Jim Johnson press conference: 8-30-05

On whether it is easier to plan for the season now that he knows DT Corey Simon is not going to be here: "It's hard to believe that he is not going to be here. There was a chance that possibly he was not going to be here. We kind of planned a little bit that way, but now we are going full throttle. We will miss him. He's a good football player and a good person too."

On what he was able to do well:
"He's an excellent pass rusher. Besides playing the run well, he's a smart football player and a good pass rusher. I know that our organization tried everything to get it done; we just didn't get it done. Like I said before, we have to move on, but we will miss him."

On who will replace him in the starting lineup:
"I think it is still an interesting battle. [DT] Sam [Rayburn] has been out, you have [DT Darwin] Walker and then you have [DT] Hollis [Thomas] who is really playing well. Hollis has had a great preseason, so he's in the mix. Of course you have Rayburn coming back a little bit. We all know that Walker is there and of course [DT] Mike Patterson. So there are still some decisions to be made, who is going to start and how the rotations are going to go."

On whether he wants anther pass rusher in there:
"Sure, when you get into nickel situations, 3rd and 2nd and long you are going to think about the best pass rusher in there."

On whether Mike Patterson looks like he has exceptional pass rushing ability:
"Well, I think like any rookie he is still learning. I think [defensive line coach] Tom [Brasher] is doing a good job with him. It's going to take a little while. He's probably a better run player than a pass rusher right now. But he does give great penetration and great effort. It will come, but it's not there right now."

On whether Patterson is going to play a lot on Thursday night:
"Not a lot. I don't know how much he will play. I am not sure about that. I would say you are going to see him, we will just see how much though."

On whether he is surprised with the great camp DT Hollis Thomas is having after he was unhappy with his contract situation:
"Yeah, I think knowing Hollis as a person, I knew once we started he was going to give a great effort. He is healthy right now. I didn't worry about that once we started, because he is such a good competitor and he gives a great effort all the time. So I didn't worry about that."

On how his weight is:
"Good. Up."

On what he meant when he told his players he wanted them to be nastier and meaner:
"I made a statement. I don't know how it got out. I thought we were a very aggressive team last year and I wanted to see us be more physical with wide receivers and getting more stripped balls, turnovers and being a little nastier that way as far as ripping the ball out. Not being a dirty football team, just being a little tougher on certain phases of the game. That's really what I meant."

On if this is the best defense since he has been here:
"It's preseason. I wish I could say that. I think we are on a nice course right now as far as having a good preseason, but it is only preseason. I think this is one of those things that you evaluate at midseason and see how we are doing. There are certain things we need to get better at, but I am pleased with certain aspects of the game too. I would be lying if I said I wasn't, but I do like the attitude of the team. We will just see if this is going to be one of the better defenses."

On whether there is a chance that S Sean Considine will play tomorrow night:
"I doubt it very much. You will have to talk to [head athletic trainer] Rick [Burkholder]. I doubt it right now."

On whether LB Martin Patterson has continued having a great camp:
"Yeah, he has not slowed off. The thing about the young man, like I said before, he is not making a lot of mental mistakes, which is good for a rookie. He's a very coachable young man. He's becoming a pro and really working at his job. I think he likes to play and has a lot of enthusiasm. We have not been disappointed. I think the biggest surprise, we knew that he was a good football player, is how he is handling everything mentally. That has been the biggest surprise."

On whether Martin Patterson's bad timing at the scouting combine is obvious to him:
"Well, no, because he is not time great in the 40. His first step, first two steps, five yard and ten yard are good times. He has great quickness. His strength is his great balance, quickness and that he has good long arms. He makes use of those. He uses good pad level because of his balance. He has good quickness and knows how to play the game."

On whether the secondary allows him to do things this year that he couldn't do last year:
"Yeah, I think the only thing that we have a lot more confidence in this year is going in more man coverage. I think we have a couple of good corners; even [CB] Rod Hood is the same way and [CB] Dexter [Wynn]. I think that we can play a little more man coverage. I think we will still always add to our packages, as far as our pressure situations, blitzes and so forth, but the thing that I have seen is these guys over last year is that they can match up against the [WR Oakland Raiders] Randy Moss' and stuff like that, which I worried about going into last year. But I see these guys and know that they will challenge any receiver."

On whether CBs Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard as well as SS Michael Lewis are as good as the coaches thought they would be:
"I think they are still young guys. We are happy with them and they had a good year last year. I think they are still learning on the run. It's only their second year starting in the league. They should still get better. Are we happy with them? Yeah. Are we satisfied? Probably not. I think they can get better."

On whether there is anything to get out of Thursday night's game against the Jets:
"Hey, we are going to play a game. It's going to be fun. It's competition and I am looking forward to it. Young guys are going to have a chance to make this team. Guys are going to be flying around. This is fun. I love football games"

On what he wants to see Michael Lewis improve on this season:
"I think Mike is a guy who will tell you, he is a very physical safety, but he has to improve a little bit on his coverage. He knows that. He works like crazy on it. [secondary and safeties coach] Sean McDermott works with him a lot with his ball skills, making interceptions. If anything, it's his pass coverage. It has come along, but his strength is at the line of scrimmage blitzing and being a very physical guy. We would like to see him improve on his pass coverage."

On how much picking up [DE] Juqua Thomas helps:
"That was huge. That was big. It is too bad that [DE] Trent Cole was not around because of the injury and that, but Juqua Thomas has come in and done a nice job. He is going to play a lot Thursday night along with Trent Cole and we will see how those young puppies do. It's a great opportunity for both of those guys.

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