(How's Shields doing, and what's your comfort level with Underwood considering he hasn't played for a while?)
Sam Shields didn't practice today. He's doubtful. It's something that he's a far reach to play. Brandon Underwood, he's had a number of weeks of practice, and I thought he was able to get into the game in Chicago. Fully capable of playing better on special teams and anticipate him to do that, but I think defensively he's ready to go. All the snaps he had in training camp leading up to his injury there in Indianapolis. Brandon's ready to go.
(Is that the way you'll go or do you have other options?)
Well, we have a couple options. We have Brandon Underwood, also Patrick Lee has worked in there, and also Jarrett Bush. We'll discuss that today and finalize that for our meetings tomorrow.
(What do you think you'll do without Chillar in the nickel? Are A.J. and Desmond options you'll take into the game?)
Exactly. You pretty much answered your own question. We've played nickel with A.J., and also have the ability to play with Bishop, and that's constant throughout all of our sub groups.
(You've played so much sub-package, how do you evaluate the run defense? Is it hard to do because you've played so much sub?)
Well, we evaluate the run defense in sub no different than we do in base. Just like you've stated, we have not played a lot of base defense this year. It just really has to do with the way the offenses are approaching us on gameday. But we still have to play run defense in sub, and the evaluation process is still the same.
(How do you think you've done?)
I think we're doing OK. I think we're playing the run solid. We definitely want to improve on certain things. I think the rotation of your linemen, you have Cullen with the hand, and I think B.J. and Ryan Pickett are both playing more snaps than they have in the past. In some of the other combination sub groups, just to make sure you're getting the run fits, because you don't have the opportunity in training camp, particularly practicing against our offense and the way we're structured in training camp to maybe have as much sub run. That's something we'll look at in the future too. I think we're off to a solid start.
(Where's Neal at now that he's gone through these practices?)
I talked to Mike Trgovac before practice, and he thought he definitely made progress through yesterday. He did practice today, so that's really the process I go through after today's press conference. I have a chance to meet with the trainers, and we'll talk about it with all the coordinators in our game management meeting. I'm hopeful he came through the practice clean.