Opening comments: ML:
We'll begin with the guys who didn't practice today: Willie Anderson, Ahmad Brooks, Caleb Miller, Rashad Jeanty, Rudi Johnson, Ethan Kilmer, Jonathan Fanene and Tab Perry. We'll see as the week goes on, with a couple of them, how they are.
Q: At what point do you start thinking about Injured Reserve for some of the guys who have been inactive? ML:
Anybody in particular you're talking about?
Q: Ethan (Kilmer) and Rashad (Jeanty).ML:
I think particularly with Rashad, he's got an opportunity maybe this week, possibly next week. Ethan is suffering from an injury I don't think that anybody knew much about, and it's been an odd thing, and so they continue to treat him. He gets a little better, and then he gets not as good. We've been a little patient with it, and at some point we'll make that decision if we feel that spot is warranted by somebody. It's not like there's a plethora of guys out there that warrant the spot, because somebody's going to be inactive anyway.
Q: Do any of the injured guys have a chance to play this week?ML:
There's a couple. I would say that would probably be the number. There's probably one, maybe two, have a chance this week. But we'll see.
Q: You're almost forced to go with four linebackers:ML:
Again, we'll be prepared to do things what we need to do.
Q: Willie Anderson is out. What does it mean? ML:
I think we're fine. We've been practicing this way, and we'll move forward. Willie probably won't be able to go this week. We'll see when he's back. He's working hard, and I guess rest is what he needs to get things on the mend. Hopefully when he comes back off this leg injury, maybe his foot will be feeling better as well. The rest might not be coming at a bad time for him to heal up a couple areas. I think we'll be good, and Stacy will move to that spot, and Scott (Kooistra) will back up, and we'll move forward.
Q: Talk about Stacy Andrews. Is he a prototypical right tackle? ML:
I don't know if he's not a prototypical left tackle. I think Stacy's done a fine job, and he's continued to grow as a player, and now he'll be our right tackle.
Q: Have you seen Leon Hall develop?ML:
I think Leon has experienced maybe a little bit more of the ups and downs of a rookie than I expected him to. He's got all the tools we want. So he'll have a fine career. He's learning on the fly a little bit. He's gotten thrown into the fire right away, which is a good thing. He has the makeup both mentally and physically to do that. He'll come out of this, as I told him, a much, much better player than what he was when he went into it.
Q: Kevin Coyle said, "You're not a rookie anymore after the bye":ML:
Well, we've got a group of those three DBs (Leon Hall, Chinedum Ndukwe, Marvin White), and they've gotten a chance to play some football. It's good now. In the bye, you have a way to kind of pull back from it and look at what you've done. Now we have a chance to get back after it.
Q: Corey Mays is getting a quick indoctrination:ML:
Corey's done a good job. He's been in here since we claimed him -- quite a bit every day, whether it be with the defensive coaches or with the special teams coach. He'll have an opportunity to contribute right away.
Q: What does Anthony Schlegel bring to the linebacking corps? ML:
He's come in and brought some solidity. Anthony has really a sense of calmness to him. He's done a good job since he's been here with us on both defense and special teams. We keep belaboring this point. All these guys have played a lot more football than we expected them to play right away.
Q: Why did you decide to move Stacy Andrews to RT?ML:
We thought he was our best option in the long run, or for one or two games. Whatever it may be.
Q: What does John Busing bring, now that he's called up to the 53-man roster? ML:
He has an opportunity yet again to suit up on Sunday. He'll probably start on a number of our special teams. And that'll be a good thing. He's been here with us, and gotten a chance to play some last year in those roles, and have an opportunity possibly to play some defense.
Q: We all saw how well Indianapolis and Pittsburgh did with missing key guys. Is depth the most important thing to a team, and how do the good teams keep that depth?ML:
You want to always have as much depth as you can have. Sometimes it's difficult because the depth has to come from younger players. The key is the maturity of the younger players, and their understanding their responsibility quickly to step up and play at a high level. Secondly, it's the guys that aren't the younger players. It's the guys coming from the supposed doghouse, to step up and play at an even higher level. Everyone raises up a little bit. You have to do that without pressing and take advantage of opportunities and make good on them. By doing those things, field position, taking care of the football, playing well on third down, taking the football away, you have the opportunity, and I think that's important.
Q: Is depth the most important aspect of today's game?ML:
I think it has always been a part of the NFL. Since the league expanded to 32 teams, there aren't a lot of guys sitting on the sideline that can come in and help you. People go to camp with the complement of 84 to 88 guys, and so guys have been in camp. Guys who haven't been in camp really aren't in the condition to come in and benefit you right away. They're usually struggling with one kind of injury or another, so they don't hit us in a good spot. We can ill afford to bring in another guy who may have a chance to risk further injury and hit us more in the cap. That's what everyone goes through a little bit.
Q: Josh Huston has some experience with other clubs showing himself as a kickoff guy. Could that be his role here?ML:
He has a very strong leg, and we had a chance to work him out a couple of weeks ago. With the move we made with John (Busing) today in this particular one-week situation, it gave us a chance to work with him a little more and we'll evaluate where we are at the end of the week and make a decision one way or the other.
Q: Was Johnathan Joseph's suspension as surprising to you as it was to a lot of us?ML:
No, it wasn't.
Q: There isn't a lot of regular season tape on Brodie Croyle. How do you prepare for him? Is there a big difference between him and Damon Huard?ML:
Brodie played a lot in the preseason, and a little last year. I think they gave him every opportunity to win the job as this year's quarterback, and Damon won the battle. There's a lot of preseason time and tape. And I feel like I live with those guys after watching "Hard Knocks" (training camp feature on the Chiefs that aired on HBO). Style-wise, Brodie is quick with the ball, and that's been part of his trademark. He came in and demonstrated that at the end of the game against Jacksonville. He's probably a slightly better athlete, and I don't know that particularly, but that's his style and the way he is, and how he played in college. Whoever lines up, we need to go and defend them and go after them.
Q: As well as the line has played pass protection, is there a reason why they aren't doing as well in run protection?ML:
We haven't run the football as productively as we need to, and that comes from a lot of different reasons. Unfortunately, the couple of sacks we have given up have been communication issues. Some of the blowout plays on the running game get you off track and off sync, which we had against Seattle. Last week we were much better at that, and Eric (Ghiaciuc) coming back helps us with that. Alex (Stepanovich) did a tough job with some people with a lot of different looks there for a bit. But Eric coming back will bring us continuity. That's the one thing he really worked extremely hard at, and played excellent football.
We're excited about that. Levi (Jones) is an experienced player, and he and Andrew (Whitworth) are over there communicating. And Stacy (Andrews) communicating, and Reggie (Kelly), and those guys up front. We have to step it up. Fish or cut bait time. Quit talking about it and go about it and do it.
Q: Do you see this as a turning-point type of week?ML:
We have to take action, and then we'll give you something to write about on Monday. I hope.
Q: Chad said you brought in some type of motivational speaker on Monday, and that it was very worthwhile. Can you shed some light on that?ML:
I made a relationship with Mike Abrashoff, who was the commander of the USS Bedfold. He wrote a book, "It's Your Ship," that Carson (Palmer) shared with me after the season. He gave me a copy and asked me to read it. I think Peter King highlighted it in an article, and it was later highlighted on Monday Night Football.
I had back and forth emails with Mike, and we had an opportunity for him to come through. He spent about an hour with the team Monday afternoon, and it was good. Number one, how the Bedfold got its name. It was named after a foreman medic I believe, who jumped on a grenade to save his soldiers. That's why the Bedfold was commissioned with that name. Secondly, about Mike taking over the ship. It was the ship with the lowest rating in the Navy when he took over. No one wanted to stay on the ship. Every time someone had a chance to go to another ship, that's what they wanted to do.
In a very short period of time, he turned it around to be the number one rated ship in the Navy, winning the Spokane award and a couple of others for their proficiency in different areas. It's an interesting story about what his theory of leadership is, and how he thought his men rose to that level and how they took responsibility for that and took it hand in hand. Rather than saying it was all him or all them, his message was that it was together.
They wanted their ship to be looked upon as the best. They found a way to go about things and do it that way. He's an excellent speaker. He was able to bring it to an understanding level where we could interact and ask questions.
Q: Larry Johnson is one of a number of running backs who have struggled this year, along with Rudi (Johnson):ML:
I keep telling you guys, running backs don't struggle (laughing). Is Jamal (Lewis) struggling still? That was the question prior to Cleveland. Did I answer that for you? Unfortunately, yes I did (still laughing). I wish you had been right.
Q: Why has the running game been so hard to get on track?ML:
I think it's hard to get on track when you're sometimes playing from behind, number one. And if you have a blowup play that gets you off sequence. You throw the ball on first-and-ten, and it's incomplete, or maybe you run it for six yards on first down. You run it again on second down and you mis-communicate, miss a guy, whatever happens, and they make a blowup play. Now instead of third-and-three, where you have the opportunity to run it again, it's third-and-nine. I think penalties play a part in that. Pre-nap penalties and things like that get you off sync.
I think all the time, these questions come about the running backs, but the running backs are the same guys. If I were a running back, I don't know if I would want to play in the preseason. I think that's the way to go about it. I don't think backs struggle as much as what is happening around them in general. In order to have a good running game, you have to be able to throw it, or else it's the other way around.