Q: Will Michael Boley and Chris Canty go full today?
A: No. They are going to be half or whatever we feel like – as we move through the practice, (based on) the feedback that we get, we will either continue or slow it down a little bit. But they are going to work.
Q: Will Domenik Hixon go full today?
A: Hixon will, yes.
Q: How is Sinorice Moss? What happened to his foot?
A: He is just going to work. He will be limited but we will see how much he can do.
Q: How is Kevin Boss?
A: He has an ankle but he is going to work.
Q: You talked about the fundamentals on Sunday. Do you change the script on practice today at all to focus more on that aspect?
A: No, but we will pre-practice do some things that fit the mode, as we always do. We always have a 10-minute period in which I instruct the beginning of the practice what I call the ‘core groupings.’ The first day, normally those core groupings are some kind of tackles – shed, strip. And offensively, ball security. The second day it is normally a screen drill. The third day would be an interception drill for the defense and an offense drill that dealt with hot and sight adjustments. Now what we will do, even though we are in shells, we will still have form tackling so that our bodies are in the right position, the helmet is in the right position. We will focus on the angles of the secondary people as they come down – which we are not very good – we didn’t talk about that – I didn’t mention that. But the angle with which we come down as we see the ball appear got us in trouble, too. So we do have that to try to work and improve upon as well. So that is what I mean by fundamentals. And the fundamental period is right away in the beginning of practice. So we will have an emphasis along the lines with what obviously we need to improve upon.
Q: You mentioned last week that you had met with your leadership council. Have you met this week with them?
A: No, I haven’t yet.
Q: Do you plan to?
A: Yes, I will.
Q: How effective are they in communicating?
A: They are good. I have not seen anything that would tell me otherwise. Whatever the discussion is about, that is their role, to communicate it to the other players so that when I begin to talk about it, they have heard about it and they can interpret it, they know exactly what I mean by it. And we have always done a pretty good job of that.
Q: Obviously with a couple of losses in a row and the bye after this one, can you share with us at all what the message is – what you are message-wise emphasizing this week with the players?
A: Well number one is that any time you lose you are down. You are down. And that is just the way it is. We talked about realizing that is the normal case. But having to be above that; having to look at what are the problems and go about our business of trying to rectify them. Valid self-analysis is critical. We know we are not an excuse outfit. I don’t think any of the players would offer that. I think you have to look hard at it and you have to understand that things have to improve. Now we are also half way through the season, so we are not going into a training camp mode. And that has been, as you well know, a part of our issue has been that from time to time we have been able to practice, period. And that is the way the cards have been dictated. But, nevertheless, the message is that. And the message really is that it is a one-game season for us. We have the bye coming up. Fortunately for us, we did have the bye where you would like to have a bye. It wasn’t after the second week; it wasn’t after the third week, as we have had in the past. So use it properly and utilize everything that we possibly can to put ourselves in a position, give ourselves a chance to win. And in so doing, if and when we do win, then obviously the bye can be something that really helps us, reinforces us and gives us a lift when we need it. Now, the other thing that you didn’t mention about the leadership council is that is part of their job. Leaders are lifters. Leaders are lifters. And normally what has to happen when a team does fight their way out of a problem, your best players have to show the way. They are the ones that show the way. The guys that are in the role of a foot shoulder, they will play and they will work their tails off. But what ultimately shows is when the guys that are recognized as your quality football players – your better football players – they have to play themselves into a position where they are showing the way. And that is what has to be mentioned as well.
Q: When you find yourself in those meetings do you find yourself doing more listening or more talking to the leadership council?
A: I usually have a lot of information to share with them and then there is a point at which they can go ahead and interpret or ask me questions about it. But normally, even for as long as we have been doing this, it is an information sharing thing from me to them and then they try to understand what I am saying and ask questions about it. They do have an occasional question, but not normally.
Q: What you just said to us about those guys being the guys that have to lift the team up, is that what you are going to tell them?
A: I have already told them. That is why I’m telling you. I wouldn’t tell you something before I tell the team.
Q: Do you feel like your star players, so to speak, or your leaders - are they playing well enough or is nobody playing well enough?
A: We have a lot of room for improvement. There is no doubt about that. I don’t think anyone would argue with you on that one.
Q: It seems like in the past you have sort of been on an even keel; every game is just as important as the next one. You just said this is a one-game season. Antonio Pierce said on Sunday that this is our Super Bowl. Have the circumstances dictated a change?
A: No, I just think it is the fact that it is before a bye. How else would you look at it? You have a one-game schedule because there is one game. And then you do have a bye. So what would you look for beyond that one game? There is one game and let’s put all of our energy and all of our focus on that to do the best job that we can. Reinforce ourselves on the practice field; not be sensitive at all to the circumstances that have taken place, the criticism that is coming forth, the idea that there is self-analysis here. And everyone will improve if we do, in fact, improve ourselves in just a few fundamental areas. I think we will play better football; we will be a better football team. Now can we play from behind; can we give up the big play? Obviously that is part of the thing that has to stop.
Q: You are playing a team that you are not familiar with; does that help improve the concentration?
A: I think so; I think it does. I think it does, although there is a lot to study. There is a lot of study. This is a team that, like you said, we did play a few years ago. We do have to read, we do have to study. That will be part of my post-practice message today to them. As far as getting to know them, we have introduced the team. We have done it from a verbal standpoint, we have done it from a video standpoint, which we always do on Wednesday mornings. They do have a grasp of that. They have had their individual meetings basically on first and second downs – and our special teams meetings. So we will reinforce that part of it afterwards as well.
Q: No roster moves this week? Do you feel confident that the guys you have here can get it done?
A: They are our 53; they are our team. We have to get it done.
Q: You talked about how winning this week could give you such a lift during the bye week. With the possibility of losing four in a row and going into the bye week would that be devastating?
A: I’m not talking about that. I’m not going to even respond to that one.
Q: Is your bye week schedule set? Will this game have any effect on that?
A: Probably not. It is the timing of the bye. It is really the important thing to focus on and the fact that after the bye week there are ‘x’ amount of games to play.
Q: How important is it to get off to a good start and not have to play from behind?
A: Oh, it is very, very important. To go out -- as you talk about all three phases – all three phases doing something together to support one another, that is what you are talking about. Let’s get off to the good start. All you have to do is go back a couple of weeks and we had run a bunch of games together where we had scored the first possession and we were three and out after the first possession; so it is not that far back if you just go back and look. And the interesting thing is winning the toss and getting the ball. I’m not so sure that wouldn’t help us, too.
Q: Is Mario Manningham going to work today?
Q: Is his shoulder – I guess it has been a few weeks that it has kind of bothered him – is that something that you are going to have to sort of manage as time goes on or is this something that he will be able to get over with some rest over the bye week?
A: Well, I think he will definitely improve. He has improved in one week’s time.
Q: When you look at San Diego what are the concerns?
A: They are a good football team; an aggressive football team; a 4-3 team that is averaging a lot of points. They have a combination from an offensive standpoint of big wide receivers, an accurate quarterback, an outstanding running game; defensively a fast, physical defensive team; veteran corners. They are a team that has ratcheted up their pressure package in the few weeks preceding our game; outstanding return game. When you look at the Denver game you think to yourself, ‘Wow, Denver ran a punt and a kickoff back.’ Well, so did San Diego. They ran a punt back. So all three phases – they run well, they are a good football team. They are well led, etc.