Thoughts about last night's game...
First of all, I apologize for being late. I got in this meeting, and I just got caught up talking about people and I didn't realize the time, so you guys can fine me. I think that overall, as we studied the game - you know it's our second preseason game - we had a lot of good things that happened from an individual standpoint. I think that if you started to look at the areas that we were concerned about and looking for improvement and the areas that we outlined - if you look at special teams, I think that our kickoff return did advance forward. I think our punt return game, we did get one return that felt like maybe that should have been a touchdown. We did a good job coming off the ball with our field goal block team. We had another nice field goal. We kicked the ball off well, although I don't think we covered very well. The punt game: the punter was a little bit more consistent, and we have a lot more work to go there in addition to not just the punter but the coverage being aware of the length and quality of the kicks and having more people in position to defend and tackle when they do arrive at the spot. So I think there was some progress made there. Some individuals did a good job. Some still have a ways to go. I think that defensively, if you say that you want to stop the run and run the ball, our ones did okay with the run, I thought, but I don't believe our seconds and our thirds did a good job. We gave up too much yardage, gave up too much soft yardage, and a lot of our young guys, not naming a lot of names, that had played well in the first game a week ago did not play as well in this game and the obvious was the result. We just did not stop the run, we did not do the things that we had done to reject the run the week before. I think offensively we did run it a little bit better and we did make some progress there. Some of the individuals and some of the guys who have been highlighted and have played a lot of snaps this preseason, they're not without fault, but they are making some progress and I felt like that was a good thing. Andre Brown had some nice runs and some powerful runs and had a nice kickoff return run. Gartrell Johnson runs up in there hard and he also had a couple of good straight ahead, no fear dodging runs on kickoff returns so those factors prevailed. Rhett Bomar hung in there. He's a tough kid. He took some hits and still stayed in command. We thought he did a better job as the game went along. He missed a few things early on, but as I say, accuracy is an issue. We felt like even the ball to Tim Brown, if we could have gotten that thing in bounds, it might have been a chance for Tim Brown to make a big play, a long play. There are always things that you can look at. We'll take this film apart tomorrow and not be in any rush to advance, but rather to make sure that everybody has a chance to study this and recognize once again, what is it we're going to have to improve upon as we go forward.
Q: What is Brandon Jacobs' situation?
A: I think they'll get him out to practice. He felt a little bit better today. He had some issues in terms of flexibility and movement in the neck in terms of the muscle contractions but I think that the expectation is that he'll be able to practice.
Q: Is that anything that you need to worry about going forward?
A: Don't ask me how this was provoked, but it's the first time we've ever seen this. According to the MRI, it was nothing of a structural nature, it was muscle.
A: Yeah, that's what the doctors have said that they feel like they can put him in a position where he can play this weekend and so Rich would not only get his work this week during practice but also take some snaps in the game.
Q: With all of these guys coming back then, how important is it for the offense here to get a good week at practice and a good amount of time in that third preseason game?
A: What's important is that these guys practice together, that we get the whole group together so that we can talk about overall improvement. When you look at some of the things that are happening, for example, the pass protection break downs, the lack of real efficient route running, the cohesiveness of the timing involved between the quarterback and the receivers and the protection and the sight adjustments...all that stuff needs work and it needs time spent together and that's why this week will be so important to these guys.
Q: What about your backup quarterback, Jim Sorgi? Is he coming back too?
A: No, he won't be back this week, no.
Q: Will Eli be able to practice tomorrow?
A: Yes. They say he can practice. He will not wear a helmet, but he can practice.
Q: Do you know when he'll be able to put the helmet back on?
A: Not sure. The projection is for this week.
Q: D.J. Ware has had two concussions in under a year. What is the level of concern with that?
A: Well, there is great concern, and he's going through all the series of tests. As with each individual that has that injury, both Sha'reff Rashad and Ware are going through the series of tests today. No, excuse me, it's Monday.
Q: Have you decided how you're going to work Shawn Andrews in and at what position?
A: We're talking about that right now. I'm not really done talking about that,so I'm going to hold off on that. You can hit me with that one tomorrow, but we're going to get him on the practice field tomorrow, which will be a good thing, and work him a little. He hasn't practiced in quite a while, but he is in pretty good shape, so we feel like we're going to be able to move forward with Shawn.
Q: Are there any limitations on Eli because he's not going to be able to wear a helmet?
A: I don't think so, but we're certainly going to be very very careful. We do not allow anybody to touch the quarterback, we don't like coming down the bow, it happens once in a while, but not too often. Most of our guys are really good at - if they do get free, they come up the field past the quarterback. We don't allow them to put their hands up or put their hands anywhere near where the quarterback's arm or release point would be. The guys are pretty much aware of that. I think that when you practice under those conditions, you're going to have to be very sharp. I'm sure we'll pick our spots, perhaps in the first practice anyway, as we get a feel for what is best.
Q: So Eli won't wear any apparatus on his head at all?
A: A baseball cap, I believe, is what they said.
Q: As far as Ahmad Bradshaw is concerned, with his increased workload, do you need to see a little bit more maturity or something from him as he takes on this bigger role?
A: Well, Bradshaw has been in this program for a number of years and he has matured and he has developed and I think that he recognizes without a doubt that this is not going to continue. Not if we're going to be the kind of team we can be and if he's going to have the kind of season he's going to have and develop a consistency and a reliability, not only for me, but for the coaching staff and for the players, for his teammates, so there's been good development and it will continue and I'm very confident that it will.
Q: With the guards back, is David Diehl going to go back to tackle?
A: Diehl will continue to work and be available for both guard and tackle.
Q: Did the defense make real progress yesterday or did they show anything that was really heartening for you?
A: Well, there were some outstanding individual plays. Some people were flying around the creation of our big plays, which created long yardage situations. Good tackling on the line of scrimmage on the part of some guys who we really needed to see that from. I know Antrel Rolle got down the line of scrimmage, got down in the backfield a couple of times coming from depth which was a very positive sign. The interception by Corey Webster was an exceptional play. He has great hands, but his ability to maneuver in that situation with that ball, not all that well thrown, and he was the one that could react and locate and time the ball to be in a better position to make that play. That was a big plus as well. There were a lot of things that were very good that we can build upon.
Q: What about Kenny Phillips? How did he perform?
A: Kenny got in there, he got his feet wet, got some plays under his belt, and I'm sure some confidence. He and Keith Bulluck will both move forward in the practice week, will be more involved, and they'll get more snaps this weekend.
Q: Do you expect Ramses Barden back this week?
A: No, I don't think so. It didn't sound that way downstairs.
Q: Do you have any idea what the problem is with Ramses' back?
A: Yeah, he's coming off of a - just like a lot of these guys, Michael Johnson is the same way - trying to battle themselves back from some pain in the lower back and some inability to be able to run and to run consistently, so progress is being made, it's a little bit slow, but it's being made.
Q: Is it muscles or do they have disc issues or anything structural?
A: There's some of that, there's some of that involved.
Q: Will Michael Johnson play this week?
A: I hope he can get out there, but right now I don't have the green light.
Q: Just a followup on Bradshaw. Do you think he does get it, that you're going to require more of him this season than he has given in the past?
A: I think that he definitely gets it - and he wants it.
Q: How was the strongside linebacker play?
A: It was better than it was last week, but it's still got a ways to go.