Today we are on the second day of our Tampa preparations, as we would be in a normal week. Today I tried to emphasize to the players that this is the time that they really need to start focusing on not only the overall schemes that Tampa uses, but also on some of the individual match-ups. It hasn't come in to play that much during the season so far because of the number of people that are playing in the games. Now it is starting to get a little more specific, particularly with this being a team that we are going to play in a couple of weeks. This will be very specific. There is a big difference between blocking Steve White or Mike Jones at end or a (Anthony) McFarland or a (Warren) Sapp. The same with covering Reidel Anthony or Jacquez Green versus Keyshawn Johnson. Even though in the scouting report you can see that this guy is running this route and that guy is running that route and maybe it is the same. Individually the specific players utilize their strengths differently, and we want to try to take advantage of their weaknesses. The individual match-ups start to become a real focal point today. We re-signed Rodney Rideau this morning for special teams and just for a little depth at safety. Yesterday in practice, Tony George's foot was bothering him a little bit and he banged his shoulder. It gives Rodney another opportunity, and as I told him whatever day it was, Monday or Sunday, whatever day I released him, that the ball takes some funny bounces and you never know when things are going to change and they changed in a hurry. So he barely got on the plane on one end and he's getting back on another. Also I talked to Chad Cascadden, I talked to him a couple of times since the Washington game. He's not going to continue to play football this year or anymore. Chad's been a guy that went to college without a scholarship and earned one. He was a free agent and became a solid NFL player. He's battled long odds and has played through a lot of bumps and bruises and tough times. I really have a lot of respect for him. He made that decision and I respect it. That's the state of the union for today.
Q: How bad is Andy Katzenmoyer's injury?
B: He banged it, it's not anything really serious. I don't know how much he'll be able to do, how much contact he'll be able to have in the next day or two days. We'll just have to see.
Q: Is it Tony George's toe that is injured?
B: Toe, whatever, I don't know. I don't think we'll have to do anything major with it. But it slowed him down a little bit yesterday. I think it was his toe, yes. Just don't ask me left or right. I've made that mistake before.
Q: Will we see Henry Thomas and where does he stand?
B: He's working hard to get back out there. He's doing more. I think the rehabilitation is coming along. I think he'll be out there soon. Whether that's today, tomorrow, or Saturday, I'm not sure. I think it's kind of day to day there but he is pretty close to being out there. I think things were going pretty well when he was out there the first week of camp and we're anxious to get him back out.
Q: What do you expect to see and hope to see from Bruce Armstrong?
B: I really haven't talked to Bruce at length about this game. I thought that I'd wait until we got through today's practice and talk to him about it. See where he feels he is after a couple of days now of pretty hard practices. We'll talk to him, talk to the medical people and then make a decision. I think he'll play. How long, I'm not sure.
Q: What would you like to see from Bruce Armstrong?
B: I feel the same about him as I do every player. I would like to see him perform well, perform up to his potential and his capabilities. I think it's a tough question with a player coming off from a significant injury whether that potential and those expectations are what they were or maybe they are a little bit lower. You don't really know that until you get out there and see them. Also, it takes a couple of games for any player to hit his full stride. I don't think anybody is in midseason form after one quarter or one preseason game. It's still going to be an ongoing process with Bruce, Lance Scott, and with all those guys. With (Adrian) Klemm when he comes back and with all of those guys coming back. I don't think that their peak performance will be the first few plays that they play in the game and that's the way it's been in practice. Those guys that come back, when they initially come back, they look a little rusty. Then as they play more, they react quicker and perform better and hopefully that's what we'll see.
Q: When you were with the Jets, Bobby Hamilton wasn't a starter. Do you see him as a starter?
B: I didn't make all of the personnel decisions in N.Y. There were a lot of them I didn't make. So, we'll just leave it at that.
Q: Is this a guy that you could see as a starter?
B: He's a guy that has some definite strengths as a football player. Whether those are more or less than another player, that depends on who the other player is that you are talking about. He's consistent, he works hard, and he is a very dependable player. He's smart. He knows what to do. He plays team defense. He understands the scheme and knows how to play within it. Those things are very positive.
Q: Does he have the endurance to be a starter?
B: Bobby's in pretty good condition. He works hard and he keeps himself in good shape. I don't think conditioning has ever been a problem with him. In the preseason games that he's played in this year, he's been getting quite a bit of playing time and seems to be holding up okay, so it's been good.
Q: How do you plan to divide the running back duties for this game?
B: Well again, I haven't set the exact time frame on how we are going to play. I'd like for all of the backs to play. Exactly how much and how we'll break it up, you'll have to give me another day on that, but we'll work in everybody so they'll all be ready to do pretty much everything. Then we'll talk about the playing time here at the end of the week.
Q: What about J.R. Redmond?
B: I'd like to see J.R. play. I think he'd like to play. How long he'll be able to go and how effective he'll be again, we might have to play that by ear a little bit. I'm sure that at this point, unless something changes, I feel sure that he'll play. We'll have to see how that goes. If he comes out at the end of two series in a pile over there on the side line, then he won't play much more than that. If he looks like he's going okay, and doing all right, then maybe he'll play more.
**Q: Has Ty Law approached you about doing kick-returns or anything like that and do you see that happening?**
B: Ty has approached me about doing a lot of different things. We'll see how that goes. Right now I'd like for him to focus and learn how to play the defense. There are a lot of things that we are doing where we need to have them as a unit. As time goes on, we'll see.
Q: Is there time to do those things as you prepare for the season?
B: Right now it is tough when it's your first year and you're installing a new system. I think once you know where people are and they have a good background in the system, then it will be a lot easier to incorporate. When I was in Cleveland, we had James Jones as an example. He was a defensive tackle and he was our fullback on all of the goal line and short yardage plays. I wouldn't be opposed to doing that at all. I think there are certain situations where a guy could be a two-way player. I'd be surprised if any player could do that these days. I could see a defensive player having a role in offense. Even in New York we used Keyshawn (Johnson) in some of our pass defenses and in prevent defenses at the end of the game. I taught him all he knew about defense. I wouldn't rule that out. How much or how little it will come into play, we'll have to see as we go.
Q: Would you play Bishop in other positions?
B: He's a quarterback for right now.
Q: Have you thought about Bishop as a holder?
B: Sure, but at this point, I think that the best person to be a holder, if you can do it, is your punter. Those two guys can spend a lot of time together and there are no other over-riding duties. There are a lot of responsibilities in playing quarterback. I think that is really the best situation. We are fortunate that we have that situation. I've been with teams where that wasn't the case and then it is always harder to find the practice time. So as long as we have a punter that can do it, I think that is the best way to go.
Q: Given that you are playing Tampa Bay in two weeks and you don't want to show too much, what would be showing too much?
B: There are core things that we do. There are core things that Tampa does. Everybody knows what they are, schematically. Tampa knows, so do most other teams in the league. We can say the same things about them. Those things are just part of your system. They are core things and you do them, they know you do them and you know you do them and that's your trademark. That's the way that you play football. There are some change-ups you use in your core things to try and keep the other team off balance. Sometimes those are a little more subtle. Where you use them and how you use them, you may not want to be too explicit with. A lot of them are set for specific things. You may want to run a specific play around a certain coverage. If a team runs a certain coverage, then this becomes a play we may only run once or twice a year, but when we get this specific kind of coverage, this is the play we want to go to. When you're playing a team like Tampa and there is a situation where we really want to use this play, but if we use it now, then they know this is what we are looking for. They are going to see it the next time we are going to use it. That's the type of thing you wouldn't want to do. Same thing if you had a blitz or something like that. Core stuff, I think you just go ahead and run it.
Q: How do you cover Keyshawn Johnson?
B: If any time you have a good player like that who is a focal point on the offense, you have to have more than one way to deal with him. If you don't have more than one way to deal with it then once they find out what that is, they can usually find a way to counter it. I think whoever the player is, whether it's a receiver or a tight end, whoever it is. You probably need a couple of ways to deal with the guy, otherwise once they see how you're handling it, and they'll just figure a way to avoid that road block.
Q: Was there a certain team last year that you felt covered Keyshawn Johnson pretty well?
B: It's the same thing. If you overload on one player, to what extent? You could probably shut down any player in this league. If you just totally committed everything to shutting him down, but then that leaves yourself vulnerable in all the other fronts. I don't think there are many times when you do that, defensively or offensively. I think you could probably triple team Warren Sapp every game and he probably wouldn't make a lot of tackles, but who is going to block the other guys. You just run out of people. Being balanced, being able to change up and not doing the same thing every time, overall is what is really effective. If they see you are going to double team a guy on every single play, then they'll just put him out there and kill you with someone else.
Q: With Bruce coming back, what does that mean for Derrick Fletcher and Jason Andersen?
B: Jason has worked at all positions. He's worked at center, both guards and both tackles. We have some flexibility on the line with him. Derrick's worked at both guards and right tackle. (Adam) Davis has worked at both guards, (Rob) Gatrell's worked at center and guard. One of the best things that has come out of the whole offensive line situation this camp has been the versatility. We do have players who can play multiple positions. We've been forced to do that but we do have some versatility.
Q: Has Derrick Fletcher stepped up in the off-season?
B: He is definitely in contention for playing time. He's lost some weight. He's definitely made some progress in the conditioning area, as some of the other players have, but he definitely has. Derrick is a guy that has a lot of skill but is relatively inexperienced. His biggest hurdle right now is adapting to all of the different things that he sees.
Q: Does he have a natural position?
B: He has so much skill that he is a multiple position player. In college he played defensive line and then they shipped him into offensive tackle and he played the swing tackle. He played right and left tackle depending on the formation. That's asking a lot of a player, especially a defensive conversion player, guard, tackle and defense. We've used him on a couple of defensive situations as well in training camp, to create some depth on the defensive line.
Q: Is there a natural position that you could affix him to?
B: I'm not saying as a full-time defensive player, but in certain situations, yes.
Q: Is the situation with Klemm similar to that of Rucci's?
B: Yes it is the same type if situation, yes.
Q: Do you know if Rucci is ahead of plan right now, is it different because Rucci is a veteran?
B: Every case is unique. It depends on A) the player, B) the player's injury and C) the rest of your team's situation. I've been in situations before where the player was fairly close to being able to come back, but we elected to put him on the PUP list until the middle of October so you know you have that depth coming back. You could keep another player on your roster in the meantime because you felt like you have some depth now and you wanted more depth later in the year. I've also seen situations where we've kept players that weren't ready at the start of the season, but we thought they would be ready in two or three weeks and we didn't want to wait the full six weeks. We wanted to get him back as soon as possible because we needed the depth or we needed their performance at that position. Again, sometimes it's related to the player, sometimes it's related what your situation is as a team and what your depth is. Each situation has it's own element and we've talked about it in general terms, but it's always been put on hold to wait and see where they are physically. In a couple more weeks now, it was four more weeks two weeks ago, let's see how some other people are coming along and A) what they can do in the short term and B) what will our situation be. At some point along the way in training camp, you could make a case for going either way. There are good arguments on both sides and then when it comes down to the time to make the decision, you've got to do what you think is best.
Q: Parcells wrote a book and suggested that there was some tampering between you and the Patriots, do you care to comment on that?
B: I think we are all familiar with the process of selling books. I'll just leave it at that.
Q: Are you going to buy a copy?
B: When do they go on sale?
Q: I heard you are doing a cross-country tour to promote the book.
B: Yes, well book selling can be a good business, as we all know. Someone's has got to buy them or what's the point in writing them, right?