10-10-2006, 09:33 PM
Oct 10, 2006, 3:59:27 PM

HERM EDWARDS: “Trent (Green) is feeling better, but he’s still day to day and we’ll see where he’s at after he meets with the doctor later on this afternoon to see if he can start working out. That’s a good sign.

“Michael Bennett is still doubtful (hamstring) and Kyle Turley (back) is anxiously waiting to practice, so I’d put him as questionable. Larry Johnson (neck) is sore but I anticipate he’ll be at practice. Dante Hall (hip pointer) is a little bit sore, but I anticipate he’ll be at practice.

“Some announcements: Damon Huard, AFC (Offensive) Player of the Week, Lawrence Tynes, AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. They’ve both done a good job these past few weeks.

“Playing Pittsburgh with a record of 1-3 doesn’t recognize what kind of team it is. When you watch them play, they play very, very hard on defense and are very, very fast. They pose a lot of problems in running the passing game and bring a lot of pressure on the quarterback, so you have to make some good decisions.

“They’re very, very good against the run. They’ve only given up 88 (yards per game) against the run and so it’s very tough to win in Pittsburgh. I know that. I’ve been there a couple of times with my former teams and it’s very difficult to win there.

“Offensively, their quarterback isn’t clicking right now. But they’ve got some weapons in Hines Ward and their receiver corps. They’ve got a solid running game. They play well on special teams. But they’re down 1-3 and I think they’ve been this way twice in Bill’s (Cowher) tenure there and ended up going to the playoffs both times.

“I anticipate they’re going to come out flying and we have to make sure we don’t get behind. We can’t get behind like we did last week on the road against these guys because it gets very difficult in that stadium.”

Q: So you anticipate Dante (Hall) will be able to play?

EDWARDS: “I anticipate that. He’s got a little sore hip, but I don’t know how bad it is. He says he’s going to try and go this week.”

Q: How serious is Larry (Johnson’s)?

EDWARDS: “His neck is a little sore but he’s going to be fine.”

Q: Have you a sense that Larry Johnson is a little frustrated, that he’s not getting what he got last year?

EDWARDS: “It’s not as easy as it was last year; he’s got a target on his back right now. When you’re playing with the backup quarterback people are going to stack the box on you more (often). They’re going to challenge you to throw the ball and I thought Damon has done a good job with that. He’s making some throws and what we’ve got to do is do a better job of running. We’ve got to get cleaner at the point of entry whether it’s blocking and running or a combination of both. It’s something we’re looking into if we’re going to be successful.

“Now, I say that and we’re playing against Pittsburgh who’s only giving up 88 yards a game. So, there’s going to be some ugly running again. But I don’t think you can stop. I think what happened to us last week was we got behind in the football game and we only ran the ball 22 times and that’s not enough. We threw the ball 38 times and that’s way too many passes for me. But we had to for the fact that we were behind. We were trying to catch up and it took all of four quarters to do it.

“But I just think when you get out of synch like that it poses a problem for you because the linemen don’t get a feel about running the ball. They need to get a feel about running and blocking that way. Last week they didn’t.”

Q: There were so many unknowns about what Damon Huard could do when Trent went down, did it surprise you he would receive an award like he did this week and does it validate what he has accomplished?

EDWARDS: “I think for two weeks in a row he’s played pretty consistent for being a backup. I think people recognize that in the league. He’s a guy who hasn’t played a lot of five years and all of a sudden has to go to a pretty tough place to play in Denver and does a pretty good job. Then he wins two in a row and one on the road where he’s actually behind 14-0 in the first quarter. It says a lot about his poise and a lot about Mike Solari (offensive coordinator) and Terry Shea (quarterbacks coach) in building the offense and doing the things that he does well…

“…and the players rallying around what he can do well. Now, it’s a team effort but he gets the accolades because he’s the quarterback who has won two games. I think it gives him a lot of confidence, gives our team a lot of confidence, and he has to continue to play that way. He has to continue to manage the game, don’t turn the ball over and make the throws that are necessary ‘cause he’s going to have to throw the ball. He’s going to have to protect the ball; that’s probably the thing that the quarterback has to do most: protect the ball and play fairly well on third down. He’s done that and made throws on third down to continue drives.”

Q: You knew he was competent, but have you been at all surprised with his poise?

EDWARDS: “I think his confidence has risen. I saw it in Denver after the first half when the game was still close. It was kind of like the game last night (Baltimore vs. Denver): one of the teeth-rattlers again. He didn’t lose his poise and kept playing. In the San Francisco game he did a great job and hit some big-time passes and made some plays on third down that were necessary. He stepped up in the pocket, bought himself some time and made some throws.

“I think when you put in your backup quarterback players are always a little bit concerned because they don’t see the guy playing a lot. For him, he’s been behind a guy that’s been pretty good. He hasn’t played a lot of football in five years and players are a little bit concerned and they want to try and help him out rather than trying to do their own job. I sense now they’re all comfortable and they’re not worrying about the quarterback. He’s fine.”

Q: When you watch the coaches film is Tony Gonzalez getting open and not getting the ball or is he slower and not quite as open? What do you see?

EDWARDS: “Some they’re taking it away because of what they’re doing in coverages. Some of it is (he’s) not the quarterback’s first read. But we need to get him the ball more; there’s no doubt about it. He’s a big-time target and a big-time football player for us. It’s something we need to do, whether it’s on the field or the Red Zone, there’s no doubt about it. There are some mismatches that he can present for us.

“But I think that’s all about Mike Solari growing as a coordinator every week. I thought he’s done a good job the last couple of weeks and he’s just finding his way too. Every game is a new game and every week he grows. That’s part of the process and sometimes we lose sight of that.”

Q: Is Mike ahead of where you want him to be as a coordinator?

EDWARDS: “Yeah, I think Mike’s doing a good job under the circumstances that he’s been forced to deal with as a coordinator. There are some things that happened to this football team that you don’t anticipate. It’s good because you grow that way and you don’t make excuses for it. No one feels sorry for you; they really don’t. The only person who feels sorry for you is your wife, or your kids, or your dog – but only if you feed it. It’s just one of those things we’re dealing with and we’re growing.

“The good thing about us is a lot of young players are getting to play. I think that’s important because that’s the future of your football team. We’ve had a lot of young players in this game that made some plays. Pollard made a big play for us blocking a punt. He’s one of our draft choices. We’ve had Webb go in there as a kickoff guy and he doesn’t know any better and after one move he just starts running straight and got the ball out to the 50. Paige is playing a lot for us. Tamba Hali, our draft choice, got another sack and is playing a lot. It’s kind of good to see those guys we drafted. I know we got a ‘C’ draft (grade) but they’re playing like ‘A’ players now as rookies. That’s what you want. We’ve got a few free agents who made the team that have participated too. So, youth is playing and in a winning manner and gaining confidence every time they play.”

Q: Are you getting more out of your defensive tackles than you anticipated?

EDWARDS: “They’re doing a good job and the rotation system helps. Ryan’s (Sims) doing a good job. He’s in there and getting plays and we just activated Steve Williams last week and he got 17 plays. They’re playing pretty consistent. Those four guys are giving us a good mix.”

Q: What’s the latest on Priest Holmes’ condition? It’s coming up on his six weeks.

EDWARDS: “We’re going to have to talk about that; we really haven’t huddled up on that yet. But it’s a discussion we’re going to have to have.”

Q: Have you talked to him?

EDWARDS: “I haven’t, no I have not.”

Q: I know it’s different but Turley’s out there watching practice and you know he’s coming back. But is it telling that you really haven’t heard from Priest?

EDWARDS: “I don’t know if it’s telling, because I haven’t been around Priest a whole lot. They say he’s like Casper the friendly ghost. You never find him or see him. That’s just his way. I don’t know if it’s telling or anything, I just know that we’ll have another conversation in another week to figure out which way we’re going.”

CARL PETERSON: “I’ve talked to him. We’re disappointed that Michael Bennett is hurt because we wanted him to take some of the load of Larry. But he’ll be back shortly. We’ve got running backs and it would always be great to have Priest Holmes but that’s not dictated by us right now.”

Q: Would you like him to be here more?

EDWARDS: “No. If Carl’s talked to him we’re ok. But we knew going into (this season) that he wasn’t going to be here and that was OK and why we put him on PUP (physically unable to perform). He’s fine.”

Q: It’s easy to say that Samie Parker needs to be more consistent. He makes a great touchdown reception and then the drops come along with it. What do you do to make him more consistent or is it just a deal because everybody flips out because of a drop?

EDWARDS: “Well, I think everybody flips out because of a drop. The problem with us is because when we’re this ‘conservative offense’ you don’t get as many throws, so if you drop it you don’t get as many chances, where if you throw it 50 times a game you don’t worry about drops because you’re going to get it about 10 more times. (laughs) There’s more pressure on you to catch passes because we don’t throw it 40 times any more. Hopefully, we don’t have to because you’re going to lose the game because you’re passing too much and your quarterback is going to get killed.

“People look at the glass half-full or half-empty. I look at it he makes a great catch and scores a touchdown for us. He dropped the ball (later). OK. Big deal. My big deal is you’d better throw him another one early if he drops that one. You don’t say, well, he dropped the ball so we won’t throw it to him any more. When it’s a runner who’s not running good right away you don’t stop running. You keep giving him the ball. Larry’s struggling some and then all of a sudden at the end (vs. Arizona) great players always make plays if they get the ball in their hands. He makes a big play on the screen.

“So, I go in the other direction maybe because I was a player. Maybe that’s my sense of it. I know how players think and if you get away from them and punish them for dropping the ball you make a big deal of it and they start worrying about, ‘what if I don’t catch it? Then they’re not going to throw me the ball.” Then there’s more pressure on the guy. The guy’s got enough pressure. He’s in the National Football League. They drop balls. I’ve seen great ones drop them. But I think he makes some big plays too. That’s what you look at. It didn’t hurt us. We won the game. He’s a good player, a young player and he’s going to get better.”

Q: Coach, you’ve talked in the off-season about wanting to see how tough this team was. With all the adversity the team has gone through has it reached the level you wanted?

EDWARDS: “It’s getting there. A little bit of the test was last week in Arizona when you’re down 14-0. I always look at like this: we were down 14-0 but it was in the first five minutes. That was OK with me. Five minutes. I’ve been in those games before. You know one thing: when you’re on the road and that happens the key is to keep your composure and get some points on the board. Don’t let it get to 17 or don’t let it get to 20 (points). If you can do that, then all of a sudden it becomes a game again and the crowd gets out of it. But if you don’t do that, then you’re in trouble. Then it becomes 21, then it becomes what happened to San Francisco (vs. Kansas City last week); it becomes an avalanche. We didn’t allow that to happen. To me, that’s how you become mentally tough. You don’t allow it; you don’t allow it to happen.

“Sometimes if you allow it to happen it grows on you and you can’t stop it. We withstood it. It was the same as the ‘Frisco game, but it was reversed. We were up 10 on them right away. We scored on them early, they fumbled, and we got more points on the board and all of a sudden it got going. It didn’t happen to us; we stopped them and got some points on the board and at halftime it was 17-10 and we were down one score.

“Then the second half we hold them to three points; (we) score 13 points in the fourth quarter and (we) win the game. You don’t want to draw it up that way but the good thing about it is if you don’t let them score you always have a chance. Defensively, we haven’t given up many points in the second half.

“I thought our players kept their composure, coaches did a good job at halftime, and the players never thought they were out of the game. That was good to see and we talked about obstacles and objectives before the game. The objective was to win. You’re going to have obstacles. It’s what football is about; it’s about how you deal with obstacles. Well, you don’t deal with obstacles; they’re part of the game. You deal with the objective which is to win. So, don’t get caught up with the score or caught up with what’s going on. I said at halftime you have an obligation and that’s to win the game. You’ve got to win the game. We’re not losing this game and it doesn’t matter that they’ve got 14 points in the first quarter. That’s the kind of composure you want to have as a football team.

“And maybe it’s me, too. I just kind of walk up and down the sideline and talk to them, say something to this or that guy. They kind of watch me and see if I go crazy. It was the same in New York. I saw it click when the defense made a stop on third down and got off the field. I said, ‘we’re going to be ok, now.’ We stopped the fire. That was what was on my mind: you’ve got to put the fire out. You can’t let it get into the next bedroom. Then we made it a game. You’ve got to keep playing.

“People get panicky. People do that. But what we did offensively is when we got behind we didn’t start throwing the ball over the ballpark. We kept our composure and at halftime we were down by seven. We started to play, and it’s three-plays-and-out again, and then we got down by another three points. OK, now it’s 20. We didn’t go back and start throwing a bunch of passes. Just run your offense and keep playing.

“In the fourth quarter, I say to Mike (Solari) and the quarterback that we’ve got three more possessions and we’re ok. Just keep playing.”

Q: Comment on the play of Lawrence Tynes?

EDWARDS: “Both our kickers have done a great job, in my estimation. The punter I always look at as a defensive guy because when they punt they create field position for you. Kickers are always offensive guys because he’s going to score points. For the way we play now, which is field position and my favorite thing (laugh) to do is what?

Q: Kick field goals (in unison).

EDWARDS: “We kick field goals, but we scored 41 points one game already. Lot of field goals, huh?

“But the thing you lose sight of about kickers is they’re not like offense or defense where you generally get three plays before you know the outcome. Well, a kicker has one shot. He has to go kick the ball. It’s not easy at all, especially when conditions are difficult. They only get one shot.”

Q: Is this a game where you would logically expect to get Pittsburgh’s best shot given where Bill Cowher’s team is right now?

EDWARDS: “One thing I know about Bill Cowher, who I’ve been around a long, long time. He was actually signed as a free agent by Philadelphia when I was there as a player. He’s a very good football coach and his teams are always prepared to play and play hard. It’s always a must-win for them. They want to win. For us, it’s no different. We dug ourselves out of a hole. We were 0-2. We got ourselves out and are back at .500. I would think they would be at their best. They don’t want to lose four in a row. They’re Super Bowl champs and until you beat them or they get the letter from the commissioner that says (they’re) not in the playoffs you’ve got to look at them that way. The trophy’s in their house and you’re going there and they play good in their house.”

Q: Carl, are you releasing Lional Dalton?

PETERSON: “Yes, we are. We’re activating Michael Bragg to the 53-man roster because we need corner help because of Benny Sapp being down. To make room, we had to release someone on the 53 and said goodbye to Lional Dalton who hasn’t been active the last two weeks. We thank him for his participation but we’re also trying to get young.”

Q: Do some guys just not fit the coach’s system?

PETERSON: “Every time you change coaching staffs there are players on your roster before that don’t fit what the incoming head coach and assistant coaches are looking for. It was probably the situation with Lional.”

10-10-2006, 11:29 PM
Q: When you watch the coaches film is Tony Gonzalez getting open and not getting the ball or is he slower and not quite as open? What do you see?

EDWARDS: “Some they’re taking it away because of what they’re doing in coverages. Some of it is (he’s) not the quarterback’s first read. But we need to get him the ball more; there’s no doubt about it. He’s a big-time target and a big-time football player for us. It’s something we need to do, whether it’s on the field or the Red Zone, there’s no doubt about it. There are some mismatches that he can present for us.

“But I think that’s all about Mike Solari growing as a coordinator every week. I thought he’s done a good job the last couple of weeks and he’s just finding his way too. Every game is a new game and every week he grows. That’s part of the process and sometimes we lose sight of that.”

Well mike needs to hurry his ass up and get tony the ball. I understand the man needs to block given the state of the line but damn its freaking tony gonzo give him the ball its a guarenteed catch