Opening Comments: ML:
We'll start with the injured guys. Shayne Graham got nicked in the game, but he is actually progressing well. We signed Aaron Elling to relieve us for this week and take over in the Indianapolis game, and we'll see where we are next week. Dexter (Jackson), with the concussion, and with the short turn around this week, we'll hold him out of the Indianapolis game. Frostee Rucker would be the other guy. He injured his hamstring, so he will be down for a while. Johnathan Joseph will be out this week. We're going to back off him for this week. His foot was a little bit sore throughout the game, but we have some time now for him to get better.
Ethan Kilmer had surgery this morning to clean up his knee and see what was causing his discomfort, so he'll be down for a little bit. Rashad Jeanty will have surgery on his lower leg on Friday, so that will put him down for a little bit also. Bennie Brazell was injured in warm-ups, and we'll wait and see where he is. Tim Day is on the mend. I don't know if he'll make it back for this game. Herana-Daze Jones should be good to go for this game. Robert Geathers is good to go for this game. Glenn Holt is good to go. Willie Anderson will return to practice today and we'll evaluate where he is as far as this game goes, after practice today. So that's good news.
The other guy people have had questions about is Chris Perry and he's really progressing well. He may even be a little further along than he was last year at this point in time. Again as I said, we continue to be on the mend and we're getting guys who are closer to being back and healthy and ready to play. It's about putting the right pieces together at the right time.
Q: What is the determining factor as to whether Willie (Anderson) does or does not play?ML:
We'll watch the next day and a half and see how he feels, and how he comes back from what we're doing in practice.
Q: Do you still think Chris Perry will have to start the season on PUP?ML:
Q: Is there a chance he could be on the 53- man roster?ML:
There has always been that opportunity. That's the way the rule is written.
Q: Do you think he (Perry) will be on the field soon?ML:
We'll see. As soon as you're off PUP, you can be on the field. We'll make that determination at the proper time.
Q: Is it a surprise that Chris has progressed as well as he has?ML:
Well, it's not really much of a surprise. This is what he's been looking forward to the whole time. He's made good progress, he's worked hard, and he had a good workout yesterday. When he came in this morning his foot wasn't as sore, but that's not football. You have to keep pushing and moving forward. We have a couple of days to make the decision, so we'll wrap him back up and keep going with it and keep evaluating how he progresses.
Q: Can he practice with the rest of the team?ML:
He can't practice with us, but they go on their own field and do their own things. They do go through a practice, it's just not with us.
Q: How tough are the roster cuts going to be this Saturday?ML:
Well, it's part of the business. The difficult thing is that we need a crystal ball with some of these guys, but we'll make the best decisions we can make for the team and move forward.
Q: With guys like Antonio Chatman and Ethan Kilmer, is it hard to make that call?ML:
We'll just have to make the call and see what's best.
Q: Are you concerned with the play of special teams?ML:
We haven't necessarily played with the guys who will be returning kickoffs and so forth during the regular season. We only gave Tab (Perry) one return (on Monday). We want to go back and look at tape and make sure that the things we are doing are being done right, and be more proficient at what we are doing. The guys out there now aren't necessarily playing with the guys they are used to playing with, but you still want to be better. The long return on our kickoff was not very good, and we'll have to do a better job.
Q: Were you able to see the game differently from up in the press box Monday night, and where will you be coaching from this Friday night?ML:
You do see the game differently and, I'm not sure where I'll be Friday night for the Indianapolis game.
Q: How is the Indianapolis game going to be different from the previous three?ML:
We have some guys who will see decreased playing time. Our goal is to get to September 10th and be the best football team we can be. We've had some great work this preseason. It boils down to playing with speed and energy. We have some guys right now who are still competing for a spot on the team, but our ultimate goal is September 10th.
Q: You already said that David Pollack will not play this year. Was he placed on the PUP list to keep him around the team as much as possible?ML:
He will be around here regardless. Things can change, and there's always a window of opportunity (for Pollack to play in '07), but it's not likely that it would occur. The chances are probably one-in-a-million that it would occur. But that does provide the window, and he will enter the season on PUP as well.
Q: In terms of just being around, what does he (Pollack) mean to this team?ML:
He's always had great energy and passion, which is why we drafted him number one. When he wasn't around, the guys missed him. When he did come around, even when he was in the halo, it was an uplifting thing for everyone. They all know that he works extremely hard and they have empathy for him.
Q: Can he (Pollack) go on the field or help on the field?ML:
He can do anything but practice.
Q: You always hear the term "football shape." If Willie (Anderson) doesn't play in the Indy game, will you have any reservations about putting him in the first regular season game?ML:
He's not going to be as conditioned as he would if he were to have played in the preseason.
Q: Are you still seeing progress in Ahmad Brooks?ML:
In the base defenses, he did a much better job this game. He has to be disciplined and continue to play downhill. We have expanded his horizons a little with Robert (Geathers) being out. We put him in a spot that he was in last year, and he did some good things. He has great natural ability and is able to be a great pass rusher on third downs. He also allows us to use multiple looks on third down. It's good to do this with a guy who's going to be on the forty-five man roster and suited up each Sunday, rather than a guy who may not necessarily be here each Sunday.
Q: What has T.J. Wright shown you?ML:
T.J. has come in and really competed well. I was teasing him the other day and told him, 'I bet your coaches at Ohio University wish you would have been this consistent,' and, 'Why are you doing it now and not when you were with them?' He has great athleticism, skill, speed, and quickness. We had to get through the whole discipline part of playing football at this level, but he's done a good job to this point.
Q: Are you ready for the preseason to be over?ML:
I wouldn't mind a few more days for some of our guys to continue to mend, but that's not going to happen. We were the second team to open up preseason and we'll be the second to last team to finish up the preseason. That's why camp was structured the way it was. We knew we had a long time. We had a lot of practice time, meeting time, and space. What you can't predict are injuries and if the player will come back in a timely manner.
Q: With Rashad Jeanty down, Landon (Johnson) and Caleb (Miller) are getting more time. Do you feel comfortable out there with those guys?ML:
We do feel confident lining up out there with those guys. We also have Eddie (Hartwell), Ahmad (Brooks), Lemar (Marshall), and Andre (Frazier) so it will be a combination of that. There are going to be a slew of guys here who are going to be released in a day or so. We'll continue to look for guys who can add to our roster, and generally that's probably going to be helping Darrin (Simmons) on special teams. We're going to have to keep our eyes open and looking for players who have what we need.