Opening comments: ML: "As we move forward into the first weekend of preseason for us, I think we're going to have some guys that will miss this first game, but should have an opportunity to play in the second game for the most part. Right now those guys would be Andre Smith, Fui Vakapuna, and Antonio Bryant. Some other guys will probably be more in the questionable area, and we'll see how the next couple of days unfold. They're kind of bumped and bruised, and some may need the time to continue the healing process, but we'll see what they can get done in the next two days out there on the practice field and whether or not they're eligible to play on Sunday with us.
"I think we've had good consistent work. I think the weather, with the heat and humidity, has been cooperative, which is a good thing for training camp for us to get ready for the season. I think now that we have everyone here in camp and on board, we're able to move into different offensive and defensive structures, and to put guys into certain positions and certain situations where we want to see them. As we go into this first game, I think we're in pretty good shape. We'd like to have 80 hands on deck. We're not quite there, but we'll get those guys back."
Q: How much will the starters play?ML: "They'll play some in the first quarter, and then we'll play most of the other guys the rest of the game."
Q: So they'll play the first quarter?ML: "They'll play until I take them out."
Q: What ways will game speed help Carson (Palmer) and Terrell (Owens) that practice can't?ML: "I think the opportunity to play against other people is always good. I don't know if it'll affect Terrell and Carson as much, since Terrell's learning on the move. He's a veteran player. There are things he has done that maybe we coach a little differently. The terminology may be different in some instances, but he's basically carrying what he already knows. But I don't think it's going to be that big of a deal, because every day out here he's playing against people he's never played against or seen on a daily basis."
Q: You've been pretty quick to single out a couple players here at training camp. How has the entire team progressed?ML: "We've got a lot of work to do, and that's what we said when we got here. We'll continue to work towards that, and the progress gets measured by how we go about our body of work. We still have a lot of things to tighten up and be better at in those situations. I think as we get closer and closer to playing, those things continue to act and they tighten up a little quicker as you get out of the monotony of training camp."
Q: Do you tailor your language of the offense to what Terrell is used to?ML: "No. A veteran guy is used to learning. The way our things are called aren't that far off from what he learned last year in Buffalo, so I think there's some carryover. All in all, we're not tailoring it. It's different obviously from what he grew up in with the West Coast system. The way it's numbered with the names is a little different."
Q: So there aren't as many names?ML: "There are more names in the West Coast system."
Q: How do you feel about the timing between Owens and Palmer?ML: "I think timing will come as we keep doing more and more things together. That is probably the one aspect of things that we have to continue to work hard at. With Chad and all the receivers, that's something we have to continue to work at because it's the key to an efficient passing-game offense. It's so important to have that relationship and timing between the quarterbacks and receivers."
Q: A lot of people have said Terrell makes up routes as he goes:ML: "We have the ultimate maker-up-as-he-goes, so he can't even get on the same planet as that guy (Chad Ochocinco). For those of us that have played and coached against Terrell, you feel good about his route-running and the things he does. We've seen the evidence out here since he got here last week."
Q: With (Antonio) Bryant and Matt (Jones) out, (Maurice) Purify and Jerome (Simpson) have been getting a lot of snaps:ML: "Jerome's thing has never been to not look good physically, but now he's doing other things much, much better. He's understanding the concepts and routes better now."
Q: The last few years you guys played the Mock Game coming up this weekend. How is this (Hall of Fame game) different, and are you preparing any differently?ML: "It's not early, because we were allowed to start camp based on when we play our first preseason game. This is our first chance to play against guys in other colored helmets, and the timing of it is good for us. It's a good opportunity for our young players, and I've said this since we decided to take on the game."
Q: Does playing five preseason games help or hurt your team?ML: "We accepted to do the game and, for the nine-millionth time (laughs), we have a lot of young players and it gives them more snaps and more opportunities to play."
Q: Carson had his best statistical season in 2005. With the guys you have out there, do you anticipate that he can do the same kinds of things this year?ML: "The most important thing is to win the most games. If they're putting winning drives together and winning football games, that's the most important part. So I don't concern myself with Carson's stats as long as his interception totals are low, the fumble totals for the offense are low and we're making converting third downs. Obviously his passer rating has a lot to do with the stats I mentioned, so that's probably the main one that matters."
Q: But you guys won a lot of games in 2005:ML: "But we didn't win the last game, and that's the one that counts."
Q: Does a nationally-televised game mean as much to the coaches as it does the players?ML: "It's a good thing for our players to play in a nationally-televised game. I don't know that it affects the coaches any differently."
Q: (Jordan) Shipley and (Dezmon) Briscoe. How are they doing?ML: "They're doing well. Dez had probably made the biggest jump from where he was when we first had him in rookie camp, so I've been really pleased with him. Jordan (Shipley) has come back and fit right in."
Q: Is Odom progressing further than you thought he would be at this point?ML: "He was cleared to participate back in OTAs (after recovery from last season's Achilles tendon injury). He's had some illness that he's been dealing with lately, in and out of camp a couple of days, but other than that he's been doing fine. He got kicked in the Achilles one time and his ankle was a little sore, but he's just got to get back to playing football. The good thing is he got to do that back in late May or early June."
Q: Was it the same Achilles?ML: "I think so."
Q: What do you want the guys to get from touring the Hall of Fame on Saturday?ML: "It's a good opportunity for them to see the traditions of the game and where things started and why."
Q: Any idea what Chad (Ochocinco) might do inside the Hall of Fame?ML: "Hopefully he learns a lot."
Q: What are your thoughts on (Dick) LeBeau into the Hall of Fame?ML: "I think he's still among the top interceptors of all time. He was a guy who was a very productive player at the corner position, and was a tough, tough football player. He has been a great friend since I started working with him in 1992. I am excited for him, and he is well-deserving as a player. Obviously a lot of the recognition has come from Dick as a coach, but he was a fine player."
Q: How is (Jermaine) Gresham doing, and how much will he play on Sunday?ML: "I don't know ... until I feel like he's played enough. He's had to come here and really get going. When you come in five or six or seven practices into it like he did, you've got to get going. We're counting on him to do a lot. You don't get the luxury of standing back and watching and observing, you've got to get in and do it. It's going to be a lot of trial by fire, and he may make some mistakes, but once he makes those mistakes, we'll be able to make the corrections."