Opening comments: ML:
Since we just talked yesterday, not a lot has changed on our side. But obviously it's a big week for us, a big game, going to Pittsburgh, playing Thursday night. Our guys are excited. It's our opportunity to show our wares, play under the lights in front of everyone in the country, so it's a big deal.
As we go through today and tomorrow, we'll have a little better indication on some of our guys and where they are, injury-wise. Right now it looks like (Antonio) Chatman will not play, so T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) will do the punt returning.
Q: How is Andrew Whitworth? He was in a boot earlier:ML:
Yeah, Whitworth is in the boot and on crutches, trying to keep the pressure off the ankle. So I doubt we'll have his services, where we are right now.
Q: You signed Nate Livings:ML:
We signed Nate to give us another player who has been with us here for a couple years, and hell probably have a chance to play this week. He's been working at that spot, so it's good.
Q: Any update on Levi Jones?ML:
Levi is getting a lot of treatment, trying to get his body back and ready to go. Big challenge this week for our guys up front, across the board. That's going to be important for our offensive group, that we do a better job in protection than what we did here at Paul Brown (Stadium) in the earlier game and give our quarterback an opportunity and let the guys down the field work. So everybody's got to be on point and step up.
Q: Is Levi's issue related to the ongoing knee problem he's had?ML:
Well, he's got a few things he's dealing with. It is football and we are in Week 11, and that's part of it. And it's a quick turnaround, obviously, this week.
Q: What does Willie Parker do so well?ML:
Willie, has a lot of speed, athleticism, and ability to make people miss, and he's also a great in-between-the-tackles runner. He's very quick and decisive with the football downhill, and obviously when he gets to the flank, he's got the speed to take it the distance. So you want to get him moving sideways as much as possible.
Q: You said Sunday that was a performance your defense could build on; where do you see the most growth in that unit this season?ML:
You have to keep playing snap to snap, and don't let a negative play -- or a positive play for the offense -- affect the next play defensively. I think that's the most important thing.
Q: Are they (defense) showing you that?ML:
Yeah, I think we've done a much better job of that. Obviously, the growth on third down the last couple weeks has been very important. Because as we've said, if you make first downs on offense and convert third downs on offense, your defense is out there less. And if you can do the same, you're putting the ball back in your offense's hands, and that's what you want to do. Whether you're turning it over or you win on third down, you get an opportunity for your offense to have more possessions, and that's important.