Opening Comments: ML:
We'll start with the moves we made. We made a trade for Ryan Fitzpatrick, a quarterback from the St. Louis Rams. Ryan is on his way to Cincinnati as we speak. We have released Doug Johnson, and the two other veteran players we released are Kendrick Allen and Edgerton Hartwell. The second-year players we have waived are Bennie Brazell, John Busing, Reggie McNeal, Alan Reuber, Tim Day, Nate Livings, and Chris Manderino. The eight rookie players are Curtis Brown, Earl Everett, Jesse Holley, Xzavie Jackson, Matt Muncy, Harrison Nikolao, Matt Toeaina, and Dane Uperesa. Matt Toeaina was our sixth round draft pick. The three injured players that were waived are Brandon Williams, Aaron Elling, and T.J. Wright. They will either negotiate a settlement or go on I.R.
Chris Perry will remain right now on the PUP list, which makes him eligible to play after the sixth week of the season. Chris Henry goes to the suspension list. Some of the guys will be signed back to the practice squad to make up the eight practice squad players. That's where we are with our roster. As I said earlier, Ryan will be in today and have a good opportunity to spend time with the offensive coaches before we hit the practice field on Monday.
Q: How long have you been looking at Ryan (Fitzpatrick)?ML:
We spoke to the Rams about Ryan numerous times over the last three years. We knew he would be a Bengal, it just took a little longer than expected (laughs). We're pleased to have gotten the deal done and we're pleased to have him in Cincinnati.
Q: What do you like about Ryan?ML:
He plays with good composure. We liked him when he came out of college (Harvard), and the opportunities he's had in his three starts in '05. He's done a nice job of playing composed. He played about three quarters of a game on Thursday night again, so we like what we see, and he fits well into our offense. Enough said.
Q: Does it give you any pause that your backup quarterbacks don't have very much experience in your system?ML:
Had it been Doug or so forth, I don't think they had much experience. This guy has started three games and he's had a lot of passes and opportunities this preseason. He's played a lot in the preseason so he's had a lot of experience and playing time.
Q: How will you deal with reps between the quarterbacks now that the regular season is here and Carson will be taking the snaps?ML:
We're going to try to divide it up and see who will go into this week as the second quarterback.
Q: Keiwan Ratliff and Blue Adams both survived. Did Blue show you enough as a special teamer last night?ML:
I'm not going to say that Blue showed us enough last night, but one of the reason why we signed Blue was his ability to play special teams, and we hope we get that as we move forward. It's kind of hard to go out there after being on the side of the field and doing the things he's done, but he was willing to do it and continued to work and get better as he got back to game speed.
Q: You're holding spots for Rashad (Jeanty) and Ethan (Kilmer). Do you feel confident that they'll be up and ready to go shortly?ML:
Both guys will be back right after the bye week, if not before. I think we feel good about those two guys, and (Antonio) Chatman as well. He is the other guy who is injured that we put on the roster. We have three guys down right now who will probably be out for Baltimore, but we'll make that determination next Saturday.
Q: Even though Frostee (Rucker) has been nicked up, has he shown enough and has enough potential that you like him?ML:
Well, we want to see more. But certainly he's a guy who has a lot to prove. He made it in the end, but just because you start here doesn't mean you finish here. For anyone, for that matter. We're going to look at the guys waived by other clubs that fit us. We'll keep looking for guys who make us a better team. You look at those names and you don't get too excited, because obviously everyone is in the same situation. Your next hall of fame player probably won't come down that path, but you never know. We'll look and see.
Q: Daniel Coats sticks, and so does Nate Lawrie. You have three tight ends. I guess Nate can also play special teams for you:ML:
Daniel particularly has done very well thus far on special teams. Nate joined us late, but we'll have to keep ramping those guys up and getting them going on teams and so forth. Our offensive coaches feel really good where we are at tight end right now. Again, we'll keep on the lookout.
Q: As you may be aware, Levi Jones had some comments last night about his frustration in not practicing enough and then playing a lot in the game:ML:
Levi understated how much he practiced. Maybe by one third, so we'll move forward.
Q: Does that concern you?ML:
It concerns me because it's not about Levi, it's about the team, and he realizes that. I don't want the guys to vent their frustrations to you, and I won't vent mine to you either.
Q: Do you think he'll start?ML:
I don't have to make that determination now.
Q: Can you give an update on the guys who were injured last night? You thought they were minor, do you still think they are minor? Reggie Kelly:ML:
Yes. Reggie's ankle is minor.
Q: Ahmad Brooks?ML:
Yes. Same thing for Ahmad.
Q: Ryan seems like a confident guy and coming from Harvard:ML:
Ryan is very confident. He's our player now but I don't want to speculate as if I grew up with him or something.
Q: Is Shayne Graham still progressing?ML:
He's progressing, and we'll determine next week where we are. We'll take a look at some other place kickers this week in the event that he's not ready.
Q: Would T.J. Wright have made the 53-man roster had he not been hurt?ML:
He had the opportunity to.
Q: How close was the battle between T.J. and Keiwan (Ratliff)?ML:
That wouldn't be fair for T.J. or Keiwan to speculate about that.
Q: Did you go light on the D-line and linebacker positions because you had people out at defensive back?ML:
We went a little lighter than we had anticipated, but that's not an issue.
Q: Based on your history with him and the leadership he brings in the classroom, how tough was it to let Edgerton Hartwell go?ML:
It's a hard decision to let a veteran player go. We have a one year history. I drafted him in Baltimore and followed his career. I was looking at another player, and then I saw Eddie. But right now this is the best decision to make for the good of our football team, and it was a hard decision. Next week we may have a different look at it, but right now this is the best way to go.
Q: Is it hard not to take this day personally, when you have to look at a guy and tell him he's not going to make it?ML:
It is hard because these guys give their heart and soul for this opportunity. Every guy approaches it differently. Some guys get their tail out there when they're a little bruised and battered, and then you have other guys who have minor things, and they're not willing to put their neck out there, and they have to go. You feel for a guy like Eddie in this case, who probably could have taken some time off but was out there battling. Whether it's here, next week, or later somewhere else, I think people will take that into consideration when they look at Ed Hartwell. Here's a guy who didn't miss practice, didn't miss time in the games, didn't miss any games, and that's big as you look to catch on with any team. As coaches, we're looking for guys who are reliable.
Q: Does it come down to special teams?ML:
It comes down to any position. Where we are injury-wise, our guys will have to do more. It's going to be similar to when coach Johnson was coaching the Cowboys. Their star players were involved on special teams as well. I talked to our guys about that today. I said, 'Where we are injury-wise right now is not going to be like you remember. Right now, we're going to have to step it up with you, and since you're a better player, it will make us better in that area because of our injuries.' Like Ethan (Kilmer), a guy being down who we could count on for thirty snaps in the special teams.
Q: Do you think Blue (Adams) can step up?ML:
He's going to have the opportunity, and then I'll have to put out the best 45 five guys. He'll have a good chance to show me, though.
Q: Was the decision on Bennie (Brazell) more about durability than performance?ML:
I haven't seen a lot from Bennie. And neither have you. Bennie has athletic skill and talent but we chose to go with six wide receivers. Skyler Green's niche has been punt returns, and I think we all feel good about where we are right now with that, so Bennie ends up being the guy out of it.
Q: Is Glenn Holt ready to return kicks again?ML:
Well, they keep telling me he is, but I see better than I hear.
Q: Fanene has played well. He's a guy who could be a defensive tackle:ML:
We went with eight defensive linemen. We didn't really go light. In my mind, that's how many I was going to carry. We're probably a guy less than I would like right now at linebacker. We're going to see if we can get another one. One or maybe two. I think otherwise we're in good shape. We kept an extra defensive back because of where we are right now at linebacker and to put the best forty five together where we are injury wise.