Opening comments: ML:
"Our big focus has been the next game. With the upcoming game with the Saints, we're probably a little down in numbers from where we would like to be, but I think we should be able to gain a couple guys back and get some opportunity for them for the first time. In playing New Orleans, I think the pace of their offense will be great for the defense. Defensively, they're a pretty aggressive group. There's a lot of pressures they like to use to pressure the quarterback, so that should be a good challenge that way.
"It will be, obviously, an opportunity for Jerome (Simpson) to get some great playing time with the first group in a lot of different personnel groupings, so I think that's a real positive. We'll get Jeremi Johnson his first action of the summer, so that's good.
"We'll be trying to piece together who will be in what spots on special teams. We'll make sure we keep the competition going that way, but try to really refine it down with Darrin (special teams coach Darrin Simmons), as we point toward opening up in Baltimore.
"So that's where we are, as far as this game goes. As we do every time we play, I tell the coaches when to take the guys out, and I'll do the same this week."
Q: Will this be a traditional third preseason game, dress rehearsal?ML:
"I think the traditional thing went out years ago. I don't know if there's a traditional form right now for the preseason, for any time. We'll see. How many snaps we get, that's what we're most concerned about. That's how we'll play it. I think last year, for instance, we were planning on Carson playing the third quarter, but he had too many snaps in the first quarter, whatever game we played third last year. So we'll see how many snaps we're going to get and go from there."
Q: Jeremi Johnson will play for first time?ML:
"Yes. There will be a couple other guys who haven't played yet. We'll see how that goes on Saturday night."
Q: We know Pat Sims has a turf toe; can you elaborate?ML:
"No, because you hit it on the head. He's got a turf toe, which is basically a sprained toe. The extent of it will be just a matter of how it comes along, if it comes along right now or not. He has been seen by our orthopedic doctor, he's by seen by a specialist, and he'll go see another specialist, and we'll see what kind of recommendations they have for him. In the interim, they said to see how it comes along and how it calms down and what kind of pain he's dealing with."
Q: Would you consider keeping a quarterback on the practice squad?ML:
"We like all four of our guys, and I think that's a consideration. We're a little bit blessed this year because we have the International Practice Squad Player (Carl Johan-Bjork) who will be here with us all year. So we ultimately have nine practice squad guys this year, so we get a little mulligan that way. So, it's a possibility (with the quarterbacks).
Q: What would Rudi (Johnson) have to do between now and the opener to start in the opener?ML:
"I have to see Rudi play. I have to see Rudi play and practice, practice, practice. You know, and then play."
Q: How about T.J. (Houshmandzadeh)?ML:
Q: In your mind, how much time do they need?ML:
"I think T.J. needs more time than he thinks he needs (to be ready to play). I'll tell you that. I think for the runner, it's not quite as significant. We want to see him and make sure he can withstand it. I think for T.J., there's more to it. Things change, things have changed. When you're not out there and doing it, things move within the snap of the football, so it's important that T.J. gets some snaps going and gets going here. He's a very smart guy, he understands football very well, and understands the offense and the nuances of what we're doing very well. But until you're doing it, there are going to be some things. Now, you start working to a game plan and everything's limited and it comes down, but yeah, it's important for them to get some snaps and some time."
Q: Will we see T.J. or Rudi on Saturday?ML:
"Right now, I haven't seen them on the practice field with the rest of the team. So I don't think I'd play them in the game."
Q: With all these players sitting out, are you concerned that you're going to have a rookie like Mario Urrutia starting in Baltimore?ML:
"I have no concern, because we'll be putting 45 guys out there. It doesn't matter who the 45 are."
Q: Is turf toe any worse for a DT than a skill guy?ML:
"It would probably be worse for a skill position guy, but ultimately it comes down to pain tolerance and where it is and the severity of it, and right now his seems to be pretty severe.
Q: Same thing with Caldwell? ML:
Q: Anything to elaborate on there?ML:
"He's got a foot sprain."
Q: Is Caldwell day-to-day?ML:
"It's about how I need to handle injuries. There is no reason, no advantage for us, to try to put a time frame on anyone's injury, because until they go back out and show us that they can practice, they can't play. That's not smart. If I've learned one thing in five years, it's not to give you guys (media) any kind of time frame, because then it puts the pressure on one way or the other. This way there really is no pressure."
Q: How has Chad Johnson responded to his shoulder injury?ML:
"He's doing well. His goal is to be ready to play when we go to Baltimore, so we'll see, but right now he's surprisingly doing better than expected. If you'd ask him he'd tell you, he'd say he'd be ready to go tomorrow.
Q: Antwan Odom is out of his boot:ML:
"He's progressing well and has stayed on the time frame they've thought about with him. It's to make sure that he gets out of the discomfort before we push him to do too much on land without the boot on. When he was out of the boot, they would get his cardio and workout in, but when he was just being around and walking around, they wanted to make sure it was protected so he didn't take any unusual blow to it. But he's out and around now. Right now he's on schedule to be back and practicing, and that's a good thing."
Q: Have you seen enough of the Jurassic line, with Bobbie Williams at center, to know what you have?ML:
"Yes, we saw enough of Bobbie at center."
Q: How about Chris Perry's confidence level?ML:
"I do see Chris being very confident. I think Chris feels like he's the starting running back, and he feels good about that, and right now, that's how we'd probably start the regular season. He feels good about it and he's exhibiting that on the practice field as well, not only in the games. That's good to see.
Q: Talk about Ryan Fitzpatrick in the back up position behind Carson Palmer:ML:
"Well, it's a unique position, to say the least, because our backups are playing behind a guy who wants to take every rep in practice. It's not the conventional quarterback, where if you have a 10-play period, the backup guy is going to get three or four (plays). This guy (Fitzpatrick) is going to maybe squeeze two during a period, given the way Carson likes to take the reps. And if Kenny (Zampese) scripts any more than, Carson is always like. 'I need more work,' and he's willing to take all of the work. So Ryan has really been in a tough spot and obviously has taken advantage of every repetition he's gotten in practice.
"In last year's camp we rested Carson a couple of days, but we didn't do that this year. We didn't feel the need. We didn't feel as if he was getting fatigued. So Ryan has been limited in his reps. He sees the game very well, having been on our team last year, having stood there with the quarterbacks on the sideline while Carson was on the field. He has a great understanding of what's going on, and what coverage we're seeing by the defense, and he's able to communicate that to Carson when Carson comes off the field.
"(Fitzpatrick) has made good decisions. Running with the ball there on the third-down play (against Detroit) was a huge play. Jeff Rowe had that same instance happen on second-and-2 and tried to throw the ball to the flat, and now we're trying to convert a third down rather than running it. Take your lumps and get the first down, and let's come back and play. I see Ryan make quick decisions like that, and that's a good thing. We're really pleased to have him. He also enhances the meetings that the quarterbacks have, because he's giving them a different perspective of it. He's been in a different style of offense in St. Louis that was maybe a little more throwing -oriented when he first came in. He's been good."