Thursday, September 30, 2004

(Injury update)
“Chris Dishman is questionable. When they did the MRI here the other day, there was no damage to the capsule, fortunately, or to the muscle, or ligaments. It was just a strained capsule. We should be able to get him back in short order. Just how soon, I don’t know. How much he can do this week will probably be limited, we’ll just have to get a feel for that. Arlen Harris, who did play the rest of the game on a strained hamstring, is also listed as questionable, and we will just have to see where he is. I would expect we would have him in some capacity, but we’ll just have to see. Then Tony Newson, with the ankle sprain, what they call a ‘grade two’, is questionable, and probably, we won’t have him. We do get DeJuan Groce back. We do get Trev Faulk back. These two guys have looked real good here in the last few days, and Trev now is almost 100 percent with that hamstring (injury). And DeJuan, with that knee (injury), looks pretty good and should practice today. That helps us a great deal on defense with another linebacker and another corner.”

(On preparing for San Francisco)
“San Francisco week, as you all know, is a special week for us. It’s a divisional game that has been our long-standing rivalry. We are excited about it. Defensively, they have done a good job over the years. They have really proven their speed defensively, probably over the last four or five years. Bryant Young, right now, is playing the best football that I have ever seen him play. He is absolutely outstanding. Obviously, Julian Peterson, Derek Smith, and (Jeff) Ulbrich, the linebacking crew is as good as you will find in football. I think they are outstanding. They have real good speed on defense, and they do a good job of matching up. Offensively, I would expect (Tim) Rattay to start at quarterback. Everything we hear, anyway, sounds like he will start. Kevan Barlow, as we all know, can be a very explosive and physical runner. He is a threat to go the distance at anytime. We have seen him do it. It doesn’t get any better than this. An old time rival, early in the season, at San Francisco, and it’s a Sunday night game. We’re excited about it.”

(On where S Aeneas Williams will be playing)
“Aeneas will be going back to safety, with DeJuan Groce back at corner. Aeneas spent so much time getting himself ready to play safety, and has played so well in terms of his keys, breaks on the ball, lining guys up, making calls, and then to move out to corner is very disruptive. It’s a totally different world out there. That’s a hard thing to ask somebody to do, but we were at a bind at that point. Going back to safety, I’m sure he’s relieved. I haven’t talked to him about it, but I’m sure he’s excited. He had a lot of pass break-ups on plays where you didn’t expect a free safety to make a play, early in the year.”

(On if San Francisco’s 0-3 record is a fair representation of the team)
“I don’t think so, when you go back and look at, particularly, the first two games. They got behind at Seattle with some early turnovers, and they got caught back on their heels a little and could not recover. But their first two games, you look at them and they are right down to the wire. When you look at them, I think defense especially, they are an exceptionally strong team. Offensively, they are rebuilding, to some extent, with the loss of T.O. (Terrell Owens), and the quarterback injuries have been a problem for them. But they are certainly capable of getting back in rhythm.”

(On the play of K Jeff Wilkins)
“When we were on the 35-yard line, there was never a doubt in my mind that he was going to make that field goal. Where he is right now, really over the past year or so, we tease him all the time and call him ‘Money,’ but that’s what he has been. The late field goal he kicked for us, down in Phoenix, and wins it, that’s a difficult field goal on a sloppy field. He’s just terrific. He’s one of our team captains, so that’s what we think of him (as).”

(On ***** LB Julian Peterson)
“He’s very active. A guy that height and that size, to be as fast as he is really unusual. I’ve watched him go through a pass block and just reach over and grab a quarterback. He has to be one of the better defensive players in the league, in my opinion. No question about it.”

(On what ***** DT Bryant Young is doing differently this year)
“He’s very, very explosive. He doesn’t stay blocked. He just fights like crazy inside there. His quickness and speed, he’s always been a guy that we have had to account for. We’ve always had great respect for him, but right now, he’s kind of playing under a star. He’s having a Pro Bowl year right now.”

(On if the ***** defense has changed)
“They have by structure. They have done some different things with Jim Mora obviously gone. It’s a different approach. But they still give a significant amount of pressure. A different way to get to you, but nonetheless, they try to pressure you and keep you on your heels. They pressured the heck out of Atlanta, and had them reeling there for quite some time. They do a good job. They do a good job of changing it up and fitting toward each team, whether it’s to bring pressure, drop them off, attacking your protections. They are very smart and understand the protections, and will come up with something specifically for you.”

(On stressing positives from the New Orleans game)
“That’s the whole approach. We did get better. We didn’t win that game, but we are just a young team that knew we would have our struggles early. We’re trying to fight our way through this. There are a lot of good things that happened in that game, you can’t lose sight of that. You need to fix what’s broken, certainly, and do whatever you can to correct the miscues, then move on. But that’s done with, that’s over with, and we are working on getting better this week. With a young team, like we have, that’s the focal point and that’s what the most important issue is. The resolve and the toughness that comes out of that, you have to learn, and that’s when you become a good team.”

(On who picks him up after a loss)
“That’s what you get paid to do. That’s just part of the job. You have to be up for that. You have your personal pity parties. I felt terrible after that game, but the thing you need to realize is that everybody, the staff and the players, look to you for direction and see how you respond. And if you can’t get yourself up, you don’t deserve your job, and it would show poor leadership. It is hard. I’m not going to tell you it isn’t. But I get excited about the challenge of moving on and getting everybody ready to play in this game.”

(On DT Jimmy Kennedy)
“Actually, today, he’s in Carolina having (his foot) re-evaluated by the physician that did the surgery. So we should have a pretty good idea of how far away he is, and when we can get him back. He’s done a pretty good job of keeping his weight down. For a guy that big naturally, it’s kind of easy to let your weight get away from you, but he has kept it down under 330 pounds. We want him at 325 pounds, or less, and he has been around 320 pounds. Normally, he’s at 340 or 345 pounds, but he has worked out real hard. I give him a lot of credit for what he’s done in the weight room. I think when he came in here, and I’m guessing here, he probably could do 17 repetitions of 225 pounds (on the bench press). And I know he is up to around 35 (repetitions) at this point. He’s significantly stronger, and he has taken the challenge to get himself ready seriously. So I’m excited about finally getting him back. We still may be a little ways away from getting him back.”

(On if he’s surprised the defense doesn’t have a turnover)
“I think we all are disappointed in that. There’s no question. But that will come, like I told you the other day, I think that is going to come. We stress it out there in practice everyday, but you have to pressure people to do that to. The first guy there on the receiver or the ball carrier has to stand him up, and the next guy has to get the ball out. We have to get to the quarterback and force an errant pass, and make good reads, and all the things that you have to do to get interceptions and fumbles.”

(On WR Kevin Curtis)
“He did good. I kept him out. That was my decision on the time that he missed, because I do know this about shin splints, he will have them the rest of the year, significantly, and we’ll get very little out of them, if you don’t just bite the bullet and give him some rest. That’s what we did with him. I thought he did well, the time that he was in there. He made a nice catch on that two-point conversion. We will start to fit him more and more into the offense. It’s a nice problem to have when you have Dane (Looker), Mac (Shaun McDonald), and these other guys. They all have a role, and we are trying to get them all in there.”

(On T Scott Tercero)
“He really did a good job. I was so pleased with him. There was a lot of stunts going on inside which was disruptive, particularly in the running game. He was able to pass things off really well. And again, you can’t underestimate, practicing to play tackle for a number of weeks, then having to go into a game and play guard, with that game play, and do what you did was remarkable.”

(On QB Marc Bulger)
“I think he is playing exceptionally well. I think he really did a great job responding to that challenge, with a great deal of pressure on him to move the ball down the field and get us in the end zone (for the lead). I thought he was outstanding. His decisions, his check-downs, taking off at the end of the game and getting the ball in the end zone, he is getting better, better, and better. I’m very pleased with him. There has been significant progress over the first few games. I really thought in the first few games, the stress that we talk about, wore on him a little, and maybe it did. But he has been shaking that off really well, and he’s on his way now. I’m very impressed with how he has played.”

(On Bulger’s touchdown run)
“He has always had that moniker, if you will, of being a guy that would do whatever it takes to win the game, that’s just part of it. Making a great throw, moving around, scrambling, whatever it takes to win a game, and having the presence of mind to do that is very important. I know he is quiet, and you don’t know him like I do, but he’s very competitive and tough. He’s a lot like Isaac (Bruce).”

(On WR Isaac Bruce)
“He’s such an unselfish player. It’s good to have Kevin Curtis now, because you can get him into the game with the same type of speed and do the same things with him. Isaac, I don’t know how he does it. We get receivers that come into camp that go three plays in a row and they are staggering back into the huddle. But obviously, with Isaac and Torry (Holt) we don’t do that in camp. We give them a break, but during the season, they don’t come out of the game. They don’t take any breaks whether it’s a run or a pass. They go down the field as fast as they can go. The conditioning and the type of athlete it takes to do that is pretty extraordinary.”

(On T Grant Williams)
“I think he has done a great job. Being over at right tackle is new for him. The pass sets and all those things are a little different. He’s much more comfortable on the left side, but I think the transition he has made has been very good.”

(On LB Tommy Polley)
“That’s a terrific battle going on over there (at linebacker). I think Tommy was really productive in that game and did a great job. I’m still a little concerned about the rib, but he’s going to play in the same capacity that he did last week. You need to have those four backers, and now with Trev (Faulk) back you have five. Having Tommy back, and having Brandon (Chillar), is very healthy and it’s significant.”