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Coach Whisenhunt's Friday Press Conference

Posted Aug 29, 2014

HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

(Opening Statement)

Obviously, this is an involved process.  There are a lot of names and a lot of decisions to be made.  We are kind of doing it in a two-stage process, so we are going to release all the names tomorrow when we turn them into waivers.  I think that has probably been fairly consistent through the league.  I’m probably not going to be able to answer all of your questions as you would like them answered today.  We haven’t released any names.  I’m sure being the astute news reporters that you are, you have some ideas, but once again we still have things to do, we still have decisions we have to make.  We are just looking for ways to make our roster better.

(On if a guy has been reported to be cut what’s the point of not releasing it)

I just said I’m not going to announce it.  We are not going to announce any moves that we have made yet until we do it at one time tomorrow.

(On if Tommie Campbell was cut because of the interactions on the sidelines last night)

No.

(On if Tommie Campbell’s fate was determined somewhat by what happened last night)

No, not really.  I think you look at the whole thing.

(On where the team is at in the decision process)

There are a couple of guys that are still kind of influx as well as where we are with the numbers, so I couldn’t give you a hard number as to where we are.  We still have a few, we are still over 53 and there are still guys that are in that that are still in consideration for other moves.  I really couldn’t give you a number.

(On if it is down to a couple of guys)

I would say it is down to more than a couple of guys to be honest with you.

(On what Tommie Campbell didn’t do to make the roster)

I’m not going to get into talking about players and what they did or didn’t do.  We are making decisions based on what we think is best for the team.

(On if he thinks Marc Mariani is a returner in the NFL)

I wish Marc (Mariani) the best.  I have enjoyed my time with Marc.  He is a good, young man.  I wish him the best in his continued pursuit. 

(On Antonio Andrews' preseason)

Antonio (Andrews) did a nice job for us last night.  I was impressed.  He helped his stock last night.

(On the starting cornerback position opposite Jason McCourty)

That is probably something that we will wait until the last possible minute to make that decision or make that announcement just because there is no benefit to not doing it that way.

(On if he has told the cornerbacks about who will start)

No we have not.

(On the cornerback depth and if they will be monitoring the waiver wire for that spot)

We are looking for ways to make our roster better in a number of areas and that is part of this process.

(On deciding on the kicker)

That is a big decision and there are a lot of things that go into that, so we are going through the process of that and taking our time with it just to make sure.  That is what we feel like is the right process.

(On if one of the two kickers will be on the roster)

We feel comfortable with both of those guys.  I think we are looking at all opportunities which is what you should do.  It is the smart thing to do, but we certainly feel comfortable with those guys.

(On if it is unlikely to keep two kickers on the roster)

We won’t keep two.

(On Zach Mettenberger’s progress through preseason)

I think there is no question it helped in the development.  He got a lot of snaps in game reps which is not always the case with young guys.  From that standpoint it was very valuable.  It was good to see him.  We thought that he improved as preseason progressed.  He is a lot more comfortable being able to do that.  That is one of the hardest things for young players to transition into is being able to call the play and manage it at the huddle.  We were able to do a lot more things with him as we progressed through preseason.

(On returners for the game against Kansas City)

I’ve been with teams before that had good returners that didn’t get a single return in the preseason. We had no issues, so that’s my basis. That doesn’t concern me as much. You can very well say if you had the greatest returner ever and he got hurt in one preseason rep. It could happen that way, too, so we feel comfortable with our returners. They’ve gotten reps in practice, and we were just in a unique situation that we’ve had three returners that have been to the Pro Bowl on our roster, so it has not been a concern for us.

(On Marc Mariani’s opportunities)

I’d say that we were trying to be as fair as we possibly could with Marc (Mariani) and give him opportunities. I think he’s certainly earned that right based off of what he’s done for this team. I have a lot of respect for Marc.

(On the kickers that worked out this week)

I’m not going to talk about specifics of tryouts, but just like anything, it’s no different than bringing in anybody else to look at. You’re getting information on players. We had the opportunity to do that, and that’s what we did.

(On Zach Mettenberger’s pocket presence)

I thought Zach (Mettenberger) did a good job in learning the position and progressing. I was pleased from that standpoint. As a young player, for where he started and where he finished, he had a lot of development. I’m happy with Zach.

(On Jurrell Casey’s contract extension)

Obviously we’re very excited to get Jurrell (Casey) done. One of the things that I have a lot of respect for is you never would have known that that was even being discussed or that it was ever even an issue on his mind, from the way he worked to the way he prepared, how he carried himself. Even though you’re in that position where you’re going into your last year, never heard anything about it, especially not from him. When you talk about young players that are good players that you want to build your team around, Jurrell’s one of those guys. The fact that Mr. Smith and Ruston (Webster) got that deal done speaks volumes about what we’re trying to do here.

(On moving into a regular season routine)

We’ve already started that a little bit. We had a little bit of a briefing on that today, and we’ll do that Monday. We’ll spend some time with them Monday, they’ll have the day off Tuesday, and then we’ll get into the routine of a normal practice week with them. That’s basically how we’re going to approach it.

(On Tommie Campbell’s adjustment to penalty changes)

If you look at the penalties in the league this year, there were obviously a few more called. I couldn’t speak to if it was a challenge for him or not. Tommie (Campbell) worked hard, just like everybody else did.

(On criteria for filling available roster spots)

I think that you’ve got to look at what the position is and the value, what you’re looking for. There are a lot of things that go into it. If you have a chance to make your team better, I think that’s what you’re looking at trying to do. Obviously, we feel good about a lot of the positions where we are. We feel good about our football team. We’re trying to get better. That’s what this whole process is about.

(On the defense being prepared for the regular season)

I’ve seen a lot of teams that don’t have stats in preseason that end up being good teams that have good stats in-season. I’m not saying that’s a predictor one way or another, but I think there are a lot of snaps that aren’t in preseason games that you can help formulate an opinion about your defense, as far as what you’re seeing from them in practice and competition against them, offensively and defensively. You’ve seen a lot from these players through the course of I don’t even know how many snaps we’ve had during camp, over a thousand. That goes into also feeling like you’re prepared. There are a lot of things that we did in practice that we didn’t do in preseason games. Some of the things in preseason games are geared towards individual matchups, so you can see how your players stack up as opposed to a scheme where you’re attacking a particular protection or you’re attacking the way that an offense runs. From that standpoint, we feel like our guys have worked hard, and they’re prepared. Hopefully that will be reflected in the way we play against Kansas City.

(On Bishop Sankey’s preseason performances)

I think that it was obvious that he’s a talented young man. He ran the ball very well last night, very decisive, made good cuts. We’ve seen growth from him, as well. I think, just like with Zach (Mettenberger), we’ve seen growth with Bishop (Sankey). He’s gotten better, obviously, at his exchanges with the quarterbacks. His course on his footwork has improved. His vision is good. He’s seeing the holes well. His protection, he’s done a nicer job with that as he’s gone through it, so from a young guy that you’re trying to get prepared to contribute during the season, you’ve seen growth, you’ve seen him moving along with that, and that’s what you needed to see. I’m happy with him.

(On announcing released players)

I don’t think there are that many names that have been released, actually on the wire. We’re bound by what we see on the waiver wire. We can’t act on any of that until we see it on the waiver wire, according to the league rules, so I know from the wire having just come out that there were not a lot of names on it. While even though that’s good that (other teams’ releases are) out there, we can’t act on it until tomorrow. From a standpoint of waiting or not waiting, it really wasn’t a consideration. I’m not trying to create an advantage by not doing it, we just felt like we weren’t finished with the process, and we wanted to release it all at one time. Any of the players that we have told that were going to be released today; we haven’t turned the names in. We won’t do that until tomorrow.

(On Charlie Whitehurst as the backup quarterback)

He hasn’t had any setbacks. I anticipate that Charlie (Whitehurst) will be able to practice this week and be prepared for that.

(On Mike Martin and Antonio Johnson’s injuries)

I think we’ll know a little bit more as we get to next week, but I don’t anticipate that anybody will be missing practice next week. Once again, I can’t speak until something that may happen between now and then, but I don’t anticipate that.

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