Posted in General News

Head Coach Raheem Morris Quotes

by Roland Johnson on August 3, 2009

HEAD COACH RAHEEM MORRIS

(Opening Statement)
“As far as injuries today, I have Antonio Bryant with a mild knee, he will be back, he is just day to day. Just precautionary for him. I have Kellen Winslow with a mild ankle strain. He got that this morning on the team run and he will be day to day as it is just a mild ankle. Joel Filani has a hamstring strain. Angelo Crowell has a hamstring strain as well and that is really the new updated things about injuries. Today we had a special emphasis on red zone and trying to score down there 60 percent of the time. If we can do that and be somewhere around the top seven in the league and I thought that 60 percent of the time scoring in the red zone is good with touchdowns in the red zone and getting that percentage up then we have a better chance down there. It is a big red zone day. We got a little more out there this afternoon and that was kind of the emphasis for the day. We talked about 60 percent and that’s important when we are in that position. For the most part it is really tough to practice the red zone because you have to do it live but I really didn’t want to go live today. We have to run the ball effectively in the red zone to be pretty good and I know that throughout the year that has to be one of our main focuses. Indianapolis, I believe, led the league last year with 67 percent so we feel if we can be in that neighborhood then I will be really happy. The other emphasis for today was the defense. Emphasizing team and awareness and we talked about some of the little things like tagging guys down. You never assume anything. It is a bunch of rookies and young players out there for the first time. Yesterday Michael Clayton made a great catch on a deep ball and caught it, fell on the ground and caught it. So just talking about things of that nature. We talked about taking a bad angle on a ball the other day and the guy caught it out of bounds. Tanard Jackson made a great break on it. He didn’t actually make the play but you still have to have the ability to turn and run and get him on the ground to give us some more strap on defense. So we really talked about chute awareness and keeping everything in front and on the side of us and emphasizing the defense. Also the special thing today is the Lee Roy Selmon event here today. He is going to be the first in the Ring of Honor and that is big being the only Hall of Famer and being special. Getting him to talk to the team was special and I think it is great getting Lee Roy back in this building and getting around the office and around these players. That is some legacy that guys won’t forget about and we honor that.”

(On improving in the red zone and being fearless)
“It is the emphasis across the league. A lot of people either want touchdown or check down. For a lot of people that is kind of the mentality when you’re in the red zone. And that is kind of what Luke [McCown] is saying with being fearless but not reckless. You have to get your three points and come out of it with three points. To be great in this league you have to be good but you have to get the six. Six just creates a different aura for your team and your defense. It turns around the game into what we are and who we have been the last few years which is being a fast tough physical team. If you have the ability to grind then it is going to be a long day for anybody. If we score three and we still are not afraid to run the ball then we go down there and score another three and you’re still not afraid to run the ball. We just want to have that mentality to get the six. We will take the three and we will not miss out on any opportunities but we want to get our six points.”

(On some of the different defensive line combinations today)
“I talked to those guys yesterday because they are doing a good job at looking and we must have done a good job of searching them out. I told them yesterday and told them they had a good practice in the afternoon. So they came back today and I talked about being persistent which is something we didn’t do the day before and those guys came out and were consistent and I could see the consistency under pressure. They are not always getting there but the fact that I like the hustle and I like the feel back there for a defense that has to stand in the pocket some times. You get a healthy respect for the quarterback game. We need to put one of you media guys out there and feel that pressure and you get a real sense of respect for it. It is a different feel and a different look. So I am feeling the pressure and feeling them humming and I can just feel the energy around those guys and I’m liking that a lot.”

(On Quincy Black)
“It was great. We talked about that yesterday and having that type of player. When you talk about Quincy Black then you talk about a hybrid player and you’re talking about a guy that can rush off the edge. We are talking about a guy that can stand up and play backer. We want to use what he does best. Right now what he does best is to play fast and you know exactly what he is doing and you have a chance to build. So that is off the edge a little bit. He is big and strong and physical and you look at him and you just say, man, that is what a linebacker is supposed to look like. We want to use him to the best of our ability and we like what we are getting from him right now and hopefully it translates over to the game for us.”

(On Jermaine Phillips)
“Jermaine Phillips still was really an idea of mine and started that way and then I made a tape of what Jermaine does best and playing in a tan which is standing head up with the tackle and keying the fullback or keying the tailback and falling back and making tackles with Barrett [Ruud] or with Derrick Brooks at the time. He had a lot of box plays and that is what he was special at. We had three good safeties on the team. I thought we had three good starters. Actually we had four counting Will Allen. I just felt like if you had a chance to get Jermaine Phillips and Sabby Piscitelli and Tanard Jackson all on the field at the same time then you are going to be a pretty fast defense and you have a chance to be really good and a chance to have some success and some splash. So I showed it to the coaches and what I was talking about and we have been looking at it and studying it and Jermaine embraced it and taken to it and he is coming around and getting better and better everyday and still getting detailed at that position is something you have to learn with more live periods. He needs a live game to go out there and get in the fire. But I am liking his progress and liking where his head is and I am liking what he has to offer as a leader on our team. It has been awesome for him and I am excited about it.”

(On moving guys into unproven situations)
“With Sabby I would say no because I started that project last year. I started playing him half the snaps anyway. He started the last five games I believe and he has played just about half the time last year. They [Sabby and Jermaine] kind of split that position last year. And Sabby down the stretch when we talk about a few guys who played well last year then Sabby was one of them. Having interceptions and almost running back a touchdown until he kind of ran out of air in the Raiders game. He made a couple big hits in the game and made a splash. He had a couple mistakes in the Atlanta game in a couple hit deals and almost drove me crazy because those were the plays where I was out there yelling numbers but he has gotten better and he has improved and matured so I don’t view him as a hole. On Jermaine then you definitely have to view him as a hole and that is only fair for you to say that. I think he is still in the learning process and he is still going and I’m excited about it and I can’t wait to see him. You know I really won’t be the one to say much about Jermaine but Jermaine won’t be able to tell you about himself until Tennessee when he actually gets out there and uses his hands and falls back into holes. But what it looks like right now looks pretty good. We will have some live periods and that will look pretty good as well I’m sure because Jermaine loves live. But we have to get to it. I am not rushing the process going through it.”

(On how the offense responded today)
“It was a lot better. I talked to the guys and we always talk about having straight forward shots, my coaches are the same way. We talked frankly. Those guys met last night and they came up with a plan. I could notice it in the huddle. We had a new tempo. We had people back. The quarterbacks had control of the huddle. I liked the organization. I like what we are doing with that. That is all that I ask for. People always ask whether I’m going to coach the offense or the defense. I am going to look for pet peeves like that, pick on it, make it better, get us better as a team, put an emphasis on it with our coaches and put an emphasis on it for our players. Those guys are riled up. I had every quarterback; they don’t like to be talked about. Whether you do it publicly or one on one, it doesn’t matter, they take that stuff personally. That is a sign of a good group. That is a sign of good coaches. They came out and responded, and I was impressed.”

(On what stood out to him today)
“It was just about the red zone stuff today; like some of the timing and precision stuff that I’ve seen. I liked some of the timing throws, double-post to the side of the end zone. Stuff like that looked good. I was a little disappointed people hit the ground today. I understand because there wasn’t a live period. It was a pro thud period. I wanted them to stay up, but I understand it’s hard. I know that it is tough. They get all fired up. They don’t know what I want right now. They are trying. They are busting their butts. I’m excited about it. Just the red zone emphasis was exciting for me for both the defense and the offense. Some plays on defense, some plays on offense I was able to celebrate again today.”
(On Carnell “Cadillac” Williams returning punts today)
“I always tease Cadillac. I always say, ‘Hey, Auburn.’ He did that at Auburn. I say, ‘You used to let the ball bounce, pick it up and run around everybody in college.’ He always says, ‘Check the tape.’ We have a Pro Bowler back there returning for us. Hopefully, he returns. Cadillac is not a bad option if something goes happens. Knock on wood.”

(On what they have to do to score touchdowns in the red zone)
“In my opinion, I’m going to give you the offensive side of it first. You have to be able to run the ball effectively. If you can run the ball effectively, then you can make people play defenses that they aren’t used to playing. When you get down to the red zone, you are limited to your package on defense. For the most part, the defenses are all up, with two high safeties. You are getting very limited coverage packages. Not a lot of single safeties, not a lot of zone dogs and zone pressures, things of that nature. People want to major in that field. You know what you are going to get. You know the looks. If you look at tapes enough and you go to that area of the field you know what you are getting. You have to dissect what you are getting and be able to throw it and run it. If you can run on it, so they can’t go two high safeties on you all day and stop your passing game that is what makes you effective. We have to be able to run the football. That is what a zone scheme is about. That is what I meant by you really can’t tell the percentages daily. Some of the throws down there were based on timing and precision. That is what I mean. You have to run the football to open up the passing game. Once you get people to guess, and get people to go to oddball coverages, it is a long day. That is what you like.”

(On mixing and matching the defensive line)
“What we are doing there is when you have the first down factor. I gave you guys all this good stuff yesterday. Today it was all negative. You guys are killing me. Anyway, we are using the joy of the situations. Ryan [Sims], we talked about being in Jordan on first down. Now we get to third down, it is a whole different package of guys in there. We have a whole different name for the package of guys that we have in there. We have Quincy Black playing a little defensive line. We have Gaines Adams on the right side when Quincy is in. We come in and go ‘Great White’ and decide to put Gaines on the left. You see Jimmy Wilkerson maybe slide inside. Those combinations are going to confuse people, we hope. It will create better matchups for people. So now, maybe I have a chance to get Gaines on the ‘slug’ right tackle. ‘Hey Gaines, this is a matchup we like this week. We may try and exploit it. Let’s go do it. Hey here is a matchup we like with Quincy Black, let’s stay with this package. Here is the matchup we want for Jimmy Wilkerson or Greg White inside.’ I think we are just looking for our best matchups right now. Once we get to the game, we can dictate who we are going to go at. If we got Roy [Miller] playing right guard, that is what I am going to do.”

(On Kyle Moore)
“That was a reason that we drafted him. That was one of the main reasons. We wanted to fill some holes on defense and defensive line was a big part of that. Having the ability to get Kyle Moore, a guy that plays left end for you, we are trying to teach him how to be more stought. We need him to be a bigger guy on first down and play the run a little bit better. What he did special in college was pass rush. His pass rush off the edge was special. He moved inside a little bit in college and was special. He has to do all these type of things. He reminds me of a young Jimmy [Wilkerson]. Jimmy is great with guys. Jimmy is one of the best teachers that I have been around as a player. He has been phenomenal. He has been awesome with them. This is what you do when you become a team. I come in and I see it everyday. I walk out to those drills and I see the same thing and Jimmy starts cussing them out before I do. That’s awesome.”

(On Jeremy Zuttah)
“[Jeremy] Zuttah is a very smart kid. I don’t know if you guys know that he is from Rutgers. He went to Rutgers and is from New Jersey. They produce a lot of scholars up in New Jersey, as you guys know. Zuttah is doing a great job. He is smart. He is very athletic. Sometimes he is too smart. He might be doing something and he is thinking about something else. He knows the problem already, he just didn’t do it right. He’s one of the guys you have to go, ‘You have it, now do it.’ You can fill in the blanks. That is just his deal right now. He is getting it. He is starting to grow up. He is starting to mature. Earlier, I talked to him about his demeanor. He is such a good kid. He is a nice guy. You have to have a little nastiness about you. You have to have a little Davin Joseph in you, a little [Jeremy] Trueblood. A little Trueblood. You have to have some of those things. That is what we talked to him about. He is getting better. When you are working with those guys, you have no choice but to become that type of a guy. It is done by peer pressure.”

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