Head Coach Mike Martz
Wednesday, December 15, 2004

(Opening Statement)
“As you look at Arizona, particularly on defense, this is a team that from the beginning of the year, creates some challenges for you. I think they’re much improved, they’ve got a good pass rush from the outside, and the linebackers are very active. They’ve changed their defense in that they are much more pressure oriented. They are getting after you and creating all types of structure problems that you have to account for. They are very disruptive and they’ve done a great job. They are playing with a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement. A passionate defense would be a good word for them. They look like they are really well coached on defense, they’re impressive to look at. They are a different defense than we saw at the beginning of the year in that they were much more of a seven-man front than opposed to some of the things that they are doing now. Offensively, with the receivers healthy, they create a real issue for you. Obviously the quarterback can move around and he has the big arm to get the ball down the field. With the big receivers they do like to do the long passes and get the ball down the field and score quickly if they can, and make some big plays. I would say it’s a challenge. Obviously they are a team right now that are kind of finding their way and have been on again, off again, much like us. It’s a big challenge for us. It’s a divisional game, the final one of the season for us, and that’s an exciting aspect for us.”

(On WR Anquan Boldin being healthy)
“He makes a huge difference. Just in the short time that he’s played, I can’t remember what his numbers are, but they are pretty impressive. I can remember standing on the sideline last year watching him down there, we had three or four defensive backs around him, and he pulled the ball away and scored. He’s a very electric and exciting player in this league. He’s a guy you have to account for.”

(On if RB Steven Jackson will play)
“Yeah. He ran full speed on the treadmill on Monday, and there was no swelling the following day. They also took him outside and did some drills. I saw him this morning and he had no swelling from the work that he’s done over the last few days. I’m real encouraged that we will have him. I assume that we will have him for practice today. Marshall (Faulk) wants to go today at practice. I asked him to be very careful, and he said he would tell me within a day or two how he feels. He’s very encouraged, he feels like he will be fine. I think we might be at full strength at running back. Marc (Bulger) is going to throw today, which about knocked me off my feet when they told me that today. I don’t know what that means, but evidently he threw on Monday, and pitched it around pretty good. We’ll just see what he does, and if there’s any doubt, obviously we will keep him out.”

(On when QB Marc Bulger will know if he’s healthy enough to play)
“I think Sunday morning is pretty good. We’ll get him out of the hotel in the parking lot, pitch it around a little bit, and we’ll roll. Done that before. I think he’s fine with that. I wish I could explain to you where he is as a quarterback right now. It’s such a thrill to be involved with that. When you get guys like Kurt (Warner), Marc, and Trent (Green), when they are going, they are really going good. Nothing phases them, they are on top it, they understand things immediately, and they recognize things. It’s such a thrill to be a part of that, and that’s kind of where he is. I wouldn’t hesitate one minute (starting Marc), if on Friday he’s ready to play.”

(On if the veteran leadership on the offensive line will turn it around this game)
“I think it’s a little bit more complicated than the mindset. I know Tom (Nütten) is really banged up, he’s playing on one leg. I know what Adam’s (Timmerman) shoulders are like. Adam doesn’t’ know this yet, but I’m not going to let him practice today. He doesn’t have a choice. I’m going to pull him out for practice. We just have to have them ready. We’ll give them some work tomorrow and maybe Friday. We’ll give some of these other guys some repetitions. They’re both physically beat up pretty good. And we have a rookie in there at right tackle. It’s not a question of wanting to play good, or the effort, or anything. That’s never been the issue with these guys. They are just banged up, trying to fight through it, and struggling a little bit. We have to do the right thing by these guys and give them the opportunity to get back physically. Particularly Adam, Adam will not come out of practice, he just refuses. He gets upset with it, and says he can’t leave his guys. It’s a very emotional thing for him, he’s the rock out there. Everything is kind of built around him in that offensive line, and if he leaves that huddle, even in practice for a minute, he has a hard time with that. We need to make sure we take care of him at the same token so he’ll be in shells the rest of the year. The attitude and the physical part of the game is back. I think the young guys understand that now. We’re playing with great passion on defense. We’ve moved up several notches on defense, just in the rankings these last few games. I’m very encouraged by the attitude of this football team, I really am. Obviously we have some weaknesses that we have to compensate for, and we will. We’ll line up and battle the best we can.”

(On C Larry Turner)
“Tom (Nütten) can’t walk without a limp, let alone play, so Larry will practice all day today at the left guard position. He deserves the opportunity, he’s absolutely good enough. I don’t have any problems with he or Darnell (Alford) going into guard at this point. They’ve been in our system long enough, and they’ve done very well in practice. They have a ceratin air about them, a calmness. This isn’t too big for either one of them. I’m not worried about that part of it. In retrospect, I should have gotten Tom some help earlier. I didn’t realize the extent of how bad his foot is. We’re going to try and get him some rest.”

(On QB Chris Chandler)
“I talked to him on Monday, when we looked at tape. I looked at tape just with him, and I do that often with the quarterbacks. I just felt like I wanted to sit down with him and explain to him that he hasn’t lost my confidence, and that I believe and trust in him. We just have to fight through this thing. I have to get him ready to go, pick yourself off the deck, and let’s go. A veteran understands that. Things start going bad, and you just can’t seem to recover from it, and that happens sometimes, but you have to learn how to bounce back. That’s the beautiful thing about this game, having another opportunity to do that.”

(On if the running game will take pressure off of Chandler)
“It should. That’s one of the things that I regret about the game last week. Earlier, I just got into that sense of catch up, and we were playing well enough on defense, as it turned out, that I didn’t really need to do that. I put Chris in a couple of situations that he wasn’t ready for, and we were banged up on the offensive line. We have to run the ball, and in order to run the ball well, you have to run the ball early. We’ll try to get some of that stuff done.”

(On OT Orlando Pace’s play)
“He was injured. He’s better, and he’s playing pretty well. He was nicked. He had the calf and the knee (injuries). He can play better. He’s not playing bad, but he can play better. He can be a dominate player, and at times he is.”

(On Timmerman not practicing)
“He doesn’t know it yet. I have to walk out there and tell him. I tried this with him before and it’s hard to do. He doesn’t want to hear anything about that. But I think he needs a good day off, he really does. We need to get him out of there, and maybe keep him in some of the team work, but he needs to be out of that other stuff. Not keeping (the team) in pads should help, with his shoulder, too. He’s going to have to have surgery when the year’s over with.”

(On the run defense)
“I see guys in the right spot. I see the linebackers really filling the gaps hard and stuffing the run, and attacking downfield, the blockers and the ball carrier. The indecisiveness that was there at one time, learning the gaps in the schemes, is leaving. There still are some errors in the (run) game that we need to clean up, but we are way further along in that respect than we were in the past. I see a certain sense of confidence and passion in what they are doing. I think we are tackling a lot better, as well. Our force from the secondary is a lot better than what it was early. Just like the first play in (the Carolina) game, (defensive coordinator) Larry (Marmie) shifts the front, and we end up with Bryce (Fisher) on a back, and they aren’t sure who to block, and we get a sack right away. Those are the things that we want for that defense, where you can create pressure or issues for the scheme, as well as getting players in position to make plays. That’s what we are trying to do. It was nice to see that on the very first play of the game. So the run defense is coming along much, much better than it was earlier.”

(On the injuries to LB Pisa Tinoisamoa and S Aeneas Williams)
“Pisa will play, and Aeneas is probably, I think, done for a while. I haven’t talked to him yet, but talking to the doctor, (Aeneas) has a very severe arthritic condition in his neck. It’s inflamed and he just won’t be able to play for a few weeks. We’ll just have to address that issue, and I have not yet had a chance to talk to Aeneas.”

(On S Antuan Edwards)
“Antuan, you can see in the game, there’s a play on the goal line and he’s right there, and he knocks the ball out. The awareness back there, and he has a great feel for that position even though he has not played it his whole career. He has great ball awareness, athleticism where he can get on either a tight end or receiver man-to-man. He has terrific range, good ball skills, and you’ve seen he’s made some terrific tackles for us. At this point, if (Team President)John Shaw were to ask me what I thought of him, and I think that his might be the free safety that we’ve been looking for that can give us a good number of years back there. Time will tell, but I’m very encouraged with what he’s done, and I’m thrilled that he’s here.”

(On if the Rams can compete with 12-1 teams in the league)
“We can. Are you kidding? We can. That’s why I’m so excited. I stand here every week and tell you that. Things come up that you have to deal with, unfortunately. If it were that easy, which it’s not obviously, trying to get guys to that certain point, sometimes it takes longer than you think it would. But we’re going to get there. I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen, and I told the team after the game that they have nothing to be ashamed of. They played their butts off, and we just made some mistakes that we couldn’t overcome. If we eliminate those mistakes, this is going to be a real good football team.”

(On RB Emmitt Smith)
“He’s a remarkable back and a remarkable person to continue to play at this level, and to watch some of the runs that he pulls off at this point, he’s a pro. That’s what it’s all about. That is what the NFL is. What you think the NFL should be are players like Emmitt. They have a passion to play this game regardless, they just want to keep playing and you have to pull them off of the field. That gives you goose bumps. He’s terrific.”