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Wade Phillips press conference 11/26/07

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Wade: Crayton practiced, started slow but looked good as it went on, it was real positive for him in terms of playing. Henry was about the same, he will continue to play on the sub-packages.

The team seems really loose this week?
Pretty normal for this group, they concentrate on the game, but they have a loud confidence instead of the quiet kind. I feel good about where they are, the process of getting ready has been similar to all year.

Do you get after Brett even though he gets rid of the ball quickly?
They have the same problem, we get rid of it quick, too. We’ve played some teams like that that get rid of the football, of course he can recognize the blitz better than most QB’s. He knows to get rid of it and where to throw it. You have to get on your man in man-to-man or collapse on the receivers in the zones. You need to put pressure on him, it’s a cat and mouse game. He’s going to throw some deep ones, he’s thrown the most passes over 40 yards this year and you can’t do that from a 3-step drop, he’ll drop back.

Do you worry that your team is talking about home-field advantage and the long-term implications of this game so openly?
You got to be realistic, everybody is talking about it. But our immediate goal is to win this game, another immediate goal is to be in playoffs, if we win this, we’re in. We’re focused on this game. It’s a big game, it puts you a step forward. They know that, you can't think they’ll only know what I tell them, they know the implications of the game.

Patrick Crayton return punts?
We’ll wait and see how healthy he is, but it was encouraging today, he caught punts today. I’ve been kidding Marion about him being Hester, they’ve kicked it out of bounds all three times he’s been back there this year. I might have to put him in.

Can Terence do more as a returner now that he’s healthy?
Newman has come along on punts like he has on defense, he feels more comfortable now. He was probably going to be our returner to start out until he got hurt. Crayton does a good job, has one of the better averages in the league.

Is Newman all the way back now?
He was running that 50-yards pretty quick in the game, an interception for a TD. I think he’s close if not all the way able to do everything we want him to do and that he wants to do. Changing direction is a big thing. We have more of an option to put him on certain receivers than before.

Bradie James as the signal-caller on defense?
His play has been the most important thing. Calling the defense in the huddle is just relaying it most of the time, he gives reminders, and in certain formations he can change things. It’s his play that has been outstanding. He has a lot more tackles than what is listed, he’s probably a leading tackler in the league.

You said earlier this year that his good play was a little bit of a surprise?
I saw him last year, no offense to last year, but he was heavier and it was harder for him to change direction. He was blasting the guards all game long, that’s hard to do, 250 pounds against 350 pounds. I didn’t see the instinct to get to the ball, it didn’t show up on what I saw. I was really pleased, he can take on a guard or the FB, but he can also get around them and make plays. He’s a really good linebacker. He does all the right things, plus he’s smart, an outstanding player.

(Disclaimer: These press conference recaps are just paraphrases of what Wade Phillips says and aren’t vetted for total accuracy on quotes. I shorten and condense things he says but try to get across the intended meaning. Occasionally, what I post loses the context of something Wade said and may appear counter-intuitive. If you have questions about something from the press conference, feel free to ask in the comments.)