Opening comments: ML:
As you know, we put Marvin White on the injured reserve list the other day. We signed linebacker Victor Hobson today, and may add another player later in the week. Well see how Ben Utecht comes around. Antwan Odom will not be ready to play this week. Eric Henderson may not be ready. We're a little bit on the mend in the secondary with David Jones and Chindeum Ndukwe. The guys that we'll hold out today are Chris Perry with the groin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who is just generally sore. Levi Jones is on the mend. We'll see how much he can do through the day.
As we look forward to the Colts, they obviously can be a very explosive group with their precision in the passing game, and their ability to inject the run into that. They attack your look. Defensively, their speed and athleticism, their ability to pressure the quarterback with four guys, are a little bit different than the past few opponents we've seen. These guys do not pressure the quarterback with blitzes. They don't really attack that way. They have come through some injuries in their secondary and have some new guys who have evolved into playing, and they've done a good job of playing the football in the air. Special teams-wise, they are a challenge.
Q: Chinedum Ndukwe and David Jones have experience in the secondary. Are you tempted to play them against the Colts even though they are less than 100 percent, because you know what they are capable of?ML:
You're never going to put a guy out there who is less than 100 percent, because that's not going to help you.
Q: Their experience wouldn't help, though?ML:
I guess they have experience of one season, but I wouldn't term either guy experienced. You do have a feel for experienced players and how they would react on Sunday. But these two guys need to show us something today or tomorrow to play.
Q: What does Victor Hobson bring to the table?ML:
Another guy who has experience playing linebacker. He has started a lot of games in the NFL. He gives us another hand on deck, and I think this week he could help as either a down-sub guy, nickel rusher, or an outside linebacker. It gives us another guy who has played NFL football. We have been a little short at linebacker the past few weeks with five players. So it gives us another body who can be productive on special teams, another big guy who can run. I can guarantee 24 or 25 snaps a game for those people.
Q: Injuries are a part of football, but you guys have a lot of players hurt. How have all the injuries changed the things you do?ML:
It changes things you do. I don't know that you ever go into what you want to do, because that doesn't matter. It's just what you can do with the guys you're playing with and their ability to understand the things you put forth.
Q: Do you envision seeing (Glenn) Holt in the main kickoff return role, or will Andre Caldwell get more returns?ML:
Andre will get more chances.
Q: Obviously he has earned those chances:ML:
Yes, he has. We'll continue to give Andre time.
Q: What does Jerome Simpson have to do to get on the field?ML:
Get himself back 100 percent healthy and understand where to line up and what to do.
Q: What about Simeon Castille?ML:
He started the year playing on the 45-man actives at Baltimore. He has played physical, he plays tough. He competes, and that's what we continue to like about him. Simeon came here undrafted, but he started in the SEC for nearly four years at Alabama, so he has a good pedigree. He understands, he has played against some great athletic wide receivers. He has come to the NFL and proved it's not too big for him. His father played in the NFL, so he understands what professional football is about. He has been around the game his whole life.
Q: Changes have to be coming, with the record at 1-10-1. Will you scrutinize the roster as well as the coaches after this season?ML:
I'm not going to get into any of that. Obviously, at the end of any season, I think all the things you asked always happen. So in the general sense of the term, I think you can all answer that question for the next few weeks we have these press conferences. So I'm not going to answer or refer to it.
Q: What have you learned from having (Nate) Livings and (Anthony) Collins on the left side of the line? What can your offense do and not do?ML:
I think there are some limitations. There are some things that you do to make sure that we're conscious of those guys, and what's going on. But these young guys have stood in there and done OK. They haven't been glowing, but they haven't wet down their leg. So they're still a work in progress, and we've been pleased with them that way. But there are adjustments that you need to make offensively, and we've had to make those adjustments, and really Coach (Bob Bratkowski) has done a nice job of making those adjustments.
Q: Jason Shirley saw playing time last week. Will we see more of him?ML:
We'll see how the numbers shake out as we get later in the week. But, yeah, Jason got his first chance to play, and hopefully he'll understand that some of the things we've been climbing up his tail about all the time are true now.
Q: How big is it for these young defensive linemen like (Pat) Sims and Shirley to get some playing time?ML:
As Mike calls them, they're like big St. Bernards. You've just got to keep batting them around a little to get their attention. Pat's still going through that every day, and Jason will go through that. They look the part with their stature, but these guys weren't first-round picks. So there are some holes. But yet there are some signs of ability, and you've just got to keep beating them over the head with that bat until we get it out there, play in and play out.
Q: Talk about your relationship with Brian Kelly (University of Cincinnati head coach):ML:
I talked with Coach on Monday morning and congratulated him. I've had a good relationship with Brian since he's been here. I congratulated him and asked him if he would pass it on to his coaches. I feel like we've had a great relationship. I think his coaches feel comfortable coming over here and attending practice anytime, and we certainly feel like we're always welcome up there at UC. It's just a great thing what they've been able to do, and we wish him just the best of luck to go win the Orange Bowl. We actually share hotels on the weekend when they have recruits in, so we have quite a bit of interaction with them.
Q: You touched on Plaxico Burress' problems in a meeting with the team:ML:
Yes, and I don't know why anyone around here should think this, but sometimes guys think they're above the law. But there are rules and there are laws, and you're subject to them. And really, there's a heightened sense of awareness of it in the public (for NFL players). You're not going to get away with things. My message is, "If you have to go somewhere where you feel you've got to carry a handgun, you don't need to be going to that spot. Let us help you go somewhere else." If you feel the urge, all right, we go through a lot of stuff with players. We have since '03 as far as our counseling and so forth, and having people come in and express how you do things the right way, and that's not changed. We had a little dip in the thing, or a blip on the radar there for a bit, but I just wanted to remind the guys to keep doing things as pros and be smart. Understand that you don't put your life, your career and other things at risk.