Interim Head Coach Joe Vitt

(Opening statement)

“We had a better football practice today than we had this time last week, and we’re going to need it because I believe this is the best football team we’ve played all year long. They have good balance on both sides of the ball. They have good balance offensively. We’re going to have to play hard, physical football in order to win this game.”

(On why he thinks Jacksonville is the best team)

“That we’ve played so far. I think they have a good balance on offense, with a lot of athletes. Whenever you have a running back of the caliber that [RB Fred] Taylor is and then you have [WR Jimmy] Smith on the outside lanes, it’s tough to go cover two and roll up and stop the run. It’s tough to play an eight-man front and stop him. So you have to be smart, and you have to be good, and you have to hit on some calls.”

(On what makes RB Fred Taylor such a threat)

“He’s a power runner with great change of direction and bounce. He has great vision, and when he gets to the second level, he’s a game breaker.”

(On Jacksonville DTs Marcus Stoud and John Henderson)

“They’re nightmares. They’re big. They’re strong. Great tackle-to-tackle players, they run good inside games. They’re violent. They like to play. They’re really the heart and soul of that defense.”

(On whether he would call them a physical team)

“That’s what they live on. They are physical. Their linebackers are physical, with [LB Mike] Peterson. Their defensive line is physical. They are well coached in the secondary. They do a good job.”

(On how much the defense reflects the personality of Coach Jack Del Rio)

“I would say they are well drilled; they are physical, and that is what he was.”

(On the toughness of Jacksonville QB Byron Leftwich)

“I have never to this point in the season take as many shots as he has and throw the ball on time, be accurate with it and dust himself off and get up and play the next play.”

(On Leftwich’s level of mobility)

“Not good, and that’s not his game. He’s a pocket passer who is accurate down the field. He has great arm strength.”

(On Leftwich’s durability)

“I have never seen anyone get knocked down as much as he has and get up and dust himself off and complete throws.”

(On the Rams’ injury status)

“We’re going to make a determination on Isaac [Bruce] and Torry [Holt] at the end of the week. Marc [Bulger] threw today. Marc was better today than he was last week. Chris Johnson has a sore back. We kept him out. His MRI was negative. Who else have I missed?”

(On whether G Claude Terrell practiced today)

“Yes. Yes, he spent the night in the hospital. He came back today, and he was pretty good.”

(On CB Travis Fisher’s status)

“Travis [Fisher] is better than he was this time last week. We held him out of practice today, and will get him some reps tomorrow.”

(On how DE Leonard Little is doing)

“I talked to Leonard [Little] yesterday, and Leonard’s struggling. He’s grieving right now, and our football team, everybody here is lending our support to him.”

(On whether Little’s availability for this weekend is known)

“No.”

(On whether the team is giving Little all the time he needed to grieve)

“Right now, yes.”

(On whether he is surprised that WR Isaac Bruce is still recovering)

“No, this was the timetable that was originally set. Isaac keeps working and working and working to come back, and he’s hoping. Believe me; he’ll be back as soon as he can possibly do it. He has such great pride.”

(On whether he is more hopeful on WR Torry Holt’s status)

“Right now, it’s too early to tell.”

(On whether there is a chance that QB Marc Bulger will be ready on Sunday)

“Well, we’ll have to wait and see. It’s going to be an ongoing process. 96 hours until the game starts.”

(On whether it would be dangerous for Bruce to come back too soon with his receiving style)

“I think it is. To return him now, this early, and lose him for the rest of the season could be fatal for us. Let’s get him better, and when he’s better he’ll be that much better for us. I have told the team last week before the game, everybody is needed to win, but no one is necessary. The next guy has t step up and play.”

(On why there was an official at practice today)

“The number of defensive penalties we has last week in critical situations was not acceptable. So we have to practice technique with an official in practice and make it an emphasis.”

(On whether the official is a college official)

“He’s a former NFL official.”

(On how difficult is has been to have a normal feeling week this week)

“I don’t read the papers. I am not a tabloid guy. My life hasn’t changed one bit. It’s my job to prepare a football team to go win a big game, and it hasn’t changed one bit. We had a good practice today, and we’ll have a better practice tomorrow. And we’re going to prepare to win the game.”

CB Ron Bartell

(On the amount of man coverage he faced in his first NFL game)

“It comes with the territory. That’s what they pay of for. One thing about the corner, you’re all out there by yourself, so you’d better step up to the challenge when it comes. So it’s not a big deal to me.”

(On Coach Vitt saying that when CB Travis Fisher was injured that Bartell asked to be put in)

“Yeah, I had been bugging Kurt [Schottenheimer] all week, telling him that I wanted to play. I’ve really been ready to play and everything. I have been in his ear a lot. When I saw [CB] Travis [Fisher] get hurt, I kept tugging at him, and he finally threw me in there.”

(On what made this week different for him to ask to be in the game)

“I was dressed this week. That was the big difference. You can’t play when you’re not dressed.”

(On the challenges that Jacksonville poses)

“They have Jimmy Smith, one of the better wideouts in the game; an up-and-coming quarterback like Byron Leftwich. It’s going to be a great challenge for us, but we stepped up to the challenge last week. Hopefully we will be able to do it again this Sunday.”

CB Travis Fisher

(On the strengths of Jacksonville WR Jimmy Smith)

“Really, everything. He’s a guys that has the speed, great in and out of routes, a veteran guy that a lot of people fall asleep [thinking] on him a lot. I see him as a very fast, still fast, still great in and out of routes, as their go-to-guy, 100% their go-to-guy.”

(On QB Byron Leftwich)

“Very tough guy, a very tough quarterback. [Leftwich] has a strong arm. What can you say about him? He’s one of those quarterbacks that is special. You’re definitely going to have to get in his face.”

(On whether the defense can carry the momentum of the positive showing vs. New Orleans)

“Yes, it’s definitely something to build on. We’re getting a lot better on defense. We’re just closing some of those holes that were screwed up early in the season. We are riding on it a little bit.”

(On whether there is hope for the remainder of the Rams’ season)

“There’s a lot of character on this team. A team like this, at 3-4, you really can’t write this team off. A lot of character, a lot of great guys on this team, a lot of guys that want to win, I think when you have that, you’ll comeback.”

G Claude Terrell

(On if he expects to be able to play against the Jaguars)

“I should be able to. It’s getting better. The range of motion is coming back, so I’m just ready to go out there against those guys, Sunday.”

(On how he injured his neck against the Saints)

“It was on that fourth-and-1 play when we scored to make it 17-14. I was lying down on top of a guy and raised my head up at the last minute and took a bad hit.”

(On the Jaguars’ defensive tackles)

“If you are a guard in this league, you have to relish this moment, because you have two of the best coming into town. Hopefully, I will be able to get out there and compete against those guys and show what I can do.”

DE Tyoka Jackson

(On getting back to .500 before the bye week)

“To me, it’s like a one-game season. This thing is broken up right in half, perfectly for us, eight games, a break and then eight games. So, this is a one-game season, then we’re going to take a week off and come right back. This is the biggest game of the year for us, no question about it. This is a very, very good football team coming in here, and we feel like if we can win this game, we’ll be in the best shape we can possibly be in, and that’s 4-4. That’s not where we wanted to be, but that’s the best we can do right now. So, let’s take care of this business, and then we’ll worry about the second half of the season after the week.”

(On if having the certainty that Head Coach Mike Martz will not return changes things for him)

“Not at all. Coaches coach and players play. I’ve been saying that since I’ve been here. When you blur the lines, that’s when you get in trouble. I love Coach Martz, obviously, everybody that knows me knows that. But he has to do what he has to do to take care of his health, and he made a decision to step away to make sure that he became healthy, so he could live the rest of his life the way he is supposed to live it. That doesn’t change what we do, especially on defense. He was our coach and our offensive coordinator, but now Coach [Steve] Fairchild is handling that and Coach [Joe] Vitt is our head coach, but he’s still our linebacker coach. So, it really doesn’t change a thing for this defense especially, but for the entire team. You go out and practice the way you are supposed to practice. You take care of the little things, the details that coach Martz and every other good coach talks about, and then you go play the game the way you are supposed to play it, with passion and with a physical attitude, and you’ll be fine. He’s never made a tackle, Coach Martz, on our team, and coach Vitt won’t come out and make one and neither will Coach Fairchild throw a block or a pass. It’s all about the players on the field in between the white lines. It’s a players’ league. It always has been and it always will be.”

(On how gratifying it is to step in and make as big of an impact as he did against New Orleans)

“That’s what I get paid to do. I’m not on this team to do interviews, regardless of what you guys may think. They don’t pay me to stand in front of my locker and talk to you guys; they pay me to actually play. So, that’s what I’m supposed to do. Obviously, we were shorthanded with Leonard [Little] not being there and D-Lew [Damione Lewis] going out early, we were shorthanded. So, all of us had to do our job even better. Nothing is superhuman about it; just do what you are supposed to do. I’m a defensive lineman. I’m supposed to put pressure on the quarterback. I’m supposed to try and block field goals when they try to kick field goals. I’m supposed to hit the ball carrier as hard as I can and try to dislodge the ball, that’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s nothing more than that.”

QB Jamie Martin

(On if it will be easier for him to settle down this week)

“Yeah, hopefully I’ll feel more comfortable from the start. Just being through it for a week already, hopefully I’ll be ready to go from the start.”

(On how the loss of Head Coach Mike Martz for the season affects him and the offense)

“Well, we miss him, obviously. He’s good at what he does. He’s one of the best, but Steve [Fairchild] is getting better every week also. He has been around the offense long enough and been around Mike and learned from him. He’s doing a good job.”

(On if Jacksonville is one of the better defenses the Rams have faced this season)

“I think so. We have seen a little bit of them this morning, and they just look solid. They have a big front, and they rely on their front four to disrupt things, and they sit back in the different coverages they have.”

(On what kind of problems the Jaguars’ defensive tackles present)

“They are pretty disruptive to the run game, and they tie up guys up the middle to free their defensive ends on the pass rush. They have been affective with what they do so far.”

DE Brandon Green

(On what Jacksonville brings to the table offensively)

“They are a little bit different. I haven’t had a chance to look at them too much. I know a lot of their personnel, but they have a new coordinator down there, so it’s a little bit different looking at some of the plays they bring. They’re a big team. They have a lot of big receivers. Their line up front is real physical. They want to run the ball at you, so, just like you do with most teams, you have to stop that and make them one-dimensional.”

S Mike Furrey

(On how Interim Head Coach Joe Vitt has adapted to the changes)

“As a person, he hasn’t changed at all. He comes in here every day, even when Coach Martz was here, and prepares this defense to win. Now, he has stepped up as the head coach, and he’s overseeing what the offense is doing, but he is getting us prepared every week. He and Coach [Larry] Marmie are getting us prepared every week to play, so you have to commend him for what he’s doing.”

(On whether he saw Saints’ TE Ernie Conwell catch the ball on his interception return)

“I don’t know about the tape, but I’ve seen the statistics where it says a touchdown and an interception. It’s kind of weird about that situation, because we had given up three points, basically through three and a half quarters, and we were up four points at that time. So, was that play a big difference in winning the game, who knows, solidifying the game, maybe, but we still had a four-point lead, and they still had to score a touchdown. We’ll just leave it at that.”

(On if he is settling in at safety)

“Yeah, I feel really comfortable when I’m out there, and I’m starting to read things pretty well. I’m starting to see things over and over again on the offensive side that I have been used to, just because of repetition and stuff. It’s been a good two weeks so far, and I just need to keep learning and keep building. I’m way far from where I want to be, so we’ll just keep working.”

WR Kevin Curtis

(On how the situation with Head Coach Mike Martz has affected him)

“Coach Martz, just knowing the kind of guy he is, you know he has to be pretty sick. He has kind of been suffering through it all year, but obviously it’s pretty serious if he is going to be missing the rest of the year. I just hope for the best and that he gets better.”

(On if the players take sides in the struggle between the coaches and the front office)

“We have one job to do really and that is to perform out on the field and to play. Those things, it isn’t our job or our worry, so we just kind of concentrate on what is going on on the field, and right now we’re just worried about Jacksonville.”

(On how important it is to win the game before the bye week)

“This is a huge week for us. We have that bye week coming up, so if we can come out with a win this week, 4-4 puts us in a position to get back in and make a run. We have Seattle right when we get back. So, if we win this game and get back, that’s a big game for us too. If we can win this one, we’re in good shape.”

Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Conference Call

(On whether he feels rested coming off a bye week)

“My kids wore me out, no. No, it’s been nice. I was nice to get a little time to heal up, rejuvenate, and get ready for the next 10 ballgames.”

(On whether it was more important to get recuperated or would he rather have kept playing with the momentum his team was building)

“Well, I think, obviously, there are different ways of approaching [it]. I think for us, it was scheduled that way and so we just planned it, took advantage of it, and we were able to get some guys rested up. I know [RB] Fred Taylor will be feeling much better this week. If we had to play last week he would have been a little bit sore still. Things like that were to our benefit, for sure.

(On whether RB Fred Taylor is still the focus of the offense with new offensive coordinator Carl Smith)

“Well, I think he’s still one of our top players on offense, and when he gets going, you know, its good for the football team.”

(On whether Offensive Coordinator Carl Smith has brought out any new sides of QB Byron Leftwich)

“Well, we think Byron is doing a nice job developing. This is his third year, and he got better from year one to year two, and we feel like he is a better player this year from what he was last year. So he continues to work hard and do the things he needs to do to be a good football player.”

(On veteran WR Jimmy Smith’s role on the team)

“Well, for a long time he’s been one of the top vertical threats in the league. He continues to be a very good wide receiver. [He] does a nice job for us. I think he’s one of the guys, there are a few guys when they get older they just continue to play at a high level. And I think a part of that is the way he works. He has a real strong work ethic, and I’m sure that helps him stay on top of his game.”

(On his defensive line)

“Our two big guys inside have been emerging. [DT] Marcus [Stroud] in ’03, went to his first Pro Bowl, [and] went again last year. Big John Henderson was invited over last year, and the two of them make them as good a tandem as there is in the league. Last year we had injuries at the defensive end position. Both of those guys are back, in Rob Meier and Paul Spicer. And then we also added Reggie Hayward, who has been an excellent addition to the football team, a good, solid football player. He’s brought some pass rush. He’s also an every down guy. All of those things happening have made us a much stronger front.”

(On how he feels Special Teams Coach Bob Ligashesky is doing since his move from Jacksonville)

“Coach Ligashesky is a good coach, and I was happy to see him get the opportunity. He’s doing a nice job there. Obviously, I wish him the best, except when we’re playing him.”

(On whether he is a friend of Coach Martz)

“We have crossed paths. He is not a close friend, but, obviously, in the coaching profession we all know each other. My hope is that he’ll be a healthy as possible as soon as possible and get back to work.”

(On what problems arise facing a team that you haven’t played)

“Well, my first trip to St. Louis to play the Rams was in ’99, when I was with the Ravens. There was an unknown guy named Kurt Warner that was going to start that day. And of course he went on to have a storybook year and they went on to the Super Bowl. I know it’s a very loud crowd there. It’s a good city, a good sports city, and we’re excited about the opportunity to go play this week.”

(On why he thinks they have a 5-10 record playing inside since he’s been there)

“Probably Peyton Manning. We’re not a very old franchise. We have played in some domes against some teams that were very good. And so I think that’s what the record’s all about.”

Jacksonville WR Jimmy Smith
Conference Call

(On his secret to be able to keep playing year after year)

“There is really no secret. My first three years I really didn’t play with the Dallas Cowboys. I was injured, and I played behind Michael Irvin. So, there weren’t enough balls to go around, and I mainly played on special teams. I look at it as, these are those three years. I’m tacking them on at the end of my career.”

(On if he thought his career was over in 1994 when he was cut and out of football)

“The one thing that stuck out in my mind was that even though I was a second rounder, I was the first senior receiver taken. The other two receivers that were taken before me were Desmond Howard and Carl Pickens. They were both juniors. I was like ‘look, I wasn’t the only senior receiver taken in the 1992 draft for nothing, so I have a lot to prove.’ Fortunately, Jacksonville was awarded the team, but I didn’t want to come down here in the beginning, because I knew it was going to be a revolving door. I wanted to go to a team that was already established. I opted to come down to Jacksonville, made the team and I’ve been here ever since.”

(On if it is true that his mom sent the Jaguars a video tape of his accomplishments)

“It wasn’t a video tape. It was a binder with all of my accomplishments, all of the things I did in college. Coach Coughlin, I still today doesn’t think he knew about the small college of Jackson State in Jackson, Mississippi. Coach came out of Boston College and he knew about the Notre Dames and the Michigans, the big-name guys. I wasn’t a big-name guy at the time. Fortunately, I think that binder had a lot to do with me being on this team. Along with me earning it, it wasn’t given to me.”

(On if it is a renaissance for him to play on a winning team after losing so many players)

“It is. Jack [Del Rio] has done an outstanding job of bringing a winning attitude back to this team. During those years, after ’99, I think that was the year the Rams went to the Super Bowl, our talent level just started to deplete and we weren’t replacing the talent, and we began to lose games. From 2000, 2001 our schedule began to worsen a little bit. But now, we’re drafting well and Jack is doing a great job in taking care of guys, making sure guys perform 110% on Sundays, and it’s coming back three-fold, we’re winning ball games.”

(On if he feels like it has taken some time for the team to fully understand Jack Del Rio’s system)

“I think it was just a matter of Jack trying to get the guys that he wants on this team. Fortunately, I’ve played myself into one of those guys, to be one of Jack’s guys. He wants all of his guys. He hand-picks all of his guys, and he wants his guys to be here. That’s probably why it has taken, well, this is only the third year. We’re doing pretty well. Last year we missed the playoffs by one game, so hopefully this year we will have a chance to get in there.”

(On WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt saying he is the receiver they most respect and his style of play)

“It’s an honor for those guys to look at me in that light. I just like going out, kind of like Marvin Harrison, I like going out and getting the job done. I like being a well rounded receiver, whether it is going deep, going short, going over the middle, blocking, doing everything a receiver needs to do to help this team win. I’m not a selfish player even though I’m always wanting the ball. I don’t think you can be a top-rated receiver if you don’t want the ball. I try not to show it, I try to just go out and help my team win.”

(On WRs Isaac Bruce’s and Torry Holt’s style of play)

“These guys, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, I think of them in the same way. I’m kind of like in their same mold. The guy that goes out, works hard in practice and you see it on the field. You just shut your mouth and do your job, and do your job well.”

(On getting the job done without cell phones or signs)

“Yeah, without all that stuff. You just respect the game, and I think people respect you more as a player without all that.”

(On if the fan base has returned to the Jaguars)

“It has definitely come back. I don’t think we have had a blackout this year, but the fan base takes care of itself. As long as we win ball games, we don’t have to worry about the fans. The fans are going to be there. We just have to take care of the number one thing, and that’s winning. That’s why we are in this profession, to win and everything else will fall into place.”

(On new Jacksonville Offensive Coordinator Carl Smith)

“He is probably our biggest acquisition in the offseason. He’s done an outstanding job in running this offense. [His coaching style] fits what I do best, it fits what Byron Leftwich does best, it fits what Fred Taylor does best, and I think that’s what we needed. I go deep, and I think we have a lot of routes in our offense that stretch the defense vertically, which allows some of the other guys to fill in their roles, like Mack Jones and Reggie Williams to come underneath and catch some balls. So, he’s done an awesome job as far as the offense.”

(On how Carl Smith’s acquisition has helped Byron Leftwich)

“I think it’s just their relationship. I think the offensive coordinator and the quarterback have to have a relationship going into the game, so the quarterback can feel confident in what he’s doing on Sundays. I think that’s one of the biggest things for Byron Leftwich is that he feels confident with the game plan going into the ball game on Sundays.”

(On if he has run across a guy that is tougher than QB Byron Leftwich)

“I don’t believe so. Byron is, to see the hits that he has taken so far in his career, he’s still standing. He’s a strong guy. He’s strong mentally. He’s mentally tough. I think you have to have that as a quarterback.”

(On if he had to change his lifestyle at all to allow himself to play for so long)

“No, I think everyone’s body is different. What Jerry Rice does may not work for the next guy. It was like Ty Law. Ty Law worked out with Jackie Joyner-Kersee a few years ago, and just listening to Ty, it just didn’t really work for him the way he thought it would work. I just continue doing what I’ve been doing. What has gotten me to this point is that I don’t make any drastic changes in my workout or anything. I just get my rest in the offseason, come to the offseason workouts and OTAs and work hard, and that’s what I’ve been doing for my whole career. I haven’t done any extraordinary workouts or anything like that.”

(On if he has seen anything vulnerable in the Rams secondary)

“Not really, they have some DBs that get up in your face and stay in your face all game long. It’s going to be tough. The toughest thing, and we saw this against Denver, their two corners were out when we played them, you don’t go into a ball game thinking ‘ok, this guy is going to be out so their number one guy is going to be out, so we’ll have an easy day.’ No, that’s when you have to be more on your guard, because those second-teamers, or whoever is filling in the injured players spot, those are the ones that will hurt you, and we found that out with Denver. I think they were down to their third-string corners, and they did an outstanding job in covering us.”

(On if it is tougher because there is less information about the second-team players)

“It’s hard to game plan, because you haven’t seen a lot of them on film.”

(On if the biggest regret in his career is losing the AFC Championship game in 1999)

“Yeah, that’s the biggest regret. Actually, the first half of that game, we had it won, and we came back out in the second half of the AFC Championship game and it all fell apart for us. Our Super Bowl dreams went up in smoke, and we wish we would have gotten a shot at the Rams in ’99, because we felt like we had the team to do it, but Tennessee stood in our way.”