On if he has seen any effects of the short week in practice: "No, everybody knew it was going to be a short week. The effect is that it's not going to be, as we spoke yesterday, a normal game plan. Third preseason game, we're just going to go play. The guys had a good practice."
On how WR Mark Clayton looks:"He looked like as he hoped he would look. He moved around well. It's good to see him open up his stride a little bit. He's making good progress."
On if he has to be careful about that type of injury and not rush Clayton back: "The season is obviously the most important part. We certainly aren't going to put him at risk. So, you won't see him in this game. The Atlanta game is a possibility, but there is no way we're going to put him at risk in any way before Kansas City. Yeah, we'd love to have the guy out there playing and becoming the best Mark he can be, but we've got to have him healthy."
On if DB Derrick Martin has given them a good look thus far: "I think Derrick Martin has had a really good offseason. He's had a really good camp. He's had a really good spring. All you've got to do is watch the tape and see how he's played. He plays that way every day in practice. It's not like all of the sudden he jumps us and plays well in the game. He's making a push to make our team, and he's got a real good shot. He knows that."
On if he expects OLB Terrell Suggs to be ready to go when they play Kansas City:"Yeah, I just don't want to put any… Quote, 'You say expecting, yes.' But, who am I to say? I'm not a doctor, as these guys say all the time. We've been told that he'll be ready. He's not ready yet."
On what he thinks about the new wedge rule: "It's interesting you bring that up because I just had a conversation with Mike Pereira in the league office. It's our opinion that they're running wedges. So, the way the thing was worded was a little bit – it left some grey area. The guys that run the three- and four-man wedges have basically dove right into that, so-called grey area, and they're running wedges. So, what's going to happen as the year goes on, if it continues to be called the way it is and interpreted the way it is, guys are going to be running into big wedges and they're going to get hurt – just like they have in the past. The whole purpose of the rule, to make the game safer, is not going to happen [with] the way it's been officiated in our preseason games. Now, I haven't watched the whole league. They study all that stuff. They do a great job. Mike knows what's going on, so the league studies that stuff. But I know in our two games the two wedges that got run – one was a four-man wedge and one was a three-man wedge – and they were zone wedges. The purpose was to get that out of the game, for injury reasons, and now it's still in the game. I think that's something that's got to be resolved before the season starts."
On how he handles teaching the new wedge rules and getting guys to understand what they have to do now:"As far as our kickoff return or the kickoff team? The kickoff coverage team, we were under the impression that you weren't going to have to see a zone four-man or three-man wedge. So now, all of a sudden, we're having to smash our guys up into those wedges. If that's what we have to do, then that's what we're going to have to do because we're not going to let people run up and down the field on us. Our guys have covered them well so far. As far as the kickoff return, we didn't even put them in. We're not even messing with the four- or three-man wedge. We have two-man, double-team wedges, which is what the league said was OK. We just happen to think it's more effective anyway. Our guys are going to have to cover those wedges, and the intent of the rule was that they wouldn't have to cover those types of wedges."
On the matchup between T Michael Oher and DE Julius Peppers:"That was an emphasis in the meeting, the matchups in this game. This is a really talented team, especially, on both sides of the ball. But those outside guys that they've got are really tremendous players, so both of our tackles are really going to get pushed and challenged. And the linebackers are fast down there. We're playing guys who, our fullbacks and tight ends are going to get challenged. It's going to be a great opportunity to see how those guys do and for us to get better."
On if the starters will go for a full half on Saturday:"Oh yeah. This is the third preseason game, time-wise, so yeah. It will be like that always is. That's usually a three-quarter game, and we'll see how it plays out. We still do it with numbers and number of plays, for the most part."
On if it is hard to get all the potential return guys in a game situation:"It is because we've got guys we want to look at, but we've also got guys that haven't had a lot of experience. You're talking about Lardarius Webb, basically. He's a guy that needs a certain number of reps because we have plans for him right now. The other guys are going to have to take a back seat to that and get their reps where they can get them. But, we're trying to get all those guys in and take a look at them. We know Chris Carr is going to be here. Lardarius Webb is in our plans at this point, and then we just have to get those guys ready and go from there."
On how the short week affects special teams as opposed to offense and defense: "You do more in the short time, very much like offense and defense. Offense is working short-yardage goal-line, and third down-and-long, all in the same day. We do pretty much the same thing with special teams. Actually, [it's] a pretty good run-through during the course of the season, if you have a short week. You learn how to practice. Yesterday we were working our punt team and our kickoff return team, field goal, field goal block. Today we're working our punt return team, our kickoff coverage, our field goal team and our hands team, our onside... We're doing it all, pretty much in two days. You've got to get it practiced."
On how the wedge rule changes affect preparation for the kickoff coverage: "I think that's an on-going process. We're still seeking interpretation from the officials on game day. We're still seeking interpretation from the league office after game day. I'm looking forward to having a real concrete picture in my mind, as are other special teams coaches, exactly what's going to be called, and what's not going to be called, what's the definition of an illegal wedge as you see it, and what's not. We understand what it looks like on paper, but we're still trying to understand what it looks like on the game field."
On whether he likes the changes to the wedge rule: "I don't necessarily know if I like it or dislike it. I just know we have to adapt to it. I think our part of it… The kickoff return aspect of it for us, I think that we have it fairly well in our minds what we want to do. We haven't done everything yet, obviously, in the preseason games. But as far as the kickoff coverage aspect of it, when we're facing our opponents, we're still seeing some things that we're trying to work through and make sure we understand if that's allowable or not."
On whether it is difficult to get all of the potential return guys reps in games: "To get game reps, I believe it is [difficult], yes, because you don't really control the reps in the game, and that's why our practices are so important, because you can control the reps in the practice. As the game unwinds, you kind of make some decisions during the course of the game: 'Well, we need to get this guy a rep or that guy a rep.' One of the other things that's factored in is how much you know about the players. The players you don't know about as much, you want to see more in game situations because you've seen others do that."
On how big of a factor kickoffs are in the competition between Ks Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano: "It's certainly a part of the formula. There's no question about it. In my view, the great kickers in this league are accurate field goal kickers and effective kickoff guys. And some guys have a strength in one or the other, but I don't think that you're going to go into any football season and say, 'Well, we're going to substitute kickoff depth or field goal accuracy.' These games are just too close, and we need to have a field goal kicker on our roster at the end of it all that we want to send out there and go win the games for us and then [also be] as good as kickoff guys as you can possibly be at that point."
On whether CB/RS Lardarius Webb showed some youth and inexperience in his second-half kickoff return against the Jets:"I have seen a lot of good things about him, and the thing I really appreciated about his performance the other night is that during the course of the ball game, things didn't work real well for him in the one particular play, but he kept playing. And that's a sign of a competitor, and he is the kind of guys we like around here. And then he had the opportunity at the end of the game to win it, and he did it. And he made a couple other plays on special teams after that [kickoff return]. So, that's a sign for us of a tough guy, a resilient guy, a guy that you can trust to put back out there if something bad has happened. He's not going to fold up; he's going to keep playing."
On whether he notices the guys realizing the importance of special teams play as roster cuts approach: "I don't think there has been a general change in attitude in that regard. I think the guys that are on our team have a pretty good understanding of that from the very beginning. They came here by choice or by our selecting of them with the idea that that was going to be a part of their game. It's very important to Coach Harbaugh, it's very important to Ozzie [Newsome], and I think they understood that going into the training camp. Now, having said that as the final games wind down in the preseason, I also think they understand that they need to show up. So, that aspect of it perhaps is a little different. The time factor is… I understand the importance, but now I need to show it."
On whether he notices when a star college player hasn't had much special teams work: "Yeah, that's part of the job. You want the best possible athletes playing special teams, and typically those guys are starters in their colleges, and that's what you want. You want the best players. So, some guys have more to learn than others."
On if the offense should start building its rhythm by the third preseason game:"You would think, and especially the first group. I'm not sure, because we're still banged up a little bit, whether the second group is going to have that kind of continuity we're looking for. It's a little tough on those guys now. And they're not getting a ton of reps, not getting as many reps right now. But the first group, we like to think that we can do some positive things in the game, and then get guys out of the game after they've played significantly. John [Harbaugh] will make that decision, how much they play. But yeah, a lot of hard work has gone into what we're doing, and it should show."
On if there are different goals for the offense going into this game as opposed to others:"The goals are probably a little different, but we do set goals for each player and each unit going in to every game. Again, we haven't finalized it yet. This may be a little different because of the short week and then another game coming right on top of it. I'm sure we'll get that worked out tonight at some point in time. The plan is for everybody to play and give everybody a chance to help us."
On if he expects WR Mark Clayton to do anything this week:"I guess we'll find out more this afternoon, but he's definitely getting better, and we're looking forward to getting him back. When that's going to be, Bill [Tessendorf] hasn't really given us anything definite, but you can look at his face and tell that he's getting healthier."
On if G/T Marshal Yanda is ahead of schedule with his recovery:"I really don't know. I don't know what that schedule would be. I look out there, and I see a good football player. He didn't get a ton of reps the other night, but when he did, he played very well. He's obviously a very good football player. I'm glad to see him back there. He probably has the answer better than I do. All that I see is positive."
On what he has seen from the wide receivers and what he hopes to see more of:"The young guys continue to grow in the system and understand. We had a significant amount of mental errors, not just receivers, but we had a significant amount of mental errors the other night, and we have to get those things corrected first. Our focus has been, the last couple of days, strictly on us, and that's our approach offensively anyway. We focus on what we can control, and we're really just hammering that at the receivers. We like to think when the season starts, that scheme-wise, the receivers will have a chance. [They] still have to catch the ball better, but I like the fundamentals I see. I like the separation I see. There's separation. If you don't have separation, it doesn't matter what the design is. I want to continue to see separation, and I think this will be one of those weeks where in practice we need to see runs after the catch. We're looking for that out of everybody. That's probably the next thing. First, you've got to catch it. Then, we've got to see what we can get after that."
On if there is a need to bring in another veteran tackle:"I think you've got to let that play out, and Ozzie [Newsome] and John will make that decision. But right now, I know from my perspective, we have a very good group. I think added depth, everyone would love added depth, but that's not always possible for whatever reason – salary cap, roster spot, whatever it would be. Right now, I like the guys we have, and we can win with the guys we've got."
On how nice it is to have depth at running back:"As we all know, that can change in a day. I think someone said it the other day: 'You can't have too many good running backs.' We've got the right kind of guys. They're selfish enough, because you want a team guy, but you want a guy that wants to play. You want a team guy, but you want a guy who wants the ball, and a guy who's going to come out and practice and work to earn the ball. That's how we approach it. All our guys, in my view, work at a level where they deserve the ball to some degree. A lot of that is predicated to how many snaps we get in a game. But I like our backs. Some things will shake out probably in the next 10 days. We've got a lot of work to do in that position, too. I think the other night proved that. It was a good test for us, and we made a couple of mistakes there that we've got to get corrected."
On the progress that DB Derrick Martin has shown thus far:"Derrick is another one of those guys in that secondary that has shown some very good signs. I think the thing that Jerry [Rosburg] has mentioned is that they're all competing on the special teams part of it, too. All of our secondary guys have got to be a part of that, for the most part. When you're not one of the starters or one of those guys – even our starters do it – you've got to be able to be a big part of the special teams. I think he's working real hard there."
On what he hopes to get out of his first-team defense this upcoming game:"The one thing we want to do is clean up some of our pressures. In the last game, a couple of times when we pressured, we didn't really hit the right gaps or didn't get as far down as we had to get. That's why a draw would break on us there and [the Jets] got some yardage on it. I think that's what happens every preseason game. You kind of want to make sure you have enough of it there, but make sure you're doing it the right way. It gives you a great chance to see that in a preseason game. You're glad that some of the negative things that might have happened in a game didn't happen on the Kansas City game, for example. That's our job, and we've got to get it to our players to make sure any corrections that have to be made get done before we get into that regular season."
On if anything, besides alignment, jumped out when he was watching the film of putting pressure up the middle: "No, there were third-and-long situations where if a guy is going to try to run the ball to try to punt it, that may happen. Were thinking that at third-and-long, most teams are going to try and throw the football right there. We're always going to be aggressive in those situations. Like I said, the good news is if a team does decide to do something like that, you better be sure that your gaps are all covered and you're hitting the right places."