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Q&A with Jim Fassel
By JOHN C. COTEY
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001
Q : What did the Baltimore defense do to shut you down?
A : When you get five turnovers, you can't get anything going. You put your defense in a hole, and they have a feeling you can't get anything going. We needed to get some continuity and get our defense off the field. We wanted to get some turnovers, and we didn't get any, and we gave up five turnovers.
Q : What happened on Brandon Stokley's 38-yard touchdown catch?
A : The safety (Shaun Williams) should have been back there helping (Jason Sehorn), there's no question about it. He was a little bit shallow. And he should have been giving (Sehorn) some help.
Q : Quarterback Kerry Collins obviously had a bad game. Your thoughts?
A : The way I feel about him is not going to change. He's had a hell of a year, and he's played well. That wasn't one of his better games, but that doesn't change the fact that I think he's a big-time quarterback and he can get us back in this game.
Q : The Ravens defense is fast on tape but faster in person. Did the defense surprise you?
A : They're good. They're athletic. They're very quick. They're physical. That's why they cause turnovers, because they're quick and physical, and when they hit you, they pop the ball out.
Q : Is this the best defense you've seen?
A : As far as the defenses that I've coached against, I'd say they're as good as anybody I remember playing against. They're outstanding. They don't have any weaknesses. They play hard. They're quick, and they have a good scheme.
Q : What hurt you most?
A : You got to give (Baltimore) credit, obviously. You have 5-0 in the turnover ration, and I think at one point it was 1-for-11 in the third-down conversions. With those two stats right there, you're going to get beat soundly.
Q : Why didn't you run a more balanced offense?
A : We felt like the way they play, as aggressive as they play, we had to come out and put some things out and make them defend some of the passes to loosen them out. We weren't going to be able to come out and just smash-mouth run the football on them. ... We were going to have to make them defend the field, defend the run and pass if we were going to be able to move the ball on the ground.
Q : The interception for a score was called back. How much did it hurt?
A : It was a killer. In the first half, almost everything that could go wrong for us went wrong. We had a turnover for a touchdown that got called back. Just had everything go wrong for us. I was proud of the guys because we went in 10-0 at halftime and had nothing go our way.
Q : Ron Dixon's kickoff return could have gotten you back in the game, but Jermaine Lewis returned the next one and really hurt you, didn't he?
A : It was a great lift for us to do it, and then when they turned around and put one right back, it negated it. In fact, what it turns around and does is actually give the other team a lift.
Q : Will this loss be a tough one to get over?
A : I think it will take some time. You don't get over this one real easy. And that's exactly what I told the guys: It's going to take time to get over this. But I feel very proud of this football team.
Q : What surprised you the most about what your team could not do?
A : I don't know the most. There were a couple things. The consistency with some (kind of) running game. I knew it would be tough sledding. And then I thought we could throw the football on them to a degree ... but we dropped some, we missed some. It was just a combination of things.
Q : How do you feel?
A : I'm hurting inside. I'm really hurting inside right now. But I'll get over it, and this just makes me more damned determined to bring this team back and win this thing.
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