(Opening statement injury report)

“Paul Smith, you know we had somewhat of an optimistic view on when he would be back…still optimistic. He’s going to be fine, but he had to have some surgery to correct the damage that was around his eye. The surgery happened yesterday. It went real well. It looks like it could be anywhere from three to five weeks for him until some of that damage is healed. It required some surgery because there was some spasm around his eye and things like that. Pretty delicate thing there so it’s fortunate that he was able to get that corrected, but he’ll be pushed back a little bit. Travis Fisher and Fahkir are going to be questionable. Both did, on a limited basis, quite a bit of work today. Fahkir a little more than Travis. Travis has got a little bit of swelling there in that quad groin area. His MRI showed some swelling, so we’re going to go day to day with him. He was able to run and work. He did quite a bit. Fahkir did a little bit more. He got a new tape spat to his ankle that he was real happy with. We’ll still go day-to-day with him, but that’s kind of where we’re at. From that advantage point, I think we’re relatively healthy.”

(Opening statement announcement)

“Very glad to announce that Pisa has signed a five-year extension with our football team. I think there will be a formal announcement this afternoon. You’ll get all the information on that, details, whatever there is there. I can say one thing that this is certainly the type of thing we want to get done; maintaining continuity with our football team. Certainly players who have been here, that have kind of earned this opportunity that Pisa has. We’re really glad to say that Pisa will be a Ram for years to come. He exemplifies what we’re looking for in a player in our program, and a teammate, and all those things. I’m really happy about that new news. Just found that out about two hours ago myself.”

(On LB Will Witherspoon and CB Ron Bartell’s conditions)

“Full practice, didn’t miss a rep. Will—slight ankle sprain. Didn’t miss anything, didn’t look affected by it at all. Bartell—we were just making sure that it was cramping from the game, which it was. It was general soreness on Monday, and he was able to go full go today.”

(On FB Paul Smith being out three to five weeks from now)

“From now, yeah. He had the surgery yesterday afternoon, and actually had to spend the night to make sure he was pain free. He was released this morning and actually was sent home—home here to St. Louis. He didn’t come to practice. The prognosis is good; it’s just going to be later than sooner. That was disappointing, but I’m glad the surgery went well, and it’s supposed to correct the problems.”

(On the type of surgery Smith underwent)

“From what I was told, there was some muscle damage around the eye that was creating some spasm around the eye and creating some blurred vision. They had to relieve that. The only way they could do that is through corrective surgery. He had a lot of specialists looking at it, and they finally came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to heal on its own and they needed to do this. It was a unanimous agreement. Everybody felt it was the best thing to do. Paul felt really good about it. Talked to him last night after the surgery. He said it went well. I’m not sure he sees the immediate effect of it, but knows that it was the right thing to do.”

(On T Orlando Pace’s condition)

“Knock on wood, I think we’re past that. We certainly keep an eye on him, but he says he feels 100 percent normal now. Hopefully that stays that way.”

(On FB Madison Hedgecock’s performance and progression this season)

“He played very well. He’s finally 100 percent. That shows you how hard it is to get back from those high ankle sprains. I think for three or four games he was working that way, but he wasn’t able to push off on that ankle the way a guy that plays his position needs to. I think Sunday was a good example of how he can play when he’s 100 percent. He’s playing very well, and is playing well on our special teams. He’s progressively gotten better each week.”

(On what CB Travis Fisher can do to get healthy)

“We’re trying everything. He made a lot of progress in that area, I think, in this offseason with his training, his rehab, and maintaining a lot of things in his stretching. I know he gets a lot of adjustments. He has specialists working him, from chiropractors to stretch specialists, masseuse, and the whole thing. You just keep trying everything. He’s done pretty well to this point. I think he’s probably favoring that leg a little bit because he’s had a sore groin, the other one. He’s just one of those guys that’s got to try to maintain a regiment that keeps him as healthy as he can be. I think we will always be trying to find new ways to improve it for him. I think he’s felt pretty good to this point, and I think he feels better than he thought he would today, to be honest with you.”

(On substituting players)

“I think if you want to be a good football team, and I think we’ve started in the right direction there. You’ve got to create depth at all your positions so when you’re addressing your team, particularly in the offseason, you’re not just focusing in on your starters, you’re focusing on your 53-man roster. A lot of it goes back to we played a lot of second-tier players a lot, not only in practice, but in the preseason. We’ve got a lot of time. It certainly pays off for them to be evaluated, and for us to know what they can and can not do. I think it starts with a good evaluation by our personnel department and our coaching staff of making sure that we have quality players in the depth position. It’s a good start. We’re certainly always trying to evaluate our roster and those kinds of things. I think we’ve been able to do that in a couple of these areas and kind of avoided some potential disasters with some of these injuries.”

(On if defeating Seattle will serve as a measuring stick for progress of the team)

“I think so. I think you always look forward to playing the team that sets the bar. The bar was set by Seattle last year in the NFC and in our division. That’s kind of the way the league works. It goes in cycles, but they’re certainly the team to beat, not only in our division, but in the entire NFC. It’s a pretty big challenge for us, but it’s also one that we’ve been looking forward to. It will be a pretty big measuring stick based on how this game turns out this week, and kind of lets us know where we’re at at this point.”

(On the importance of Sunday’s game)

“It’s bigger because it raises our record from 4-1 to 5-1 if we win the game, and puts us in better position in our division. There is some reality to that. I think it’s important that we look at it as the next game, even though it is a division rival, and defending division champs. It does kind of give you a little bit more of a feel as to where you’re at, playing a team that pretty much dominated the entire NFL last year. Our guys are real excited for the challenge.”

(On LB Julian Peterson)

“He’s real versatile. He made a name for himself at San Francisco with his ability to be a will space player linebacker on third down. He’s doing the same thing for them. He can play in the outside linebacker space. He can be in the box. He can rush on the blitz. He’s a good enough athlete to cover tight ends and backs and things like that. Just kind of to add insult to injury, to put the guy as a defensive end on third down and rush the passer with him. He creates a lot of problems that way. There’s a handful of players like that in this league, so you just have to kind of have a target to where he’s at and keep your eye on him so he doesn’t sneak up on you. It’s harder than it sounds actually.”

(On if LB Isaiah Kacyvenski will help against Seattle)

“I think some. A lot of it’s in a mentality, maybe how they look at us. How they see our team, strengths, weaknesses, things like that. What the keys are to playing us…those kinds of things. Playing us here. All those things are important. Like I’ve said before, too much information is a bad thing. Common sense says they’re going to be aware of that as well. I think more of that than anything. It’s been kind of fun. It’s also kind of fun to just talk about it and that kind of thing.”

(On if he will talk to Kacyvenski about Seattle)

“I have. General things as far as how they saw our team. It’s different, though, because they haven’t played us this year. A lot of it was based on what he knows on how the Rams played before. That kind of changes it a little bit. A lot of it’s kind of the things that I wasn’t aware of as far as the history of the games he’s played in against the Rams. I think it’s valuable to a point.”

(On RB Shaun Alexander being injured)

“It’s hard. You just don’t replace the MVP, but they’ve done a nice job, for the most part this year, to find ways to be productive. Maurice Morris showed signs of the type of back he can be at times last week and the week before. He’s going to get a number of carries, I’m sure. They’ve had two weeks to evaluate how to do that. What happens when you lose a player like that, he’ll make the adjustment over night. A lot of times you go to your strength, which is a pretty deep receiving core. They’ve just added back Jerramy Stevens to the mix, which gives them some more versatility there. Bottom line with that said, they’ve still got one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL playing for them. That’s kind of the feather in their cap right now. I think that gives them still the advantage to, whoever’s in the backfield, be able to have a potential day running the ball. We’ve still got to deal with that, and their receiving core. It’ll be interesting, but like I said, we acknowledge the fact that Alexander’s not going to be there, but there’s a lot of other really good running backs that can take advantage of their opportunities too. We’ve got to try and make sure that doesn’t happen if we can.”

(On DE Leonard Little signing a contract extension)

“I just visited with Leonard about it. When we talk about keeping guys around, he’s one of the guys, as we look at as a franchise and as a team, one of the guys that really is a glue to this team, not only on our defense. It would me make just as happy, or more, if we could be talking about Leonard being here, and I would think Leonard will, at some point. It’s easier said than done. You’ve got to do these things one by one. I think Leonard is one of the most underrated defensive ends in all of pro football. I don’t know if it’s because he plays on the defensive left. A lot of those guys are kind of run-stopper kind of guys, but he’s been over there, and we move him around a little bit more. He destroyed a game that I was on the other side of one time. I’ll never forget it. In fact, he wasn’t supposed to play, and he ended up being a surprise late addition. He had a torn pec at the time, and I think we kind of counted on him not being in the game, and I think he had three or four sacks. Like I said, he wrecked the game for the team that I was on. He’s had a little bit to do with that this year in a couple of games. When you have a guy that you have to make sure doesn’t wreck the game on your side of the ball, you’ve got a good starting point on defense. I think Leonard’s one of those handfull of guys in this league that effects the game that way.”

(On T Walter Jones)

“We’ve got to deal with that. That’s another one of their difference makers, and he happens to be one of the better left tackles in all of football. It’s not going to be any different than what we’ve done. We’ve moved those guys around enough; I think at this point, it’s no secret. You’ve got to still play solid, sound football too. Not get too worked up on who’s going against who. We’ve just got to do a good job technique wise, whether we’re going against him or on the other side or whatever.”

(On if DE Brandon Green will play on Sunday)

“What we’ve been able to do because we’ve stayed pretty healthy on the defensive line; we’ve kind of opened up the competition on Wednesdays and Thursdays and even Fridays, and made the decision after Friday as to which one’s going to be up. I think it works well. Competition is a great motivator.”

(On pushing for players to extend contracts mid-season)

“It’s an organizational goal. Certainly talk to Georgia , and Stan , and Jay , and John at length about the future of our organization. We’ve always wanted to start with keeping our own. I think one of the biggest mistakes a lot of teams maybe make, and I’ve been on some of the teams that maybe didn’t fight hard enough for our own, is to let good people go. There’s a lot in that evaluation. It’s not just good football players, it’s great teammates, great workers, guys that exemplify what you’re promoting, that sort of thing. I think you’ve got to earn that too. I think it’s all a process. As we evaluated those types of players from the day I got here and the rest of the staff and everybody was here, I think we’ve come to those conclusions. You’ve got to be working on them. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. There’s a lot of things in this business that don’t enable you to do it. I think we just do a very outstanding job of evaluating that and being in a position where if we feel that strongly about a player, like Pisa or Leonard, or someone like that, we’re going to work very hard at trying to keep them around. Fortunately with Pisa, at this point, we were able to get this one done.”

(On what Pisa has shown during his years in St. Louis)

“He’s really one of the first players I met. He had, as you know Pisa, a quiet, but passionate approach to this game. He’s not a loud or outspoken guy by any means, I’d say he’s the opposite of that. He does everything with his actions. He inspires coaches by the way he plays the game and goes to work every day. Never once complained. A lot of guys get into contract years, and you get little worried about them being distracted by it or affected by it, but Pisa just comes to work everyday with his hard hat on. I’ll never forget…he re-injured his elbow in that last home game against Detroit. I thought he’d be done. From what I’ve been told, it’s one of the most painful things. He went back in after they taped it up, and I remember one of the defensive coaches, Rick , was trying to get him out of the game. He was worried about whether he could play, but he just refused to come out. You can promote that all you want, but I think it’s got to be engrained. Those kinds of things are just examples of the type of player he is. He’s a great person around the building. He represents our team in a positive way, all the time. He promotes everything we’re trying to promote with as coaches throughout the team. Those are the kind of guys you want to keep around.”

(On Pisa impressing the team)

“He’s impressed all of us. It doesn’t go unnoticed. If you’re hurt, you’re hurt. You can’t play. Certain guys just have a level of toughness or commitment, I don’t know what it is, to withstand anything. Pisa’s one of those guys. He’s a great example of…we’ve got a philosophy around here of ‘All you’ve got.’ He gives you everything.”

(On what motivates Pisa to want to stay in St. Louis)

“I don’t know how it always works. I’m sure if you’ve got in a market, and the market’s this or whatever…I don’t think that’s what motivates Pisa. I’m sure he’s got a person that represents him and makes sure everything’s fair and done the right way. He wants to be a Ram, and he wants to be a part of this, and he wants to live in St. Louis, and he wants to be a part of our program. I think it says a lot about him. Like you said, a lot of these things probably don’t get done during the season. I think it probably takes two parties to come to an agreement. We’re certainly glad it has worked out this way.”

(On CB Jerametrius Butler)

“Very pleased with the fact that he’s been very patient with his position. We talked about it last week. He went in, without a lot of reps last week, and performed reasonably well. He showed that patience does pay off. He’s working very hard this week. The situation’s probably a little bit different now because we’ve got some guys that are nicked up, and he’s going to have an opportunity as a healthy player to have a good week. We’ve basically got the same situation there that we’ve got with the D-line. I think we want to make sure everybody gets a fair shot, and the best way to win Sunday, in our opinion, is to put out the best performers in practice on Sunday. We’re pretty much the same as we are with the D-line situation.”