I'll start with the injuries. Brandon Underwood had a shoulder, did not return. Bishop had a hamstring, no return. Wynn, concussion, no return. Obiozor had a quad contusion, he did return. And Porter had a knee sprain and did not return. With that, I will take your questions.
(Did the Underwood injury affect what you wanted to do tonight?)
In what regards?
(The rotation? He was in there for a few series, but…)**Not really. We wanted to look at all those young guys. We wanted to see Brandon, Patrick, and Sam. That was the way we went into the game, so…
(How close was Bulaga to going?)
I don't know what his availability will be next week, but we'll see how he is when he goes through the rehab.
(He was pretty adamant this week about missing time. Did he plead with you to play?)
It was a medical decision, so…you always appreciate your players wanting to get onto the field and all our injured guys feel that way. But Dr. McKenzie has the final say on what players go and don't go. That's the way we've always operated here.
(What do you make of your starting defense after three games? What's your overall feel?)
Well, defensively we haven't played the game with everybody on the field yet so the continuity is probably not where we'd like it to be right now. And that's something that we're probably going to have to establish in our practice structure leading up to the Philadelphia game. The injuries have kind of kept us from getting the continuity that you would like. It's a challenge that you face at some point almost every season so I think that's where we stand defensively right now.
(Aaron said that he wasn't too happy until the end of the first half. How'd you feel about the offense tonight?)
I thought the offense was productive, but the contrast of our identity as a football team is taking the football away, which I felt we did a very good job of tonight. But we didn't do a very good job of taking care of the ball. We had the ball on the ground too many times, so we need to eliminate that from our play. And it's kind of gone on a little too much, and I'm talking about in the practices and so far in the preseason. We train it every day and we need to get rid of that. So that's the only thing I was really disappointed in offensively.
(Do you think it's just one of those things because it hasn't been so good in taking care of the ball?)
It's the technique. And that's why you train it every day and we need to do a better job. So, it's a fundamental that we put a lot of emphasis, like I know everybody does, but we've been good taking care of the football, and we're not quite where we need to be right now.
(How come Grant didn't return after the fumble?)
Just the reps. He wasn't held for any reason. We just wanted to try and get as many opportunities for those running backs. You know, we had Kregg Lumpkin back and then Quinn Porter, too. We really didn't want to play Brandon into the third quarter, but I know we did there for a little while. But it was all based on reps.
(Are you going to have Matthews for the final exhibition game?)
I don't know that yet. Don't know that yet.
(What did you think about Zombo's play?)
I didn't really get a chance to really watch him individually. But I'll say this: I thought it was a very productive win for us. As always after preseason games, anxious to watch the film to see, particularly the younger players that were given an opportunity, like a Frank Zombo, Sam Shields, the guys that were put in there earlier than they have been in the past two games. We were able to play everybody in the football game tonight and that's important. And it's just a very competitive situation. We feel that we were able to get good information and had a good win in front of our home crowd. So I thought it was a very productive evening.
(You've been challenging the special teams. It had to be nice to see Chery step up.)
Yeah, I mean Chery, how could you not be excited about that young man? He gets an opportunity and we'll definitely give him some more opportunities, I can promise you that, as we move forward into this next week.
(Hawk didn't play until the second half. I know you played almost all nickel until the second half..?)
It was more of a rotation. A.J. was coming back off that ankle and also Nick didn't play last week and getting Brandon some more work inside. It's the preseason structure that you always go through. There's a number of different objectives and targets that you're trying to hit and that was what we were trying to get done there in that first half on defense.
(Considering Bryan couldn't go tonight is it pretty much done that Colledge is the starting left guard?)
That's a discussion we'll have tomorrow as a staff. But availability is obviously the most important aspect of your job responsibility and Daryn Colledge has done an excellent job of that throughout his career here. And I think Daryn is playing good football. I've liked what I've seen so far from Daryn in the preseason.