How important is running the football at this point in the season?
Fisher: “You’ve got to run the football, but you’ve got to be able to stop the run, also. That’s when your interior lines really need to take control of ballgames. There will be times in ballgames in December where you’ve just got to hang onto it, and not give it back to your opponent. The run game is very much an essential part of having success in December. ”
Is the defense getting back to playing at an ideal level?
Fisher: “I thought after the first drive we settled down. We made some adjustments, settled down and played well. We gave up 46 yards rushing after the first drive, which was good. We tackled particularly well. They communicated well and they played hard. They prepared well and made plays, which was good. When you need a play at the end and you get it. You put all this pressure on the quarterback. Vinny (Fuller)’s coverage and [Michael Griffin’s] pick was huge for us. ”
How will it be playing against a 3-4 defense for the first time this year?
Fisher: “Yeah, it’s the first time, but we’ve got recall. We had quite a bit of experience with it last year. We protected fairly well with it. [Mike Munchak] and his staff have a good feel for it. But it is different. They can bring it from all different places. They’re playing very well on defense. They’re second in the league in takeaways. Their takeaway/giveaway ratio and interceptions are first in the league. They’ve got 31 sacks. They’re playing well. This team, in my opinion, took a while to adjust to the new staff. Any time you have a head coaching change and both coordinators change, it takes a while. They’re very well-adjusted now. They’ve won six out of their last eight games, and they’re playing very well. They know this – it’s no secret, with a win and a Denver loss, they’re in. None of those things obviously matter at kickoff, but we’re going to have to go out and put together a real good effort. ”
What are your thoughts on LaDainian Tomlinson?
Fisher: “When he is rolling and they’re going on all cylinders, and the passing game is working, he is as good as there is. He feels like they’re back. After last week’s game against Kansas City, it’s evident that they’re very, very explosive. He’s very, very difficult to defend. He’s already got 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s averaging almost four-and-a-half yards per carry. What’s tougher than that is that he’s got 51 catches. They just get the ball to him. You’ve got to be aware of where he is every single play, because he’s one of the few players in the league who has got the potential to take it either with a handoff, or a short completion and go the distance. ”
What about LaDainian Tomlinson’s throwing ability?
Fisher: “When he gets the ball in his hand, you’re going to need 11 guys to surround him and get him down. Then he pulls back up and throws touchdown passes. He missed one against us last year, and we have to prepare for that. ”
What are your thoughts on Lorenzo Neal’s success after 15 years in the league?
Fisher: “It’s not surprising. We’ve played him several times and he’s still playing well. LaDainian trusts him. He does a good job, he’s on course. He knows what to do. He’s a big part of their offense. ”
What do you think about interactions between players and officials, in light of Samari Rolle’s alleged verbal altercation with an official?
Fisher: “This is an unusual situation and the league is looking into it. I’ve heard some suggestions that imply that there is a conspiracy theory, so on and so forth. That’s ridiculous. The Ravens should be complimented on a great effort after coming back after four straight losses and taking a team like the Patriots down to the very end. They had 13 penalties, and you move on. There is a lot of stuff that goes on on the field. That’s just part of the game. But the league will look into that. I really can’t comment on that. I know that it’s important, from an officiating perspective, that they maintain control of the ballgame. When things get out of control, they need to do whatever it takes to settle things down. It appears things were getting out of control after that holding penalty, which I felt was an accurate call. What happened after that, I don’t know. ”
Are Rolle’s accusations disturbing?
Fisher: “Again, I can’t comment on it because I wasn’t there. I don’t have the facts. I didn’t see, specifically, what Samari’s comments were. If Samari’s adamant about it, which he is, the league will look into it. ”
What is the toughness of a team traveling two time zones to play a game?
Fisher: “It’s tough, I think [San Diego’s] record reflects it. They’ve played some tough places. But I think their record reflects it, being 2-4 on the road. Road games are difficult, especially this time of the year when you have to travel a long way. San Diego has been a tough place for us to play for a number of years. I’d like to think we have a better team now than we took out there early in the season last year.”