(on whether the offensive line is coming together)
I think we are. I think having everyone together this last week, once we got Chance (Warmack) in here has been a big, big plus and with (David) Stewart back, (Michael) Roos back, (Andy) Levitre practicing. So, again, it’s been hard because we haven’t been practicing as much as we’d like. But, I think it’s gone well and now it’s just a matter of getting in game situations these next 3-4 weeks and seeing where we’re at when it’s a little more stressful and things are moving a little faster and everything’s live. A lot of times out there you’re not quite sure. Things look good, you just don’t know how good until you get going. And sometimes things are actually better than you think. I’m excited about seeing them play.
(on expectations for
Just consistency for all of us. Again, you want everyone on offense, defense to just come out and be consistent with what we do. You know, do our jobs. We just want to be successful. You like to see the offense go score on a couple drives and the defense have three-and-outs and all those things. That’s what we’re looking for. We put them in a position to go out there and play well on Thursday night and get some momentum going into week two of the preseason.
(on how close
Probably next week. I hope that he’ll be able to come on the field next week. The judge s decide if he’s ready to play for Cincinnati. We got nine days until we play again after this one. So that’ll give him a good opportunity hopefully to get on the field next week and get on the field the next few days.
(on whether there are any pleasantly surprising performers)
With some of the young guys, you want to kind of wait to see what happens on Thursday when they really get in game situations. A lot of guys have actually done well out here as far as what we’ve asked them to do. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how they respond in game-like situations. Overall, (I’m) just happy with where we’re at and now we’re ready for the next phase and seeing how we do in that. We’ll play a lot of guys on Thursday night but that doesn’t mean you can’t look good and play well. That’s what we’re hoping to do.
I think it’s a great opportunity for him (Bonani). He’s been kicking well out here. He’s another perfect example. You want to see someone kick maybe before halftime for a big kick or at the end of the game for a big kick. See how he kicks off in a real game. I would assume that there’s a good chance he will be the kicker Thursday. I think we probably would rest Rob (Bironas) at this point. He has been sore; his back’s been a bit irritated. Chances are he’ll sit this week and then be ready next week.
(on Thursday night’s effect on position battles)
It’s just a combination of things. It’s not all about Thursday night. You don’t want guys who’ve worked 9, 11, 12 weeks already and say well Thursday night and 10 plays they didn’t look so good, so we’re going to make a change. It is just part of the process. It’s not just how that person plays, it’s how we play as a unit or is there a better fit with someone else in there. So, you just take everything into account, but obviously in game-like (situations) you want to see guys play well under pressure, against other teams, other players, which we haven’t done. Because you get out here and guys get very familiar with your own players. So, you want to see how they are on Thursday night. It’s part of the deal, so you’re going to weigh it all.
(on what Bironas is doing to stay in shape while resting his back)
I think with the back you’re limited a little bit as far as all you can do. I‘ve have back problems, you don’t want to irritate it. It’s almost like you’re letting it rest. They tell you with a back to swim and walk as much as possible. So, I think it’s those things where you’re kind of letting it settle down so it doesn’t become more of a problem. Just like Bruce Matthews had to do. He had to let it settle down, but it’s a little different when you’re an offensive lineman versus a kicker. He’ll have to catch up at some point with his conditioning, but he’s doing the bike and doing things that can get him back.
(on if it is OK not to win the preseason game)
You know what, we want to win. That’s it. We want to win. I don’t look at it any other way. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘well we played so-and-so, that’s why we didn’t win.’ We want to win no matter who’s out there. I think you always have to have that attitude for the first quarter to the fourth no matter who’s in there. Even when we lose during the season you’re always looking for the good parts and the bad parts, which you got to fix, but you still want to win. You want to be in a situation where your team, you don’t play so well, but you can still find a way to win. You don’t want to play well but you can’t win or can’t make a play at the end. So, I think as a team, we have to start learning how to get better at making plays when we need to, to win football games, no matter if we’re playing really well, put a team away, or we have to be able to finish a game with a big play in the fourth quarter.