On what he hopes to see from his players in the first preseason game: "I think with that first group I want to see how [LB] Stewart [Bradley] handles the situations. I'm going to let him make a lot of calls and maybe in a two-minute situation. That's probably the first thing—how he handles it, like a continuation of last year. Again, I want to evaluate our nickel [package], as far as our defensive line with the two ends inside. We did a little bit last year, we're going to do that a little bit more this year. After that, I want to look at guys who are trying to make this team and how that second and third group plays and see who makes plays and who shines."
* On what influenced him to play with four defensive ends in the nickel package:*
"We did it last year with [DE Darren] Howard. We want to get our pass rushers on the field and Howard is one of our best pass rushers. When we got him from the saints, he played inside tackle. That was his position. We wanted to get [DE Juqua Parker] on the field. Same thing—he has been an end, but we also lined him up a little bit at tackle last year and he rushed the passer. It kind of evolved that way. Plus the fact that we can use Parker as our joker. With J.P. on the field, we don't have to switch a lot, so it makes sense."
On what type of player the first preseason game benefits the most: "I think a lot of guys [benefit]. I think there are guys in that linebacker position. We're looking for some good backup people, so there are guys in that situation there. Then, of course, you've got your safeties. We have five safeties, so I think there is great competition there. Those guys are going to play a lot, especially guys like [S] Sean Considine, [S] J.R. Reed and [S] Quintin Demps. They are going to play quite a bit, because we have to kind of sort that out. Then, I think it's going to be beneficial for a guy like [DE Jerome] McDougle, who I think has been having a great preseason. We will see how he does in the game, but he's done a good job and it's a big game for him too. The whole preseason is big for him."
On whether CBs Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown will start on Friday night: "For Friday night's game, yes. That's how they will start Friday night."
* On whether they anticipate CB Asante Samuel to play:*
"I don't think so, no."
On Sheppard and Brown both being listed as starters at RCB: "I said Lito will start at left corner and Sheldon will start at right corner. We will go from there next week. I'm not going to worry about that right now. I'll see how it goes. It's week-by-week right now. We'll have to get Asante on the field before we make up that other stuff."
On how much of a setback it is for Samuel to be missing time:"It's a setback. I think one thing about it is that he's a pro, he's asking good questions. I'm sure he's anxious to get out there. It's a little bit of a setback, but I think he's been around the league long enough and he's been really good in meetings and asking good questions, so I think he's in tune with what we're doing."
On whether he anticipates Sheppard to play in the game: "I think we'll have Lito Friday night. We anticipate Lito being there Friday night."
On how much more he sees from players in games than out in practice: "I think you see a lot more in games. When you go against the offense all the time, you see a lot of the same stuff, so it's sometimes not fair to the offense, especially with that first group. I think it's beneficial just to get the hitting in, but I really think you find out more in game situations."
On how Sheldon Brown has been playing in camp: "He's having a very solid camp. I think one of his better camps. He's been around so much and he has a great attitude. He's working hard. He came off a pretty good year last year and I think he's continuing it this year."
On how many linebackers he anticipates making the team: "It could be six or seven. It depends. A lot of things happen before the season starts and that might change. You're still trying to keep the best football players. There are [either] more defensive linemen you are going to keep, or you are going to keep more linebackers. Generally you're going to keep six or possibly seven."
On how LBs Andy Studebaker and Joe Mays are playing so far: "I think it's still a work in progress. It's tough. I realize that of all the positions, the linebackers have the hardest thing. I recognize that. [Linebackers] probably make more mistakes than anybody else; especially young guys. When they get in the game, they're going to play a lot. We're probably going to cut down just to see how they play. It's a learning process for them, and I understand that. I'm anxious to see both of those guys play and they are going to play quite a bit."
On how surprised he was at the way S J.R. Reed played last year: "I am extremely surprised because of the fact that I know the injury he had. I know sometimes you can see him out here, he looks like he's walking at 90 percent and all of a sudden he gets in a game and he's playing 100 percent. Great for J.R. He's a great competitor, but I am still surprised."
* On whether he is a guy who could see a lot of playing time:*
"He could be. Four weeks down the road we will see. He is going to get a lot of playing time also."
On what McDougle has done to impress the coaches in camp: "I think it seems like he's really healthy. He has come off those injuries and I see a more physical player. I see a good pass rusher and I also see a guy who is playing pretty well on first and second down against the run. He's done a good job. This is in camp right now. I think it's a big year for [McDougle]. We'll get into the preseason and see how he does. To me, he's probably as healthy as he's ever been."
On the position battle for the fifth cornerback spot: "It's a pretty good competition. I think [CB Kyle] Arrington has really been a good surprise for us, for a guy who has not played a lot of football. He's competing. Again, we'll see how he does in games and the same thing with [CB Therrian] Fontenot. He does a good job in our nickel and he's going to plug in. It'll be good evaluation for those guys in this game coming up."
On whether he is leaning towards having five cornerbacks: "I'm not leaning right now. I think we are going to get the best football players. It might be 10 defensive backs, it might be nine."