Opening comments: ML:
Injury-wise, we came out of the game fairly unscathed. The normal bumps and bruises you might imagine. We'll see on Wednesday if anything else crops up. So the guys who did not play: Levi Jones, possibly an opportunity to come back. Chinedum Ndukwe, should be a little closer. Ben Utecht, too. And then Chris Perry and Kenny Watson, hopefully we can get some of those to have an opportunity. But those guys may have the opportunity to practice this week and us get a look at them.
Carson (Palmer) will continue to throw. He may even have an opportunity to throw at some point in practice with the rest of the club, so he continues to progress well. We'll just see where he goes and what the doctors will allow him to do.
As far as the game goes, we had a couple of chances where we had the ball across midfield and an opportunity to really put the game away. and to run them out of the stadium. I'm disappointed we didn't capitalize on those opportunities. We have great examples of where we could have done that, probably five or six times this season where those things have occurred. I can point to a couple of times where there's 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, and we haven't gotten it done. Now later in the game, we're able to take the drive and move the football down the field and get in position to get the field goal. So those things are good examples of doing it OK, but we didn't do it great, we didn't do it like a champion would.
Special teams-wise, we really didn't do a great job. We had the poor punt at one point, and on our coverage, at times we were there and didn't make the tackle. Obviously in Santana (Moss) or (Antwaan) Randle El, they've got a couple of great returners, but our fits weren't great. With the injuries we've had, we've got new guys there, and they need understand the urgency of that. We're obviously going to face a great returner in Joshua Cribbs this week.
Q: So, the FOX report that Carson Palmer has been shut down for the season is wrong, then? ML:
I don't know what the FOX report says. But the thing about it is, we've got two weeks left. I'm not going to sit here and say Carson is going to play in the games, but he is doing well, and we have a chance to still progress him another step further and closer.
Q: Carson says it's important for him to have a chance to play. Is it important for you to see him throw, even if it is just practice?ML:
I watch him throw every day. It would be fun for him to get back into the practice routine of being out there totally with the guys, and that would be good. Again, the healing process is going well, and we don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. So the decision will be made based on that. We don't want to have somebody inadvertently run into him, or anything like that at this point, when we've waited so long and we are where we are with only two weeks to go.
Q: I'm assuming Carson can cut it loose:ML:
Oh, yeah, he can cut it loose. He's cut the ball loose.
Q: Earlier, there were some real doom-and-gloom scenarios thrown out there about Carson:ML:
Well, none of the doom and gloom was thrown out by us. I think our message, just like when he injured his knee, has been very consistent. There's always going to be another side of the story, because if everything was going to be good, it wouldn't do people any good to talk about it. But I think our message has been pretty consistent.
Q: Can it be said, then. that surgery isn't necessary for Carson at this point?ML:
Well, that's been said. You can say it again if you want.
Q: But it's final?ML:
I don't think anything will be final at any point until he's back at 100 percent playing.
Q: Last year Dhani (Jones) came in off the street (as a free agent) to help this defense. Is Chris Crocker doing the same sort of thing?ML:
Chris started the season in Miami and was kind of jettisoned out of there. He felt very bad about it and wanted an opportunity to get somewhere where he felt he'd have a chance to play. I think that gave us an advantage in getting him here, because he had played for Mike (Zimmer), so he kind of understood things already and was able to get up to speed very quickly and play his first weekend. Yes, what he's done here has been just great. He played a great football game yesterday, as well as any safety as I can remember since I've been here. His production, his leadership : Obviously he's playing with a very inexperienced player in Kyries (Herbert) across from him, so there's a little bit of a balancing act out there. So I thought he did a great job yesterday.
Q: Is that a matter of Crocker fitting what you wanted him to do, as opposed to not fitting what they wanted him to do (Miami)?ML:
I can't figure out that one. There's always, as we just talked about, two sides to every story. But he's come in here in a time of need, and he's been able to uplift some of our guys. He's been helpful and been an asset.
Q: What have you seen from the young guys on the playing field?ML:
You see development, further development. Like anything else, in order to sometimes move forward, you've got to make an error and mistake in judgment. Then you've got to make a correction. I think we've seen that. First of all with Pat Sims. We want him to be consistent with his finishing hustle within the play. We want to see him continue to develop and get us an inside pass rush, because that's an area we can still improve in. I think he's got a big upside there. I think the two offensive linemen (LT Anthony Collins and LG Nate Livings), they're kind of holding their own in there. They've got some negative plays and some positive plays. They're getting an opportunity to show what they can do.
Q: What about the trio at defensive tackle -- Domata Peko, Pat Sims and Jason Shirley?ML:
Jason hasn't played many snaps, but I think Domata has been good. We've kept with having another guy, so you can spell him and get a couple plays rest. I thought Pat and Domata did a good job yesterday. It will be important this week going into Cleveland, against a team that we know likes to run the football.
Q: (Darryl) Blackstock has been versatile for you: ML:
Darryl's shown some versatility and flexibility when we've needed it. The last two weeks he's played defensive end for us. He's done a nice job understanding it. It gives us some nice things you can do when you have a guy like that.
Q: Is there an opportunity to regain some fans after the win?ML:
I think the fans who were here were great. It was loud. That's an advantage when you play at home. The Redskins had some false start penalties and things like that. Just like I said when we got started here, we want this to be a fun place to come and spend the afternoon. You've got to come and enjoy yourself. I wish I could guarantee there was never going to be a sad day, or that we were not going to run out of time on the scoreboard. But we're going to do our best not to lose.
Q: But how much does it matter to you that fans are considering giving up their season tickets?ML: I can't control that.