Opening comments:"In the (San Diego) game, we felt it was important to control field position through special teams. I thought the outcome of our punts ended up okay. It was a tough day into the wind, but we only had one (punt) into the wind yesterday. But the way the field position started with them into the wind to begin with had an effect on the punting all day and the kickoffs. I thought Clint (Stitser) did a pretty good job, a decent job of kicking off yesterday. Really, the missing of the PAT was the worst thing, the worst offense. We had one silly foul in the kicking game with the hold. I think the other one was more an error in judgment on the call. We had two guys trip and we get called for a penalty which we didn't even touch the guy. We just tangled feet up so, but that didn't become a big issue there.
"On defense, it was important to get off to a good start and minimize their running game. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of that. You have to keep making sure you get the ball carriers down, tackle the catches. That team had made a lot of explosive plays, and we were able to keep them from really any in the passing game yesterday, which was a big part of the game. (Our goal was to) try to get the quarterback to have to move in the pocket, and we were able to be fairly successful with that. And to come up with the turnovers we did, the two turnovers were key. We got points out of the one (Rey Maualuga's INT), we didn't get anything out of the first one (Roy Williams' fumble recovery). But those were big.
"Offensively, we set out to do a couple things. Number one, to be able to protect our edges, to be able to rush the football, and I thought we did a good job. We had the one holding penalty bring us back, and we had the fumble hurt us in that. Ced (Benson)'s yards per carry average didn't look that good, but some of those zero runs got knocked together in certain drives. But we were effectively able to move and get first downs running the football. Third down was important. Red zone was important, and we were very good yesterday at that and scoring touchdowns down there. So those were I thought the high points of the football game for us."
On Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson yesterday:"They came in and played how we expected them to play. They went out and did their jobs, and not always perfect, but when the opportunity arose, they made the best of it. They played with a lot of energy, which is good."
On Chad Ochocinco's health:"He should have an opportunity to be back this week. We'll see. He practiced on Friday. He's no worse for the wear, obviously not playing in the game on Sunday."
On whether Jonathan Wade and Brian Leonard will play this week:"We'll see. Jonathan Wade for sure should be available."
On the impact of this week's game:"We have a chance to split in the division. To finish the season on a high point, on the road, which will be fun. It's be going into a very challenging place to play, but one our guys are very familiar with, at least the guys that have been here for a little bit. I think for the rookies it will be fun. It'll be their first chance to go there to the stadium there in Baltimore and see that, and see Ray (Lewis) do the dance and all those things. It will be a good experience for them."
On the wind affecting passing yesterday:"I think there was (an effect) a little bit. I thought one of their balls early, a throw on second down in the game, got knocked down pretty good. Going back over into their bench area like that, sometimes you get some gusts across our field. I know as I run out here most mornings in the stadium, it's pretty gusty going that way at times."
On how Carson Palmer handled going into the wind:"I think he's used to it. He's obviously gotten a lot of time on task here with it, practicing in it, so he's comfortable and familiar with it. That makes a difference."
On this being the most comfortable Palmer has been in awhile:"We were able to keep him pretty clean. They had some guys fall off late on him, but other than that – we missed one pickup – it was a pretty good game. He had a lot of traffic to direct, and he was able to sort through that and make the best of it. He moved away from pressure a couple times and was able to throw the ball."
On Bernard Scott's recent improvement:"I think his most negative play was dropping the kickoff against the Steelers. He's a guy who wants opportunity to play. He sees a couple guys he went to school with (at Abilene Christian) – (Bears WR) Johnny Knox and guys like that – who are doing good things. He wants that same opportunity. Last year, one of his best games was against the Bears. As he reminds me all the time, 'Coach, I can play too.' I said, 'I know you can. The more you earn, the more opportunity you get.'"
On Scott's improvements being things without the ball:"Yes, without the ball."
On the things the coaching staff has worked on with Jerome Simpson:"Dave (coaching assistant David Lippincott) spent a lot of time with Jerome. From training camp, out late, out early, whatever it is, trying to set things up visually all the time for Jerome, and he continues to do it now. Every Monday and Tuesday if Jerome doesn't do it, I check with David to make sure Jerome's getting it done. I think it's important for a young player.
"(With) Jerome, his background wasn't the same as some of the guys that come in here, and a lot of this is new to him. Sometimes, it takes guys a little bit longer. He's got things he can do that we can't coach, and he's special that way. It's taken time to get him out there to get him out there where we know that we're not going to have a real negative play. We just keep working with him. The quarterback is going to have a trust in those guys being in the right spots because he's letting the ball go – it's not like you go stand there and wait on the ball. The ball is getting let go. Sometimes the quarterback is under a little duress too, so the ball has to be let go on time."
On Simpson's development:"I don't think we need to do a dissertation on him, but I think Jerome has worked hard when called upon. He got an opportunity to produce the last two weeks and that's been good."
On the reward of watching Simpson's development show yesterday:"It's great to see. That's the joy of yesterday, to see the first touchdown. I can't tell you how many Fridays I walk in (from practice), and you guys are waiting there, and I've seen Jerome do that on the defense where he's gone up over the end zone in the back corner and went up over everybody to catch the football. Normally, he can go dunk it afterwards but he said he was too tired. We've all stood there and seen him do that many times, particularly my boss (Mike Brown). It's good to see him do it when it's live and it counts. In the preseason, he's made plays. It's not necessarily been in the preseason against the guys that are out there in the regular season. Yesterday, he did."
On trying to get Simpson in the lineup earlier:"He had to grow through that too, because we don't get to suit them all up on Sundays. We have Quan (Cosby), who's just given us great snaps – great snaps as a returner, he's making tackles on the kickoff team, he's a backup on our punt team, and he's the off-returner on the kickoff, so everything he does, he's playing a legitimate role. Jordan (Shipley)'s been in on third downs, and Andre (Caldwell) can back up all the spots, so Jerome's kind of been the odd man out and the extra guy.
"If I ever had the opportunity to suit up six guys (receivers), if we've been healthy in another spot, it's always been Jerome, just because he can do some things that would help the offense all the time, and you want to see him get chances to play. The more he plays, the better he's going to be, the more comfortable he would be. I remember going back two seasons ago when he was a rookie playing Pittsburgh here, and he first got a chance to suit up. He's been suited up at times this year, and we've had plays designed for him. It didn't work out quite like it did yesterday, but yesterday it did."
On people wondering why Simpson wasn't featured earlier in special packages:"All the time, you are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and you have to hold your breath somewhere else. We only suited up four receivers yesterday because I wanted eight offensive linemen. So, it's a little different yesterday because we had an injury somewhere else and I was trying to take care of that. So we've been going with less defensive backs, going with an extra linebacker. We play 3-4 (defensive alignment) teams in our division, which means they have more linebackers suited up every week. We have to block linebackers with linebackers (on special teams). You can't block linebackers with receivers. That's the other thing I think people don't quite understand, in the special teams area you get your head beat in because you are out there with skinnier, lighter guys all the time."
On it having to be the perfect situation to have six receivers active:"Yeah. I told the offensive coaches before the Cleveland game, 'Let's just put Jerome in regular personnel and build upon that. Rather than trying to figure out when he's in the game, he is just going to be in there. Regular (packages), it will be him and Terrell (Owens). Chad (Ochocinco) will be out in regular.' That way it was easier, we are going to build a package in regular because we'll have Chris Pressley up and we'll have Jerome and Terrell in there and we built a package that way. That way, as you're sitting up with your game plan sheet, your call sheet and you list the plays and how they come off the sheet, it is easier to figure out and understand, rather than, 'Is Jerome in or Jerome out?' Because now, we have all the deal at the huddle and the quarterback has to sort through it and it makes his job tough."
On if he talked to the coaches before he talked to Simpson:"Well, I try to all of the time, but it's always the opportunity to get it done. I can't remember who got injured in Pittsburgh that I said, 'Well, we have this spot and we can do that.' What I do each Monday is see how many snaps this guy played. How many snaps did this guy play? I don't want to suit up a guy if he's going to play two snaps or not play at all unless I know why. Unless you play offensive line, you probably should be playing in the game because there is something you can do. If you're not covering kicks, it's not really a good thing for us to be suiting you up."
On if anything was simplified for Simpson:"No, because then you're kind of handcuffed. The difference is, when you go to a game plan, you say these are the things we're going to do, and this is the concentration of things on the sheet, and these are what we've practiced. You're going to get two, maybe three reps on something during the week and then it gets out there on Sunday. And hopefully it's something we've gone over the week before and the week before. That's the one thing with these guys we've had to do a little bit more of, just because of who they are, with Jermaine (Gresham), with Jordan (Shipley) and so forth. We got fooled early on and that hurt us."
On if Simpson's growth has been more steady or rapid:"I don't know. I think he has a better grasp of things."
On Simpson's athleticism:"He is pretty special. I think he does some special things. He can run and jump like not many people I've ever seen."
On if Andrew Whitworth has been playing at a Pro Bowl level (Whitworth won the fan vote for AFC offensive tackles):"Yes, he has. He really has. I think he's had a fine, fine season. When you put things together and structure things offensively, particularly against this division and the people we've played this year, you have to be able to count on certain things. And I think we can for the most part leave him alone and know where the help needs to happen. He's generally up to the challenge. I think in the running game is probably where he has improved the most, as a blocker on the line of scrimmage. He's done a great job this year and he's a tremendous leader. I think he's had a fine season."
On how Anthony Collins played yesterday:"I thought A.C. played well. It was good to see. He's had a rough go of it, as well, and it was good to see him get out there fulltime, and he did a nice job. He's got to keep focusing on football and not all of the other stuff that goes on like the crowd noise and all of that. You're a big tough strong offensive lineman, so let's carry ourselves that way. Young guys with a lot of enthusiasm, which is fine."