Opening Comments: "Quite an exciting time for our players and coaches. We're right in the middle of the preparation for the first ballgame of the season. It's always an exciting time. We're working hard, diligent, on the field and off the field with preparation. Preparation will be big, maybe even more so this year because of the lack of off season, especially early in the season, I would think. Of course, I'm assuming just a little bit there, because I've never been through it. That would make sense. The players are really working hard."
On whether there is any concern that it may take a little while for the receivers to get going: "No concern, however, certainly thought about and within the game plan. Certain things go along with that, yes. However, they're all veteran players, they've all played, they've all had great success, and I would expect to see that on Sunday."
On how WR Steve Smith has looked in practice: "Steve Smith is outstanding. He's one of those players that is very good, first of all, he's talented, has natural instincts, good feel of the game, real smart. Now, he is in the middle of, this week is big for him, in the middle of running routes the routes the way we run them, and the foot precision that we expect. So he's right in the middle of that, but he sure has looked good."
On how big of challenge opening with two dome games poses to the offensive line: "Well it's a great challenge for our offensive line, they're going to meet that challenge head on. You know all the fellas up there, they're all very proud men, they're all very good players. Now, we know the key to that is, single players playing well, that doesn't work. It's just got to be as a unit, and the tight ends and running backs, everybody is involved of course, but the offensive line, playing well, as a unit, is the key."
On whether Smith has already shown enough to be ready for week one: "Steve is a good player. We'll make that decision a little later in the week, as far as exactly who's playing and who's up and all those type of things, but he sure has shown that he's a fine player. I rely a little bit on his past history, he's been a fine, fine player."
On whether there is any carryover for Smith: "He's working at a high level, at this point. I can't get into percentages; you need to go to (Head Athletic Trainer) Rick (Burkholder) on that."
On how close schematically the Rams defense is to what Jim Johnson used to run: "Big Jim. I miss big Jim, pregame. He was a beauty, now. He would be– I'm off tangent just a little bit, you got me there bringing up Jim. Great focus, pregame now, you know in the locker room, great, great focus he had. But anyway, the scheme, very similar, very similar. (Rams Head Coach) Steve (Spagnuolo), and then (Rams Defensive Coordinator) Ken Flajole who, shoot he coached me way back, and then we've coached together. He's an excellent defensive coordinator, they're very well coached, the scheme looks like and smells like Jim. Everybody takes it and evolves just a little bit, which they have done, but yeah, it's got Jim Johnson all over it, sure."
On how G Kyle DeVan has looked and whether he would be ready to start Sunday if needed: "Yeah, well, we'll see. Kyle has been a heck of player, played in big games. He's another real bright guy. He's real sharp. Of course, he's in the middle of 'okay, this term means this to me', because of a little bit different terminology, so he's right in the middle of that. Real bright guy, sure has looked good in practice, so we'll see."
On whether checks have to be changed because of Rams DB Quintin Mikell: "Typically, when you're going into a game with a man that's been on your team, or a coach that's been on your team, sometimes there's several, there might be a coach and a couple players, on both sides of the ball in some cases. I typically don't worry about that because we do other things to counteract it, such as dummy calls and these types of things, so I never had problems with that. Quintin Mikell, he's a good player though, and I'm sure he's giving all the information that he possibly can. Normally, players and coaches that go to another team and then you're playing them, the personnel, they typically can help just a little bit there."
On whether QB Michael Vick's escape ability helps when adjusting the offensive line: "Well I've got great confidence in Mike. I've got great confidence that he'll use all that great athletic ability when he's forced to use it, otherwise staying with the play and running the offense. I do find myself, on occasion, relying on that just a little bit, you know, and taking more calculated risks. I do do that. That could be a strength, could be a weakness, for me. I think Mike relies on it, but I'll tell you what, he's come so far, as far as playing the quarterback position, that he really is trusting the big offensive line, and the backs and tight ends protection-wise, and he's done a heck of job, up to date, staying with the play and using that great athletic ability if forced. We can use it in other ways as well."
On what kind of challenge having a new offensive line presents when calling plays: "Well, it's a great challenge. Now, we're going to do certain things and we're going to attack our opponent's weaknesses and try to stymie their strengths. We always want to be aggressive, so you can't back off that thing, because then sometimes you start getting slapped in the face a little bit, so we will be aggressive."
On whether he feels that they are at the point they normally are after the preseason: "I suspect that everybody is, quite possibly, at the same level. Now if you've got all eleven, or ten returning starters, there could be just a little bit of a difference there. The conditioning as well, I think everybody is at the same rate there. So yeah, it will be a little bit different, there will be no question about that, especially early in the season. Again, I've never been through it, and so I can sort of anticipate some things, but I can't quite predict. I think there'll be some great football in the first several weeks. I think there might be some ugly stuff going on in early in the football season because of what's occurred."
On G/T Todd Herremans making his first start at right tackle and whether they will need to double team Rams DE Chris Long with TE Brent Celek: "Well both ends, you've got Chris Long, and then you've got (DE James) Hall over there on our left side, so both of those guys are very good. This ballclub, this defensive ballclub now, first of all they're very good on third downs. Secondly, they're very highly ranked on forced fumble, on sacking, and then negative yards as well, they're way up there. They try to be quite disruptive and that's where the negative plays come in. They've got some talented players, including pass rushers over there, as well."
On Rams rookie DE Robert Quinn being in the Rams rotation: "It looks that way, it looks that way, and I would expect him to play quite extensively in this game."
On his experience with new offensive lines and how long the process usually takes: "It's different every time. That's a good question. It's different every time. I've been through it many times. Sometimes you're very good right time the get go, and again the offseason comes into play there. Sometimes it takes a little while. It's quite different depending on the players. Listen, I've got great expectations for our offensive line and so do they. I would expect us to play at a high, high level Sunday in the dome there."
On whether he has any trepidation about how this going to work out with the offensive line: "There's no guarantees with anything, so I'm quite conscious of that, quite conscious now. We'll see what happens. I will tell you, as a coach now, just philosophically, you have to trust your players that they're going to do the right thing and get it done. Otherwise you put yourself in a box, and then you don't give your team an opportunity to have success and win. I have great trust in our offensive line. We've got one of the great offensive line coaches. We've got talented guys up front. And now let's see how quickly they can play together as a unit, and at a high level as a unit."
On whether he is nervous: "Oh no. You don't get nervous, you can't play scared, men. You've got to go. You've got to be aggressive. There's no second guessing. You've got to go, you've got to go."