The guys who didn't practice today were Rashad Jeanty, Ethan Kilmer, Frostee Rucker, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The one guy that was limited was Deltha O'Neal.
Q: How do you think the offensive line has played?ML:
I think we're pretty blessed. We didn't play as well on Monday night as we could have. But Alex (Stepanovich) played quite a bit at center and Scott (Kooistra) played quite a bit at right tackle. Stacy (Andrews) and Andrew (Whitworth) played the other two spots, and Bobbie played at right guard. We were seven guys deep. Counting Levi (Jones), we'll have 8 players that can go in and play winning football.
Q: How much did the depth help you win the game Monday night?ML:
I think depth, condition, and a lot of other things play factors when you have a hot humid game like that. I can't put a degree on it, but hopefully, those are things that will help you win football games.
Q: You re-signed Antonio Chatman and waived Nate Lawrie. What are your hopes for Chatman?ML:
You're making more of it than what it is. Antonio was on our team, and we needed to make a move for an other offensive lineman. We were too late in the week last week, and Nate was part of the plan on offense, so we couldn't make the move last week. This week we made that move. When we get the opportunity we'd love to have Nate back here.
Q: When you look at the Cleveland-Pittsburgh game, do you think Cleveland played better than the score indicated?ML:
I don't think they played their best football. They turned the football over a bunch and gave Pittsburgh a short field a number of times. Pittsburgh didn't score as many points as they could have scored, so I think the Cleveland defense made some plays to do that. I don't think Cleveland comes away feeling good about the football game at all, and I'm sure they're hard at work to play better this Sunday.
Q: Jamal Lewis appears to be a little bit smaller. Is he the same running back that he was in the past? Is he quicker maybe?ML:
I'll just say Jamal is a fine player, and we'll see him on Sunday.
Q: Does the amount of violence and hard hitting on the field ever shock you?ML:
Guys are larger than they have been. They continue to get faster and are generally stronger. They eat better, and our playing surfaces are better. With everything improving, obviously the collisions will be more violent. On the other side of it, kids don't go out on the street and play football anymore. Some of the fundamentals of football aren't being taught.
Your high school coaches are no longer part of the high school so they come in from outside and are trained differently. Colleges can't spend as much time with their guys on the field because their spring football is limited as far as contact goes. It becomes a game of non-contact until you have contact. We will continually see more instances of guys getting injured. It's a shame, because the game is going backwards, because people who don't quite understand what it takes end up legislating rules.
Q: With the allegations in New England regarding sign stealing, how much do you guard against that?ML:
If it's true, they took it to a different level. You always guard against those kind of things. Offensively, with the coach-to-quarterback communicator, you've taken the ability to steal plays away, which is what we were trying to get for the defense as well, but not everyone agreed on the system. You can still look at defensive signals and have an idea of what is being called. We do things at the line of scrimmage with both offense and defense, which has always been part of football. There are certain ways legislated as ethical and certain ways that aren't.
Q: Are you in favor of someone on defense having a headphone? ML:
Yes. It's a matter of coming up with a solution which would make it equitable.
Q: Can you talk about Levi (Jones) and Willie (Anderson's) status for Sunday?ML:
Their status will be just like it was for last week, and it won't change until we get out there Sunday.
Q: Robert Geathers made some big plays. How good can he be?ML:
He played very well. He made a lot of plays and was involved in a lot of plays. As time goes on, I think Robert will continue to play better and better. It was a good football game all around.
Q: What's your message to the special teams coverage units?ML:
We have to do better. We have to punt the ball better, kick better, cover better. We have to do better. It's like the quarterback, everyone has to do their job better. It doesn't start with one person or one thing.
Q: The way Darrin (Simmons) reacted when Terrence McGee returned that kickoff a couple years ago, I'm sure he didn't sleep well Monday night:ML:
I don't think any of us sleep well when we give up plays. All of our coaches are involved and all of us feel responsible for it. We have to do better. Guys have to get to the right spots and certainly get the ball. We have to do things right.
Q: Against this division, you're 10-3 in the last 13 games. You obviously built this team to do well in the AFC North:ML:
Again, this is another one, and if we don't win this one, nothing else matters. This is what counts now.
Q: Does Mike Brown ever talk about the Cleveland rivalry with you?ML:
Yes. This is an important game for Mr. Brown. He wants to beat the Cleveland Browns.
Q: Can you talk about the impact of Lemar Marshall on the linebacker corps, and the linebackers in general?ML:
We have room for improvement. Caleb Miller, Lemar Marshall, Landon Johnson, and Ahmad Brooks all did good things. I think there are things that we need to do better. I think collectively it will be a big challenge this week. This is a team (Cleveland) that does things in their running game, and we need to be in the right spots and fits defensively. Lemar, coming in, has been a starter in the NFL and brings some stability to come in and learn a new terminology in two weeks and go out and play a football game. The level of professional that he is shows through.
Q: Rashad Jeanty said about Lemar, 'I don't know if he knows it or not, but he's a leader':ML:
He's been a guy who was in front of the huddle in Washington for three years. He had an opportunity and seized the moment in Washington, and hasn't looked back.
Q: Levi didn't play. Is this a message that a player cannot dictate who will play to the coaches?ML:
We have never had that. I think you're making something out of nothing.
Q: Do you think he will play?ML:
I do. I believe Levi will play, and probably start at some point.
Q: With Eric Steinbach at Cleveland, is it an issue that he knows the play calls?ML:
We've changed things to contend with that.