It was an ugly homecoming for Jim Schwartz in Tennessee, as the Titans pulled out a shocking win against the Detroit Lions, sending them to 1-2. As expected, there were plenty of issues to dissect this Monday, including the mysterious decision making in overtime, the inability of the special teams to contain kicks and the defense's porous nature, which allowed plenty of big plays. There's also plenty of injury concerns, but those were hardly eased after 30 minutes of talking and listening.
Here's Schwartz's answers to this week's tough questions:
On The Severity Of Matthew Stafford's Injury: "I don't have any comment. Shaun Hill finished the game, so we'll see how the week goes and then Friday we'll make a determination on his availability."
Explaining The Overtime Miscommunication. Was Going For It Ever A Consideration? "It was never a consideration. It was either kick the field goal or draw them offside. I think that's a case of an over aggressive coach. There was no downside. Even if we false start, we only move back five yards, which is still in Jason Hanson's field goal range. A play that wasn't supposed to have a downside ended up having one, and that's on me as a coach. We couldn't tie the game and that's on me."
How Bad Did Dominic Raiola Feel After Snapping The Ball By Accident? "It's tough on Dom and it's tough on everyone. There are plenty of plays where you can say jeez, if only that didn't happen. If we stop the kick return, if we don't give up the punt return. A lot of players go through that and coaches too, but that's part of this league. Everyone had a hand in us coming back, but also us not winning."
Ben Graham's Injury And The Need For A Replacement Punter: There's a possibility. We have to see how Graham responds this week, but that's a possibility." (Schwartz then declined to answer questions on Nick Harris being seen at the practice facility).
On The Running Game With Mikel Leshoure: "11 rushing first downs is the most we've had since I've been here as a coach. We chart run game efficiency. We were 66 percent efficient, which is the highest that number has been since I've been here. We ran the ball like we wanted to, but didn't get it done."
On The Passing Game's Early Struggles: "Their design is to make sure we didn't pass it down field but we still had 442 passing yards. The run drew them up a bit. It was sort of the way that they played us which caused that."
On Tennessee Moving The Ball: "Them moving the ball had nothing to do with big plays. There were quick strikes. We did a good job of limiting the run game, we have a lot of respect for the run game. All together, it was the passing game and the big plays. Those two touchdowns. On defense, we gave up 23 points, two of which came on big plays. We didn't do good with a pass rush, but if we don't give up the big plays, we have a chance regardless. We take a lot of pride in not allowing big plays, and those came back to haunt us in this game."
How Bad Do You Miss Louis Delmas? "He's an important player for us. We saw that last year, but like any player he's important and makes a difference when he's on the field. But we also have other guys, and when your number is called, it's time to go out and make plays. We have the talent to fill guys in and be effective. We didn't do it yesterday, but we have the talent."
Recounting Both Special Teams Breakdowns: "Both had to do with our kicks. Ben got hurt punting the ball and had a low hang time. That was a very unfortunate situation, he got hurt as he was stepping into it. On the kickoff, we could do better with location. Jason Hanson had a lot on his plate yesterday, but we could do better with location and it burned us there. Location is more important for us than depth."
Is Minnesota A Must Win Game? "Every week is big, but they all count the same. You have to come to play every week. It's more important for this reason: it's an NFC North game. You win and you put a loss on a divisional opponent. For that reason, it's a big game."
On How To View Sunday's Loss: "You can point to all the positive things, there were a great deal of positive things that happened. We set some records and scored some points. We saw a very good debut for a running back, we gave up one sack in 55 pass attempts. There were a lot of good things, a lot of guys made plays but we didn't make enough plays. We allowed scores when our defense wasn't on the field. We made critical mistakes on defense. When we eliminate those things, then we'll be fine. We're certainly not overlooking it. There's a lot of tough situations. This is a game that got away from us. Hats off to them, they got the win and made a couple more plays than we did."
On Brandon Pettigrew's Dependability: "The guy made a great play on him to strip the ball out. Pettigrew does have a tendency to turn and run before he has the ball. I think he has outstanding hands. When he does drop a pass, it's because he tries to do too much too soon."
How Is The Offense Different With Shaun Hill? "There is no difference with plays, but Shaun has a different presence in the pocket, touch and release point. Shaun's a competitor, he's tough and hes smart. When Stafford went down, there wasn't a doubt that he was going to lead us back."
On The Unpredictability Of The NFL This Year: "There's a reason people say "any given Sunday." That's what this is. That isn't a cliche. It's a battle every single time you get on the field. It doesn't matter what anybody's record is, you gotta go out and play."
On Kevin Smith's Role Yesterday: "Kevin started Sunday as the third down back, and Joique Bell also made some plays in addition to Mikel Leshoure. There's really no depth chart at running back, as we use all those guys in different situations."
After Minnesota Defeated San Francisco, Will The Lions Respect The Vikings More? "They're a divisional opponent. They have some outstanding players. A great rusher, a great running back, a young quarterback. Our guys know that, regardless if they win or lose that doesn't change our respect for the Vikings."
Penalty Issues: "We don't want to point at anybody but ourselves. We gotta be smarter in situations, and several hurt us yesterday. Penalties on plays helped them keep drives alive. Defensively, we had a couple inopportune penalties. We can't stress it enough. Penalties that occur within the play, whatever. Those things you can live with, but we gave them 20 yards on defensive offsides."
Does Jason Hanson Practice Punting? "He practices. He's our backup punter. You guys probably don't pay attention to that (laughter). In his free time, he's always taking snaps. We have a lot of different situations. He was there for the team and did a nice job keeping us in the game. Hanson is the backup punter, but he won't go into next week starting."
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