Opening comments: ML:
"Obviously the news here today is the signing of Keith Rivers. It's good to have him here, and as we said in the statement he will catch up very quickly. I'll see how things transpire through the week, as to whether or not we play him Monday night. I think baring anything major, I anticipate him to play some."
Q: How many snaps will the first team and Carson get on Monday?ML:
"We'll evaluate that and see. Generally they'll go 10 or 15, somewhere between those number of snaps. But we'll see how it goes."
Q: Are you anxious to see how Mike (Zimmer) is doing with the defense, and for getting them to go against another color jersey?ML:
"Yeah, I am anxious to see our football team line up against another color jersey. It will be a good test. Their passing game is quick, with a lot of formations and movements. If you look at how they have gone about things, even in their early preseason games, they do some of that. It will be a good time to see what your hole card is against these guys."
Q: Did Chinedum Ndukwe give you a scare today and what happened?ML:
"He just kind of tweaked his knee and was able to come back.
Q: Physically, how did Keith Rivers look to you?ML:
"He looked the way he looked the last time I saw him, back in June."
Q: How different does that make you when you're going with double tight ends?ML:
"I don't know if it will be one tight end, two tight ends or three tight ends, but it does in preparation for a defensive football team make a difference if you're preparing for a percentage of four or five different personnel grouping as opposed to two or three. You've got to allow practice time for that. It waters down what you can do in some of your base counts. It certainly waters down what you can do in pressures and things like that because you've got to feel good about adjustments based on motion and formation changes."
Q: Are you looking forward to the young guys getting to play in Green Bay?ML:
"It's going to be good and I told our team it's a great atmosphere. It's always great to go to Lambeau Field, but going into this deal with this weekend on Monday night and the whole thing they're dealing with up there, obviously a lot of the questions this week as we meet with the network people are going to be about that. It's been about that with you guys (the media) here and it will continue based on where they are. So it's having an opportunity for them to get involved in it right away, particularly for some of these young players, rookie players, seeing what it's like in the NFL at that level.
They had some 50,000, some say 40,000 and some 60,000 people Sunday night there for their scrimmage. It's going to be a packed house and a lot of fun, a great atmosphere for these young guys to put on that NFL uniform for the first time, walk out on the field and say 'oh my gosh, here I am.' It even beats the Swamp and some of those places these guys have been, the Coliseum and so forth."
Q: You mentioned Keith (Rivers). Is it a given that he'll play Monday or do you need to see some things from him before you make that decision?ML:
"We'll evaluate it as we go through the week, but I'm anticipating him probably having an opportunity to play some."
Q: Can you talk about the talent level of your cornerbacks?ML:
"We really have made an investment in the secondary with the young players in the back end. The two first round picks prior to this season, the two safeties a year ago and acquiring Dexter (Jackson) a couple of years ago in free agency, so we're starting to see as those guys keep playing together and keep coming. Deltha (O'Neal) and Jones, who we kind of protected all last year and stayed in my pocket last year and we felt like we had a great talent there who wasn't quite ready for the bright lights all the time. I think now, we're kind of seeing the benefits of that out on the practice field.
If there's ever a ball completed, it's not completed for long out there. Whether it be mans or zones or so forth, everything is played tight and everything is challenged. These guys like to play football. They are football players, almost like football junkies and that's good. They have fun with each other, they have great personalities, and they're very spirited. They have great athleticism and talent and they can learn. They learn adjustments, they've done better with recognition of free snap formations and you hear them communicating amongst each other about what they anticipate."
Q: Guys like Chad (Johnson), T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) and Rudi Johnson, will you not know their status for Monday night until the whole thing unfolds this week?ML:
"Chad's fine, Chad will play. I'll see where Rudi and T.J. are, but right now it doesn't look good. We'll see how it goes."
Q: Can you talk about the rookie defensive linemen, Pat (Sims) and Jason (Shirley) and what they'll face in the first couple of weeks when they put the pads on?ML:
"They're going to have fun come Monday night because they're going to get winded. It's going to be great, but Jason tweaked his elbow or his bicep yesterday and he came back into practice and those are good signs. Pat continues to work very, very hard. I've told those guys, 'we're not going to allow you to not be good. To not be great actually, so you just keep working and remember why someone has that foot in your behind. It's for a reason. Know it's there and just keep going.'"
Q: Is the toughest thing with them playing hard every snap leverage?ML:
"It's leverage, and pad level, and not getting tired. It's when you get tired, keeping your pads down, keeping your foot work, keep your focus. That's really important."
Q: Is there any update on Jeremi Johnson and when he might be back with the team?ML:
"He's with the team everyday and really has done outstanding, so when I feel good about where he is and we feel like he's passed his physical, we'll allow Jeremi to come back and practice with pads on and practice in whatever the dress of the day is with the football team."
"I wouldn't have anticipated anything different from Keith."
Q: Talk about the camp Johnathan Joseph is having. It looks like he is playing at a good level right now.ML:
"Last year he missed some time with us because of a foot injury, So this year he is having an opportunity to get all the practice in. We did rest him this morning, but he is getting all the reps in and he does look good. He worked his tail off prior to the offseason and I think he is gaining the benefits of that now. He's showing that his body is holding up, because the defensive backs are taking a lot of snaps right now."
Q: Ben Utecht has been spending time after practice with the quarterbacks. Can you talk about his development?ML:
"I think Ben is doing a good job. There are obviously things that come up, because there are adjustments that come up in the course of a route based on leverage. He is trying to get the nuances of some of those finer points down, so he is spending a little more time trying to do that."