Initial comments: ML:
On the injury front, I think we came out of the game, other than Stacy Andrews, in pretty good health. Stacy looks to have a torn ACL and other ligaments in his knee after the scans came back. I'm sure he'll confer with his representation on what the best plan of actions are, and then consult with our doctors and go from there. Cedric Benson is a little sore, but he should be in good repair. Ben Utecht was up and ready to play last week. The other guys that were out ... Kenny Watson, Chad (Ocho Cinco), and Levi (Jones) ... we'll see where they are toward the end of the week.
Q: What's the plan for Carson (Palmer) this week?ML:
Carson will participate in practice this week, in limited action. He will continue to work, generally against the defense. Passing drills and scout team looks, where he certainly would not get contacted my anybody.
Q: Everything still going good with his recovery, though?ML:
Q: What will be the deciding factor regarding a final decision on surgery?ML:
Just to see him return to practice and continue to be able to do what he normally would. Simulate this week what a normal week would look like, and see if he can handle that without any pain or other issues. I feel pretty comfortable that the injury will continue to heal on its own, and we're going to let that continue in that way.
Q: So you will see how he comes out of practice, and see if he needs surgery then?ML:
Carson has to be the one who has the feeling. We can't feel it for him. He has to know that he can make the throws that he normally would without issue, and that's the thing. So far his progress has been great.
Q: With the time frame, will the decision (of surgery) go beyond this week?ML:
Yes, it will definitely go beyond this week. If he goes through this week, then he will continue to do what he has been doing (rehabbing his elbow), and things will be fine.
Q: Will he continue to be listed as out, like he has been?ML:
He is not going to participate in the game, so however you want to word it.
Q: This is the last week he could participate in a full week's practice. How important is it for him to get out there and practice?ML:
I wish we were two weeks earlier, but this is the week we are going to allow him to practice.
Q: Is he going to do just seven-on-seven, or is it going to be more than that?ML:
We'll see. We'll do nothing where there's a chance for him to be contacted. Again, enough about Carson. I think I've been pretty clear about what he's going to do. There's really no other questions or anything to give you.
Q: How will Stacy Andrews' injury impact how you handle the offseason?ML:
I have no idea at this point. Unfortunately, Stacy was injured on one of the last six or seven plays of the game.
Q: Do you expect Levi (Jones) to play?ML:
I don't know. I would say he'd probably be doubtful at this point.
Q: What will you do with the open roster spot? Will there be a roster move?ML:
We don't know if we'll do anything with the roster spot. Where we are with the season winding up, and we don't need to set any more records (regarding number of players on Reserve/Injured list).
Q: Will Dennis Roland pick up some of the slack?ML:
Dennis Roland and Evan Mathis are the guys we have. We have Digger Bujnoch (on the practice squad), and also James Blair, who we've now had for a week. So he's got our normal training period and he's ready to go (laughs). We'll see what's best. If they're not going to get to the 45 (roster spots) on Sunday, it's not really an issue.
Q: In looking to next year, how much stock do you put in games played in the last few weeks, a game like (Cedric) Benson had?ML:
Well, it's going to be over the body of work.
Q: Benson seems to have been consistent, not getting low during the rough periods. Looks like he has kept himself at a professional level:ML:
He's been very consistent, as you said. He's been extremely professional. At times he's been frustrated, and as we all know, people get frustrated, but he's been very apologetic immediately afterwards and caught himself in mid-stride that way, which has been great to see. Most importantly, the thing you guys don't get a chance to see and I do, is how hard he works every day, and the extra time he's spent to prepare and try to be an important part of the offense as quickly as he could.
Q: Would Chris Crocker be a similar story defensively, like what you said about Cedric Benson?ML:
Yeah. Chris has been excellent. I think his mentorship of the guys, for a guy who came in off the street, has been excellent. He's a veteran, and in his mentorship of Leon and the other guys in the secondary, he's been a great role model.
Q: I know you want to win the game Sunday, but is there something you'd like to see from Jordan Palmer?ML:
No, not at all.
Q: Fitzpatrick has thrown some nice TD passes in the last two weeks and no interceptions. He seems like a calm manager on the field:ML:
Well, I think that's big. I think read-wise, his coaches were not as jacked up with him a week ago. This week they felt pretty good about things. The limited attempts we had was an issue, but his ability to manage the running plays was great. In the running game, he's taking care of a lot of things, directing things whether it be in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage. Ryan has done a great job in his preparation and putting us in the right situations, in the right plays, the right formations.
Q: Chris Henry was criticized for lack-of-hustle plays a few weeks ago. But in the last couple weeks, he's showed up not just with the TD catches, but breaking up some potential INTs. Where do you see him now, and how he fits in with this team?ML: Well, I think those plays were unfortunate that he had. They were obviously pointed out to him, (and he was told) that for his existence as a player on this team, it was vital for him to do it the right way all the time. I think he's made those corrections, which has been good. To see the effort plays that he had two weeks ago, and not hurrying the route the other day, has been encouraging. He got frustrated (Nov. 30) against Baltimore when he didn't get a fade throw made to him. But the key is being able to come back and do it consistently. You don't know where the ball's going to go, but make sure you're on top of your game and being where you need to be. And if it comes your way, be up to making the play.