B: We made a couple of roster moves today I think everybody has them but we put Max Lane on injured reserve, released Eric Bjornson, released Tony Gaiter off of the practice squad and signed Curtis Jackson he is on his way in here he is a receiver from St. Louis he was on their practice squad and Josh Rawlings who was with us earlier in training camp. I think he was released at the last cut working in Max's spot. A couple of additions on the injury report (Joe) Andruzzi and (J.R.) Redmond are both questionable we just have to see how they are doing out there today. I think the other guys are pretty much status quo. Drew's (Bledsoe) probable I think in talking to him and the doctors this morning I think our plans are that he will do a little more than he did last week a little bit less than normal, but we expect him to be ready to go and play in the game. Last week's performance was obviously our poorest of the year and I have got to do a better job of getting this team to play well and that's my focus this week.
Cincinnati is a team that offensively has a very strong running game, a veteran offensive line, an outstanding runner, a big play receiver…, a couple of very good receiving tight ends in (Tony) McGee and (Marco) Battaglia. Defensively they are aggressive they like to pressure the quarterback. They have a good, experienced defensive unit and there is a lot of movement and a lot of disruptive schemes. Their zone blitz scheme that Dick (LeBeau) has developed through the years. He was really pretty much the originator of it in Pittsburgh and a lot of people in the league have copied his basic defensive system and modified it in one way or another, but this is really where it started and they obviously know what they are doing and do a good job on it defensively. That will be a big test for us this week, handling the running game and handling the pressure defense that Cincinnati plays and they play it pretty well.
Q: Having what you said the poorest performance of the year were their players that did not show an effort on Sunday?
B: It could always be better. There were plays where we could have had more effort, there were plays where we had effort and didn't make the play, there were other plays where we didn't execute well for what the situation called for on that particular play. I think it was a combination of things, but overall the bottom-line is performance and a lot of things go into it. We have got to get better in terms of execution, teamwork, communication, physical and mental toughness, reacting to adverse situations in a game, making better decisions under pressure all those things. It has been an emphasis through the year, but it's not where it needs to be and so we just keep emphasizing it more, but we are going to get it.
Q: (Eric) Bjornson wasn't performing as you had hoped?
B: It just didn't work out. Eric works hard, very hard. He's a diligent worker, he prepares well, we envisioned a role for him offensively and it just didn't work out, it just didn't work out. I admire his work ethic, the way he prepared, the way he tried to get himself ready to play and we had every intention of trying to make the situation work out, but it just didn't go the way that we hoped it would. I think once we all realized that and Rod (Rutledge) has gotten a better opportunity the last few weeks and he has taken advantage of that opportunity and Chris Eitzmann that we felt like at this point it was better for all parties just to move forward.
Q: There was a television report that besides ligament damage that Drew also had a broken bone can you confirm or deny that?
B: I can confirm that Drew has a jammed thumb. It's not a 100 percent, but it is well enough for him to play and perform and be effective. As long as that is the case that's what we are going to do.
Q: To your knowledge nothing is broken, just jammed?
B: I am no doctor I don't know medical terms and medical definitions and all of that, but there is no threat of further injury any more than normal. It is just not as strong as what it would normally be, but everybody that is out there playing at this time of year has something that is a little bit less that 100 percent. His thumb is a little bit less than 100 percent, but he can still throw, he can still play. The medical people who are the people that I rely on because I am not a doctor have indicated that there is no reason why he can't play. There is no threat of further injury anymore than there would be in any other part of his body, so that's what I am going on.
Q: This weekend Bruce Armstrong will set the all-time record for games played can you touch on that?
B: Bruce has had a tremendous career, he has made a tremendous contribution to this organization in a lot of different ways and certainly any player that can play, I think any player that can play ten years in this league, that's a tremendous accomplishment. He has gone beyond that. His longevity and his durability are very rare and it is certainly a high compliment to him and he has played at a very high level through the course of his career which is another thing that is very difficult to do. I don't think that you can understate that accomplishment, but playing in this league for a long time at a high level is extremely hard to do. There are very, very few players who do it and it's a huge accomplishment.
Q: Is that because the league is such a meritocracy?
B: No, no it is tremendously competitive. I mean you have whatever it is 1,600-1,700 players in the league playing right now and they are all working pretty hard and there is probably another 2,000 players out there that would love to be where these 1,700 are and they are working hard to get there. Guys that were released in camp, guys that want a second chance, college players that are coming out that are about to enter into the competition next year and those guys are putting a lot into it to. So you have that many thousand players working as hard as all of those people are working and being coached and competing and all of that to try to play in this league and then to make it into this league and then to excel for a long period of time, stay healthy. I mean even though players have injuries but to be able overcome those injuries and play for that long that well. It is a tremendous accomplishment and I don't think it in anyway downplays what everybody else is doing because there are a lot of other players out there that are trying to stop a player from performing well, that's what is going on every Sunday.
Q: Perhaps it is even more amazing that he has done it with one team?
B: Right in this day and age there are fewer and fewer players that are playing their whole career with one team, there is no question. It has become a very unique part of the game relative to what it was ten years ago, yes there is no question.
Q: How is he playing this year?
B: I think Bruce has done okay. He has been not in the easiest situation in his career coming back when he did and the transition and so forth, but I think it has been okay.
Q: Is his leg stronger than it was a few weeks back?
B: I think everybody in the season pretty much the optimal goal is maintenance. You know when you are out there practicing every day and getting hit and taking bumps and bruises you are just trying to pretty much maintain the level that you are at through the season and that's hard to do and it starts to wear them down. To really be able to make a lot of gains like you would in the offseason when you get trained from March to June or March to July you can see a lot of climbing and progress it is hard to do that at this time of year. I think pretty much every players goal who is playing a lot, I am not talking about a guy on the practice squad or something like that, but I am talking about a guy who is playing regularly pretty much their goal is maintenance and that's hard to do.
Q: If (Joe) Andruzzi can't go who will play guard?
B: (Adrian) Klemm is getting some work in there at guard and he really would probably be our third guard at this point although I think that Joe has a reasonable chance to play we will probably know more today.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about Corey Dillon and his success and can you also talk about the rookie Peter Warrick?
B: I think Corey is very similar to Edgerrin James who we played twice this year. He is a big back, he is a very powerful player, he runs over a lot of tacklers particularly defensive backs, but linebackers too. He is a strong kid. He has got good speed and he is a quick runner. He is kind of like Terrell Davis. He can make one real sharp cut and make guys miss and then use his strength and power to run over them with either his size or he uses the stiff-arm move a lot. He has got very good vision. He cuts back and sees holes on the backside of the play and that type of thing. Like I said very similar to James. I would say that one big difference is that James is involved much more on third down than Corey is with Cincinnati, but in terms of just pure running that type of player. Warrick has been very impressive in terms of his overall quickness. He catches a lot of underneath routes. I think he has already run about ten reverses this year or sweep type plays where he is carrying the ball from the line of scrimmage and he makes a lot of people miss just like we saw him do at Florida State. He has got great lateral quickness and change of direction. They throw him a lot of underneath routes, which are kind of like running plays. He catches it just beyond the line and in front of the defense and then has a chance to wiggle and make guys miss with his quickness and get up the field. So he has shown the same type of explosiveness and big play ability that I think we all saw in college. He is not returning kicks but in terms of catching and running, they put the ball in his hands. He has played quarterback and scored a touchdown against, I forget who it was now, Cleveland or somebody, down on about the four or five yard-line type thing. They use him in a variety of ways, but it is clear that they want to try to get him the ball with a little bit of space because he is so hard to get down in the open field.
**Q: Are they pretty much the same team with (Dick) LeBeau as they were with Bruce Coslet?**
B: To tell you the truth this week I have spent a lot of time looking at their most recent games, their last four or five games and haven't gone back a whole lot further than that which is kind of where the transition took place. That is definitely something I will do as we go on into the week in terms of preparation, but right now my big focus this week has been in terms of trying to get our team to play better and perform better and at the same time familiarize myself with Cincinnati but that has been more in the recent weeks than trying to go way back on them. I am trying to get a better feel for where they are right now, but that is part of the preparation. I am sure we will see things from earlier in the season that will be relevant, but to be honest with you right now I am up to my neck in alligators trying to get these most recent games squared away.
Q: They have made a quarterback change this week, how big is the temptation to sellout on stopping the run every single time?
B: I don't even know if that is the best way to stop it anyway, but the problem is that they do have a lot of explosiveness in their passing game, (Peter) Warrick is clearly a guy, but their two tight ends (Marco) Battaglia and (Tony) McGee are two of the better pass receiving tight ends in the league. Magee is a good all-around tight end, but he is very good at catching the ball, he has good upfield speed and quick and Battaglia is the same type of guy. Again they run a lot of crossing routes, a lot of underneath routes and things like that where a little short pass could turn into a long gain. The thing about blitzing and everybody going after (Corey) Dillon is when he cuts the ball or finds one crease and everybody is overcommitted then there is nobody left. I think there is a lot to be said to playing Dillon with two lines of defense, one line and then a second line so that not everybody is trapped in there if he splits through a mistackle, or a sharp cut or that type of thing where he splits the line of scrimmage and then school is out.
Q: How can you avoid a let down at this stage of the season, your 2-8 against another 2-8 team do you have to do anything different this week?
B: I think every week is a new challenge for everybody. For our team every week is a new challenge to understand the team we are going against. Their strengths and what are our tasks going to be and how to get everybody to perform in the fashion with that line and each week the circumstances and the scenario is a little bit different. This week clearly one of the main points for us is just our poor performance against Cleveland last week. We need to rectify that and play the type of football that I think this team is capable of playing and that we have played from time to time through the year and to be more consistent with it. That is what our focus is this week and next week. It maybe a little bit different, there may be some other emphasis point, but I think right now that we need to collectively, as a team, face the music, face the reality of what we did last week and how it clearly wasn't good enough or anywhere close to what level we expect to be at and find a way to dramatically improve it.
Q: You discussed the staff meeting you had when you returned from Cleveland was there anything that you have come up with some different techniques that you are going to use from here on out?
B: We are definitely going to do some things a little bit different this week and they are going to be done with an attempt to improve the way we are performing. There are different points of emphasis for different players it runs the whole spectrum. For some players it is their leadership role and what we expect from them or what they can do a better job at, with other players, with rookies players its not as much leadership as it is performance and getting out of the rookie syndrome. We played five preseason games and ten regular season games and that's fifteen games which is a season and a half of college football. I mean those guys aren't really rookies anymore they need to start doing a little bit more than what they have been doing and there are guys in between so it just runs the whole gambit. Each player has his own strengths, his own set of circumstances, his own particular situation and we have tried to address each one of those individually. Some things are collective, but individually so that everybody can give us more than what they are giving us and certainly give us a lot more than what we got last week at Cleveland and that's me included. I mean we all need to do a better job.
Q: There are a number of players who have been here for over five years and they have been leaders of this team, is what these people are providing a disappointment right now or are they beyond the point in their playing careers where they can lead at least by example?
B: I think every player on this team can lead. I think every player and every coach and I have said this to the group many times, I think every player and every coach is a stockholder in the team. We are all shareholders and every shareholder has a vote and every shareholder can lead in their own way. People have different styles of leadership and they have different styles of commitment but I think when it is positive it is good for everybody else. So one guy can just go about his business and work hard with a lot of determination and show that he is focused on: number one the team being successful and winning and number two contribute in anyway that he can in an unselfish manner and that's as much leadership as somebody else getting up and giving a big team speech and talking about some motivational thing that maybe able to transfer to somebody else. There are a lot of different ways to be a leader, but anybody that is on this team can show positive leadership and I think that is good for everybody else. When it goes the other way, when it is negative or detracting from the team I think that is clearly out of place and serves no good purpose. I think that has been and continues to need be distinguished. To me that is a negative type of leadership and that is definitely not what we are looking for. There are enough problems around here that I think everybody can contribute to fixing them and that's what I am looking for each player to do in his own way and in his own element and collectively that will benefit everyone.
Q: In a hypothetical situation if a player shakes up his hands if he is not getting fair chance to play and starts going public with that how do you deal with that, how do you address it?
B: Every situation is different. I would address whatever the situation is based on fact and circumstances around that one. I don't think you can just lay out a general think about it because each one is unique. I have been through thousands of players, some guys play some guys don't, some guys that are playing they have their elements, players who aren't playing they have their elements, some players go between the two positions. I have dealt with thousands of players in those roles and I can honestly say each one really is a little bit different from the next one for one reason or another whether it is the style of play, the players involved, age, injuries, game plans or just circumstances that are unique to the particular situation. I think you have got to try to evaluate each one and each one is important, evaluate each one and try to maximize whatever your opportunities are within it.
Q: The roster moves that you make are they because you want to get rid of a player and then you fill that spot or do you see someone out there and say we have to make room for him?
B: I think it is a combination. I think that anytime you see players that are in one way or another available to your team then you have to make a decision as to if you want that player on your team how do you get him there, how do you create a spot? On the other hand sometimes there are situations where you have roster spots available for one reason or another. Max Lane going on injured reserve creates a spot for us now the question is who do we want to fill that? Sometimes you look at a player like, again two guys that come to mind this year Raymont Harris and Eric Bjornson, they work hard, good team players, do everything that you ask them to do, nothing really negative that you can say about either player it just didn't work out and once you reach that point you just have to say organizationally we just need to move on, we should give the player a better opportunity to have a career somewhere else and we need to move forward in another direction and that's not anything negative about the player it is just the situation didn't work out. So I think it is a combination of those scenarios. Again each one is a little bit different, but sometimes you see players out there that you say, 'Boy this guy could really help our team, how do we put him on our team?' Other times you find a spot on your roster that is just not a productive spot and you say, 'Well we need to move on how can we improve it?'
Q: Though it is late in the season might we assume that these are not the last roster moves?
B: I don't have any preconceived notions that, 'Well next week we are going to make this move and the following week we are going to make that move.' I don't have any preconceived moves that I know are going to be made next week or the following week or whatever. I would say that at this time of year because of the number of games left in the season that if a player is injured and he can't finish the season than competitively it is a lot more likely that the player would go on injured reserve now than if he got hurt the second week of the season and he was going to be out for six weeks where he could come back and play the last eight games. There were a number of players that fell into that category, they fall into it every year. Ty Law was one last year as an example, that is just the way it is. Having said that I would say that if we were to incur any of those types of situations which hopefully won't, but if we do then there would be a lot more likelihood that it would happen now then the second week of the year, but I am not looking to do that and I hope it doesn't happen, but just like with Max sometimes those things happen and you really don't have any alternative. It wouldn't make much sense to carry him on the regular roster now and basically play one short.
Q: Back to leadership, do you think Drew showed leadership last week by playing hurt?
B: I think Drew showed good leadership all year and I thought he showed a lot of toughness last week and leadership in terms of doing everything that he could to be ready to play in the game and to play in it, yes I sure did.
Q: Are you disappointed that didn't inspire the team?
B: I am disappointed in the results of the game in Cleveland. It was our worst performance of the year, it was embarrassing and we need to do better than that. That goes from me right through to everybody else. I don't think anybody that performed in that game in any capacity can feel real good about what they did, I really don't. There are areas where everybody can do a better job and we need to do a better job, but in terms of Drew's preparation and his toughness and his ability to maximize the situation that he was in last week I think he absolutely did everything he could to get the most out of what he had to work with that week and I definitely admire that. I think you can say that about a lot of other guys too. Chris Slade is another one that did everything he could to play in the game and he tried to play as hard as he could in the game. Could he have done a couple of things better? Yes but I mean I definitely admire and respect what he did to get to the game