I missed the beginning of the press conference again, Parcells showed up early. He was in a jolly mood today, constantly joking with reporters, especially the duo of Jen Floyd and Mac Engel. You got the feeling he likes what he's seeing from his team, he must think they're ready as chatty and jovial as he was today.
I told the team this thing is a long way from over, you can see it every week, with 7 games to go, its impossible in the NFC to say this team will do this or that. You just don't know. Take Green Bay for example, they started poorly, but they've put a few wins together. If you get going you have a chance.
Did you tell your team that they can play with the Colts? They know I feel they can play with these guys. They know that without me saying it.
Marion and Julius are working out OK; I want to keep some gas in Julius' tank. I told him today if we can get through Thurs of next week, then he'll get a chance to refuel for the stretch run. That's what I want to do, get him through next Thurs. before the break; we got out of Arizona with him having only 14 carries.
Marion is doing a few things that not every one sees. We need him fresh on 3rd down, but he's playing on the punt return team some, and doing a good job. He's grown into a role that the coaches feel that whatever you ask him to do, he'll do it. I don't know for sure about everything but it's the sense I get. He's further down the road, he's got more stamina, endurance, good training, he's further down the road now.
Barber's an aggressive runner, everyone know it when he's out there, when he's doing that. He's not afraid to take people on.
You can't play good defense without a good FS, they have to tackle, defend well, and play the ball in air. They have to be smart, they are the QB of sorts back there, and it's a vital position.
They run the same play-action plays repeatedly and they do it very well.
Barber thinks he's got some Gale Sayers in him, he thinks it, but he doesn't. I want him, and Julius is more in tune with this - I try to teach the backs to run on the safeties. Barber has a tendency to get through the line and then try to bounce it outside; running to the corner and that brings other players into the play. Julius has been more geared to get on the safeties.
I'm not reluctant to have Watkins on the field, you have to live with a few things, but he's studying. When he came to camp he was afraid to make a mistake, he was tentative, then the season started and he had to go through the cycle again, I told you about his block tackling, then he was involved in some negative plays. But now he's less tentative, he's more studious, he gets it better in his preparation. He's a little better off than at the beginning of season. I don't know who will start. I haven't handed the job over to anybody yet, but he won't be back there as much as the beginning of the year, not yet.
We've had some problems at the strong safety, but Roy is improved this year in knowing what he's doing. Other teams stay way from him a little bit, so opportunity-wise he's been doing OK, he had a couple of balls he didn't find but that's the way it is sometimes.
How about Addai and Rhodes? They're doing the same as us. I think they want Addai to be the guy, but Rhodes has been there a while and knows the offense, they're doing a smart thing the way they do it. They were fortunate with Edge, with him staying well and he had a lot of carries, I mean a lot. They're trying to put less wear and tear on them.
Have you ever had to rebuild a vets confidence during the season: Yes, I'll give you an example of what I did with a fella who'll be broadcasting the game this week (Phil Simms). We had a situation where we had 4 WR's on the team and two of them were hurt, we were using Bavaro and Zeke at TE. The passing numbers were not good, one day he was 6 for 18 with 5 drops. Of course, the media said the passing game was bad, the passing wasn't bad but the execution by the WR's was poor. For two or three weeks in a row his numbers looked bad. People were saying Simms is this, Simms is that, but we had beaten Dallas, Philly, and Washington. I went to him and said I don't know what you're thinking, but the team is in 1st place and we beat our division rivals. These guys (the WR's) didn't die, they'll be back. So I just tried to encourage him from a different view point.
Have you done that with Vanderjagt? I have to get an idea of the sensitivity level of the player, what he's about. I try to stay out of those areas until I know I can impact a guy in the right way. I've spoken with him more and more, it's hard for me to say. I'm not afraid to coach him, in fact I have, I tell him pay attention to this, and this is what I'm seeing.
Have you talked to Flozell about Freeney? I did talk to Flozell, OK, but I'll keep that to myself, I got the needle out, but he knows.
If you were in the booth in place of Simms, how would you analyze the Flo/Freeney matchup? I would only do that if Simms takes my place, puts on the earphones on the sideline, and he'd fine out he doesn't know anything, either. (laughter)
But how would you analyze it? A big powerful man against an explosive, quick, dynamic, high-energy player.
Who wins in those matchups? Well, Joe Louis knocked Billy Conn out. (Conn was a light-heavyweight with great speed who fought a much bigger Joe Louis for the heavyweight title.)
Freeney is really good football player; he's a football playing dude. He wasn't highly recruited in high school. I've got his coach right here down the hall (Paul Pasqualoni - Syracuse). He's was like Marvin Harrison, he wasn't highly recruited, either, he was going to play basketball. They just have a quality, attributes you can't see. Like Oliver Hoyte, he's got attributes you can't see. He's just an example, the most recent one. When you get to the point to see that in a player, you've come a long way in evaluating him.
With this kid (Freeney) you can see a lot of it; he doesn't take any plays off. There was a play he made, it was against a goal line offense, and he's playing the DE on the weak-side and he's just a bit inside the TE. The Jets run a straight ahead handoff in the middle on the opposite side of him, he races down the line and he tackles the guy for a 1 yard loss. I never saw that before.
Sometimes our TE's will have to block him, but we can't cancel the game, it can't be 3 guys on him, we can't play 8 on 11. Our players are going to have to standup.
Why hasn't Ware had any breakout games? I think he needs more rest, that's the main thing, but its hard to do it.
How many plays has he been playing? I'm not sure but I think he's been in the 60's.
How many should he play? I don't know, fewer. But you're just talking about sacks.
No, not just sacks, but disrupting the backfield, applying pressure, things like that: I think if you watch some of what is going on, you'll see some of that.
Is it enough? What is this, is this like an Abbot and Costello routine? Are guys using hand signals? (laughter) (This was in response to getting peppered with questions from JFE and Mac)
How much does Singleton's experience factor into the decision of playing him? Experience is a factor, but these guys just got to play now. I'll give you a very honest answer, it comes down to how many plays will he play other than defense, and that's with both of them. I have to decide how many plays each would get, whether I want specialize - one in the nickel, the other with the regular defense, or use them both in both situations. After this press conference, I'll review today's practice film and I'll have a better idea. It's not about a 1st round pick vs. a veteran. Its how are we going to function best, at an optimal level? Carpenter has been pretty good on special teams, he is bigger and runs faster than Al, so I don't want to eliminate that, it helps his confidence.
I heard about the Owens' children's book, I have no time to read it now.
On running the ball to keep the Indy offense on the sidelines: In this day and time, you just can't say were going to do this, it depends on how the game unfolds. There may be a fumble on the opening kickoff, hopefully by them, or you could give up an early score. I don't think we can just say we're going to do this exclusively, and win.
Are you thinking you need TD's, not FG's? Based on their scoring 28 points a game, yeah, we need to score some TD's, or else or defense will need to hold them down.
Will you go for it in favorable 4th down situations instead of kicking FG's? I don't know about that yet, I'll have to look at my TD to FG probability chart. (laughter)
On bringing Stanley back: Certain positions, I didn't know where we were going; I've been spending all week looking for contingencies. One of those places was the D-line. If we lost another guy, I didn't know what we would do. Stanley is halfway familiar with our system; you know other teams claimed him, too.
Is he a better player than when he was here? I don't know, we'll see.