Obviously, none of that equals a whole
game, so that is why you try to practice like you play. I will say this, I was
in here on Thursday before our last game and there were a whole body of guys
that were not playing in here working out on the stairmaster, on the treadmill
and lifting weights. They knew they were not going to get extended action, but I
saw a bunch of guys working out before that game. So, they are staying up with
their conditioning. It's just a matter of the number of total body contractions
you have in a game. It's hard to simulate that in a weight room if you are going
to do that 70 times."
On concern from a cohesion standpoint:
"I am not concerned from that standpoint. We have had how many thousands of snaps of 7 on 7 and team drills. From a cohesion standpoint, I think you get a lot of those things during the practices."
On RB Lamar Gordon and WR Darnerien McCants' progression and how much they
are going to play on Monday night:
"It remains to be seen with Lamar and Darnerien. We are trying to get them up to speed as fast as we can. We will take that inventory after today's long practice, after nickel and goal line. They will certainly be practicing and then it's kind of up to [head coach] Andy [Reid] on who he wants to leave up, who he wants to put down, how they contribute to special teams, because that is always an issue and a factor. They get in the pile after talking with [special teams coordinator John Harbaugh] Harbs, Andy and the position coaches and determine who is up and who is down. Really, you take those guys with you and a guy can get the flu, get a back spasm, you don't know."
Based on what he has seen, have Lamar and Darnerien picked up the offense
well, so far:
"Yeah, they have. Lamar is a bright eyed kid. Darnerien, although he comes from a three-digit system, is picking it up just fine. You are not going to train him in all four positions, but if you give him one, he is doing a fine job with it."
On whether he was surprised with RB Brian Westbrook's comments yesterday:
"I don't know if I would say surprised, I probably didn't think anything about it."
On being concerned with LT Tra Thomas after not playing much of the
"Tra is a guy who has done a great job of being in shape and being conditioned, but I don't think there is a way to simulate that game conditioning. So, we are trying to get him to do full speed reps right now, but then it is going to be another speed and quickness as you get onto the astroturf and you face those guys who are speed rush ends. I think there is a ramping up thing that you see, that takes a second to go on, not unlike us in those first series against Pittsburgh. We were kind of getting up to speed there. The quicker the better."
On what makes their defensive front so successful:
"Yeah, obviously their bookend defensive ends have great speed and athleticism. So that is always in those tackles brains, to speed rush. They have a variety of moves where they go inside. That is first and foremost and then the kid from LSU, who is a second year player, [DT Chad] Lavalais does a great job with the snap count. You can see him getting off on the football. At times he is beating offensive linemen. The guy [DT Chad] Coleman did a great job last year and solidified that defense. Those are substantial guys inside and then the linebacking crew is new. [LB] Edgerton Hartwell was at Wisconsin with us for a year before he went to Western Illinois, so I have a little bit of a feel for him. He's a big, physical football player and the other two guys [LBs Demorrio Williams and Keith Brooking]."
On getting the new guys in, that have not played that much:
"Well, I think they have evolved through the thing pretty well. Obviously, [G/T] Shawn [Andrews] got prepared to play in the opener last year. We thought he, for a half, did a pretty good job. But, every year is its own deal. He is playing against a good player to start with in Coleman. He won't always be covered by him, but he will be learning some things on the move, but he certainly has the athleticism to deal with that. I think [RB Ryan] Moats and [WR] Reggie Brown, if you have watched them in the preseason it's one thing, and when you start the regular season, it's another thing. You can talk to them about those things, but until they see the speed with their own eyes, they are not quite aware of what it is like. But, they are pretty quick studies and they have obviously got their talents into play."
On whether he has ever seen a rookie get overwhelmed by the atmosphere of
a season opener or playing on national television:
"Yeah, you have. Then they need to have a little meeting with themselves. It's still football. They are on the biggest, brightest stage on Monday Night Football to start things off. We always used to worry about kids who went to their hometown to play. You never knew how they were going to react or act and I think one of the things we talk about, because a bunch of our guys, whether they are rookies or veterans, is this being a business trip. The way we travel, we provide a room for the families and they will get a chance to visit a little bit when we get down there on Sunday. After that it is shut down and locked down. We are about the business in our meetings and preparing to play on a Monday night game."
On how excited he is to start the regular season:
"Well, I am excited the preseason is over and we are starting to count them up here. But, you don't want to peak too early. It's a marathon deal. This is 1/16th of the regular season. You hope there ends up being a 19th or 20th."
On whether he wonders what he is going to get from WR Terrell Owens:
"I will tell you that he always brings a standard to the practice field and the game field. He has always been extremely professional in those areas and obviously extremely productive. That is all you can ask for the guy to do. On the little bit he has played in the preseason, he is ready to go. He's been in big games before and he is going to his hometown, but I think you have a pretty good idea of what he will do."
On not having him in last year's NFC Championship game and how having him
in the lineup changes things:
"It changes it for them. It does not change things for us. Obviously, [head coach] Jim Mora has an idea of what he can and cannot do. So, he has a first hand knowledge of that, regardless of what he has seen on tape through the first few games that he played last year. He knows, because he has seen him day to day for years. I think it goes back to them and how they want to play him. We will play him the same way we usually do within the system."
On whether he has seen anything different from T.O. this week:
"He's about the same. He's loose and having a good time. The one thing that you know about Terrell is that he loves to play the game, so he's excited to get going. This is what these guys strive for. This is what they look forward to. To have it on the national stage, it's a Monday Night Football game and a rematch of the NFC Championship game that he didn't play in. He will be ready to go."
On the team's recent history in regular season openers:
"I think that it is important to get our good players to the field. We talked about it last year, we want to start fast. We have revisited a few things in terms of doing that last year. We think we have a good plan to do that this year, so we will take something like the way we opened against the Giants last year."