STs Coordinator John Harbaugh Press Conf: 9-9-05

STs Coordinator John Harbaugh Press Conf: 9-9-05

On what it's going to be like seeing Falcons LB Ike Reese in a different uniform: "We've already seen him in a different uniform. I got tape on him from the last four weeks. He's wearing #98. He's in red and black. He looks good. He wears it well."

On whether he has talked to Ike:
"Yeah, you know he's fine. We did talk this week. I broke a rule. Maybe he broke a rule. You never talk to an opponent, but for Ike, we broke that rule and talked to him for about 5 minutes. He wasn't giving away anything and I wasn't giving away anything. But, it's good to hear his voice. I think he'll always be family in Philadelphia. But when you go against family, you go against a brother, man those are the most competitive situations ever. Those are the guys you want to beat the most. I know he feels the same way, so it'll be fun."

On what they talked about:
"(Jokingly) It was a love fest."

On how much impact Ike will have being on the Eagles special teams unit before he came to Atlanta:
"I don't think it has a huge impact because we've evolved and it's really not all that complicated. They see on tape what we're doing. We see on tape what they're doing. I think it boils down to more of how guys play. They've got a great group. They've got a lot of good players. Ike really hasn't played that much special teams in the preseason, so he's just going to elevate their play now in the regular season."

On whether there is anything they can do to shake up the Falcons rookie punter Michael Koenen on Monday Night:
"Yes there is. There are a number of things we can do. But he's really good. I don't think he's the normal, prototypical rookie. He's really poised. He gets the ball off quickly. He's a little guy with a really strong, fast leg. It'll be his first regular season game, so that's a factor, but I'd be surprised if he got rattled. He doesn't look like that kind of guy."

On how P Dirk Johnson is doing:
"Dirk's doing fine. I'd say he's still on the road to recovery. He's certainly not 100 %. We still have some options there if he's not ready on Monday Night. But we're preparing as if he's going to be, and of course we've set ourselves up if he's not. So, we'll have a good punter out there Monday Night."

On integrating the rookies into special teams:
"Really the guys who made the team are the guys who stood out. Maybe that was part of why they made it. But you look at [TE Stephen] Spach. You look at [RB Ryan] Moats, who is also done well as a running back. Those guys have also done well at their position. I'm sure I'll leave a couple of guys off. [WR] Reggie Brown, I know he's doing great as a wide receiver, but he's also doing well on special teams. So, all of those guys are probably going to play a role on special teams. We're going to be a really young unit. I don't think we have too many guys with more than 2 years of experience out there. If you look around, they're going to be playing on four phases. We're mostly a first and second year team, which is good in one sense and not so good in another sense. So, it'll be interesting to see how they play."

On the options they have at punter without Dirk:
"You can figure them out. We have [K] David [Akers]. We have [free agent P] Sean [Landeta] as a possibility. There are other punters out there too, so like always, [head coach] Andy and [VP of player personnel] Tom [Heckert] keep all the options open, so we're going to leave all of those options open."

On the order of options they have at punter without Dirk:
"There is no order that we would divulge."

On whether he believes Dirk will be ready:
"I don't know. I think there is a good chance he will be ready and I think we're preparing like he will. But again, you've got to be ready for all options. Nobody can tell the future, so if he's ready, he's ready, and if he's not, he's not."

On whether Dirk would be ready if the game was tomorrow:
"He's going to punt tomorrow in practice. I can tell you that. We have practice tomorrow and he will be punting."

On how CB Dexter Wynn is doing:
"Wynn looks okay, but again, I don't think he's at 100%. So that's still part of the process, whether he'll be active or not. It looks like he's got a chance, but he's still got to get better. But he'll be returning [kicks] tomorrow also in practice."

On whether this is the best speed he's had on special teams:
"I haven't thought about that. I think we're fast though. I think we have enough speed to do well. I think we're going to be physical, probably more physical than we were last year. How smart we play, that depends on how fast those guys pick things up."

On why he thinks they will be more physical:
"Well, we've got some help from defensive ends. We're going to have Trent Cole and [Juqua] Thomas. They give you some defensive ends out there that can play special teams a little bit, which we really haven't had for awhile. So that just gives you some 260-pound guys that can help you. It really makes a difference."

On how much of a concern going against Falcons CB and returner Allen Rossum is:
"Anytime you go against Allen Rossum, you're more than a little bit concerned. He is a game-breaker and it's going to be a big challenge for us, no matter who is punting. It's going to be a big challenge for us to run down there and tackle him. So, when you combine that with the fact that they block really well, that's a lethal combination. So, we've got our hands full."

On whether he has seen any sign of Rossum slowing down:
"Not one sign of him slowing down. He'still a jet."

On whether Rossum still does both punt and kickoff returns:
"As far as we know, but they also drafted [RB] DeAndra Cobb, so he's a possibility for them at kick returner."

On whether RB Lamar Gordon could be a returner:
"Sure, as a kick return guy. He's never really played special teams before, but he wants to do it. That's a role we're going to try and work him in as we go here."

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