TB: How are we doing today guys?
Q: Do you feel confident you guys can turn this thing around?
TB: Yeah, we sure do. I think we've proven to ourselves earlier in the year that we can play pretty well. And we just have to get back to those things that allow us to sustain drives and sustain leads, and when you do things that have led to this three game losing streak, you're not going to win many games.
Q: Are you guys happy with the mix of run and pass plays?
TB: I think it's more execution. The players, our job is to do what they call, and obviously we haven't been doing that as well as we would have liked to. This is a good break for us, and even this morning, we were going over a lot of things that we haven't done so well, and we're going to get to the things that we do well, and try to improve on the areas that we really need to improve on.
Q: Do you feel like time is on your side with this many games left?
TB: Yeah, there's no question. Coach read to us this morning; he read the stats of all the teams in the league. He said, 'right now there's 14 teams that are worse, there are 12 that are better, and we're tied with five others.' So, he said, 'that makes you pretty average,' and that's the reality, and it doesn't mean we can't get better, and it doesn't mean we're not going to get better. I think that the important thing for all of us is that you look at the way you are individually playing, and you look at the ways you can improve individually, and collectively as a group, that's what teams are about. When guys aren't playing that well, other guys have to pick them up. Normally, over the course of 16 games, you need guys to pick up other guys, and we haven't been doing that, and the guys look at each other first, and then you realize the good guys have to play better, and the guys that aren't playing so good have to play better, and that's the way that teams work.
Q: So you don't anticipate any radical changes as far as play calling goes?
TB: I think the reason why we've thrown the ball so much in the last couple weeks is because we've been behind. We were doing so well earlier in the year, and then you play from behind and you're forced to throw it because you're trying to score fast. Sometimes that gets you into problems, I'm watching all these games last week, more specifically the Raiders and the Rams, and the Raiders are behind, and they're a balanced team, they can run it and they can throw it, and they still throw it pretty well, and when you're forced to throw, it just makes it a little tougher. There's no room for error, these other teams, who are playing pretty good, they make you make mistakes, and we want to start getting ahead of teams and playing with leads.
Q: Do you look at the next couple of weeks as going back to mini-camp?
TB: Yea, I think there's a lot of self-scout stuff, and a lot of evaluation that we need to do just more like a training camp atmosphere, there's not that pressure to get ready to game plan, or scouting reports. In our own way, you're still trying to prepare for your next game in a way, but it's a little like training camp.
Q: Is it a little bit embarrassing considering the fact that everyone was on the bandwagon three weeks ago?
TB: I think anytime you put so much into winning, and you're not winning, it is a little shot at your own self-pride. Of course we think we're better than we are, but the reality is we've lost three straight games, whether you're embarrassed or frustrated or disappointed, or angry, I think the important thing is to really look ahead, and as long as you're looking ahead you keep moving forward, and we've got to move forward and play better, or we'll lose three more, and we'll be even more angry. You can get upset or frustrated, whatever it is about the last three weeks, whatever it is, if you don't improve it, ask that same question in six weeks and see where we're at. We've got to be better, and I think we're all confident that we will be better because we've proven that to ourselves. We played a good Pittsburgh team at home, and beat them, and then the Jets, and then Kansas City was pretty good, and then for one reason or another, we just haven't been doing the things that we need to do to win. We got to get back to those.
Q: Do you guys have on watch out for self-doubt?
TB: I think this is still a confident group of guys, I think there's a difference between being confident and arrogant, arrogant in the sense that, 'don't worry it'll all take care of itself,' or, 'don't worry, we'll get them next game.' That's been part of the problem, there hasn't been a sense of urgency, there hasn't been this force that says, 'hey man, you're running out of time.' Every loss, another team gains, and we're two games back in our division, and we're six games in, so I don't really think it's self-doubt, I think we're all confident we can get the thing going in the right direction.
Q: Are you going to use the bye week to get away from football?
TB: I'll probably reflect on what we've done, and then look into getting a little rest. As far as you want to be removed from football, its what we do, so you're never too far, at least in your mind, you might be far removed physically, mentally, for me at least I'm never far removed mentally.
Q: Does it concern you that you're in a similar situation to last year, regarding the offensive line?
TB: That's a lot of pressure to put on yourself, and I don't think it's that situation at all, the reason why we're going to win is because we have 53 guys contributing, it's just the reason why we lose, it's all 53 guys.
Q: A year ago you only threw three touchdown passes down the stretch, now it's a case that you're being asked to do a lot more?
TB: You think back to last year and we were playing with leads, we were ahead down the stretch, and the difference is when you're down two touchdowns, you're forced to throw it. I think there were times earlier in the year when we were in those situations and we had success doing it, and you can be successful doing it, but at the same time you don't want to make a living doing that. I'm watching Green Bay last week, and they can run boots, they can run play-action pass, three step, shotgun, five step, they can run it on third down, whereas with us, based on the way we played earlier in the game, we're down three touchdowns.
Q: Is it too much to be asking a second year quarterback to be throwing the ball 45-50 times against defenses that know what you like to do?
TB: I think you're asked to do whatever the situation dictates, and the situation dictated in the opening game of the year that we were going to throw a bunch, and we did, and we did it well. That kind of worked into something else against the Jets, we played well there, and we kept it rolling, then we played pretty well against Kansas City, so we kept it rolling, and now all of a sudden, for all those wins, we played Miami and we were down, so we were forced to throw it, and that was different from the Kansas City game, the Jet game, and the Pittsburgh game. Those teams can tee off, and like I was saying earlier, when they get a feeling of your rhythm and your plays, and different routes, and the way the receivers are coming off, those corners see the same routes over and over, they start jumping stuff, they can start taking chances, we've got to play better earlier in the games, they can't be running out the clock in the third quarter.
Q: They seem to be jumping routes more often.
TB: That's true, and throwing it as many times as we have, I don't think that's part of the plan, but we're trying to run it too, there's not question we're trying to run it. If you're an offensive coordinator, and if you run it and it doesn't work, chances are you're probably not going to call it again, you're going to try something else that's going to gain yards. It's same with passes, we evaluate the passes. Charlie [Weis] says, 'you know, what play do you think doesn't work well.' Just like he says, when we put up a toss play and we run it three times and we gain one yard on three plays, he goes, 'you think I want to call that.' That doesn't mean we can't run, that means we have to improve running, that doesn't mean we can't throw that pass that I was only throwing 25%, because it's a good play, I just have to be more cognizant of reading it better.
Q: Do you feel the pressure more?
TB: I really don't feel any different. I just feel like when a pass play is called, there's something that I have to do, and it's just lie with a running play, there's something I have to do, I think there's a lot of pressure off everyone, I'm thinking of the San Diego game, LaDanian Tomlinson was running so well, it takes a little pressure off the quarterback. But, we'll see how that all plays out, over the course of the 16 games you're going to see how it all plays out. I don't think I'm out there and it's third and five, and they call a pass play, and I'm nervous thinking I got to complete this. I just think you get into the flow of the game. The last two weeks have not been the way we wanted to play. We don't want to be forced to throw it on every down being down 16 points. There's too much room for error. Now if you're ahead and you're throwing it, and it's third and seven, and it's not there I just throw it away. You're talking about the psychology of being down too, and you're losing going, 'third and seven, we need this, so I'm making this play work no matter what.' That's when bad things happen, so there's a discipline there too. I'm learning that discipline, that's something I'm learning out there. I'm forcing the ball on third and five and we're down seven points against the Packers before the half, and I'm thinking, 'I'm squeezing this thing in,' they tip it up, the ball's picked, it doesn't work, you got to be more disciplined.
Q: (On feeling pressure as the quarterback)
TB: I think the only way a quarterback is going to be good is . . .I'm going to be good when Antowain [Smith] is good, you compliment each other. As good as the passing game is going, the running game should be good, and when the passing game is good, it's probably because the line is protecting, and the receivers are running good routes. If the passing game is bad, it could be bad throws, it could be bad routes, it could be bad protection, it's most likely all of it. Everyone knows in this locker room, if you're the left tackle you can't throw the ball, I can't pass protect if I'm throwing the ball, and I can't throw it and run it, and if I get open as a receiver, I can't throw the ball to myself. I depend on those guys like they depend on me, and that's why I like playing quarterback, that's why you play this game, because when you win it's great, and everybody . . .and when you lose it's as bad as it gets. Either way, I think there's pressure on everybody. The coaches, the coaches want to call the best game. When they evaluate themselves they're sitting there saying, 'I don't want one bad call in there,' when the players evaluate, you could throw 40 passes, and you could make 38 great reads, and you could make two bad ones, and you could throw two picks and lose the game.