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Ken Whisenhunt Conference Call Transcript - 9/12/2012
KW: It's always difficult when you don't know a team like you do a division opponent and part of the tough part is getting caught up to speed. They're a good football team, a well-coached football team and it's always tough. It makes it for a lot of work in preparing this week. But, we're working hard at doing that.
Q: The Patriots showed a lot of balance last week in Tennessee. Does that make it difficult to prepare for what they may or may not do this week?
KW: I think it's difficult anytime early in a season because you don't have game evidence of what they're doing, especially a team you're not as familiar with as you are with an NFC team or one that you play more often. They have done a nice job and they find ways to be successful. They're a difficult team to prepare for just from the number of different packages they run offensively and the personnel groupings they use.
Q: What were your impressions of Stevan Ridley from last week given that he was sort of an unknown quantity to some degree coming into the year?
KW: He looked like a good young running back to me. He made some good cuts, saw the field well. They did a nice job of blocking for him. He was impressive.
Q: Talk about the chess match that will transpire between Tom Brady and your defense.
KW: Whenever you play a quarterback the caliber of Tom Brady, you try to figure out what he's doing. That's been a challenge for a number of teams over the course of time. We're well aware that he's a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback that's playing at a high level and we have our work cut out for us.
Q: Bill Belichick mentioned that the Arizona Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in football dating back to last season. Do you feel as if you are playing at the level that they're seeing?
KW: I think we're just trying to focus week to week. It was a tough stretch we went through last year and our guys fought and turned around the season and finished strong, but we've played only one game. Our focus is playing against a very good New England team and knowing that we have a tremendous challenge there.
Q: What have been your impressions of the Patriots front seven on defense?
KW: They're very disciplined, they play hard and they play their scheme well.
Q: What kind of role is former Patriot James Sanders filling for you?
KW: James is a very good pro. He brings a lot to the table. We're excited that we have him and I think that when you're putting together a team, you have to have the right type of guys and he's one of those guys.
Q: What kind of role is former Patriot Rich Ohrnberger filling for you?
KW: I'm very pleased and feel very fortunate that we have Rich. He'd done a great job at camp, brings a lot to the table for us from his ability to play both guard and center. He fits in well with our group. We're extremely excited to have him on our team.
Q: Bill Belichick mentioned that Larry Fitzgerald might go down as the greatest wide receiver of all time. Do you share that sentiment?
KW: I see Larry every day and I think he's a very good football player. He's the best receiver I've ever been around – the way he works, the way he prepares, what he brings to the table from leadership. I feel very fortunate that we have him on our football team.
Q: How do you think your offensive line did in the first game considering the injuries and moving parts you have had there?
KW: We've got work to do there. They played hard. We did some things well. We did some things we have to get better at. I think that they're working to try to do that.
Q: Did D'Anthony Thomas' play surprise you at all in terms of starting and hanging in there after not having been in that role for a while if at all at that position?
KW: Your expectations for these guys when they have to step in, they're expected to play well. That's what the NFL's all about. We expected D'Anthony to step in and play well. I feel like he thinks he can continue to get better and that's his focus.
Q: What stands out on film on Stevan Ridley as far as what challenges he will present your team?
KW: He's a good back, makes good cuts, good feet, good balance. I'm very impressed with what I've seen of him on tape.
Q: How do you envision the quarterback situation unfolding this week in terms of the process you will go through to decide which guy will be out there in the game?
KW: I don't know that, but we still have a few days until the game. A lot of it is going to depend on how John [Skelton]'s ankle as it's improving, continues to improve. We feel very fortunate that it was just an ankle sprain and a low ankle sprain at that. And he's getting better quickly so we feel very luck about that.
Q: Can you talk about the Steelers influence on you and your program?
KW: I was very fortunate to be with an organization like the Steelers. The Rooneys gave me a great job, a great opportunity and Coach [Bill] Cowher did so as well. Anytime you've had success with an organization, especially one that has the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it helps you become a better coach and I'm very fortunate that I had that opportunity.