12/17 Del Rio transcript
12/17 Del Rio transcript
TRANSCRIPT: Jacksonville Coach Jack Del Rio
December 17, 2003
Q: On this Joe Horn thing, since you played a number of years, what do you think of the act, the way the league handled it and when is enough as far as celebrating?
A: "First of all, I think he's a fine football player. I think it's a shame that people are spending so much time talking about this than about what kind of player he is, but in terms of that, excessive celebrations and things like this that kind of cross the line, I think that to me, if you ever disrespect the game, in an effort to kind of celebrate or have fun yourself individually, then I agree with some type of discipline. I think the line was crossed and the league's trying to send a strong message about that, but as in terms of his ability to play, I think he's a good football player."
Q: Do you think that the league has to step in to incidents like the cell phone incident and the sharpie incident and do you think that the incident was enough?
A: "I don't know. The league has to worry about that kind of stuff. I've got enough issues to deal with myself."
Q: If this player had been your player, what would you have done?
A: "I'd prefer not to deal with the what-ifs and instead, I prefer to deal with directly what I do need to deal with. I'm not going to go down that line with you and try to answer a what- if scenario."
Q: What are your impressions of the Saints now that you've looked at them?
A: "Explosive offense, it looks like they're more athletic on defense than a year ago and I still consider them a dangerous team that still has a shot at the postseason and so we're preparing to play our very best and expecting them to be at their best."
Q: Do you think both teams are playing better now than they were at the beginning of the year?
A: "I can't speak for the Saints. I haven't studied the entire year yet. It's too early in the week, but I know that we're playing better football than we were earlier and our focus really is on finishing out playing some good football and wanting that to carry into the end of the season next year."
Q: I know your record isn't where you want it to be at right now, but coming up with two games to play is your team where you want them?
A: "I can't say it's where I want them. We'd rather be in the playoff hunt ourselves. That is not the case, we cannot go back and change that. Our focus is just on playing some good football and finishing strong and laying a good, solid foundation for the future."
Q: Do you think that your team is on track for the future?
A: "We've made some strides. We've turned the corner in several key areas. Attitudewise is the biggest. We're playing with great effort, playing with good energy and good purpose and I think you have to start there. I think until you get that going, it's difficult to have success."
Q: Is attitude the biggest thing league-wide that coaches have to create?
A: "Every situation is different. I think that one thing that is occurring right now leagu-ewide is that the level of talent is not real great from the bottom to the top. Doing things the right way, believing in your approach, whatever that approach may be, those things are crucial if you're going to have success."
Q: Do you guys get any motivation from what Carolina did last year and try to build on things for next year as an example?
A: "I think Carolina is the most recent example. If you look at the history of this league, teams that have finished strong for the most part have gone on and played good football the following year. That is our intent."
Q: Earlier in the season, you had a chance to beat Carolina and didn't get it done and you had some frustrating times, are you kind of settling in now to what you expected it to be?
A: "We've had some close games I think. A lot of the games I think in the league come down to the fourth quarter in crucial moments and how you respond in those games and so it is our hope that we have learned some lessons and that we can go forward and not make the same mistakes and continue to grow as a team."
Q: How has Byron Leftwich progressed through the season?
A: "I think he's been outstanding. I think he has matured. He has worked diligently on some of the things that he's had to catch up on the run with, some of the mechanics, some of the ball handling, all of the things that you would want to work on in training camp, we've kind of had to do it on the fly. It's a credit to his intelligence, his desire, his work ethic, that we've been able to bring him along during the year in the heat of the battle. He's made some progress. He's going to be a very good football player in this league."
Q: When the Saints drafted Deuce McAllister, Randy Mueller compared him to Fred Taylor. How do you see this comparison?
A: "I think that's a fair comparison, because they both are big men that are faster than you think. They both are elusive. I'm happy to have Frank. I know the Saints are happy to have Deuce. He's a fine football player and it represents a great challenge for us this weekend."
Q: Are there any surprises about becoming a head coach or anything that might have caught you off guard?
A: "Really not much about being a head coach hasn't caught me off guard. I probably couldn't foresee having to deal with some of the incidents and issues. There were so many that popped up in my first year. I think we probably got them all out of the way now, so that we can have a much smoother ride down the road."
Q: It doesn't seem that long ago that you started working here as an assistant strength coach?
A: "It wasn't long ago. Mike Ditka gave me my start and I was there being an assistant to do anything I could to make myself useful and from there I got my start and it wasn't that long ago. I've been very fortunate, very blessed and been able to work with some terrific people that have helped me along the way."
Q: Do you still have a home here?
A: "I don't have the home there anymore. I still have a lot of friends and some family. My daughter's at LSU and pretty excited about the way the Tigers are playing. New Orleans is still a special place to me."
Q: Did she get a ticket to the Sugar Bowl?
A: "I'm going to get one for her and see if we can't make that."
Q: Playing against the Saints, does it bring any additional motivation as a coach for you?
A: "No, not really. Because I played there and because I coached there, it's a team and a city that I have great fondness for and when we're not playing them, I'm always pulling for them. I don't know how to say it except I'm pulling for them except when we're playing against them. I'm looking forward to competing against them this weekend."
Q: How did you get involved with (Mike) Ditka?
A: "I did not know Iron Mike previously prior to that. I only knew of him and he knew of me. I made an effort to contact him and put my name into the mix and about a month later I got a call from him and he brought me in and said he didn't have much to offer, but he'd give me an opportunity to start out and work in the weight room and help with the linebackers, if I was basically willing to work on a handshake, because that's what we did. My first year there, we worked on a handshake. I didn't have a contract. I just thought it was a great opportunity. I know that I was spending more at the Academy of the Sacred Heart on my kids schooling than I was making, but I thought it was well worth it."
Q: Did you know Mike Woicik?
A: "I knew Mike Woicik from my days in Dallas, having trained under him, so that was definitely a benefit that Mike had a history with me, Mike Woicik did and knew the type of work ethic I would bring and I'm sure that helped facilitate the whole thing."
Q: Coming off a game against the Patriots, I know (Bill) Belichick and (Rick) Venturi have a past together and I know they play a 3-4 so it's a different scheme. Are there any similarities between the two defenses?
A: "Not really. I'm sure they'll exchange notes this week. We had some opportunities and came up a little short. He does a nice job. Bill's doing a nice job up there with that football team. We'll see. This is a new challenge."
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