Coach Whisenhunt's Wednesday Practice Report



(on adjusting the offensive line)

Obviously, when you're going against a team that has J.J. Watt on it, you have those concerns. They're a good defensive front. We'll see. We don't know for sure who's going to line up there Sunday right now. We'll work through the week, see how it progresses. Somebody will be out there.

(on preparing to get the ball out faster)

That's an easy thing to say. Everybody wants to say that, but then when you keep eight guys in and you only have two guys out and they're covered up, everybody wants to know why couldn't you throw it down the field. We've got a plan. We're going to try to mix things up, and we understand the challenge that we face. This is an opportunity for us to go in, and maybe we can surprise some people.

(on Chris Spencer filling in for Brian Schwenke)

It's unfortunate whenever you lose your center, because he's the focal point of communication with that group. Having a veteran like Chris Spencer, who's been here the whole time, taking a lot of reps, who's been involved with it, that at least helps offset that. He's played. He's been in the league and played at a high level. He played last year. We certainly feel better about that.

(on changes at linebacker)

I think we talked about it the other day at the press conference. We've got some young guys that have come in here and worked hard on the practice squad and shown some things, especially in the one-on-one periods. You get a chance to look at them in a game and see how they're doing.

(on releasing Shaun Phillips and using younger players)

That happens this time of year in the league. We made a decision to go that way, and that's what we're doing.

(on if Shaun Phillips was not playing as well as he did in previous years)

I'm really not going to get into talking about a player that's no longer with our team. I appreciate what he contributed for us, but we made a decision to go in this direction.

(on preparing to face Arian Foster based on the previous game against the Texans)

If we could tackle, I think what hurt us last time is both long runs that he had on us. We had guys there to tackle him, and he broke tackles. I think we have to be very aware of the type of runner he is. We've got to do a better job of getting him down in those situations and not letting him get those long runs.

(on how much it helps Zach Mettenberger to watch his own film against the Texans)

Hopefully at this point he's more confident, gotten a lot of snaps. Looking back at that you can maybe see a difference in how he's improved or how he's gotten better. I think looking at last week's tape helped Zach (Mettenberger), just from a standpoint of reads, more comfortable in the pocket, the way he moved in the pocket, just trying to continue to grow as a young quarterback.

(on the team's current mindset)

It seems really good. They work hard, really upbeat at practice. It's hard, because you want so badly for us to get a win to reward the hard work that they've done.

(on if he senses players feeling down about the team's record)

I haven't sensed that. I've been very impressed, and I think I've been consistent in saying that when I've been asked about it. I'm amazed at how hard they work and the way they compete out here on the practice field. It's not easy. It's hard when your record's like this and the way it's gone this year for us. It's a good sign that we have guys that are really into it and believe in what we're doing.

(on the new outside linebacker Kaelin Burnett)

Just done some work on him. We've seen him in limited reps in the league. That was an area where we had an open spot, so we looked at a couple of different guys and made the move on him.

(on finding linebackers to get a rush off the edge)

I think that's a never-ending process in this league, no matter where you are. You always want to look at guys that you think have a chance to do that. I don't see any issues with trying to look at some of these guys do that.

(on the Thanksgiving schedule)

I guess we'll see. That's one of the things that you talk about. You don't want it to be a distraction, although it's an important holiday. We're very thankful for being in this league and having an opportunity to play this game. We'll move it up a little bit. We'll be on the field a little bit earlier tomorrow, and then we won't have any afternoon meetings. We'll add a little bit of time to Friday's practice to compensate for it.

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