Opening comments: ML:
We're excited about where we are. Obviously the big news for you guys is the release of three players who have logged significant playing time since I've been here, particularly in '05 and '06. Obviously the play fell off in '07, and we just haven't seen a lot of change thus far this year. It's a hard decision to make, but it is the decision we made at this point and we'll go forward. As far as the rest of the roster goes we'll look at comes out on the waivers, etc... tomorrow. There will be the possibility of claiming a player or two at some point by noon tomorrow, and then we'll settle our practice squad.
Q: Regarding Willie Anderson, you didn't see the kind of play you needed to see out of him?ML:
We haven't seen the day-to-day-to-day that you need. I know it's contrary to popular belief. But it's important that we start our season healthy, and I've made that very clear to you guys from the start, so we have an opportunity to put as close to as many guys out there that we know are going to be healthy as we can. And that can practice day-to-day.
Q: How much does not having Willie hurt in the locker room? He has been a big factor there:ML:
Well, Willie was out of the locker room much of last year. He means a lot, but last year, he was dealing with trying to get himself back and healthy, and he was not there a lot of the time.
Was Willie something you missed last year? You don't miss a person unless he's playing for you.
Q: Personal standpoint, how tough to let go of Willie?ML:
Very tough. He has been significant to me. He has been significant to this organization, beyond me. We'll see what happens. It may not be over. We'll see where we're headed. This gives the (released) guys the opportunity to see if there is something around for them somewhere else, which is fair, and go from there.
Q: A door could crack open for Willie to come back? ML:
Possibility, but you never know.
Q: Was it lose between Ahmad Brooks and Jim Maxwell, close on keeping one of them? ML:
Yes, but the situation we were in, being down one and possibly two secondary guys (due to current injuries), we felt we needed to make sure we were covered there. We seem to be healthy with six guys (at LB), and the 53-man roster has to be a reflection of the 45-man roster (for game day). And every time I put it together, it looked as though there was going to be an inactive linebacker. And we would maybe be short a guy in the back end. So for both special teams and on defense, we had to make sure we were covered.
Q: So Simeon Castille showed you enough? ML:
For now. We all just show us enough for one day. Nobody is promised tomorrow.
Q: Comment on Rudi Johnson?ML:
We haven't seen Rudi play (in preseason). I've seen Rudi practice very few times, and cut it loose very few times. He got off to a great start. I thought he had an outstanding offseason. I thought he had a great spring and was doing everything, but unfortunately he seemed to suffer from the hamstring, and being unable to go out and play and cut it loose. So, as I told you guys, I still see better than I hear. And that was important to us.
Q: Chris Perry has a history of being injured, but he's your guy now at RB?ML:
Obviously that's where we are at this point. You know, we're all one step from a significant injury, and you can't look forward into a crystal ball, nor can you look behind. On Sunday when I have to put 45 guys up and running, you have to have some roles. So we have to make sure the 53-man roster also reflects what's going to be up and active on Sundays.
Q: Will Chris have more of an opportunity to shine, with Rudi not here?ML:
He's never had that opportunity, so this is his chance. This is what he's asked for and wanted. He's worked extremely hard to return from his injury to have this (opportunity), and he's made good on it. Now it's time, so he has everything to play for. It ought to be exciting to him..
Q: Is Perry the bell cow?ML:
Right now he'll be our starting back. We have felt very comfortable keeping him in there on third down, so I think he'll log more playing time than anyone we've had back there for a while.
Q: You're keeping the Palmer family happy (with QB Jordan Palmer making the roster):ML:
I don't think that had anything to do with the decision. We released Jeff (Rowe), and right now Jordan's third.
Q: What about the situation at corner (with Deltha O'Neal gone?ML:
Again, where were we without? Where were we the other way? I'm not going to elaborate. These guys have had significant playing time, they've done great things and they're no longer here, so I'm not going to sit here and beat anybody up. But we've made these decisions, and we're going to go forward with them. It's a tough time around the league. A lot of guys who have had significant playing time around the league are being released today. That's part of it. They'll find homes if they're worthy, and they'll be back one way or another. We're going to move on and we're going to try to find the best other guys. Because we've got to have guys we can count on all the time.
Q: Talk about Andre Caldwell's progress?ML:
He's doing well. It'll be close.
Q: You're keeping the two rookie defensive tackles, plus Michael Myers:ML:
Pat (Sims) has not been able to work. We're probably still a couple weeks away from seeing him, and making a determination on him. We elected to keep an extra guy there as well, just so we make sure we go into Baltimore and I know I've got the right guy to suit up on Sunday.
Q: You went heavy at safety:ML:
You're going to either keep it at linebacker or keep it at safety. We had two safeties injured. We had to make sure. Again, we're going back to the same issues.