Q: How much of this week for you guys is about self scouting and looking back at the first six weeks of the season and how much of it is looking ahead to Pittsburgh?
NC: Yeah, I think it's really a combination of things. Today was pretty much a typical Monday for us just in terms of going back through the previous game. We'll practice this week; we'll work on a few things. The most important thing is making sure that we're prepared to play a few weeks from now when we go down to Pittsburgh, so we'll try to balance as much as we can and start our preparations here for Pittsburgh along the way.
Q: When you were scouting Brandon Spikes, did you look to him as a blitzer at all? Did you like what he did there in Florida and did you project him to be used as much as you guys blitzed him this week?
NC: Brandon was a versatile player at Florida. He essentially was a three-down player for them. He played in passing situation. [He] had some production with interceptions. He had some production rushing the passer as well as an edge player. He's done a little bit of those things since he's been here. Even last year, that play he made against the Jets was pretty similar to things he had done there in Florida, so he's a versatile player that did a number of things and was productive. So, I think each week, depending on the opponent, the defensive game plan will dictate maybe some of calls and situations that are used. There were a couple instances yesterday where he was able to get in there and be disruptive. I'd say the things that we've asked him to do aren't too different from the things that he has shown or he had done at Florida.
Q: From a league wide perspective, I think we've seen three deals over the last four or five days. Is this normal or are we seeing maybe a little more action in the trade front around this deadline this year?
NC: I'd say it's pretty normal. There are some years where there are more than others, ourselves included. Some years we're involved; some years we're not involved. Last year we made a few moves. I think it's pretty normal for this time of the year, so I think teams ultimately look at their individual situations and they do what they feel is best for their club and we'll do the same thing. If there's something there that makes sense then we'll investigate it. If not, we're happy with the players that we have in this program and will continue to work with them and try to get them better while they're here.
Q: Along those lines there have been rumors of interest in Brandon Lloyd. Given the chance to respond to those, I'm curious if those rumors are accurate?
NC: I'd say really, we have conversations with teams throughout the course of the year at different points about different players. So, I would say that we haven't don't anything differently than we normally do just in terms of our due diligence and discussions with other teams about players that maybe were on their team previously and [now] they're on the street, and maybe you're just calling to gather some information on somebody. I would say that we're doing our homework like we normally do and it hasn't really taken on any significance or any more significance this year than it has in years past.
Q: As for you with the bye week, is this a big time for tryouts? Will you take the time to see what's out there or how will you be spending the week?
NC: Collectively, as an organization we'll approach it the same. You guys are on top of all of our workouts - you see [that] we do workouts just about every week. We evaluate players, we look at players and that's just part of our process and procedure that we go through as a department and organizationally. We'll continue to do the same things that we've done throughout the course of the season. This week, really, will be no different other than not having to prepare necessarily for a game on Sunday. But we'll still go through and do the advanced scouting report on Pittsburgh like we normally do each week. Our pro scouting department goes through and does a pretty thorough analysis on each player on the respective team, so we'll continue to play the way with that. Maybe catch up on some of the college scouting - our scouts have been out all fall evaluating players. There's always a number of moving parts throughout the course of the fall and not necessarily this week in particular. I would say that this week is really no different than any other week this year.
Q: You're not going to go to another game or a college game or anything like that?
NC: I'd say it's a possibility. I'm not sure. It hasn't really happened this year, but it's certainly a possibility.
Q: Has brining in Chad Ochocinco worked out the way you that anticipated it would to this point?
NC: Yeah, we're happy with what Chad's done for us. He's probably one of our best practice players. He goes out there, he works hard, practices hard, he's out there on the field, he competes, he has made plays when he has had the opportunity. We're six games in with a long season and we're happy that Chad's on the team.
Q: Do you foresee him continuing to be on the team in the future?
NC: The players that are on the team, we're happy that they're here. Until something changes, they'll be here and we'll continue to work with the players as much as we can. And I would say that goes for every player in our program - all 61, including the eight that are on our practice squad.
Q: What are your thoughts on James Ihedigbo, who has played quite a bit at safety the last few weeks?
NC: Yeah, James has gone in and taken advantage of some opportunities. We've had some guys that have been dinged up at that position a little bit. He's smart, tough, a pretty instinctive player and he has gone in there. I think collectively, our whole defense has really been pretty consistent here the past few weeks, James included. There are a lot of players that I think have made a lot of good plays for us. The most important thing whether it's offensively, defensively or in the kicking game, is that you continue to improve and establish consistency on a week-to-week basis. James has done a nice job to this point, sure.
Q: A similar question on Kyle Arrington who, maybe to the surprise to some, leads the league with four interceptions.
NC: It's called taking advantage of opportunity when the ball hits your hand. Since Kyle has been in our program, since day one when we brought him in a few years back, he has been very consistent in his performance. He's tough, he's smart, he's got good playing strength, he practices, he tackles, and he's gotten his hands on the ball. One of the things that the defense talks about is just taking advantage of some of those ball disruptions or opportunities to get the ball off of the receiver. Kyle has taken advantage of it. He has had the four interceptions to show for that, but those things are sometimes a result of good team defense as well. So, Kyle has done a nice job in that respect and hopefully his performance will continue moving forward.
Q: What are your thoughts on the progression of Albert Haynesworth? The last couple of weeks we've seen him playing more in the third-down defense or sub defense.
NC: Yeah, since Albert's been able to get back on the field, he has made a few plays in each of the past couple [games]. Really the whole front four - the interior defensive lineman if you will - those guys all played well yesterday. Kyle [Love] had his share of plays. Vince [Wilfork] almost - he's trying to tie Kyle [Arrington] there; he's trying to get up there in the league leaders with interceptions. He got his hands on another ball. Gerard [Warren] made a few plays. Albert made a few plays, so when those guys are out there, they can present some problems. I think the more Albert has practiced and been able to work on some of the techniques and some of the things that we're doing in practice, then that starts to carry over into the game. It's a good start. [We] still a long way to go here, but certainly it's encouraging with some of the things that he has done.