Coach Lewis: "Our job is to win football games"
Initial comments ...
“I think the first thing to start with is yesterday with Jeff (Driskel) making his first start. I really thought that there were some positives —- a lot of positives. I thought he was working hard to play on time, and he has to continue to do that. Around him, we have to keep raising the level (of play). I thought we had good movement in the running game. Joe (Mixon) did a great job throughout the football game with his opportunities, when he had the ball in his hands. You’re never going to be perfect, but we had a couple of missed IDs that we have to do a better job with. It’s important to keep having positive plays. Obviously, the penalties — although, on film, very questionable in my opinion — killed us. (Beyond the) penalties, we had sacks, and those plays hurt. It set the offense back to second-and-very long, and third-and-longer. We had three false starts as well. Those things hurt, along with the two penalties in the kicking game, and obviously dropping the punt.
“Defensively, I thought we made some progress with third down. We have to keep being better at it. We allowed the early conversion, but (we) could have stopped that one for sure. The one third-and-10 in the second quarter was a huge play, where we missed the tackle after the fact. In the running game, we have to continue to stay true to our gaps. In the first five plays, (we allowed) a couple of gains where we didn’t support it. Obviously, the 60-yard run there in the third quarter was a huge play in the game. Hopefully we can have close to the same group out there on defense. We’ll have some changes on offense again (this week).”
Do you have any update on WR A.J. Green?
“I don’t, I’m sorry I forgot to ask about anything.”
You mentioned HB Joe Mixon having success with his opportunities. The last four weeks, he’s averaging over five yards a carry, but it’s been about 12 carries per game. I know a lot of that’s game situation stuff, right?
“That’s literally all it is.”
Do you need to be running the ball more?
“We’re going to run it when we can, but obviously it doesn’t make sense to hand it off on second-and-20. We had a big gain with Gio (HB Giovani Bernard), and we had it called back. Those things, along with the foul by Billy (Price), which I’m still looking for on the tape. It didn’t seem to be an even playing field yesterday regarding holding (penalties), and I can’t figure out why. Yeah, there’s a couple other times where Joe had opportunities, but we went a different way and threw it. Those will come, based on the look as well.”
With QB Jeff Driskel in, can you lean on Joe a little bit more going forward, or try to do that?
“We intend to throughout, and it’s never been different than that. We have to.”
Is there anything you can put your finger on as to where the pass rush has gone? It just feels like there hasn’t been a lot of pressure ...
“The quarterback threw the ball away four times yesterday and got sacked twice. I guess one was actually a yard gain, so it was much better yesterday. We have to continue to work at it in coverage. We had some third downs that weren’t (as short as) two and three (yards) yesterday, which was good and makes a difference as well. We chased the quarterback outside of the pocket three other times where he threw it away. He threw it away on two third downs. And again, like I said, I think the one (near sack), he was credited with a one-yard gain. We had the two sacks that guys were credited with, so we just have to keep after it. But having some third downs and some opportunities where they passed the football, they’re going to release five guys rather than protect him with seven. That helps, and we’ve seen a lot of that on first and second down based on the people we’ve played over the weeks. That’s going to be difficult.”
I’m sure you got asked this last year, but what’s the difficulty of keeping the team together during a losing streak like this?
“They’re still fighting, and they have things to fight for. Last I looked last night, we’re not out of it. We’ve dug a huge hole and need a lot of things to work our way out, but maybe with everything else that’s gone against us, maybe we get some things to break our way. We just have to handling our business. Our job is to win football games, and that’s what they have to do —- prepare to win. It’s their profession and they have to work hard at it. We’ll continue to work hard to put them in position to make game-winning football plays. Hopefully we then come up with them.”
In times like this you find out who your leaders are. Do you anticipate guys stepping up?
“Pros have to come up and play.”
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was let go yesterday, after 13 seasons in Green Bay. Have you been given any assurances by the front office that you will be here for the rest of the season, and then at that point have a discussion after the season is over?
“(Laughs) that’s your question?”
That’s my question ...
“No. I wouldn’t expect any or ask for any.”
That’s traditionally the way it has gone in past years, so I didn’t know if that was something that had been discussed ...
“Least of my worries.”
Do you want to be coaching next season?
“My job is to coach the football team.”
When the team is losing, is it harder for the coaches to get through the mental grind?
“It’s a grind for the coach either way. After a victory, you get to enjoy a Monday for the first four or five hours and that’s it, then we’re on (to the next game). We have to do a great job of preparing these guys, lifting them up, accentuating the positive, correcting the negative, and trying to figure out a way to rid us of any negative. We have to dig deep to do it. We’ve got to do it, constantly. That’s my job from the time the game is over, is to set the sights on the next week, win or lose. It’s a little bit more difficult when you lose. We’ve lost four in a row, and that makes a big difference. That’s my job, is to get them fixed that way, and I understand that. I have to encourage the coaches and push the coaches in that fashion to continue to put a plan in place, so we can go out and feel confident and the players can go play fast, execute and have an opportunity to be successful. We have to build on one play after another play — that’s success. We get momentum through the game, and the guys playing make plays. There’s a lot of guys playing their tails off, and we have to continue to ride that. Hopefully, we can uplift some others to make some plays around those guys as well and get this pointed back in the correct direction.”
Did the positives outweigh the negatives yesterday?
“I’d rather not comment on that kind of stuff. We didn’t win the game. The goal is to win the game. That’s the only thing that matters, winning the game. I’ve come in here (the day after a win) and everybody has a smile on their face except for me, and we won the game. So I see it through different eyes all the time. But that’s the goal, to win the game and correct from there and move forward.”
Do you still think moving on from former defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was the right decision?
“I won’t comment on that.”
With OT Cordy Glenn possibly missing more time due to an injury, are you going to stick with Clint Boling at that position or give Cedric Ogbuehi another shot?
“We’ll see what we do. But, I’m not going to sit here and talk about that.”
How do you think Boling played at LOT?
“We lost the game. I’m not happy with anyone.”
What do you need to see from Ogbuehi for him to play more?
“We made a decision to go the way we went.”
There have been a lot of empty seats here in recent home games, as well as a lot of the opposing team’s fans in the stands. How do you win back the fans?
“I think the only way we win back the fans is to win football games. I think it’s been true the whole time I’ve been here. That’s part of it. We have to win games for people to come out and enjoy it on Sunday. That’s what the goal is. The players can’t be affected by that, they have to just go play. I tell them that they have to bring their own energy. It’s up to them. It’s us, that’s what counts.”
You’ve said in the past that you keep in touch with Mike McCarthy. Have you spoken to him since he was fired by Green Bay yesterday?
“I have not.”