Thursday, September 9, 2004

(Opening statement)
“We’ve had a couple of roster moves. We added a couple of offensive linemen in (G Darnell) Alford and (G Blaine) Saipaia, that we’ve added to the roster. And Dedrick Roper, a linebacker, we picked up off the practice squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So we have made a couple of moves. Nick Burley back to the practice squad. Some of these things we think they are really going to help us. Other than that, I think we are pretty healthy. Obviously, we are not going to have (CB Travis) Fisher in this game, or Tom Nütten, but other than that, by in large, we are pretty healthy. In terms of the Cardinals, it’s always difficult to play a team in the opener that has a new (coaching staff), and you’re really not sure what you are going to see on either side of the ball. Of course in preseason, so much of what you do, is not what you do in the regular season. They have made some roster moves lately, so it will be a little bit of a feeling out situation as we try to figure out the philosophy on both offense and defense. We think we have a good idea, but it’s always tough to do that.”

(On S Jason Sehorn)
“We brought Jason in to see where he was with his foot. After his second surgery, it hadn’t healed as well as we hoped, in which he might have considered coming back.”

(On trading RB Lamar Gordon)
“We did trade Lamar Gordon this morning to the Miami Dolphins. It’s all based on if he passed the physical down there, but I would assume he passed. I think Lamar is a terrific value. He’s a terrific back. This is a situation for him to go down there and become the starter. We do have three backs who have played well. Within the mix and getting all four players active, Arlen (Harris) has such a significant role on our special teams, Steven (Jackson) has done a terrific job, so this was an opportunity, value wise, that we couldn’t pass up. We talked to him this morning and he was excited about the opportunity. He feels great. The reason we gave him the ball 22 times (against Oakland), in the period of two quarters was that we needed to know if he was ready to go for us this year. Obviously, other people were watching too. I thought he was terrific in the game. We miss him. I think he is a terrific talent. It always makes you nervous when you have a talent like that move on, but none the less, I’m excited for him too. I think he will do very well.”

(On if trading Gordon was a vote of confidence in Steven Jackson)
“There is no question about that. I guess that would be the most obvious statement about the trade. We feel like Steven, at this point, is ready to play. We feel really good, also, about Arlen Harris. And the camp that Marshall (Faulk) has had, he has been outstanding in camp. We feel like all three guys are ready to go. It’s a little risky, but we feel like it was the right thing to do.”

(On Marshall Faulk’s health)
“If there was any doubt about Marshall’s health, or about how Steven (Jackson), or even that Arlen (Harris) could play, all three of those things are a statement about each one of those guys. Marshall is healthy and ready to go. Steven is fine, and Arlen can go in and play half-back or full back.”

(On the amount of roster movements before the first game)
“This is the most, but it’s for significant reasons. I think these offensive linemen that we picked up, I’m very excited about. I think they are both young players that potentially have a future here. I’m very excited about them getting in here. And the linebacker, Roper, we needed somebody that has terrific special teams value. He can play linebacker and be one of our top two or three special teams players.”

(On if he thinks he has a handle on where the team is at this point)
“I like the talent and the attitude of this team, but you really never know about a football team until the chemistry starts to develop and you get a certain resolve about this group. I have that feeling about this football team over the last two preseason games. There’s some outstanding things that were done over the last two preseason games. I think we made significant progress there, but we’ll see. We’re not there, we’re a long ways away, but we’re headed in the right direction, I’m excited.”

(On how hard it is to join a team at the end of preseason)
“It really depends upon the system that they’re from. Darnell Alford comes from Kansas City, which is exactly the same system. So it’s going to be a much easier transition for him. (Blaine) Saipaia the same thing, with Norv (Turner) out there in Oakland. These are things that are very significant in your decisions. You know they are talented guys, they meet a need for you, and they come from the same system. A guy like (Dedrick) Roper, a linebacker, now in a 30 defense, it’s quite a change for him.”

(On what made him believe in RB Steven Jackson)
“I think his work ethic, his commitment, his maturity has kind of surprised me. He conducts himself with a great deal of more maturity then you would expect a rookie, with all the pressure that is on him. He seems to thrive under pressure, he wants to be in the game all the time. Yet, he has a certain dignity of quiet confidence about him, and toughness, that the more your around him you appreciate it. He’s a terrifically powerful runner, with speed and acceleration, yet, he has the great feet to jump outside with the drop of a hat. The caution with me is he has so much to learn. This preseason stuff is like OTA’s, which he doesn’t know yet. When you go into the real situation, everything is a little faster, and you have to adjust, and that’s where his learning curve is going to be significant.”

(On LB Brandon Chillar)
“He continues to make plays, he’s an excellent tackler. The one thing he demonstrated in college, was his unique ability to get through traffic. I know that sounds silly for linebackers, but it isn’t. The way he times and gets through people, and gets to the ball, outstanding tackler, does not make mistakes, gets lined up right, takes on blockers, he’s just a refined player for a guy that young, which is unusual. He is significantly better than what we would have anticipated at this time.”

(On being concerned about the depth at defensive tackle and defensive back)
“We’re a little thin there at the defensive tackle spot. We think that Brian (Howard) is going to be a heck of a player, but he’s a rookie. To move Tyoka (Jackson) inside, when he’s had so much success outside is tough, but we’ll see. With (Travis) Fisher out, you’re a corner short. You look beyond your own roster so often to find these needs, but you brought these guys in here because you like them and you think they can play, so you better see if they can play. If they can’t play, then you’ve made a mistake, but you’ve got to show that kind of trust and belief in the guys here, and give them that opportunity first.”

(On the talent of the wide receivers)
“I think you saw all of them in the preseason. Mike Furrey was way up there in catches. I think we’ve seen what Kevin Curtis, and Shaun McDonald can do. The other three have played so much last year, and have played so well over the years. Dane Looker is a significant contributer in our nickel package. I’m very excited about that crew, it gives us a lot of flexibility.”

(On all the player movement throughout preseason)
“It can be a distraction, but that’s part of the job. It’s good to have so much of this thing finally completed. Some of these guys we would of liked to have a few weeks ago, but thank goodness they’re ours now, and we can go to work. We’re trying to create some depth particularly in the offensive line, and maybe there’s still a move or two left, who knows. We’re always trying to get better, this is something that Jay (Zygmunt) and John (Shaw) have always talked about. You’re a move away from trying to help yourself everyday, and that’s the philosophy.”

(On S Aeneas Williams)
“In the preseason the position feels a lot more comfortable to him, the angles, the reads, and all those things you have to go through back at free safety. He feels a lot more comfortable, and knowledgeable. There were mistakes that were made last year, being new to the position, that he was able to resolve.”