We made another move today. We released James Kibble the punter. We're trying to start and get the composition of our team in place. We have to be at 65 next week after the Tampa game and then 53 after that. Things are starting to shape up a little bit. We just have to get our numbers down and work with the people who have been the most competitive up to this point. The injured players are starting to come back a little bit this week. Lance Scott and Grant Williams did some work out there yesterday and this morning. It looks like they will be able to do a little bit more as we move through the week. Bruce (Armstrong) is doing more. Tedy (Bruschi) is doing more. Ted (Johnson) ran yesterday, he seems like he is making some progress. That is the update on those guys. We went out with no pads this morning and worked on some timing things mainly in the passing game, but also in the return game. Special teams are starting to become more of a focus as we try to close in on the start of the season. I think we have a real good test this week in the kicking game against Tampa. That will be a big challenge for us there. That will be an important part of the game all year long, and it is one that we have been emphasizing, but we still need a little more work on it. That is where we are today.
Q: What was your thinking behind releasing (Vincent) Brisby?
B: We gave Vincent a lot of opportunity in training camp and in mini-camp. Vincent worked hard. I think he is a very professional player. We're just going to go in a different direction. We're going to put Troy (Brown) and Terry (Glenn) on the field together. I think Troy has established himself as one of our two best receivers on this team. I wanted to be fair to Vincent. I think he deserves that. I didn't want to move him down on the depth chart and then wait a week or two to release him at the end when everybody is filled up. I think that he'll probably end up on a roster this year, and hopefully this will give him the chance and opportunity to put himself in the best position that he can to do that. I think he deserves that. He's worked hard. He performed well for us, the best he could when he was here and I appreciate that, and I wanted to treat him as fairly as I could in making that decision.
Q: There is no room for him as a third or fourth guy in your eyes?
B: We made that decision, so I think that speaks for itself.
Q: Who now becomes the third and fourth guys, (Tony) Simmons?
B: Tony will get more of an opportunity. We signed Chris Calloway, and Chris will give us some depth at the receiver position. He is a little bit of a different player than Vincent. We have some young receivers, and special teams are a consideration for us with any receiver that isn't starting. We need depth in special teams from the receiver position. There are a lot of factors involved.
Q: Is Calloway like Troy Brown in terms of what he does?
B: I think there are definitely some similarities. He's only been here a couple of days, so I don't feel like I know him as well as Troy Brown, but I feel like he's got has some of the same qualities.
Q: Could he be a slot receiver?
B: Yes, he has played in the slot. He has also played outside. He's played X,Z, and slot in his career at one time or another.
Q: Did you acquire him as a lock to make the team, or does he still have to earn his way on?
B: He hasn't played. You know he didn't play all that much last year, and he has only been out here for two practices. We would just like to see what he can do. Hopefully he can give us some depth at the position. That's what he is here for, but we'll see where he is.
Q: What was it that you liked about him since he hasn't played a whole lot?
B: He's had a pretty productive career. Last year certainly wasn't his best year. Dick (Rehbein) and Charlie (Weis) have background with him from New York (Giants). That certainly played a part in it.
Q: Can you explain the whole (Dave) Stachelski story with what happened from beginning to end?
B: Well it's the same type of thing. We're coming down to the wire here, and Dave hasn't really been able to get on the field. We have to have some sort of evidence and unfortunately we haven't had much of it. Things just haven't worked out very well at all. He's been unable to participate for one reason or another going all the way back to mini-camp when he first had his knee surgery.
Q: Was there a mistake in judging his mental willingness to want to play professional football?
B: I don't know. We never really saw him play. We would have liked to see him play, but between the knee injury, the car accident, the concussion, and falling behind, now we are just out of time. Maybe at some later point in time we can take another look at him. I don't know. At this point there wasn't really much recourse.
Q: Did Stachelski ever come to you and say he did not want to play?
B: No, I never really got that from him. I think he was frustrated by the situation as much as we were. Nevertheless, it is what it is. This is pro football, it's not college. In college sometimes players go to school and there on scholarship and it takes them a little while to adjust or grow into players. Sometimes they don't play for two or three years. Terry Glenn is a great example. He really only played for one year at Ohio State. That's the way it is in college, but it's a lot tougher in this league for that to happen. He's got to contribute, or you just have to carry him along as a non-contributor and hope that you have enough quality and depth somewhere else to make up for that, but that's hard to do.
Q: You drafted him as a potential replacement for Ben Coates down the road. Does it setback your planning?
B: It would have been nice to have him out there to evaluate it, but it didn't work out. I think when you see the final rosters coming out this year there are going to be a lot players in the league that were drafted that won't end up on rosters. We'll have some, and I'm sure most other teams will too. That's the draft. It's not an exact science. You take them and you hope that they work out, but obviously there is some element of uncertainty involved. That's the draft.
Q: What is Todd Rucci's situation right now? How close is he to playing, and is there going to be a spot for him with Max Lane having played right guard the whole time?
B: Well, Todd is still not participating with the team. He's rehabilitating with the trainers and doctors. Until he is ready to perform on the field, I really can't tell you what he'll be able to do. I think that he is definitely making some progress. He's further ahead now than he was a week ago. He's still not out there, and I don't think that he is going to be out there this week, so we'll just have to see when we can get him out there. I can't forecast what a player coming back from an injury is going to look like.
Q: Are Rucci and (Adrian) Klemm in the same situation in terms of their rehab process?
B: They're in the same situation in that they are both not practicing with the team.
Q: Are they on the same time frame for a possible return?
B: Roughly, I haven't put one ahead or behind the other. I couldn't give you an exact time frame. We'll just have to see how that goes. They are in a general area like my approach shots to the green. They are within 50-yards of the green.
Q: If a veteran lineman isn't ready to play in the Carolina game, then could he still start or play in the regular season opener?
B: As I've said before I think that would be a lot to ask of a player who has missed all of training camp to go out there and start in the opener in the regular season. I've seen it done before, and I've done it before, but I think that is just a lot to ask. I think, depending on what your other options are, that probably wouldn't be your first one, but depending on what your other options are it may be your best one. If it is your best one, then you have to do what is best for the team.
Q: What are your options with the injured players?
B: Those guys that are out there playing are the options.
Q: If you come to the end of August what do you do with them? Do you keep them on the roster or do you put them on physically unable to perform?
B: Those are all options. Rucci and Klemm are in the same NFL category. You would have the same options with both players.
Q: One usually sets a target date for a return to practice. Have you set any?
B: No, but as soon as they are available I'll put them out there.
Q: What about Henry (Thomas)?
B: He's doing more. I think we may see him out there this week. Of the players we have talked about I think he would be the next one to return.
Q: Return to practice or a game?
B: Well, we'll see how it goes in practice.
**Q: Are you considering Klemm for that left guard position?**
B: He's played a number of different positions on the offensive line in college. He really hasn't obviously done much here other than in mini-camp in which he played left tackle. We'll have to see what our situation is when he comes back. I wouldn't rule anything out other than center. He has a much better background at tackle than he does inside, but that doesn't mean for the benefit of the team his best position might be at guard. There is certainly precedent for that. The Ravens played Ogden at guard for a year with Tony Jones at tackle. The Oilers played Brad Hawkins at guard for a year with Bruce Matthews at tackle, so that is a possibility. Without seeing him out there it is hard to say.
Q: Do you think a rookie's transition can be easier if he starts inside at guard before going out to tackle?
B: That depends on the player. For some it is, and for some it isn't. For some rookies any transition is a major hurdle for them, and for others they are not that set in just one position and if you move them it is not a big deal. It depends on the player and what you are asking them to do. Until you get involved with a player and see what he's like and how flexible he is physically and mentally you really don't know.
Q: What is the running back situation with (Kevin) Faulk and (Raymont) Harris?
B: I think it is still very competitive and hopefully we'll be able to get (J.R.) Redmond in there and see what he can do. Then we'll make a decision collectively.
Q: So Faulk hasn't been ruled out as a first down player?
B: We'll play the best players that we can. I think the running back position is a little bit like a couple of the other positions that we have talked about. The whole group may effect how individuals play. In other words even though a back may be a better third down back because of the situation the team is in he may be better for the team as a first down back or vice versa. Maybe the back could play every down, I'm not ruling that out either. We'll look at our total depth at the position and see how to best manage it. If we were just dealing with a couple of players that will be one thing, if we're dealing with three players, then maybe that changes. Without seeing Redmond really do anything, it is hard to know where he fits.
Q: Is there concern about production out of the two tight ends? Might you look for other people?
B: There is concern about the production of our offense. We need to improve our effectiveness and efficiency in a lot of areas. I think you could put every position there. I'd say that about defense and special teams at this point too. We have a lot of work to do. When you are a coach at this time of year, I don't care what your team is, there is concern everywhere.
Q: There are some concerns and then there are some concerns.
B: Maybe there is a capital C and a small c, but they are all concerns. I think at this point there are issues about every part of your team, even sometimes when you think a part of your team is okay. Until you get out there on opening day and go through one or two weeks in the regular season and actually see that it is in fact the same strength that you thought it was going to be, or you hoped it was going to be, you don't really know for sure that it is a strength. In this game things can change in a hurry. Last year with the Jets if there was one position that we felt good about as an organization, players, coaches, and everybody in the organization, I think the position that everybody was 100% totally confident in and never gave a second thought to was quarterback. It just took the first game of the season, and that is how quickly it can change.
Q: Does that make you inclined to keep four quarterbacks?
B: That is every position. We've all seen that happen. It looks like you have great depth at corner, and than all of a sudden you lose two corners, so you have nobody. It could be any position.
Q: Back in the old days with the Jets, was it an advantage when you acquired old Patriots like Curtis Martin and Tom Tupa? How much did the help when you played the Patriots?
B: I think that is overrated.
Q: Tupa would tell you it's fourth and twelve so the Patriots will probably punt.
B: Probably punt, right, and if they were going to kick to the right the call was 'red red.' In the game they are going to yell 'red red' and kick it to the left because they know that you know that Tupa knows that Brad (Seeley) has told them that we know the call. So you're there saying every time they call 'red red' they're going to kick it to the right, I mean how much do you want to bank on that knowing that they know you are going to sit there and say that.
Q: If you use Troy Brown as a number two receiver does that effect him as a return man?
B: That is a good question. Troy can do a lot of different things. He is a versatile player. Depending on what some other players can do we may be able to take a little bit of a load off of him. If the differential between Troy and the next player is what we perceive as small, then you might let somebody else do it. If there is a big difference in performance, then we'll have to make a decision whether we want Troy to do it. You could say that about a lot of other players like (Tedy) Bruschi. You could rattle off a bunch of them. How much do you want to let them do it, and how much do you want to pull off of them. That is a decision you make pretty much every year. Troy is a good example of the decision you have to make every year with about half a dozen players on your team.
Q: Can Chris Calloway return kicks?
B: I think we have pretty good depth at kick returner. I haven't figured him in that mix.
Q: How much will (Drew) Bledsoe play this week?
B: We haven't gotten into the final playing time and game planning for Tampa Bay we trying to use these two days to work on a lot of things that we feel we need tightening up on, and we'll talk about moving forward on Tampa tonight and tomorrow morning.
Q: How has Kevin Faulk come along in pass blocking?
B: I think Kevin overall has had a good, solid camp and has had solid performances in the preseason games too. There are things that Kevin needs to work on, like everybody else, but I think overall, Kevin has done a solid job. He's not the biggest guy in pass protection, but he has shown that he'll step up there and hit them.
Q: Have there been anymore players cut?
B: Just James Kibble. Yesterday I hadn't had a chance to talk to all of the players before we met. I just like to always talk to the player personally before we make it official. The way the schedule hit yesterday it wasn't possible to do that. I just think that anytime a player comes in here and busts his back for you for two or three months, there are also players that have been around the league for a while, those players deserve, I know they may not want to hear it, but at least they deserve an opportunity to be told by the coaching team what is going to happen as opposed to somebody else hearing it first. That's the way I've always liked to do it.
Q: Was Vincent Brisby really upset about leaving?
B: This is a tough time of year for players and coaches. Anytime you've done something for a long time, and done it fairly well, whatever it is, and it ends, I don't think that is a real easy situation for any of us. It is not easy for the person releasing the player, it is not easy for any player. Unfortunately, that is the way it is. We can't keep every player and we can't play everybody. That's pro football. We have to make a lot of decisions, a lot of decisions are hard decisions, particularly with older players. Not that Vincent is old, but he is no rookie. That is tough for all of us. They are tough in the offseason, it is even tougher in training camp because you've been out there practicing twice a day. Guys are hurt and banged up and they're still out there performing giving you what they have, I really respect that. There were a lot of players we had to release yesterday. My players did everything they could, they gave it the best they had. A couple of them were banged up, a couple of them played out of position because of the depth situation, they never complained, they just did the best they could and worked hard. In the end though, you have to do what is best for the team you have to take the players that have performed the best. It is not fun to release a player, any player.