Q: What are your thoughts on
NC: Alex has been with us for most of the year. He was with us in training camp and he came back to the practice squad - I want to say it was later in September - but for most of the year. Smart guy, works hard, has a little bit of position versatility along the front - he can play on the edge, to a degree can play on the inside and has some value in the kicking game as well. He's done a good job for us during the season on the look team and when he's had his opportunities in practice defensively. That's why we brought him up for the game. He had a handful of plays that he was on the field for, so we'll see what happens here moving forward.
Q: What are your thoughts on
NC: I'd say it's probably been similar to a lot of rookies. There are some ups and downs [and] they have their good moments. He's had a few games where he's had some production. I'd say that whole position in general, they've all given us production when they've been on the field. Benny [
Q: When you realize a couple of hours before the game that
NC: Everyone knows going into a game that they have to be ready to play. Whatever happens before the game, whether it's a day before the game or the day of the game, there's really not much you can do about it. We have a lot of confidence in the players that are active for the game, so the expectation is that they're going to go out there and perform and do their jobs. That's all you really can do; you really can't control it. We have a lot of confidence in the players on the roster and that's why they're here and when they're active for the game, they know that at any point in time they can be on the field so you have to be prepared for it, whenever that may be.
Q: Even in your wildest imagination, could you ever have projected
NC: No. Look, Marcus has played a lot of football. There obviously was a lot of uncertainty just as it related to a health standpoint. Once he was able to move through that situation, Marcus has done everything that has been asked of him to this point. He's had a lot of experience playing football. Obviously playing in our system is a little bit different story, but we felt that he was a pretty good player at TCU and there was a point in time when he was going to have to come onto the field. He happened to play a little more extensively on [Saturday]. For the most part, I'd say that he held up fairly well. I thought the offensive line collectively - that's a pretty good defensive front that you're playing against - and those guys, I'd say for the most part, did a pretty solid job.
Q: Is there anything that you feel is separating Stevan Ridley from some of the other runners that is allowing him to get the ball more in crunch time situations?
NC: They really all play, and part of it too, is the no-huddle situation. Whatever grouping is on the field, whether it's three receivers, two tight ends [or] two tight ends, three receivers and one back, whoever the back is that's on the field during that mode, that's the guy that you're going to go with. All of those guys make contributions. Part of it is offensively the things that we're doing; some situations may dictate other groups are on the field. All of those players, when they've been on the field, they've been effective with that they've been asked to do.
Q: What do you see from
NC: Since the [first] day that Dane has been here, he's worked really hard. He puts a lot into it. He studies hard, he prepares hard, he works hard. The biggest thing with him is just being able to stay on the field. He's been held up a little bit with some of the injuries, but he's a smart guy, he's athletic, he runs well, he's strong. The more you can play that position, the more confidence that you're going to gain. I'd say you've noticed just in his play, it looks like he's played a little more assertively, a little more aggressively. Part of that is he probably has a little more confidence in not only his health, but maybe a little more confidence in what he's doing. Since he's been here from day one, he's made a conscious effort to improve as a football player and get better. He puts his head down, he works hard and when he's been on the field, he's made the most of his chances.
Q: Any roster moves today?
NC: We'll treat this like a holiday like it seems like the rest of the country treats it as. We probably won't have anything going on, but don't hold me to it.