Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 2

(Are you concerned Morency's injury may linger for a while or that he won't be ready for the season?)

We're not anticipating that. It's one of those things that you think it's something and then you do all your tests and stuff and it's a little bit more involved than that. But we feel pretty comfortable in the time frame of, I guess theoretically, maybe it will take most of the preseason, but we feel like he's going to be OK.

(For the organization, what does the Family Night scrimmage mean?)

It means a lot. I don't even remember the genesis of it. I think we probably used to have a scrimmage out there, and then we just decided to move it in. I think it gives a lot of people a chance to see the team that sometimes can't get tickets to come to our games. I know it seems like a completely different crowd. It's usually a little rambunctious, if that's the right word. We always look forward to it. I think it's a great tradition. I think we still like the jersey things, we pass out jerseys after the scrimmage. Obviously it's a nice atmosphere. It's good for our team, and good for our players too, especially for our young guys that haven't experienced a game here to kind of get a feel for the atmosphere of what it's going to be like in a preseason game.

(Any questions in your mind regarding the new field surface? Last year you had the issue with the concrete, but that's gone.)

Right, yeah, we don't have that anymore. We feel pretty comfortable. It's the exact same thing that we have on Hinkle Field. Our players seem to like it, the footing is really good, and the field looks really good. They worked really hard putting that thing together.

(Will you ever revisit the issue of bringing in another team to scrimmage, like Buffalo two years ago?)

Mike and I talk about it every offseason. It's something that we might in the future consider bringing a team in here. The problem is the team normally wants it reciprocal, so that they come visit you one year and then you go to their place the next year. Well, I don't know if I want to be the GM to take the Green Bay Packers outside of Green Bay for training camp. That's a little bit of a sticky wicket sometimes. But we're not opposed to it. You have to have staffs that kind of think alike. If you have one staff that wants to go a little rougher than another staff, then you have teams that aren't practicing the same tempo, and you could risk certain things, injuries and things. When I was with the Oilers, we used to go to Greeley, Colorado, and practice and scrimmage against the Broncos every year, and it usually turned into a little more than what we bargained for.

(Do you plan to sign another punter?)

Probably at some point. Like I said, we'd like to make sure everybody has competition throughout. We're still kind of working through that in terms of do we need to add something over here, or add something over here. But yeah, we would like to and we would anticipate bringing in another guy.

(Any thought to adding another running back to the roster?)

Not at present, no. Obviously we're disappointed Vernand is not going to be able to play in maybe the first couple of preseason games. We'll see how he goes after that. We also have some young fellows here we need to see play, and need to see practice, so that affords them an opportunity.

(Are you concerned about Morency's durability?)

Not overly, no. Quite frankly, it's a violent business and sometimes you get dinged up. And sometimes that happens early in your career and then you wind up playing for a long time and it never happens again. Sometimes I think it's the luck of the draw. I guess genetics enter into it, but we don't think it's that.

(Seeing young guys in a full scrimmage on Saturday night, how important is that for your evaluations?)

Yes, to answer your question. Especially the fellows that haven't been here before, and even some of the guys that were maybe and haven't been exposed to it. You kind of want to see how they react to it. It doesn't mean they have to be perfect on every play. What I look for more is their reaction. If something happens bad, do they kind of bounce back? Or if something happens good, do they stay on an even keel and keep playing and keep being part of a team? I enjoy watching the chemistry of the whole thing. In fact, that's the reason I walk around on the sidelines and things like that, to kind of see how people are. Sometimes, there have been guys in the past where you just see that glassy look come over, and you're thinking this might not work. But I think it's an interesting experiment to see them in that environment, and different guys react different ways. It's fun.

(Have you seen enough from the offensive line to be confident using the tight ends more in the passing game and less as blockers?)

Well, I'll leave the scheme to Mike and his staff. But we feel pretty good about our offensive line as a whole. It's the same group that's been out there before, certainly the starting group. We think we have good competition, a good group of guys fighting for those other spots. I think we're going to have a pretty solid offensive line when it's all said and done. We would like very much to be very solid in the offensive and defensive line. If we do that, I think we have a chance to be a pretty good team, and I think we are.

{sportsad300}(Terrence Murphy is starting a new career. What was that like for you when you had to release him?)

It was difficult. At the time, he was still anxious to play. Because you see him, he walks around and he's perfectly healthy and fine. There's just this thing there if you involve football into it or some sort of contact, then it becomes dangerous. Pat McKenzie made that call. The organization, I take a lot of pride in the way it's always been. From '92 on, we've never tried to push a player out on the field when we thought it would jeopardize them. We try to look at these guys as if they're our own children, and if we use that as a barometer I think we're always going to be in the right.

(He seems to have rebounded pretty well.)

He certainly has. He's a very well-rounded young man. Wants to be a coach, wants to be involved in athletics. We think it's great that he's here working with our staff. As you know, he's a very articulate, sharp kid.

(With the signing of Joe Werner, is this the first time you've tied to convert a basketball player to tight end?)

I don't know. I'd have to check my records on that. Joe, we had him in for a workout during our rookie gathering, mini-camp, whatever you want to call that. And he worked hard. Ben (McAdoo) kind of liked him. He catches the ball very well. He's raw, but we'll see how it goes. I don't think we've put him in there too much so far, so we'll see how it goes. He's the kind of athlete that you're looking for. He has the ability to stretch the field. He can reach and catch the ball. He works and practices as hard as he can. We actually called him, he was on his honeymoon I think in Mexico or somewhere. He didn't cut his honeymoon short, he was on his way back already, so we didn't do that. So he had a busy couple of days there.

(When you played, training camp was different, more tackling. Now there's less of that, more days off. Is that a change for the better?)

I think so. When we went to my rookie training camp, I think it was June 29, and we went double-day ... we had 130 rookies, you could bring as many people as you want, we had 130 rookies and we worked double days for 2 1/2 weeks before the veterans even came, and then we had six weeks of preseason games, back in the day. I think it's better. I think it's evolving, every way you look at it. When I was in college once at SMU, we had three-a-days. It wasn't like we were hitting three times a day, but we were on the field three times a day. As we go through this, the evolution of training and the emphasis you put on the offseason, I think it might be at some point in time in the National Football League's history, maybe in not too short distance a time frame, two-a-days might be a thing of the past. It might be say a morning practice, 2 1/2, 3 hours, and then the rest of it would be meetings and stuff. I don't know. It's a game of attrition sometimes, I know that. But at the same time, there's a certain amount of work you have to do, you have to get ready to play, and it's an active, competitive, violent sport.

(Has tackling suffered because of that?)

I don't know. It depends on I guess the individual. I don't know. I think you still have to practice certain things. We don't necessarily do it against live competition. We do it against dummies with technique in terms of wrapping and things like that. But normally speaking, over the last several years, I think probably the first couple of preseason games you see a few more missed tackles and then as you get into the preseason and the start of the regular season, I think it probably comes back. These guys have all played tackle football, so they kind of know. There's little techniques and nuances you have to work on.

(Are you concerned about the tight end situation with Humphrey out for the year?)

Well, it's a shame that Tory got hurt. I thought he had a really good offseason, and we think he's a very good athlete and an interesting tight end prospect. The other guys have to step up. As I've said before, it's a position that we want to get more production out of. We're still working at it and will continue to work at it.

(How many tight ends to you plan to keep on the roster, or has that not been determined?)

That has not yet, definitively. All the time I was here prior to going to Seattle, even in Seattle and the last couple years, I think it's changed. Some years it's four, some years it's three, on a lot of teams people keep two.

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