Opening statement:"Good to see everybody – appreciate everybody being here. [We're] just working on Cincinnati and getting ready for Sunday. Guys have worked hard and done a good job, and now we'll start getting prepared for the game from an emotional standpoint and making sure we know what to do."
With two weeks of practice now for OLB Elvis Dumervil, do you feel good about his chances to play on Sunday? (Luke Jones) "I think he looked good in practice. Again, it's going to be up to the medical people to determine that. It's always been a medical issue. It's good to see him out there at practice taking a good number of reps. [He] didn't take every rep [this week], but took a good number of reps in the rotation. We'll just have to see when the time comes whether he'll get cleared to go."
The team has had a number of rookies get significant playing time. Would you prefer giving rookies more time to develop and learn from their veteran elders? (Edward Lee) "I think you have to have a mix of rookies in there. We had a big rookie class, and a lot of those guys are playing. In this case, I think it's a good thing, because it's not like they're playing completely out of necessity. To me, the guys who are playing are playing because they've earned the playing time and are playing well. It depends on the reason the rookies aren't playing. If they weren't playing because they weren't good enough, that would be good. If they were playing because you didn't have anybody else, that wouldn't be good. Our guys are playing because they're good enough, and we feel good about that."
Do you feel happy with the progress they are making as rookies, including those playing and those still trying to earn playing time? (Edward Lee)"Sure, absolutely. They're all getting better every single day. None of them have taken a step back. None of them takes anything for granted. I feel really good about where our rookies are."
John, tapping into your special teams expertise, the wind and elements you all have faced this year is notable. How tough has it been for K Justin Tucker this year? (Jamison Hensley) "That's really a great question, because I can't remember a year where we had more wind issues than this year. We haven't had the cold weather, which is helpful, so the ball has been carrying fairly well most of the games, but the wind has been really dramatic in three or four games. The three of them [Tucker, Morgan Cox and Sam Koch] – we always put those three together – have cut it right through that wind and kicked straight balls every single opportunity thus far. It does put an exclamation point on the season that he's having so far."
How much progress did you see from TE Nick Boyle throughout the week? I'm sure there's still some rust to knock off, but what have you seen?* (Jeff Zrebiec)* "I think we have seen that. There's been a lot of good. He came back in really good shape – very impressive shape. It looks like he's been working really hard, but there is a process of knocking off the rust for sure. It's been 10 weeks, 11 weeks since he's been in a football practice. I think both of those things are true. No decision has to be made until, really, Monday. As far as the game, we'll just have to see. We have to talk it out and decide what we want to do."
We haven't asked you about WR Michael Campanaro in a while. How have you seen him develop since coming back? (Garrett Downing)"Michael really looks good out there. Another guy, he came back in phenomenal shape. He stayed completely healthy. He's worked hard out here. I'm pretty excited about Michael right now. We'll just have to see if the opportunity presents itself to get him out there sometime. I know he's hoping for the very near future, so we'll just have to see what happens."
Anything new with CB Jimmy Smith? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Nothing new on Jimmy. If he gets healthy enough, he'll play in the game, even without the practice. I think they have a better handle on exactly what it is right now, specifically. They have a good handle on it. It's more muscular. That's good news. If it clears up and he can go, he'll play. If it doesn't – if he can't be close to 100 percent – we'll just have to wait until next week. But we're confident in the guys we have, as well."