(How is Woodson?)
Charles Woodson jammed his shoulder. I think he's going to be fine. As we know, Charles has always fought through injuries. If the situation was different, he would have returned to the game.
(And Brad Jones?)
We just were being smart with Brad. He's fine. Charles Woodson is the only person that will be added to our weekly injury list.
(Did you have a lump in your throat when Woodson went down?)
No doubt. Anytime one of your players goes down and doesn't get up, it definitely buckles your knees, and no different for Charles. Just when he was walking off, he told me right then, he said 'I'll be fine'. So, I wasn't concerned after that.
(Can you go through your thought process of why you decided to play your starters so much?)
Our focus was clear from day one, made it clear to everybody, the players included. They felt the same way. Every team is different. Some teams earn an opportunity to rest their players. Some teams maybe feel more comfortable doing that. Based on where we are, we're a young football team. We were not in the playoffs last year. I felt it was clear that our football team needed to continue to stay on the pace, continue to make progress, and we wanted to come out here and win the game, keep our razor sharp and gain some momentum going into the playoffs. It didn't really matter who we were playing. I understand Arizona had a different agenda. We had 16 games to prove ourselves. We're an 11-5 football team. We like the way we've played the last eight weeks, and it was very important for our particular team to maximize this opportunity. Our goal going into the game was to play three quarters and see where the game stood. Obviously we made our changes there in the third quarter with about four minutes left, so feel very fortunate that we came out of the game healthy because I understand the risk as much as anybody and the concerns people would have by going with this plan. But in the best interest of our football team, to play their best football going into the playoffs, that's why we took this approach.
(Did you look at teams that played their starters in the past in a situation like this?)
Did not inquire, did not look into it. I'm not going to stand here and by no means act like I have all the answers, but I have the pulse of my football team, and our football team needed to stay on course. We've set a path. We had some bumps in the road at 4-4 and continued to improve each week, won some football games along the way, but I thought it was important to take this last opportunity to make sure we were playing the best we possibly could coming out of the regular season because as we all know, the playoffs start this week and it's a whole different season, whole different circumstances, and I'm going to make sure I gave our opportunity the best chance to be playing at the highest level possible.
(How much confidence did you take from this?)
Winning is confidence, there's no denying that. Winning breeds confidence, it breeds excitement, it breeds encouragement, encouragement breeds adrenaline, it all ties together. I really like the energy of our football team. I love the work ethic of the football team. We'll go right back at it this week. They're fresh. They've had the opportunity the last two Fridays to take care of their legs in building up to this playoff run. You're given 16 opportunities to get your team ready, and I feel good about where we are today.
(Did you try to stay pretty vanilla?)
I ended up going that way. Once again, I've had plenty of opportunities to build offenses, and we're the same way on defense. We feel like we have plenty of bullets in our gun to play a double header if we had to play it today, but I did find myself in the second quarter and into the third quarter scratching things off my list, anticipating just saving it for next week.
(How much can you take from Arizona as far as what they did?)
Probably not a whole lot. To me, we'll look at this game a lot like we looked at the preseason game. I know I will. We'll look at the matchups because their starters didn't play very long. They obviously took a different approach, so we'll look at the matchups. Billy Davis, just from my perspective, offense going against their defense, Billy will have a different plan for us here, and I'm sure he's probably holding things and so forth. Hey, that's why you play the game. That's the chess match part of it. The coaches will do a good job with the plan, and we need to continue to put the players in position. I like the way we're playing. We've got a lot of energy, playing with confidence. We've got an edge to our play, we're healthy, we're fresh, so I like the way we're walking into these playoffs.
(If you are playing Saturday, how will you handle the schedule?)
The players are going to be off Monday. We've already set the schedule for Monday and Tuesday. They players are going to be off Monday and we're going to work Tuesday, regardless of whether we're on the six-day or seven-day. How long we work on Tuesday will directly reflect a six-day or seven-day schedule.
(Do you have a preference?)
No, I really don't. That's a good question. I haven't thought about it either way. You know, with us playing Arizona a six-day is fine because you can only go back and look at the cutups so long. We have another game to add to the cut-ups, but I don't know how much you'll put into this game schematically. Playing Arizona, six-day, I'll say this: if I was playing on six days, this would be the week to do it.
(Can you talk about Woodson's season?)
Charles has had an incredible season, and I'm sure there are a lot of excellent candidates out there for the defensive MVP, but I don't know how he does not win the award. His teammates are chanting MVP every day at practice, and he goes out and does it every Sunday. He goes out and played at a high level again today, so he's had a tremendous year. He's a complete football player. He's played four positions for us on defense. He's gone against the No. 1 receiver, gone against their top tight end. I mean he's really been an outstanding, outstanding football player for us this year and has given Dom Capers a lot of flexibility, and we've been able to maximize our creativity on defense with him.
(What is your feeling going into the playoffs compared to two years ago?)
We felt good two years ago going into it. We had the opportunity to win there at home and we had the bye week, so it was really a whole different circumstance because I knew we were going to have to make sure we gained our edge at practice because we were going to be off because we had the home field and had a chance to be healthy. This football team, we're relatively healthy outside of the injuries we had earlier in the season. We're playing very well, and they're probably very similar because I know we were what, 6-2 in the second half that year, and we're 7-1 in the second half this year, so there's probably a lot of similarities.