Excerpts from Coach Payton's Wednesday Press Conference:
- Opening statement:
In practice today, Charles Grant, Scott Shanle, Jeff Faine, Alfred Fincher, and Brian Young did not participate. We'll see where they're at tomorrow. Fincher's injury was a head from a concussion last week; it wasn't a severe one but he still had some headaches today so we held him out. Brian Young is the same knee. Faine is the same pectoral, Shanle is a hamstring and Charles Grant is an ankle. The focus again on Wednesdays is first and second down. I thought we had a pretty good practice
- On injuries:
- Reggie: "Reggie was fine; full participation."
- On Brian Young being held out of practice in the future, having his knee drained (again): "We'll see. It just depends on how he finishes the game. Hopefully it clears up as we go. [...] Yes, but not near as much [fluid]."
- On facing Jacksonville's run game:
I think it's the best running team we've played all year. It's one of the best running teams we've played since we've been here. It starts with the offensive line and the backs, the fullback, the tight ends; we have a tremendous challenge. We're going to have to play our best game defensively in regards to fits and we have to tackle well. They're real good at running the football and they take pride in it; they do a good job.
They're not running 10 different runs. They have some core runs that they're able to get to and execute. You have to wrap these backs up; you have to get to the ball. They're dangerous, they have speed; they can take what looks like a three-yard gain and it turns into a 30-yard gain. The fundamentals are going to be critical.
- On blitzing Quinn Gray:
'Are you blitzing to stop the run or the pass?' is the question. In other words, you can say that you want to blitz but what are you trying to do? You try to win on first and second down just as offensively we try to win on first and second down to create a smaller third down situation in the game. The challenge they create is that their front blocks extremely well and they're very physical. You put that together with the running game and the running backs that they have and the fullback and tight ends, and you end up with a team that's one of the better rushing teams in the league.
- On Jacksonville's defense, their dominance of the unstoppable force that is the Tampa offense:
They're a team that is strong in front; they have good skill people; they run well. We've seen them on a lot of tape and they're a unit that tackles real well. Offensively, this game comes up where we're going to get challenged in a lot of areas. They're big, they're strong. For us that presents run issues, protection issues, things we're going to have to pay attention to and try to slow down some. It's a real good defense.
Jeff Garcia got hit, he got hurried; he had one or two passes that I'm sure he'd like to have back. Aaron Glenn sat on a hitch route and intercepted it for a touchdown.
I think when you watch the game you see the problems that they present for quarterbacks. Even in Indianapolis' win, you see Peyton Manning get hurried and roughed up. They're going to try to pressure the quarterback and they do a good job of it. They're strong in the front and that presents a big challenge.
- On Jonathan Goodwin, Jason Craft and Josh Cooper stepping up:
I think that happens in the case of a lot of teams. It's unrealistic to think when you start a season that the same guys are going to be starting every game. There's going to be some attrition; you hope that it's not a lot with injuries, but I was pleased with the way those guys were able to step in and play without having gotten a lot of the practice reps. That's part of preparing and being ready so that was a positive thing.
- On the divisional race:
It's real early in the season - we haven't hit mid-season yet; we haven't hit the halfway point yet. There is a lot of football ahead of us and the only thing we can focus on right now is the task at hand and that's this weekend's game. It's hard to get caught up with what the other teams in the division are doing outside. You just pay attention to the upcoming week's plan and you try to streamline the focus of everyone on your to team for that game and get the best plan available and try to make sure you cover everything out here in regards to what we're asking the players to do. I think that as the season goes on, things seem to sort themselves out. We know that we're still looking up and have a lot of work to do.