Opening comments: ML: It was a good kickoff to the week, a good practice day today. In our preparation, we've just got to keep going. We're banged up a little bit with some guys. Hopefully, we'll get some guys back into practice tomorrow. We had Dexter Jackson return today and John Thornton. But hopefully, we'll have some of these other guys that got a little rest in today back out there on the field tomorrow, so they have an opportunity to play on Sunday. That's kind of where we are right now. We had probably the fewest guys being able to work today than we've had in a while -- since probably the first week.
We look forward to Pittsburgh. As I said the other day, Ryan (Fitzpatrick) will be the starting quarterback this week. I'm really anxious to play this football game and get going. I thought Ryan had a good week of preparation last week; played better in the football game; I'm anxious to see him get an opportunity to go play again. It looks like we'll have a chance to get some of the young guys a little bit more involved, at least get them to suit up. We'll see where we are at receiver. That's a good thing, a good opportunity for them. I think they've been up to the task. They've had good practice weeks thus far and I know they're excited for the chances.
Q: Are we talking about (WRs) Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell?ML:
Yes, possibly both of them.
Q: You said Carson's (Palmer) injury isn't season-ending. Now that you've spoken to him, any changes with that?ML:
Nothing's really changed. He's still trying to get different people's opinions, specialists in this area, on what the best courses of action are. And right now, the best course of action is still to rest. That's why he leaves any questions for me to answer so he doesn't have to keep answering the same question over again. And if that status changes, we'll let you know as soon as it does. That's where the course of action is right now, to allow it to rest and let the healing take place so he has an opportunity not to further injure it.
Q: After the game last week, you mentioned he would be out about a month:ML:
I do have a time frame, but we're going to let it go at that. But I don't know that it's going to be a month, or two.
Q: Will he have any limited participation in practice?ML:
We're going to rest him this week for sure.
Q: Do you know exactly what it is that's wrong with the elbow?ML:
Yes. I think everybody has been very clear and on the same page with that.
Q: Can you get more specific with exactly what the injury is?ML:
No. He's got a swollen elbow.
Q: Is surgery an option?ML:
Right now, surgery is not an option.
Q: Is the MRI clear?ML:
Again, we're going to rest Carson again this week. As soon as there is any change of course, we'll let you know because we know how important it is and what a big story it is.
Q: Any chance you'll bring in another QB?ML:
There's a chance. Whether it be on the practice squad or whether it be on the 53-man roster, yes, there is a chance, based on our continuing to gather information on Carson's future over the next week or so.
Q: Have you made a decision on your kickers?ML:
We have not. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see more of Shayne (Graham) tomorrow. I thought Dave (Rayner) had a great day today. He rose to the occasion out there on the practice field, and he did a nice job in the game on Sunday. He's a guy who's got a lot of experience, and he didn't seem to be shaken by it. He knows the situation. When you're at that particular position and you get a chance to go out and show your wares in a real game, you're going to do it. He's done well.
Q: On both kickoffs and field goals?ML:
Q: How did Kenny Watson look today?ML:
Kenny did a good job today. Chris (Perry) rested today. You'll see that on the report. We rested Chris and T.J. (Houshmandzadeh), and Dhani (Jones) and Ben Utecht and Levi (Jones) and Glenn Holt and Johnathan Joseph. So we got some of those other guys involved, and I thought Kenny did a nice job today, looked good.
Q: The Steelers are going for their seventh straight win here:ML:
I want to end that streak very badly.
Q: Has the Steelers defense changed any lately?ML:
There are a few new concepts. ... Obviously, (coordinator) Dick LeBeau has done just a tremendous job. When you keep your schematics in place for as long as they have, it's kind of like that West Coast offense San Francisco ran for so long. You can add a couple new players and they fit right in, and you keep on rolling. That's the good thing that continuity brings with any offense or defense. You have nine or 10 guys who know exactly what you're doing, and this one new guy who fits right in and kind of meshes in to the team.
Q: You said you were considering some changes; how significant will they be?ML:
As far as you would notice, you'd never know much. But we've got to refine what we're doing and make sure we have the right guys doing the right things, and good enough and fast enough and strong enough.
Q: How has Anthony Collins looked?ML:
Well, he has hardly played yet in a live football game for us (one brief appearance). He did a nice job in the preseason. I think he's everything we wanted as a pro, and I'm glad we have him as a good, young talent.
Q: You mentioned your young receivers playing. Is there something specifically they can add, or are you just wanting to look at some young guys?ML:
No, it's because of where we could be injury-wise. Depends on where we are with the injuries come Sunday. But I have been very pleased with Jerome (Simpson) the entire season, and now with Andre Caldwell back to practice over the last four-to-five weeks, I'm anxious for those guys to get a chance to get out there and play, because they carry themselves like NFL receivers. They're not going to be out of place, and this will be a good chance for them to get out there and play. It's a great opportunity for them.
Q: Outside of changes out of necessity, have you made any personnel decisions?ML:
You'll see those things come Sunday.
Q: But there will be some differences?ML:
Yes, there will be some differences.
Q: The defense ranks 16th in the league despite the time of possession issues you've had:ML:
Well they continue to move upward, and that's a good thing. The biggest number is being 0-6. But as I've said repeatedly, Mike (Zimmer) and the other defensive coaches have done an outstanding job. They have a lot of young guys playing. You look out there and see a rookie there, a rookie there, a guy off the street there, and second-year guy there. Our oldest guy on defense last week was a sixth-year guy. That means you're getting better. They like to play football, and they have to play a lot of football, so they better like it. That's why you're paid, to play defense. If they have to play 35 minutes, then that's what they have to do, and that's what they're paid for. Now, we can help that field position battle a little, too. Coming up and making the stop on third-and-six, making them go for it on fourth-and-two, will definitely help change field position.
Q: Is (Jason) Shirley getting close to be able to contributing?ML: I think Jason has practiced well. Again, you guys are aware of how many players we suit up on Sunday right? It's only 45, OK?