he’ll be ready to go.
Q. Head Coach Nick Sirianni was explaining yesterday when the numbers — someone had put up numbers about Cowboys QB Dak Prescott versus the zone, he was explaining in match-up zones you’re using man principles, etc. Is that pretty much the norm for most defensive coordinators nowadays? And the match-up zones, how much is involved in terms of the player communication and football IQ, and is it much more strenuous on players having to know that? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: It’s a good question. I don’t know any stats that get put up, but we’re a defense that does multiple things to defend people. There’s always going to be elements of what looks like zone when we’re playing zone, when it looks like zone when we’re playing man, when it looks like man, we’re playing zone to one side and man to another side. I think that’s pretty common around the league.
Some guys live in the world of man or pure zone, which that’s a way you can go, but ultimately it doesn’t matter in my opinion what calls are being called. You have to teach it and coach it the right way, and then have the players be able to function at a high level with execution.
It always starts with coaching, and we’ve done a good job with that, but this last game we weren’t as clean as we needed to be to win. Looking forward to getting back in the lab tomorrow with those guys and getting back on the horse.
Q. Does it complicate things for the defense when you have a receiver that can move from outside to inside and vice versa, kind of seamlessly? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: That’s a good question. Honestly not because that’s the NFL game today. Typically, guys have really good receivers, they move them around, and then you just have to play the calls accordingly and have a plan for knowing when he’s aligned in certain spots, what he likes to do.
That goes into game planning and goes into the calls, and you might have a call and say, hey, this is how we’re playing it, but if this guy is here, we’re changing it, or this is how we need to adjust and play it.
That goes into basically every game. This game with New Orleans is no different with people that they have.
You have to always know your opponent’s skill set and how they’re trying to use people, how they deploy them and how they use them, and how they’re ultimately trying to get their best players the ball.
Q. In this match-up, I know you saw him last year, but how much of a headache is Saints TE Taysom Hill? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: It’s different because he didn’t play against us I think last year. He plays a lot of positions; we were just talking about it. He plays quarterback, tight end, receiver, running back. He does it all.
That goes into John’s question when he’s playing certain spots, we have to know that hey, this is what they like to do with him, this is why he’s a match-up issue for defenses if you allow it to be, and we have to have a good plan for him when they deploy him in different ways.
It makes this offense hard to defend because of how they use certain players that they have at their disposal.
We have a big-time challenge, and we have to be on it.
Q. Obviously the takeaways haven’t been at the same rate as early in the year. Obviously, part of that is S C.J. Gardner-Johnson, but do you see any other trends or any reason those have dried up? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: A couple things we always show our players, and it comes back to the teaching of conceptually teaching, you win your leverage a little bit better here, you might have a chance for it, or if we’re at 14 yards instead of 12 yards, you might have a better chance for it because your angle is a little bit better. That’s always a blend of you never know how the game is going to kind of go, and typically good offenses don’t give you a bunch of chances to take the ball away, but we have to continue to take the ball away because we know that’s a winning stat.
I always say they come in bunches, and we haven’t been taking away at a high clip as we were earlier in the year, but I think we’ll get back to it.
Q. You guys are on pace to set a franchise mark for sacks. I know you don’t typically call that a winning stat, for instance, you had six – (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: In and of itself; I think I should clarify that.
Q. Is there any pride in accomplishing that feat? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, there’s always pride in being the best at what you do, and that’s a good question because it’s like they’re not a winning stat in and of itself, but affecting the quarterback is a winning stat, and that’s one way that you can affect the quarterback. Our guys have done a really good job with that. That helps our ball club. If you can look at the game, the Dallas game and some of those sacks led to known pass and some downs that we have to do a better job of winning in those downs. But I’m prideful of anytime we’re high in certain stats, and it’s really a testament to the players of staying connected, doing their job, other guys doing their job that allows those guys to get sacks and do that, along with some really good individual performances, too.
Q. What concerns you most about the Saints’ offense? (Merrill Reese)
JONATHAN GANNON: Versatility. They have some weapons that they deploy people different ways, and you have to be on with [TE] Taysom [Hill], [RB Alvin] Kamara, the quarterback is playing pretty good. They have a lot of versatility, and they use a lot of different tools at their disposal to put stress on a defense. We have to get lined up. We have to know where to put our eyes, and we have to execute at a high level.
That’s like any game you have to do that, but with these guys, they try to kind of get you off the scent, so to speak, so we have to be on it.