(What can you expect out of Chris Francies?)
Well, he's going to play. He'll most likely be up and part of our multiple receiver packages. He took most of the reps throughout practice, so it's a great opportunity for Chris.
(Who will return kickoffs?)
We are working a couple of guys. I'd rather answer that later in the week. Morency, Noah Herron, guys we've been working before.
(Does Koren Robinson have a knee that may need offseason attention? Will you save a roster spot for him a year from now?)
As far as going through this process for the first time and as far as Koren Robinson's future, I can't really even comment on it, and that's where we stand. We wish him well. His knee is bothering him. He may consider doing something with the knee as far as my last conversation with him. What happens in the future with him I can't get into.
(Some think it was a mistake - was it worth the risk?)
I clearly think it's the right thing to do. I think there's a personal side to this business and obviously a professional side to it. From a professional standpoint, we knew the risk we were taking. It was calculated, and the worst scenario happened. We knew what the possibilities were. From a personal standpoint, I think he's a young man that made a mistake. He has a bright future and he's in the process of trying to correct his mistakes. I clearly do not think (bringing him in) was a mistake at all. His experience here was very positive.
(How much did Woodson do today? Where is he at?)
His quad is still bothering him. He went through the jog-through, but he did not practice. We'll reevaluate him tomorrow after his rehab session in the morning.
(Injury report lists Blackmon as a shin - is that different from his prior injury?)
That's the result from the foot injury.
(What's with William Henderson's calf?)
It just blew up on him. We had him tested today as a precaution, and we're going to have some more tests this afternoon. William did practice today. It swelled up on him, bothered him a bit on Monday, and he had some swelling today.
(Any idea how long Ferguson will be sidelined?)
Actually, I'll know more hopefully tonight or tomorrow. We did the tests on him this morning, and this is about the time frame we anticipated, very similar to Kenderick Allen. We'll have more information in the next day or so.
(Kenderick Allen is done for the year - doesn't sound very good)
I'm talking about the process of evaluating the injury is what I'm referring to. About two to three weeks out from his initial injury, my understanding is you have to get the swelling down to see how he's reacted to being in the boot and everything will determine how bad it really is.
(Green is still on your injury report - are you concerned?)
I'm not concerned. It's a normal process when guys come off injuries. I'm hopeful. He's looked strong Thursday, Monday and today, so we'll be smart with him with the carries and go forward. I have no indications that it's going to be a long term effect.
(How much of the game plan do you have to alter given your WR situation?)
Well, Ruvell Martin has played some, and we're confident in his abilities. As far as our game plan, we will adjust. I think that's natural. That's also the reason we have four tight ends on our roster and two fullbacks. Our scheme and our system is flexible enough to take advantage of their abilities and that's the direction we'll go.
(Coverage unit - punter is high in gross but way down in net, what needs to be fixed?)
I think the initial first couple of games really factored. It's not an excuse. It's really the coordination of your punter and coverage unit. It's just like mostly everything we've done - if it was just one thing, we'd change it. It's just more the fundamentals of lane discipline, ball placement by Jon, so there's a number of factors we need to work on.
(Are you satisfied with his hang time?)
(When you have a run of bad luck at a position, how difficult is it to sustain and deal with that when it thins your numbers?)
I think really it goes back to your off-season planning. It goes back on how you build your system, and I'm referring to your run game concepts, your pass protection concepts and your passing game concepts, all three levels, and to have the flexibility to move in and out of personnel groups. We've talked about that also in the past. When you get into game-planning, you never really want to be one player away from being out of a primary concept or primary focus for that particular game plan. That's something we do week in and week out. With that in mind, we were prepared for Koren's situation, and that's the way we'll continue to operate.
(How close was Francies to making the roster out of training camp?)
He's someone we really liked. If you guys recall training camp, I thought he really jumped out early like a lot of guys. With the length of training camp, his opportunities decreased as you get into the third game, you play more guys. I think he really came on strong early, and we were just thankful we were able to put him on the practice squad. But he was definitely in consideration earlier in training camp.
(Does he fit your mold in terms of what you're looking for at receiver with size?)
He's a bigger receiver. He can run. I think he has a tremendous upside. He's one of the individuals that has really made a lot of progress in the weight training program, even during the season, which you like to see. It's obviously harder to do that when you're in season. I think Chris is a young guy with a tremendous upside.
(What do you like about Ruvell Martin?)
He has versatility, he has size, knowledge of our system. He's able to play all three positions. I think he's a guy that's done very well in red-zone type situations, and he gives you a potential favorable matchup in that area. Those are things that jump out about Ruvell.
(When you go back to mini-camps, Francies looked like he struggled to get off the line. Did he improve with that?)
Absolutely. Really for the way we train, just going against our defense, I've seen it every single day. To me, that's a normal transition for a young guy coming out of college. There are guys that never get off the bump, and that's why they're not in this league anymore. Bump and run in my opinion has always been the biggest thing a receiver has to overcome. Greg Jennings has kind of spoiled us a little bit in that area. But I think Chris once again is a young player that has a lot of upside and a bright future.
(What have you seen from Harrington since he took over for Culpepper?)
Just saw a little bit of him obviously in the last game. He played with a lot of confidence. It was a come-from-behind situation, but I thought he played with good urgency. Better ball accuracy than I remember. He has to be feeling pretty confident after particularly his fourth-quarter performance.
(Did you guys explore him at all when he left Detroit?)
(How big a challenge is it for the offensive line going against a 3-4 with this scheme?)
Well, the technique changes just a little because of the way they'll potentially play their linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage. Being a 3-4, without jumping into the nitty-gritty of it, they're a two-gap technique is what you'll see more of. To try to ensure one-on-one blocks, they'll put the linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage as we attempt to zone-block them. They want to play one-on-one. They're a bigger group. I've said it before, we want to be 2-on-1, 3-on-2, 4-on-3 in everything we do. So that's the challenge, more schematically, they give you in the 3-4. Knowing that going in, we have to have answers and adjustments to attack that.
(With the linebackers, have you gotten the number of big plays you've wanted from the unit?)
I'll say this as our whole defense, impact plays and turnovers are something we put a major emphasis on. You always emphasize it, but those are things when you go through your self-scouting, you're weekly evaluation, we need to get more of. A.J. Hawk has shown an ability to do that. We're looking to get him more involved in certain packages. Nick Barnett has been a good pressure player for us, too. So, I think the first thing, to answer your question, we need to create more opportunities for them, to put them in an impact position.
(What things do you need to clean up in the red zone?)
The first thing that jumps off is the turnovers. If memory serves, I know we've had at least four turnovers down there. That's really been our focus on offense. We're turning the ball over way too much. There are too many points generated off the turnovers from our opponents. That's the first thing we need to get cleaned up, and it carries over to the red zone. You lose four opportunities just to a turnover, that's obviously going to affect your ranking or percentage of point production down there. The other thing is third down. Our third down production in the red zone hasn't been what it needs to be. Actually we took an extra 12 snaps today and made that an emphasis.
(How much have the injuries to Hodge and Taylor affected your special teams?)
Anytime you have core players you lose off your special teams, you have to adjust. But I feel good about the direction our specials teams is going. I think we've done a good job in the personnel acquisition, of acquiring the body type that we're looking for, preferring the bigger, stronger faster guys, more athletic. That's part of the reason you have four tight ends and the fullback and linebacker types. We're doing a good job of having the bigger receivers also contribute to that. So with that in mind, I think we're overcoming their absence right now.
(Last week you were disappointed in how Ahman Green was coming along. What's his outlook for this week?)
I really don't get caught up in injuries, because I can't control them. He's well in tune with his body, he feels good about where he is, and I'm looking forward to seeing him play Sunday. Really, I haven't given it much thought more than that. I'll never question a player with where he's at in regards to an injury.
(Did Blackmon participate in team drills today?)
Yes, he did.
(Was that the first time?)
No, he participated on Monday. He even participated on Thursday, in Thursday's practice also.
(Is there enough time to get another wide receiver up to speed in the offense if you get one off the street?)
That's something you always have to be able to do. Once again, that goes back to the planning. If you have to put the guy in one position, or if he has history in your offense, there's a number of factors that play into that. But everybody in the National Football League has to go through that unfortunately at some point, so if we need to go that route, we'll be prepared to do that.
(Do you see much on the street right now?)
Not really. It was a very easy decision for us to go to Chris, and our young guys have done a good job. A number of our practice squad guys we're very pleased with, so it was a very easy decision.
(With your tight ends, can you fill them into three-receiver and four-receiver sets and get the matchups you want?)
Absolutely. We have the ability to be a one-back team or a two-back team, regardless of the personnel grouping. And I think that's important because there are two-back schemes you always want to adhere to, and you can't let your personnel dictate that. So with that, everything we do out of three wide receivers, we're also going to do out of two tight ends or three tight ends. So it's all carryover. We don't teach plays by personnel, we teach concepts, so we do have that ability.
(Are Martin and Tory Humphrey the most conducive to that type of thing?)
Yeah, Donald Lee also. All three of those guys are good players, and displaced players. Bubba is more of an in-line player and has done a very good job with the number of fullback responsibilities and movement things we've asked him to do. I feel very good about the flexibility we have in the tight end unit.
(Can you accelerate Blackmon into the lineup?)
It's really two-fold in my mind. Number one is his health, where he feels like he can fire away. And the second thing, he needs to get a little more comfortable that he can compete at that level, and he hasn't had a lot of time to do that. He's out there competing, he's still getting his rehab with everything, and we'll just take it day by day.
(Are you basically saying he needs to practice before he can play?)
I think everybody needs to practice before they play, yeah.
(Are you set with Colledge and Spitz at guard?)