BILL COWHER OK, there are five players I'm going to rule out for this game: Kendrell Bell (ankle), Ramell Connor (knee), LaVar Glover (abdomen), Kendall Simmons (hamstring), who is getting much better and will probably be on the practice field next week; and Kordell Stewart (concussion), who feels better and may actually practice today but considering everything he's not going to play in this game."> BILL COWHER OK, there are five players I'm going to rule out for this game: Kendrell Bell (ankle), Ramell Connor (knee), LaVar Glover (abdomen), Kendall Simmons (hamstring), who is getting much better and will probably be on the practice field next week; and Kordell Stewart (concussion), who feels better and may actually practice today but considering everything he's not going to play in this game.">

Pre-Game Cowher Transcript

<font size="2"><b><u>BILL COWHER</u></b> OK, there are five players I'm going to rule out for this game: Kendrell Bell (ankle), Ramell Connor (knee), LaVar Glover (abdomen), Kendall Simmons (hamstring), who is getting much better and will probably be on the practice field next week; and Kordell Stewart (concussion), who feels better and may actually practice today but considering everything he's not going to play in this game.</font>

Q: Tommy Maddox starts?

A: Yes.

Q: Entire first half?

A: Probably.

 

Q: Can you talk about what you've seen from Tommy from a year ago? Are you surprised he's been so good?

A: Probably surprised last year. Not having been around him and we signed him kind late and then he came in and had a very good training camp. This year, he really has been very consistent. I don't want to say I'm surprised. When he first came out, I know he was highly touted and really young, and I think through everything he's been through he has a great appreciation for the game, the opportunity, the job. And he's very at ease, very much in control. He's been very, very consistent.

 

Q: He had a rough start last year didn't he?

A: Yeah, but from just not knowing the offense. The only thing I remember was the Minnesota game, a couple times the ball slipped out of his hands for whatever reasons. It was real early so first impression you started to wonder if this would be a consistent thing. But from that point on, you've never seen any questions with him. He's a very consistent performer, makes good decisions, anticipates things well. He's a very solid quarterback.

 

Q: Is his best football ahead of him?

A: I think right now he's a more mature quarterback than he's ever been, so certainly I think where he is today he has a much broader and greater knowledge of the game than he did when his opportunities came early in his career, and so I think he's approached the game differently, his mindset's different. That's so much a part of this game, particularly at that position, is your ability to deal with circumstances, to deal with adversity, to deal with success and I think he has a great perspective of things that he probably didn't have earlier in his career. Skill-wise, I think he still has a lot of years left in him because he hasn't played a lot of football, so yeah I would think his best years probably are ahead of him.

 

Q: How did his signing come down?

A: Now you're testing my memory. He was out there and again we were looking at a situation where we had the kid from Pitt and Tommy had just won the XFL title and was the MVP there. He was looking for a chance to get into a camp and we were looking for a chance to upgrade our third quarterback position. And then he came into camp. He had a good resume coming out, then you liked what he did in the other league. I think that league gave him some confidence that he could play. Then he came into our camp and I guess everything's history from there.

 

Q: Kordell's health?

A: He wasn't feeling 100 percent yesterday. I think he feels a lot better today. This is more of a precautionary measure.

 

Q: How has Kordell done at camp?

A: Good.

 

Q: What about the rest of your QB rotation?

A: Charlie (Batch) will come in in the second half and probably finish it up, but we'll see. We might put Tee (Martin) back in there after that.

 

Q: Starters will play close to a half?
A: Probably.

 

Q: Bill, was it important for Charlie last week to come in and prove himself to the players and coaches here?

A: I think it was important for him. I like his serious approach to the game. He's all business. He's a very focused player. Here's a guy who came in after everything's been started. He's a little behind everybody else. Here you walk into a huddle and everyone's looking at you and you're supposed to be running the team but you have the least amount of knowledge of anybody who's been around this offense. And he has worked very hard at that. I think the way the circumstances unfolded, him having to come in for Kordell as quickly as he did, that's as close to a real situation as you're going to have in the regular season, and he performed very well. I think it gave him a lot of confidence, certainly the confidence of the players around him, and you could see that he's a guy that has played in this league. The game experience part of it really showed at that point.

 

Q: Any thoughts on the new helmets?

A: I haven't heard anything. I'm sure it'll be something that takes some time to see what the results are. I know a lot of guys are very comfortable with it and I'm sure it's been tested, so if it's anything that can absorb the side hits, which this is designed to do, than I think we're all for it.

 

Q: Wilkinson seemed to overwhelm Kendall early in the last game. How can he overcome that?

A: It's a game of leverage. Big Daddy's going to overwhelm a few. Kendall's not that small. He's still 310. You've got to play with leverage. But those guys are throughout the league. He held his own. He did pretty good. If Big Daddy cranks it up like he did against us for whatever reason, he's going to do that to a lot of guards.

 

Q: Does the 0-2 record have an effect on you either way?

A: I'd rather be 2-0, but no.

 

Q: Anything special you're looking to see against Detroit?

A: Just to come out and play well early. We did it the other night in Washington. We're going to have two consecutive games to simulate our opener in New England – hostile environment, good football team, a lot of excitement. That existed last week in Washington. It was their home opener with a new coach, a new system. And this week it's a new stadium and there will be a lot of excitement. It's a good football team. They're getting better and it's going to be cranked up. It'll be a good atmosphere and a good test for us to see if we can weather that early storm, and that's a part of what you have to do on the road.

 

Q: Will you use your starters more extensively this week than next week?

A: Yes.

 

Q: Troy Edwards spoke of some frustrations. Does that disappoint you?

A: I can't control that. I understand in these camps that there's emotions that vary up and down, so you've got to deal with that and each individual has to deal with that. Those are individual situations each player has to deal with.

 

Q: Concerned about the mindset on the team over it?

A: No. I'd be concerned if there weren't any disgruntled players because than you'd have too many people that are too complacent. I want players who are going to play, who want the ball and who want to be on the field. Sometimes you can't give everybody what they want and I don't necessarily view that as a problem.

 

Q: Would that be a problem in the regular season?


A: You've got to have an unselfish team. People have to accept roles. People may not always like the roles they have but roles can change on a regular basis and that's the nature of this game.

 

Q:  Bill, some of the players are happy to be leaving camp tomorrow –

A: Some of the coaches are happy to be leaving camp tomorrow, so we echo their feelings.

 

Q: It's been a good camp though?

A: It's been a good camp, a great camp, and we're glad it's almost over.

 

Q: What was your highlight of camp?

A: I can't think of any highlights at this point. It's been hot. It's been a very hot camp, I will say that. It's been the hottest one we've had since I've been here, without rain, without having an afternoon in the gym. I've never really minded that because that's usually a day they get their legs back. That's why I consequently I actually had to call a couple practices off because I felt it was the right things to do because it's been very hot, very demanding and very dry.

 

Q: What about Bell's replacement at inside linebacker?


A: We'll start with John (Fiala) and James (Farrior) inside. James will take over Kendrell's position. Than we'll probably bring Larry (Foote) in and move James over to John's position. Larry's going to get a good look. He's had  a pretty good look this preseason, but certainly this will open up some opportunities for him in the next couple games.

 

   


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