For the first preseason game the objective is to put people in a game situation to see how they perform. Certainly the idea is to win, you always want to win, but that part of it is not put ahead of the opportunity to play personnel. So, if it is the fourth quarter and x amount so and so’s are due to play, then he plays. That is exactly the way that was. It was a game in which both teams had a lot of people play, there were fifteen punts in the game, which is obviously from a standpoint of offense way, way too many punts. But, nevertheless the reflection of where we are in terms of our depth, and I am not speaking for Carolina, but where we are in terms of our depth and how far advanced some of the players are that are second and third teamers.
Q. Did any of those players jump out at you while you were watching the film that you thought performed particularly well?
A. If you look defensively, I think we did have a number of guys who consistently performed pretty well throughout the entire game. I thought (Clint) Sintim had a good ball game, a good physical game, a game in which he rushed the passer. I think you have to understand too, those two young corners, DeAndre Wright and (Stoney) Woodson played almost the whole second half and beyond. Bruce Johnson played a tremendous amount in the game. I was pleased to see that the numbers did not, they weren’t overly excessive even though we did have to play some people perhaps more than we would have wanted. Bruce Johnson had 42 snaps, for example, Woodson and Wright had 32, which is not bad, it’s not that far out of the realm of it. (Will) Beatty had 42 snaps. (Adam) Koets had 42. Those guys, that was good, because they are highly conditioned athletes and they needed to play, and the two things matched up really well together. We did have some guys who down the stretch (Leger) Douzable got the tip which Tommie Hill caught and ran into the end zone, which is an incredible ending to a football game. You don’t see that very, very often. That part of it was exciting. There were some special teams plays that we’re not very, that no one will be proud of, one being obviously the blocked punt. Jeff Feagles made a great play by slapping it out of the back of the end zone, or we would not have had a chance to win the game. We turned one very bad play into a heads up play, but that is an area that we will pound away at. I always tell our punt team, it is an honor to be on the punt team because so much responsibility is placed on your shoulders, winning and losing of games. So we will have a little bit to talk about when it comes to that.
Q. Given the number of snaps for those young players, were you even more impressed with the aggressiveness your defense showed and the number of turnovers they were able to create?
A. The thing that I spoke to our group today, our coaches, was the way it was with the plus four. You would expect and should have had more points. It didn’t happen that way, but we were aggressive and it wasn’t always a pressure aggressiveness either. It was sometimes just the four man rush. We were able to play a lot of guys and guys remained relatively fresh and got up the field and got after the quarterback. Neither second or third offense, either side of the field, had a lot of success. I thought that the Carolina defensive front seven or eight did a nice job of controlling, containing our second and third groups.
Q. Speaking of aggressive, you mentioned Clint Sintim right off the bat. Should we think of him as a linebacker or a defensive end, or a combination?
A. Well, he is a linebacker, but he does have the ability to rush the passer on third down so that gives us more flexibility.
Q. Did you come out of the game clean injury wise?
A. We did. We have a bunch of guys, some bumps and bruises. I don’t think anything that will keep anyone from working.
Q. Of all the guys who missed the game last night with injuries, which ones do you expect back at Chicago?
A. Who do you want to ask me about?
Q. The guards, let’s start there?
A. I expect that there will be progress made. I still think you are going to see some limitation there. We would like to get both of those guys as strong as they can and as healthy as they can before we go forward. So, that still remains a little bit of a question mark.
Q. How about the corners?
A. They are going to start back. I don’t think..we are not free to turn them loose, but we are going to start out with the individuals and perhaps a little bit of team and see where we are.
Q. Any update on (Michael) Boley or (Rocky) Bernard on when they might be able to return?
A. Bernard is going to be able to start in a very limited way back. Boley, no.
Q. Late in the fourth quarter (Rhett) Bomar had completed the two passes on that one possession. Then you get the ball back with about a minute to go, and (Andre) Woodson comes out to take you on the final possession.
A. Yeah, that was the plan. The plan was for Woodson to take the second half two minute if it became that. So, that is why we did that.
Q. One more injury note, Steve Smith?
A. He is going to start back.
Q. About (Mario) Manningham, how did he play?
A. He made a nice catch, made a nice catch downfield. Had a couple missed assignments, which we have to harness. Did a pretty good job of blocking. It is a good start and we hope it continues to grow and he improves so that we can eliminate any kind of confusion and that he can be as aggressive as he needs to be in terms of utilizing his speed and quickness.
Q. How has he been with the mental aspect of things?
A. He has been good, been good. Young guys have their days, so their consistency factor is something that we are working on.
Q. On the intercepted pass that was intended for Barden, was Woodson motioning for him to break long, to go long, and he came back? What happened on that?
A. Well, he should have come back. I am trying to think of exactly what, because I didn’t see Woodson’s hand motion. Once you start back to the ball, you have to continue all the way back to the ball.
Q. Did Andre Brown have his surgery today?
A. Yes he did, and I was told this morning by Ronnie Barnes that Dr. Warren was pleased with the results of the surgery.
Q. You remember someone suffering an Achilles Tendon injury at running back and how they came back from it? Seems like it is a tough injury for that position?
A. We will have to see, we will have to see how that goes. I think he is going to have a very early start on rehab which is going to help him. It is something that will take the necessary time and I don’t know what the time table is. He will have an outstanding opportunity to rehab and all we can do is be positive.
Q. You are obviously heavily populated on the defensive line and wide receivers. If they are all that good, to varying degrees, would you consider adjusting the roster count in order to keep an extra one or two?
A. Well, you may have to.
Q. Doesn’t that hurt your special teams?
A. Not necessarily, not necessarily, it depends on who it is.
Q. Are you close to making a decision somewhere along those lines?
A. No, no. We are going to play a couple of more games.
Q. Your defensive coordinator worked the sidelines instead of upstairs. Is that permanent and what is the thinking behind that?
A. Why is this such an issue? I got asked this last night and I am (being asked) it again today. I like the defensive coordinator to be on the sideline because I think we communicate better. It is not a big deal, it is just a preference of mine, that’s all. Last year’s coordinator was on the field too, for the last two years.
Q. Most of them are, but he told us in the spring that he planned to work upstairs. That is why I was curious.
A. He may have thought that, but when we discussed it I expressed my thoughts and that is what we are currently trying to do.
Q. Do you have to pull Bernard off the NFI list as soon as he starts doing anything or is it when he returns to individual drills?
A. No, he has counted all along, but he does have to come off. He can do rehab type things on the side, but if you want him included in your football stuff then of course he has to come off.
Q. And that is what is going to start this week, the football stuff?
A. I hope that will start relatively soon, yes. We are going to have to feed him..nobody comes back and jumps right in now, we have to bring him back slow.
Q. David Carr had to run out of the pocket last night. In fact, on that one play he ran down the sideline and went head first for that extra yardage. Do you kind of want him to refrain from doing something like that in a preseason game?
A. Well, I think the guy doesn’t run because he chooses to run. He runs because people are covered, he is forced out of the pocket, he is trying to make something happen. The Carolina kid rushed for what, 33 yards last night, when the pressure got to him and the coverage was in good position. So he took off. I think they run because of that. I don’t think it is predetermined; we don’t necessarily want them to. He does have that ability, he does have speed and elusiveness and quickness. Obviously he has done some of this in the past, both in college and at the pro level. I don’t think he is looking to do that, I think he is looking to throw. But if things are not there and he has to make a decision and the clock is running on him, and people are closing in, then he does have that escape ability and you have to think of that as an asset.
Q. One of the things that Brandon (Jacobs) said he wanted to work on this year was his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Have you seen improvements from him in that area?
A. I think he has, I think over the course of training camp he has caught the ball well. I don’t have the numbers in front of me.
Q. Is it something that you have asked him to improve on or did he do this on his own?
A. When it becomes another factor in your offense in terms of your ability to go to the running back, you can be much more effective. It doesn’t take a lot. What we do is we try to point out to each individual how they can improve and this is something that we thought that Brandon could improve upon and he felt the same way.