Opening comments: ML:
We'll start with health issues. This week, Willie (Anderson) will probably still be out. Today we'll place Ahmad Brooks on IR. He'll have surgery to fix his injury at some point next week, probably. In that roster spot, we'll bring Nate Lawrie up from the practice squad. And then we signed Cooper Wallace, the tight end from Auburn, to the practice squad, and Skyler Green, who was waived on Monday, is also added to the practice squad.
Q: Is Ahmad's injury similar to Chris Perry's?ML:
I don't think so. It's more like what Antonio Chatman had last year. From what doctors tell me, they're all in the same family. Some guys can tolerate it. Some can't. You can tear it. It's very painful, and you need about six weeks or eight weeks to recover. It just depends on the particular person. They'll do the surgery. It's about a six or eight-week recovery time or inactivity before you get back to where everything's fine.
Q: How disappointing is it, considering the high hopes you had for Ahmad Brooks?ML:
He got to play one game, basically, and one series of another. He's a young guy and the thing for him ... it's been harder on him than us. His opportunity and wanting to play. He didn't get a lot of time to play as a rookie. In some ways, maybe, this is a good thing that he's had to learn and go about this the right way. He's had to attend meetings and learn, and learn how to be a professional because he's a young kid. He really is. He could conceivably still be at the University of Virginia right now. So this is in some ways is a good thing for him, maybe. Because it allows him to grow up and become the man and the player that he'll be. He made a lot of strides. It's unfortunate that he's just not been able to come back from this. Every time we rest him and give him time to let it heal, and then when he tries to do something, he can't. It's just time for this move.
Q: Will Chris Henry be ready to contribute?ML:
Well, he's gotten a couple weeks of practice. He has missed time on the field prior to that. For the first four or five weeks, we were very consistent with getting his conditioning done until he had to leave and take care of some other things. He's got an opportunity to contribute. So we'll see.
Q: What's the status of the other injured players?ML:
The group that didn't practice today would be T.J. Houshmandzadeh with his knee that's sore off and on all year. Herana-Daze Jones with a knee bruise. Reggie Kelly with a knee. Caleb Miller (back). Deltha O'Neal with a knee. And Anthony Schlegel (back). That's the group that did not practice today.
Q: What about Chad?ML:
Chad practiced today. So we'll see.
Q: As a coach here, you've gone through seven different starters at MLB:ML:
It'll be a trivia question someday. All these things are factors. When you have different guys all the time, it obviously plays a part. There is no solution when guys are injured. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it's been. The position is the Ghost of Takeo (Spikes), I guess (laughs). It's haunted. It's been an interesting thing. Anyway, it is what it is, and we've got to go on.
Q: With Anthony Schlegel also iffy, would Landon Johnson be the MLB?ML:
Yeah, Landon will be our middle linebacker this week.
Q: How do think Carson is doing this year?ML:
I think he's been doing well, actually. He's maintained his focus to try not to do too much. Unfortunately, the interceptions he's had ... I don't know that he's had but maybe two interceptions that weren't in the final drive of a game with us being forced to pass. That speaks to what he's doing and how well he is playing. I wish we didn't put him in those situations where 0we're behind and he's trying to find a way to get us a touchdown to win the game.
But I think he's maintained his focus and his abilities and leadership. He continues to just eat everything up that he's given as far as the game plan and breaking down the opponent and being able to handle things at the line of scrimmage. And he's had to do it with some different guys as well. He's had a couple of different centers. He's had different guys at receiver. He's had a different core of guys at times as well around him with the injury to T.J., and Chad's ankle the last couple of weeks, he's had to work with young guys in there at practice. That's a little bit hard.
If you go out there every day and have the same guys, it makes it easy on everybody. When you don't, everybody has to raise up a level, and you really have to focus in. I think he's done an excellent job.
Q: What's the situation with Chris Perry?ML:
He's still on PUP, so we have a three-week window to allow Chris to practice with the team on a roster exemption. I don't know if it'll be one week, two weeks, three weeks. We'll see what happens. At that point we have to make a decision, after the three weeks or sometime within the three-week window, on whether we would return him to the 53-man roster or put him on I.R. for the rest of the season.
Q: Is it a matter of you and the doctors observing how he performs in practice?ML:
Yeah, it's a matter of how he does in practice, how he comes back to the next day, the next practice, and so forth. And, if his ankle can withstand the rigors of NFL football, and what it takes to go through a week, and how that will be. It's going to be a 'guesstimation' anyway. We'll give Chris the ball and see what happens.
Q: In your first game, your pressure packages were extraordinary vs. the Ravens. Has the defense changed a lot because of injuries?ML:
Yeah, we've had some changes because of injuries, and the movement of guys, but so have they. We've got to go back and play fast, play football, play fast on offense and defense. We've got to make plays. We've got to be able to move the football against these guys. We know they're going to be ready to play. That wasn't a fair look through the glass at them on Monday night. That's not the football team we'll be playing against on this Sunday. We know that and realize that they'll be ready to play and hyped up, and probably have some of their guys back that were out, which will help them. They got caught in a whirlwind and it started rolling downhill on them. They weren't able to stop it there for a bit.
Q: Do you have to be a lot simpler now?ML:
Obviously when you prepare to play the opening opponent, you have the opportunity to spend time on them during training camp. Every week you want to be as simple as you can be, particularly because we have new guys, so that's part of it.
Q: What kind of impact do you hope Chris Henry has on the offense?ML:
We'll see what Chris can bring to the offense. We'll see how we go through the week with practices and so forth, and the comfort level that the coaches have with him and the quarterback has with him.
Q: Have you been forced to play more conservatively on offense?ML:
No. Our goal is still to make first downs and score points. It hasn't caused us to play more conservatively. We want to make positive first-down plays and convert on third downs and move the football.
Q: Johnathan Joseph has said it's been like night-and-day for him with this year compared to last year, that he's struggling:ML:
I think it's a little bit of that second-year thing. He's trying too hard. Last week he played a pretty good football game but he got beat. Out there at that corner position last week, he gets his hands on the guy and gets Lee (Evans) inside, and he's going to guess on the route. And it's not that route. And so those are the things you've got to continue to reinforce to him: Don't do too much. Do what you need to do within the scope of the coverage and let the thing happen.
He has good coverage there on the third-down play. And he's all over the guy, the ball's up and away, and we don't get the safety to take the ball off of him. So there's some things that are recurring, but he did do some good things within the football game, and he can't allow those negative things to creep into his mind. Those demons of, 'Well, I didn't do this.' And then you start jumping and guessing, and then you're really in trouble out there.
Q: Leon Hall has had ups and downs. Is it part of being a young cornerback in this league?ML:
That's part of it, and our margin for error now, where it is. We're playing what seem to be some close football games, and all those plays get magnified at the end of the game when you don't make them.