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Transcript: Jeff Fisher Fires Back At Rodney Harrison. Talks Stedman, Welker, & 3rd Down Woes

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fisher – Press Conference – 11/9/15

(Opening statement)
"I can confirm that (WR) Stedman Bailey has been suspended for the next four weeks. Very, very disappointed in his choices. He let himself down in addition to letting his teammates and this organization down. We have a strict policy as it relates to substance abuse and he violated the policy. Fortunately, we’ll get him back in a month. A setback for us from an offensive standpoint. A setback from a special teams standpoint. I’ve had numerous conversations with ‘Sted.’ He understands that this is his last go-around. If he wants to flourish in this league, have a career in this league, he’s going to have to change his lifestyle. He’s regretful. There’s a chance that he’ll be able to be in the building the next four weeks. We’re still trying to get confirmation as to whether he can work out here or be present. My gut feel is that he’ll be able to work out, but you won’t see him on the practice field, nor will he be permitted to be in the meeting room. Disappointing loss for us, but one that was out of our control. The message has been sent to the players. I’m disappointed that it’s back-to-back weeks here. We’re talking about (RB) Trey Watts and Stedman Bailey. We’re not the only team in the league that’s dealing with this, but we’re going to take an aggressive approach to make sure that these things don’t happen in the future. That would explain the reason for the wide receiver workouts today. We’re trying to stay ahead of schedule. We had the three receivers in this morning and currently, as it stands right now, we are working towards…hoping to agree to terms with Wes Welker to come in and help us. He had a great workout this morning. He’s really excited about where this team is going and I think he can potentially help us in a lot of different areas, specifically on third down and keeping the chains moving. That’s kind of a personnel update for you right now.

"As far as the game is concerned, as coaches we look at it and talk about them. It was really close. This game was close. We had a lot of opportunities. The wind was clearly a factor. We nearly overcame that, but we fell short. A lot of good things. A lot of things we need to continue to work on. As I told you guys yesterday, third down offense, first down offense. We’ve got to play better run defense. It was really close, as I said, to handing out a couple of game balls after a win to (T) Andrew Donnal and (S) Maurice Alexendar because I thought for their first starts they played pretty well. But, we don’t give game balls out after losses. I’ll give you an example of how close things are. (P) Johnny (Hekker) hit that punt in overtime on fourth-and-16 and he really hit it well. The ball is fielded on the 21-yard line. We have a block in the back on the 31-yard line that’s not called. The ball pushes out to midfield. If it’s called, then the ball goes back to the 11. So, we have a difference in 40 yards in field position in overtime with them with the wind. I’m not faulting the officiating department, it’s just that’s how close winning and losing is right now and that’s how it was yesterday."

(On if that was the block on TE Cory Harkey)
"Yes. It was just missed and it happens sometimes. It just happens. That’s not the difference in the ballgame, but it’s one of those things that comes up in close games, especially in an overtime loss that you look at."

(On the block in the back taking place near the play)
"We had two right in similar situations, just right there in front of the ball carrier that were not called. This one was significant. But, it happens. There was some other non-calls in the game, which we all live with. And then there were some other really, really good calls by the officiating department."

(On taking an aggressive approach with Bailey)
"We’ve been educating our players for years. There’s a procedure and there’s a protocol and they have to adhere to it. Once you go in the testing program, if you have another violation, then you’re going to be subject to whatever the circumstances are. You can’t take it lightly. Like I said, he was remorseful and felt bad. He’s letting the team down and we’re going to miss him for four weeks and hopefully he’ll learn from his choices."

(On if there is a problem league-wide with players failing drug tests)
"I can’t go there. It’s been a problem here for us the last couple of weeks. We’ve lost two pretty good players. We’ve got to do whatever we can to get that message across to them. Again, it happens. It’s a club-to-club thing. We deal with them and deal with all kinds of things with the younger players. Just disappointed in ‘Sted.’ He’s a good teammate. He’s a good player. You have to carry over your workplace attitude into your off the field life. He failed us on that."

(On checking out Welker with his history with concussions)
"Oh yeah, we’ve done physicals, we did the workout, we’ve done everything. Everything was good. We’ll see. We’re close, but I don’t know. It may work out, it may not. But, I know we’re close. I just got a thumbs up that the deal’s done. Wes will be part of our football team."

(On if it can be tough for a player to come back after not being with a team for a long period of time)
"He’s in outstanding shape. We saw that early this morning. He’s in great shape. He’s anxious and eager to play. He’s moved the chains for two potential Hall of Fame quarterbacks and he’s good at what he does and he understands it. We already had a visit with him and (QB) Nick (Foles) and they’re excited. Whether he’s active this week, I can’t predict because we have a short period of time to get him caught up. I think he’ll eventually move some chains for us."

(On if WR Bradley Marquez can fill in for Bailey)
"He can. He’s going to have to step up and fill Sted’s void in a lot of special teams areas right now as well."

(On if a player like Welker can help them out on third down)

(On third down being historically bad)
"It is. It’s not good. We need to get better. Four in three games is not good. Like I said, I’ll take five or six of them, but four in three games is not good. We have to get better. That’s a coaching thing. That’s a player thing. That’s a quarterback thing. It’s everybody that’s involved in that, so we’ll get better."

(On if there’s any follow up after looking at the tape of CB Lamarcus Joyner’s hit on Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater)
"No. Lamarcus plays hard every down and he plays reckless. Unfortunately, there was contact to the head of (Vikings QB) Teddy (Bridgewater) and he was penalized for it. I can’t fault him for his choice. There was another situation in the game where the same thing could have very well happened and (CB Janoris Jenkins) ‘Jenks’ was involved. Teddy slid a little bit late and ‘Jenks’ wasn’t in position to time the slide up. Again, I’m hearing that Teddy is okay and I’m hoping that he plays this week and that was the same thing I said yesterday."

(On if he’s aware of the reaction in Minnesota and the notion of him having a ‘dirty team’)
"I think a good a lesson to be learned from this is control your emotions immediately after the game and go back and look at the tape before you jump to conclusions. Now, clearly it’s been said. Clearly, (Vikings Head Coach) Mike’s (Zimmer) and my handshake was very short. He didn’t say a word. I went out to congratulate him. I was going to ask him how his quarterback was and congratulate him on the win and he was gone. I understand that, but you also need to control your emotions after a game and go look at the tape and then adjust accordingly. Again, I don’t know who they play this week. I don’t care, but we’ve moved on. We’re on to Chicago."

(On what he saw on tape with the nature of DB Lamarcus Joyner’s tackle)
"Lamarcus made a decision to go hit the quarterback prior to (Vikings QB) Teddy (Bridgewater) initiating the slide. That’s what happens. Had Lamarcus not made helmet contact with him, there would have not been a foul. It was penalized on the field. What more can you ask for?"

(On his thoughts about Rodney Harrison criticizing him)
"Yeah, I saw it as a matter of fact. I was actually…I don’t want to say I took things personal, but it was kind of a personal attack on me. But, again, I think you have to consider the source. I saw it last night on the airplane. You’re talking about a guy that had a great career. I mean, the guy played a long time. He was hard to defend. He was a really active defensive player. But, this is coming from a guy that had 18 unnecessary roughness penalties, seven personal fouls, four roughing the passer penalties, a total of 77 penalties in his career and was voted three times the dirtiest player in the National Football League and was suspended for a hit, a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002. Okay? This is where these comments are coming from. I’ll just say this: Since 2000, it’s been a privilege and honor for me to be on the competition committee. Our main focus, as you guys have followed this league for a long time know, our main focus is player safety. So, for Rodney to come out and say that I did something like that is absolutely absurd. So, that’s all I have to say on that."

(On Harrison not being well regarded in St. Louis for a hit he had on Trent Green in 1999)
"I just…look, Rodney’s Rodney and we move on."

(On if it bothers him when people say that his teams are dirty or chippy)
"I haven’t heard that. So, we are going to play fast. We are going to physical and we’re going to play furious and we’re going to play contact football. Okay? What bothers me right now is the stuff before and after the whistle. Those are the things that bother me, namely defensive offsides. That’s a problem. That’s something I have to get fixed. I don’t have to worry about the manner in which our players play. They play hard. We had seven going into last week. We had five. We’ve had 12 defensive offsides in three games and that is too many. It doesn’t win games for you, so we have to get that fixed."

(On how he plans on fixing the defensive offsides issue)
"I can’t give…I’m not going to share it. But, we’re going to get it fixed. I’ll back them off. They can line up three yards off the ball. We’ll get a running start after the ball’s snapped. But, I’m going to figure out a way to eliminate defensive offsides."

(On how he plans on fixing the third down conversion issues)
"We just have to continue to work on it. Give (QB) Nick (Foles) some options, different concepts, do better on first downs. You guys have got the numbers. We had 16. We’re two for 16. I think six of them were seven to 10 and we had four or five that were 10 plus. It’s hard. So, it all works together. But, we have to get better there."

(On if he thinks the offense is too reliant on big plays)
"No, I don’t think we’ve had enough big plays. We need more big plays. We need big runs. We need chunks. We need to change field position. We’ve played some good defenses, so we’re back to work. We’re due for a breakout game on offense."

(On if he has any second thoughts about going for the two point conversion)
"No. Six points in the game were scored against the wind. Six. So, and I knew we were going to have to score points. We got down there, the wind wasn’t a factor and we decided to go for it. We just didn’t execute."

(On if he would have made the same choice the Vikings did in overtime)
"I would have taken the ball. I would have taken the ball and/or taken the wind. I would not have won the toss and taken the wind. No."

(On how he can get more out of QB Nick Foles)
"I mean, we’re halfway through the season. It’s a new system. He’s eight weeks into it and we just have to keep working at it, which we will."

(On how he thinks DE Matt Longacre performed)
"Matt was productive. Yeah, he got off some blocks and made some plays. He was good. I mean, you look at the tape and you’ve got three guys that really haven’t played much and there were some redeeming qualities to all three: that’s (G) Andrew (Donnal) and of course (S) Maurice (Alexander) and Matt. So, he was effective."

(On how he thinks T Garrett Reynolds performed)
"Garrett did fine. He played there. He’s played there. Like I said after the game, he’s played against those guys. So, he had a good feel for it."

(On what he saw from S Maurice Alexander and G Andrew Donnal)
"Well, they made plays. They were in position. There were a couple mistakes here and there, but it wasn’t overwhelming to them. Their first time to really line up and start on the road, especially with Andrew with the noise and all that kind of stuff and the guys they had up front, the game wasn’t big for him. He’s got a lot of room for improvement, but he’s going to benefit from that experience as will Maurice."

(On S T.J. McDonald and DE Robert Quinn and T Rob Havenstein’s status)
"I think we’re probably looking to late Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I think we’ll get everybody back at some point on the field. So, we’ll have a better idea."

(On if he’s concerned with Foles not seeing the open receivers)
"Well, I mean, the position’s hard. I mean, you don’t know what he sees and who’s in front of him. But, he’s got a progression. He’s got to read. He’s got to go to the right place. So, yeah, there’s room for improvement there. I mean, yeah, the first play of the game, (WR) Kenny’s (Britt) 10 yards behind the secondary and he just didn’t see him. So, it happens sometimes."

(On if RB Trey Watts is still allowed to be in the building due to his suspension)
"Yes. Trey will have…he has permission to be in the building to condition and lift and workout, yes. No meetings and no practice."