Coach Fisher's Friday Press Conference

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(on how he feels about the team's ability to generate pressure just by rushing four)

*We're getting good pressure.  We're getting good pressure throughout the depth chart which is good.  Everybody has had their opportunities, we played three preseason games somewhat generic and played one where we manufactured some pressure—that was effective for us.  For the most part I'm pleased with what we're doing.  The ball is coming out quick, we're seeing play action—which we usually do, people are recognizing that we can pressure with four.

*(on where the team is at in its process of finalizing the roster)

*I have not notified any players, we're not going to do that today, we're going to do that tomorrow.  The staff, Mike (Reinfeldt) and myself have been meeting off and on throughout the day and I think we have a pretty good idea for the direction we're headed.

*(on the feeling around the organization heading into the final cuts)

*I addressed it with (the team) this morning; we talked about the game and talked about the next couple days and what we'll be doing.  We talked about the difficult part of what's ahead this weekend.  It's part of the business unfortunately, we'd like to keep everybody we can, we have some numbers to get down to and tried to put them at ease that if at all possible for those who are borderline or that are wondering at least let them know when they can expect to be informed and notified.

*(on if the staff has started to look towards Oakland yet)

*I didn't watch a play of the Saints last week.  Does that kind of give you an idea?

*(on if the players have started preparing for Oakland)

*No, you don't do that until we're down to the roster.

*(on if the team will be watching the waiver wire closely)

*Oh yeah, there is no doubt that we're going to watch it very, very closely.  There are a couple areas that I think if things fall the right way for us we might be able to improve.

*(on if there is a position that is more difficult to finalize than some others)

*They're all difficult.  We have excess numbers at all positions except the kicking game, so we have tough decisions.  Again the numbers that we are arriving to this afternoon and this evening might be different from the numbers that we end up with tomorrow.

*(on the defense having to make a play in the final minute to beat the Saints)

*Yeah, it was good.  G-Mac (Gerald McRath) makes the play and they gave up a couple plays to get down there.  The (defensive) pass interference call was I think a good call.  There was contact, the official is going to see the contact, look back and if the ball is in the air then it is pass interference and I can see what he saw.  That is one of those things that you learn from—a heads up play on behalf of (Nick) Schommer to try and get the receiver out of bounds.  So that created good field position for them and they rose up and made some tackles and made some plays.

*(on if it was a catchable ball was brought into consideration)

*That's not a consideration, the ball was in the vicinity.

*(on how Tony Brown did in his first preseason game of the year)

*Tony is fine, he was on his feet for the most part and was active and strong at the point of attack; got some good pressure, penetration and didn't have any effect this morning, he feels good.

*(on how many plays Brown saw)

*It was 10-15 plays, just what we expected.

*(on if Cortland Finnegan can shake off all the rust before Sunday's game against Oakland)

*Yeah, it's not an issue with him, he'll be fine.

*(on if they've made a decision on who will start at the cornerback spot opposite of Finnegan)

*I don't know, maybe.  We'll let you know next Sunday.

*(on if they'll inform the winner of the cornerback position battle before the season starts)

*We're going to practice, we have practice.  You're going to practice your [starter] 80 percent of the snaps this week.

*(on when they'll inform the winner of the cornerback position battle)

*Before we practice, we're going to practice Monday as well (as Wednesday) so probably one of those two days.

*(on if they'll inform the winner of the kick returning battle around the same time)

*Same thing with whatever positions are in question.  There is such a thing called competitive issues here.

*(on if there was a clear cut winner for the starting cornerback and returner jobs)

*I wouldn't say it was clear cut, no.  The competition that was created in all the areas helped to get us better.

*(on how much Marc Mariani helped himself with the strong showing in the final preseason game)

*He has done well throughout the preseason, but Damian (Williams) also has done very well.  Damian was one block away from a big return on one punt.

*(on if cutting draft picks is a sign that you have more depth or if you haven't got what you are looking for)

*I think what happened was we filled out some spots through free agency.  You look at the draft and the numbers on the board and you look at your depth chart and then you have guys left on the draft board and you say let's give this guy a shot.  Our numbers were real good going into the draft.  In the event that that does happen, that doesn't mean to say that we have lost interest in the players and they don't have a chance to become good players in time.

*(on if he needs the same guy to return punts and kickoffs in relation to the 45-man game roster)

*Really it is a decision that we will make, but I have no concern whatsoever and do not have a problem with the same guy doing both.

*(on if he will have more conversations with Kenny Britt after his poor performance)

*That process is ongoing.  We are going to continue to work with him and his ability to focus and put distractions behind him and not let them carry over from one play to the next or carry over into a game.  It is an ongoing process.

*(on if he is concerned Kenny Britt's problems will carry into the regular season)

*It is a part of the learning process.  If I suspect that there are issues, then he is not a part of the 45.  That is pretty simple.  If his mind is clear and he is focused and ready to play, he is potentially a really good player.  If I suspect there to be a problem, we have other receivers that I will play instead of Kenny.

*(on how Britt has performed in camp)

*He has been consistent.  You have seen him on the practice field.  You have seen him do a lot of good things.  He hasn't had a lot of opportunities as far as opportunities to make big plays in the game up until this week.  With the drop, you have to make that catch.  That was a well executed play and a fine throw by the quarterback and anticipating him being in a spot in traffic.  He has to make that catch.

*(on William Hayes' availability for the season opener)

*We haven't ruled anybody out for the game this week.

*(on what he has told past players before they start a suspension in regards to Gerald McRath)

*He has a responsibility to keep himself in shape and take care of himself.  He is prohibited from being on campus here in this suspension itself.  The other type of suspension oftentimes they are permitted in the building.  He has a responsibility to keep himself in shape.  There is no reason why we can't provide information to him, game planning and those types of things so he can prepare himself to play each and every week.

*(on David Thornton's injury status)

*David Thornton will go on PUP either today or tomorrow.  David Thornton has worked very, very hard to get to this point.  David Thornton had two surgeries.  He had the shoulder surgery and then he had hip surgery about three months ago.  The hip is the issue.  It is a very complicated process.  It is very sophisticated yet he has to be patient through the rehab process.  I think he has done an extraordinary job to get to this point.  However, he is still not ready to play.  He will benefit from the time.  We're going to allow him to have the next six weeks to continue to get himself to a position where then we will be able to evaluate him in an environment where we will be able to make a decision.  It is hard to evaluate him at this point because he can't participate in practice.  He can't be involved in contact or have one-on-one's.  After the six-week period is up, we will be hopeful that David will be able to return to the practice field and get involved and then we have 21 days to make a decision.  I have to give David a great deal of credit for getting himself back to this place where he is right now in the rehab because it has been excruciating for him.  The hip has been an issue for him over the last couple of years and this was the decision that was made.  We are all on the same page as far as he's concerned and hopeful and mindful that David will be able to help us out at some point during the year.

*(on if he ever thought Thornton's rehab would be shorter)

*This is very hard to predict because it is unique.  This is not a meniscus tear that is removed arthroscopically and it is going to be two or three weeks.  This is a unique type of surgery that there have not been a lot.  It was not done here and so it is hard to project and estimate return to date time periods.

*(on the veteran presence among the linebackers)

*Tully (Stephen Tulloch) and Spoon (Will Witherspoon) have played a lot of games and so we are comfortable with that.  We will make a decision by kickoff next Sunday as to who will be playing opposite Spoon.

*(on his confidence with Cortland Finnegan despite a difficult game against the Saints)

*We put them in situations where we just let them play.  We really hadn't game planned against them.  He wasn't studying formations and splits and things like that to where you gain an edge.  He just played.  I'm not concerned about it.  He has made a lot of plays over his career.  Just because he hasn't practiced and participated throughout camp, doesn't mean he forgot how to do it.  He will be fine.


(on when Gerald McRath suspension begins)

*It goes into effect tomorrow 5:00 pm with the deadline to turn in your roster moves.  He will be placed on the reserve/suspended list.  We will be given the roster exemption.

*(on whether or not the potential of a player not clearing waivers plays into their decisions on who they release)

*There are a lot of factors involved; we'll make the decision that is best for the team.

*(on the battle for the third quarterback spot between Chris Simms and Rusty Smith)

*Chris has been—we'll evaluate him on not only on their participation in the preseason games, but also what they're doing in practice.  I think both of them have improved, both of them deserve an opportunity to be a third.  We just have to make the decision.

*(on if he's concerned about the two blocked punts against the Saints)

*It was new people at new positions, communication and we got beat, got a little sloppy on the first one—although it was quite an effort by the defensive end (Junior Galette), who by the way had a pretty good ballgame against us.  The second one we had a communication lapse inside by people that probably won't be on that team in the regular season

*(on how difficult of a decision it is at the third running back spot)

*All of the decisions are difficult, it's hard for me to quantify one and say one is more difficult than the other.  We have difficult decisions to make this week as we get down to our roster numbers.

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