Read the full postgame transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022.
(Transcribed by ASAP Sports)
Q: You look at the stat sheet, you guys had yardage and plays and all that stuff. How do you look at this team?
MIKE McDANIEL: You know, it's disappointing. Guys put a lot into this game. I was very happy with our preparation during the week. I thought we took a step forward in that way. I think the direct result was you saw a team ready to play in the first half. Now I have to look at the tape. I don't want to jump to complete conclusions and be result oriented, but we were all there and knew it was a flag fest. When I watch the film, I'm anticipating people or players potentially doing too much, which is common, very common thing when you lose a couple games in a row. You start to press. I was very, very happy with the way we prepared. I think guys were ready to play. Then a lot of stuff happened, which is the nature of football, so then I also look at the end of the game where we took a step forward in our resolve and how guys tried to finish the game when it's — it's a very, very frustrating process when you feel like you're ready to play and you don't get the direct results. I see it as — it hurts. It hurts the locker room. It hurts a lot of people. But it can be a step in the direction we want to go if we use it appropriately. Yeah, I was surprised. I think we've been — last week we were up in the numbers in penalties. We had started the season off pretty good in that regard, and they kind of piled up, definitely hurt us. Turnovers hurt us, and overall the tightness of the ship, which that's what the head coach is there for, so you take that square in the eyes and you let the guys know that you're going to bring a better effort next week.
Q: How tough is it that for the third straight week the quarterback who prepared most with the ones is out of the game…? How tough is that for the quarterback coming in? How tough is that for the offense for things to smoothly run?
MIKE McDANIEL: Yeah, all of it, I guess, you can look at it as difficult. You can look at it as a reason for X, Y or Z. I challenge the guys not to. We have a lot of faith in all the players that we have on this team, and the quarterbacks that we've been working with since last April, any one of them we have high expectations to go execute and succeed. Now, of course it's not ideal. You want the guys that get all the reps during the week to play, but you always know that that's a possibility. I think — I'm going to demand that the team does not point at that to be a reason for what's happened or a reason for the loss. I think that's the easy thing to do. I think that's the path of least resistance, and generally the path of least resistance doesn't lend the results that an ambitious, convicted, all-in players' team, organization wants. Yeah, there's always difficulties and adversity within NFL football games. I thought we had the capability to overcome that, and we didn't.
Q: We saw QB Skylar Thompson go out with a thumb injury and then came back on the sideline, but QB Teddy Bridgewater stayed in the game. Was Skylar able to come back into the game and play or did you just make that decision?
MIKE McDANIEL: No, he was — he wouldn't have been physically capable to come back in so it was not any indication or decision based upon his play. I would have definitely stayed with him had he been able to proceed, but he was not.
Q: What's the status of his thumb?
MIKE McDANIEL: You know, it's a little early to tell. I know he was — the biggest issue was that he wouldn't have been able to — he didn't have any strength holding the ball, which is an issue when you're trying to throw it. I'll have to get a lot more information tomorrow. You don't know with those type of things. I literally have no idea if it's anything that's going to be an issue for a while or if it's something that will heal pretty quick. We'll see. We'll get more information on Monday.
Q: You mentioned last week that part of the reason why Skylar had a tough time was not taking starter reps and not working with the first team. How much of a problem was that today for Teddy having just cleared the concussion protocol on Saturday?
MIKE McDANIEL: I think the obvious answer is it does make it more difficult, but I don't think Teddy nor any — my expectation, I know Teddy won't, and my expectation for the team is that you don't take that easy out, that you don't say, well, shoot, man, we're getting — it's hard for us. It's hard for everybody. Definitely not the ideal set of circumstances. It is unique to my NFL career with regard to the things that have happened probably in the last three weeks. Does that mean that because of that we're unable to win the football game? It does not. I think the tape will be obvious to all the players. The hard part is when you invest, like I said — I was really pumped about the work week we had, and you don't get the desired results. So you get to find out a lot about who you're working with. Every indication that I've had since I've been in the building, I don't have anything to worry about how players are — how the organization, how staff, how the coaching staff, how people are going to respond. We will find out if — that's the great thing about the game of football. It checks you. There's nowhere to hide and you work really hard, and as a team we fell short. It's one of my favorite things about football, is that it's not for everybody, and this is difficult, but so? We've had three games in a row where we've finished a game with a different quarterback than we've started with. And? I don't think anybody has the mindset that, well, that's the reason why we're losing. We're fully capable of winning this game. I think that's obvious to everybody. It's a simple, simple formula. You look at the tape. You don't hide from it. And then you move forward and try to use the learning experience to get better in the middle stretch of the season, pushing forward to the end.
Q: Were T Terron Armstead or T Austin Jackson close to playing at all today?
MIKE McDANIEL: Yeah, they were, and they've really done everything in their power. That's one really cool thing that I've learned about both of those two players is how much they love to play the game. This was a circumstance where we came to a decision with both of them that it was in their best interest not to try to push through to go ahead and go with the guys that we went with, which our team was confident in.
Q: Defense did force a lot of three-and-outs, but no takeaways again. Losing the turnover battle 3-0 obviously difficult to win the game that way. Your assessment of what could be done better?
MIKE McDANIEL: No, I think as a team we need to play better complementary football. We really do, and utilize momentum. I think the defense took a step in the right direction for sure this week. But the number one indicator in wins and losses has been and forever always will be turnovers. When you're minus-3, you've got to be pretty epic in other ways to try to come out on top, and we just didn't have that really in our game this week. We've got to continue to stress it because it happens to a lot of teams. Almost every team during the season, you go through a lull of turnovers, whether it's getting them or giving them up, and sometimes it snowballs into two, three games, but what you don't do is deviate from the points of emphasis just because you haven't gotten the results. You keep trying new things. I'll be doing my best with the coaching staff to try to problem solve that, but if you're trying to win more than you lose in this league, you'd better be on the plus side, and that's just a fact.
Q: Do you have any updates on the injuries that we saw? We saw DB Keion Crossen leave. CB Nik Needham got carted off. LB Trey Flowers. Do you have any update on them?
MIKE McDANIEL: I don't really. It would be a little too early to say. I know Nik (Needham) was in pain, that it felt real, but they've got to — I'm not quite sure if it was the way it was either higher ankle or Achilles. I know that, just by being on the field with him. He'll get updated on that or I'll get you guys an update on him specifically tomorrow. Keion (Crossen), I believe it was a knee and that definitely needs some more information before I'm comfortable speaking on that one.
Q: WR Jaylen Waddle (indiscernible)?
MIKE McDANIEL: You know, Jaylen went back into the game. Level of concern, it's one of those things that I've learned about Jaylen, that if there's a will, there's a way. He is a tough kid. A real tough kid. He really didn't give anyone an option whether or not to be in there at the end. He was pretty hard on himself with that last fumble. If he is, I'm not terribly concerned because if it's legit maybe AC joint, which my non-medical expertise would have guessed. I don't really have information on that yet, but regardless of whatever it is, I know he'll be back sooner than later, and we have plenty of players on this football team that if he is gone for a week or two that there will be no batting of an eye in confidence. Those aren't the things that are keeping us from where we're going to go. It's stuff that we can figure out within ourselves, and that's all we're going to be focusing on.
Q: What was the risk/reward that into going into the thinking of going for points at the end of the first half?
MIKE McDANIEL: At the end of the first half? You know, the thinking really is a lot of the stuff that when I'm making those decisions, it's based upon the whole team and where we're at, and I wanted to — there's been some stuff that whether it's true or not true, it feels on the field when you're getting a slew of penalties, it feels like it's out of your control. It always is in your control, but it feels, and knowing how the defense was playing, I think it was — we had the opportunity to get the ball back after halftime, so I saw it as a time that would really benefit the whole team if we could go get those points. I always do that based on what's best for the team, fully knowing that it is result-based. Great calls if it works, terrible calls if it doesn't. But I think at that point in the game, it would have best served us to have a little momentum going into halftime, and I'll always make that decision if that's the case.