First off, I think I should apologize for yesterday’s press conference because I had like four hours of sleep in two days. I was struggling worse than normal. I was stuck on one word about 10 times, I don’t know what it was. It was crazy, one of those deals. Today should be better, I feel a little bit better. No promises, though.
Anyway, today’s practice went well. Geno [Smith] looked good throwing the ball well. Twenty-three years old, I guess, he turned today. Communication is getting better, I see us getting a little bit better. We know how physical the game is. Again the pads aren’t on because we know what is in store for us. We know this team is loaded for bear. Anytime you play Pittsburgh it’s always a physical game so we’re certainly preparing for it.
Guys that did not practice today:
On if Milliner participated in the defensive backs’ drills…
He did not do any team drills at all today, but we’ll see.
On if Winslow’s knee has gotten worse…
Again, we’ve been putting him on a pitch count. I just lean on the trainers and all that when they say he’s going. He seemed to make it through the game OK, so we’ll see. I thought today he would do a little practice but he did not practice today.
What’s the exact term? The exempt deal? Thanks, I should have remembered that, exempt. Basically its two games, it’s almost like a two-game trial and we’ll see where he is at. He contacted John [Idzik] over the weekend or whatever. If he has a chance to help our football team or anybody [else does], we’ll certainly explore. With this exempt rule, you basically have two games, you have him for two games, and we’ll see where he’s at.
On what he likes about Garrard…
You certainly see the experience. He’s been there and done it. He handles himself like a pro. I saw that. As for the other things, I really didn’t see but obviously he has a commanding presence in the huddle and he threw the ball extremely well. That’s really what I remember seeing about David.
On if Garrard has a tryout…
Yeah, we’ll see exactly where he is. There has not been any guarantees or promises made.
On how much of an asset Garrard can be as a mentor…
I would think it would be a factor. A guy with that kind of experience, that wealth of experience, I think is good as long as he is the right guy. Sometimes you can have those great veteran players and they don’t want anything to do with a younger player. I don’t think that’s the case with David by any stretch. Certainly, is it a benefit, is it seen as a benefit or not? I’m not sure, we’ll see.
This is more about seeing where David is. Obviously, with Mark [Sanchez] now being out on IR, this is more about, “Let’s see where David is and can he help our team or not?”
On if Quinn was meant to be the veteran player younger guys lean on…
I don’t think we or I ever said that younger players can't lean on Brady Quinn. I never said that. That’s OK. Somebody must have. Now if Brian [Costello] were to have said it, “Brian what are you talking about?” I’m just kidding. I never saw him that way. I almost see him as a young quarterback as well. This guy has an unbelievable wealth of knowledge and experience.
On Jaiquawn Jarrett and
Both of those guys we know are good players, there is no doubt. We actually used [Josh] Bush some last week as well. We feel good about our safety group. We’ll always do what we think is best, what the matchups are or whatever. We’ve actually used Antonio Allen in several spots. We’ve used him as a nickel, we’ve used him all over the place. Jaiquawn, too, we play him as a dime, we play him all over.
I think you teach the system and you kind of plug guys in. “This week you’re going to be in base, you’re going to be in sub" or vice versa. So both of them are talented players. The fact that we used Bush, he’s a guy that’s kind of been stuck behind [Dawan] Landry but we actually wanted to give him a role last week. So we’ll see. I like those guys. Each week they’ll be involved in the game plan.
On if Jarrett is better in coverage and if Allen is better closer to the line…
Oh, I don’t know about that. Maybe certain coverages, one might be a little better than the other one. They’re both pretty talented. Both of them are really good close to the line with their background. Jaiquawn was a tremendous hitter, that’s what I remember most about him when he came out of Temple. In the game, it’s rare, a guy that can hit you in the open field and knock you on the back. He can really strike.
Antonio Allen really was an All-American player, but he was really a linebacker in college. I don’t know what they called him, he was an All-American safety, but he never played a snap at safety. So both of them have experience close to the line of scrimmage. It’s more really further back, we knew it would be more of a work in progress, Antonio especially, but he’s really picking it up.
On if Santonio Holmes’ hamstring has progressed slower than he hoped..
Well, I mean, I would like him out there practicing right now. I’ve always said I like when he plays, there’s no doubt. But I wouldn’t say that. The guy works his tail off. Like I said before, even with the other injury he was pushing through about as hard as you can. He was doing everything that’s asked of him and maybe even a little bit more. I know he wants to get back in the worst way and obviously playing against Pittsburgh, you know he wants to come back here. The fact that he didn’t practice today, I don’t know if you want to say it doesn’t look good or whatever. He’s one of those gametime-decision guys, too: “ Oh, you want to play? Go ahead. Go win us a game.”
Every time he goes out there, I just call him Folk Hero, go get it, nail it. I feel good every time I say it because he hasn’t missed when I’ve said it. He’s kicking the ball extremely well.
On what his mindset was before the kick Monday night…
I think I'm a positive guy but I’m going up and down to everybody, “If you have a direct line, start praying." [laughter] You can ask Demario [Davis], you can ask any of them. I would have said the same thing to Bruce [Speight].
I just think his durability is what's pleased me the most. He’s just there every day, every single day, for training camp or whatever. He’s tough. It’s not surprising the success he’s had running the football because he’s always had that talent, always done a great job in protection, a good receiver out of the backfield. We really liked him even when he was a rookie. It seems to have really clicked, though.
I remember [RBs coach] Anthony Lynn, he was telling me, he came into a game, I believe we were playing Denver, as a rookie, he had no mental mistakes. He’s just one of those type of guys. I even mentioned to the guys today about how you can think you’re on practice squad one minute and you might be starting the next. Here’s a guy that took this to heart and was there ready to go. I think that’s what you really appreciate about him.
On what he emphasizes to the defense about Ben Roethlisberger…
Well, I’ll tell you after the game. He’s just big. You have to make sure you wrap him, there’s no question. He can shake you and he knows it, too. He sees you coming and he’s like, “I’ll just move my shoulders, I’ll shake him and get him off of me and throw the football." You have to do a tremendous job of wrapping him up and running your feet and hope help is coming.
On Roethlisberger having five fumbles…
Well, sometimes those things happen. Sometimes that’s another thing when you’re that big and strong, you might not be getting the ball out or whatever. Some of those things happen. That’s a part of the bad. There’s plenty of good, as we all know. But maybe if there’s some bad, maybe that’s it.
On how Coples has played...
He’s been pretty good. He hasn’t had the impact on the scoresheet or whatever that maybe I thought or we all thought, but he’s playing pretty good. He’s causing some production for others, I think. He had a couple of hits on the quarterback, especially the first game. This past game wasn’t quite as good but I think he’s doing a good job for us.
That’s a possibility but we’ll use all of our guys. Anymore in this league, it’s just like you have tandem running backs, it’s the same thing with pass rushers. You’re not just going in with the same four guys all the time. You’re rolling those guys. He could be inside, he could be outside. The good thing with our group, they’re smart, they know several different spots. You’ll work them accordingly.