Q: It seems like when everyone talks about the Eagles, they talk about the fast-paced offense and the defense sort of gets overlooked. What do they do well?
Coach Olson:This team, different than the other teams, normally you can zero in on a couple of fronts and have a pretty good tendency on their fronts, but they play a number of different fronts. We've had to script our plays this week to the different fronts we may see against this defense. They're certainly a solid front seven, a very good linebacking crew and a good rusher, Connor Barwin does some things that create some issues and some matchup problems, we'll have to be aware of that, the things that they do with Connor Barwin. They present their own set of problems as well.
Q: The offense in the second half the past four games has been rough for you guys, why has this been such an issue and what can you do?
Pryor:I think this last game probably jumps out. To be honest with you, we felt good with where we were at, at halftime. I think the goal was to come back out. We really wanted to gut them rushing the football. We were thinking of trying to get to a 300-yard rushing day; we felt like we'd be able to accomplish that. It was disappointing to come out in the second half the way we did. I think we only had two drives in the third quarter. We got the ball back with 5:40 on our first drive and a mental error early in that first play, which is disappointing because you have a chance to discuss the plays at halftime. We didn't convert on third down and our second drive of the third quarter, we were backed up on the one-yard line. We were able to get the ball out which our goal is, to get the ball out, but then we failed at the end of that drive on the third down. You look at the fourth quarter of last week and our second play in the fourth quarter we fumbled, which is unacceptable. It's hard to get something going there obviously, and the next two drives, we got it back with 12 minutes, nine minutes. The twelve minute was our second drive of the fourth quarter; we threw it to open the drive, throwing it there and we did not execute. On the two drives in the fourth quarter at the 12- and nine-minute mark we opened the drive throwing it, trying to get something going there, we just did not execute the plays. It put us behind a little bit and we did not convert third downs. We got to the six-minute mark and that's when we said, 'Now it's time to preserve this lead.' We've thrown it four out of the last six plays without any success so we have to do a better job of executing it and really coaching up the details to be honest with you, because the plays were there. The plays were there to be had. It's more focus at halftime and having the resolve to finish the game.
Q: What are the challenges that you face in understanding going into the second half that these things need to change?
Coach Olson:This game here was an emotional game. We knew the Steelers and it was a big game, the players perceived that. It was going to be a physical game and we felt very good at halftime. They were ready, in my opinion, to put the pedal to the metal and that was a thought process again, we just have to make sure that what we always talk about is staying on schedule and making sure we're in the position to convert third downs. That was the biggest issue in my opinion, the two fourth-quarter drives we opened with the pass and those were plays we need to execute, because they were there we just didn't execute. Those were to me the critical parts of those drives, the first down plays that we had been successful in the first half. You look back on it to say, 'Why didn't we?' We had one pass that was tipped on the line of scrimmage and we had another one where we just didn't make the play. Just focus probably more than anything, stronger focus.
Q: How can the passing game be more consistent?
Coach Olson:Just work at it. I know we're not really built that way, we're built more on the play action, the movement, those types of things and we'll just continue to practice. We have young players that are seeing some things for the first time. Our quarterback is still a young quarterback and he'll get better at the part of the game and when those plays are there to be made we'll make them and whether we need to look at the number of plays in our playbook that we're putting in each week, maybe we need to look at cutting back so that the execution is sharper.
Q: You said the halftime approach was to gut them with the run the second half, going back, do you feel like that was the right approach to take?
Coach Olson:Oh there's no question. There's no question. At halftime we had 182 yards rushing and it felt like we had a good feel of where we were at. If anything, as I look back on it, in the fourth quarter I should have opened with a run opposed to the pass because we had Darren McFadden going, we had Terrelle [Pryor] going, which was uncharacteristic of us, we had some mental errors on the option play which hasn't happened. We try to pinpoint that, as you said, why does that happen in the second half rather than the first half? We're looking at it and trying to figure out why that could occur if it didn't happen in the first half. Our job is to find out at times we don't execute, but we never really got a chance to get it going in the second half to be honest with you. We didn't convert on that first series and next thing you know you're in the fourth quarter and you're looking down at the script and you're like we've thrown the ball four out of the last six plays or really five out of the last seven which resulted in a fumble that allowed them to score points. We looked at the first half and said that the points they got in the first half were a result of an interception and we looked at where we were at, at halftime with two interceptions in the passing game. We knew, let's run the football. We'd like to make a statement with our rushing game and let's finish them off and unfortunately that didn't happen.
Q: What are you seeing with your backup receivers. How tight is that group?
Coach Olson:They're a tight group. We got Andre Holmes back a couple of weeks back so we're trying to get him involved more. We think he's a tall target that has good speed so we're planning on using Andre Holmes more. We had some drops last week that hurt us so it's still a matter of trying to find the consistency there with that group of guys to become more consistent.
Q: Is there separation between the guys who are active like [Juron] Criner or is that pretty close?
Coach Olson:No, it's very close. It's discussed each week to be honest with you. It's discussed every week and Juron Criner coming out of training camp had a hamstring issue and he's worked his way back and there's a chance Juron could be up this week based on the way that he's been practicing and the health of that player.