Head Coach Mike Martz
Tuesday, December 28, 2004

(Opening comments)
“That was our best effort, last night, by far, of the season, as a football team. With our coverage team and our kickoff (team), obviously, we created ourselves some issues that we need to clear up. It’s just one guy being a little over-anxious to collapse in towards the ball. It really isn’t anything more difficult than that. (Kevin) Stemke has done a great job for us, so far, punting. (He has) eliminated any kind of return with his hang time. So far, he’s been everything that we’ve wanted at that position, and he’s done very, very well for us. Our defensive player of the week is Bryce Fisher. He played only 17 plays, but he’s also the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. Out of 17 plays he had two tackles, five assists, so that’s a total of seven, a sack, a caused fumble, two hits on the quarterback, and two quarterback pressures. That’s pretty remarkable. Offensively, Steven Jackson, the rookie back, (had) 24 carries, 148 yards. Just a terrific performance by Steven, even though he had to leave with a knee injury there early. And our special teams player of the week, with four tackles on special teams, was Trev Faulk. I’m very pleased with the effort. I’m very pleased with how sharp we were. Marc (Bulger) came back, offensively, and I though he was terrific. (He had) lots of zip on the ball, probably, as much zip as he has had all year. I was very pleased with the offense, in particular, Orlando Pace, who I thought played his best game of the season. (He was) very physical, he finished things, drove back the ball. By far his best game, maybe in two years here. He just did a terrific job. Again, our tight end Brandon (Manumaleuna), these balls in our running game that go outside, he’s basically blocking the defensive end by himself. We couldn’t have those types of runs without his effort and the job he did. He was outstanding, too, as a blocker. Defensively, Pisa (Tinoisamoa) had three tackles, a tackle for a loss, two assists, and a fumble recovery. Jerametrius Butler, again, two tackles, an assist, and three passes broken up. So, making progress. I felt like defensively, we played with the type of emotion and passion that we are used to seeing around here on defense. A lot of that has to knowledge. Knowledge of what you’re doing defensively, feeling confident with what your assignment is, and being able to adjust. Offensively, I really felt like the offensive line, that is probably the best we’ve played this year. We’ve got some young guys. Tommy (Nütten) came back and did a terrific job, too. He just really played well. Blaine (Saipaia) continues to get better. He’s really going to be a fine player. I’m very pleased with the effort of this football team, and the outcome of that game.”

(On G Tom Nütten)
“Having Tommy back, and having Tommy healthy, and he hasn’t been healthy all year, this is the best he’s felt all year long. He really was very physical, and when you look at tape, I didn’t realize it at the time he was playing as well as he did, but he was terrific in this game. He did an excellent job. It showed up in our runs. He finished very well and created some seams for our running game. To have him come back like this, a guy that has played so well for us for so long, and to come back for the first time this year be physically okay, and feeling good, it really contributes to our success.”

(On the schedule for the week)
“It’s our regular Monday night schedule. The doctors, the trainers, and I think it’s really worked well for (the coaches) that we take two days. We treat it like a regular week, we just don’t have that buffer day between the game and our last practice. We will use an adjusted Friday practice on Saturday morning. I think that it gives the players a chance to recover from the game completely. I think if you try to come back and practice after one day off, it’s hard on them. It gives us a better chance to prepare, too.”

(On if meeting time has become more important than practice time)
“There is no question about it. I think that anyway we can get together and look at (the opponent). We have such a good feel now for what we are doing offensively and defensively, particularly Marc (Bulger). The more tapes, and the more we can meet with him to go over these things. He is playing at such a high level right now, he really is. His confidence is sky high, it showed in that game yesterday. Again, he was remarkable on a couple of those plays.”

(On if he could tell that Bulger was anxious to play last week)
“He was anxious. He didn’t make the comment to me, but to one of the other coaches that asked him, ‘what happens if you get hit and the shoulder gets sore.’ His comment was that it didn’t make any difference at this point. You just kind of knew that whatever happened, he was going to be ready to play this week. But he didn’t have any issues with the shoulder, at all. You could see from the strength of the way the ball came out. You could see throughout the year when the shoulder is bothering him. He doesn’t have that kind of zip. There have been about five games this season, when you look at him, he just didn’t have the zip he had last night. He’s back, completely, with that arm.”

(On Steven Jackson’s workload)
“We felt like we knew a little bit about (Philadelphia), and the success that we’ve had against them is doing what we did. That’s what it was based on, and their structure of their blitzes, and how they adjust to some of the formations, we felt like we had a pretty good feel for them. It just kind of got going, and we didn’t intend on running the ball early, as much as we did, but when you get going you keep feeding it.”

(On T Orlando Pace)
“He was dominant. He is a dominant player anyway. He always plays good, but his normal play is exceptional for anyone else. But when he is really dominant, you just can’t stop him. He was finishing things, he was knocking guys down field, and he was just dominant.”

(On Bulger)
“I think we all take for granite how good Marc is. I think that was pretty well described last night. The other part of that is having the offensive line healthy. When that offensive line is playing like they played last night, you can do anything you want, really. But that quarterback takes so much pressure. He has such a command of what’s going on, on the field. It’s really remarkable. I’m just kind of in awe right now. He is playing at the highest level.”

(On having some time off last week)
“I think the rest that we had helped. I think the rest we had on Christmas, and having the Monday night game, and we didn’t practice last week until Thursday. I think that allowed them to recover, and we’ve been in shells. We haven’t been in shoulder pads for some time now. And that was about some of these guys in the offensive line getting some recover. We lost Chris Dishman last week to a knee injury that will probably keep him out a year. But the whole level is raising.”

(On playing at home against the Jets)
“I think it is important for us. I think we have the best record, in the last six year, in the National Football League, at home. I think we are way out there ahead of everybody else. A lot of that has to do with playing in the city, in front of our fans. There’s no question about it. Our guys are thrilled to play at home. It’s special to us. No matter what the situation is, no matter what’s said or printed, they all show up and they are hollering and screaming. It’s a great feeling to be in there on Sundays.”

(On RB Aveion Cason)
“It’s hard to get a specialist up like that. But he is such a terrific player on special teams. He isn’t just a kick returner. He’s a pretty good back. He started for the Dallas Cowboys and was outstanding. I think it takes a special kind of guy to (return kicks). It takes a good deal of courage, because when you hit that thing, you need to hit it full speed. You can’t be trying to find a crease. There’s really not a lot to read. You just have to see a crease and try to get through that thing as fast as you can. You have to have a great deal of courage to do that, and he’s a courageous guy. He has the speed to get through it before it shuts off, and that’s really the difference between the terrific ones and the guys that are okay. He has that sudden burst. He gives you that extra seven-to-ten yards. He’s a flyer, and he helps us on all phases of special teams. I think he’s a terrific back. He’s been very good for us and I think we’ll keep him around here for some time.”