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Wade Phillips Press Conference: 12/3/08

Summary of Wade Phillips' press conference today, discussing DeMarcus Ware's and Marion Barber's status, as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Follow the jump to read the press conference.


Mike Jenkins we don't expect to play, Marion Barber we're hoping he'll play, he and DeMarcus Ware didn't practice. Flozell Adams, Marc Colombo, Greg Ellis, Terrell Owens and Zach Thomas went through the meetings, walk-thru and film study, but didn't practice today. It's the time of year some of these guys need rest, keep them off their feet, keep them fresher. Something we also did during bye week. Pittsburgh did the same with Hines Ward and DeShea Townsend. We're looking forward to the game, Pitt is one of the best teams in the league, they're playing well. Their defense has dismantled every offense they played. Their stats are Steel Curtain-like, a real test for our offense. Their offense is efficient, they take advantage of their defense in terms of field position, time of possession.

Flozell Adam is OK medically speaking. (Will you give him help on Harrison?) Certainly we'll help in certain cases, but we have confidence in Flozell. Harrison is good, both their OLB's are what you need in a 3-4 defense. We'll double him some.

I'm hoping DeMarcus Ware will play. We've gotten nothing but positive word from the training staff and the players, thinking they'll play. But until they practice or do something we're not sure. (Do field conditions weigh into that?) Pitt's field conditions have nothing to do with the decision, it's just whether the players are ready. I know they re-sodded the field, I hope it will be in good shape.

I don't know if (Ware or Barber) will practice tomorrow. Friday is the key day for Barber and Ware, how they move around on Friday. They should be able to go, most guys can go without practice at this time of year, if healthy enough to play. They've had plenty of practices and games, should be able to come in and play without practicing a lot. You want to make sure they're ready to go, and also have fresh legs, late in the year.

Tashard Choice works hard and is ready to go. He's been ready to play, he was last game. He has to know more of the offense now, but we feel comfortable.

Adam Jones will do returns and play on defense. Mostly sub-packages for the first game, like we work in most players who have missed time. (Will that affect Scandrick?) It won't affect Orlando Scandrick's playing time, he plays the slot. We like what Scandrick has done and he will be a good player for us. He's still a rookie but has played well, the defense has played well with him in there. He plays well in the slot and that's tougher to cover, we haven't given him a lot of help and he does good job. So no affect on Scandrick with Adam back.

They move Hines Ward around some, they play a lot of bunch stuff, three guys and scatter. We'll double Ward some, play zones, blitz, different coverages, man and man-with-help, depends on what they do.

Anthony Henry possibly might go inside again on the sub packages.

Tony Romo looks good, throwing well, he did it with the splint on and still is. We didn't think it would bother him too much, that's why he could play. If he doesn't do better without the splint he'll have to put the splint back on. (laughter) He's played well, won a lot of games, and not just throwing the football, but being the QB in a lot of wins. Pitt hasn't given up runs or passes this year, they dismantle teams. New England had 500 yards 2 weeks in row, and Pitt demolished them on the road..

Troy Palamalou plays within their scheme but they give him latitude, he's very instinctive but they let him do that. He has things he can do, areas he's responsible for or players he's responsible for, or they just let him blitz. He jumped over the whole team last week on a short yardage play. He's a special player.

James Harrison has great pass rush ability, he's quick off the ball, quick around the corner. He's like Ware in some ways, but Ware is stronger and quicker, but he is similar. Good on the run, their defense is #1 in everything. Their ILB's do a great job on the run.

At safety, picked-up Tra Battle who is a safety, that was part of the reason to pick him up. We're working other people back there, too, like Alan Ball, we think he can do it. You go with who you have and keep working with them. I think they've played well overall. No reps back there for Anthony Henry.

Bradie James, I said all along is a really good player. We've played him more and more, he's productive, we played him on third downs now in the last 5 or 6 games. Smart player, very active, anticipates well, doesn't make mistakes. Nose for the football. He's having an outstanding year. He's got more tackles than probably anybody in the league, I would think. Zach Thomas' presence helps both of them, they play off each other well, that wasn't the case early on, it was more individual plays, now they know more where each other will be. Turning plays back into each other, Bradie can play more for the cutback because he knows where Zach is going to be out wide. Things like that.

Pitt has lost a couple of division games where they know each other well, they've won some close games and lost a few close ones. No one has done anything particular in those wins, no one has made 300 yards on them. They play a close game and in the losses they turned it over more than they normally do.

Pat Watkins had the neck problem, he came back after rest, was OK for a while then had it again. It's chronic and you have to rest him for longer each time. It's just something that needs a long rest, he will be fine at some point but that will be after the season is over.

We'll possibly call up another running back. If Barber can't go or if there is a question of whether he can go late in the week. We only have one healthy right now, but if Barber is healthy we won't have to. Depends on if Barber is 100% to go on Sunday.

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