(On thinking about going back to G Shelley Smith as his first team right guard today) -- "Well, we don't have a first-team right guard right now. It's going to be an open competition. I don't know who's going to start the game, the game against Dallas, really at that position. I'm not sure who's going to start that position at left guard either. So we're going to have a good week of practice and we're going to make a decision and determination who that's going to be. Just because that person starts, that may be the starter the next week (or) it may not. We don't have clarity at those two positions yet and it's up to them to keep playing. Keep practicing and keep playing."
(On plays where the team didn't get much from the running game and if that was mostly because of the blocking or running backs not breaking tackles) -- "I thought there was too penetration. I think one of the things I said right after the game was, when you have as many negative runs as we had in the ball game, my first thought, I think my eyes were seeing that, but I wanted the film to confirm is that you're blocking units on the D-line (defensive line) and or the linebackers were into the backfield too much. I think that was problem number one. I would say problem number two is we didn't break a lot of tackles, but I would say the first issue was the penetration from the front center."
(On CBs Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan) -- "I felt they both played well. I thought that the other night, I liked the way both of them played. They're very knowledgeable guys and I think some of the things there, they both have very good instinct and so, if you couple instinct with athletic ability and good fundamentals and technique, you're going to have something. The hope is that we continue to develop Courtland fundamentally within the system and the scheme. He continues to get the deeper knowledge base of what we're doing and continues to get better. But so far, I like what see."
(On CBs Brent Grimes and Cortland Finnegan's experience) -- "All of those reps count. As we like to say, the repetitions that you get in practice and in the games, they've got to account for something. I think veterans of Brent and Courtland's age and experience, all that, that helps. Brent's in his second year here. This is obviously Courtland's first, but he's picking up things very well."
(On the play CB Brent Grimes made the other night where he forced a fumble and what that says to him) -- "I thought it was a great example of the second preseason game, the guy's been to the Pro Bowl, on a play away, not giving up on a play. Finishing a play. We obviously showed it to the entire team. We did a study on how fumbles are caused in the National Football League. (Quarterbacks coach) Zac Taylor did a great study. We presented some that to our team early in training camp to talk about the importance of ball security and the guys make fun of me, but every night I usually show a picture of a running back or a receiver on our team from practice carrying the ball the proper way. And I'll ask, ‘Hey, if we we're running a play to the right, I'll ask the running back what direction you're running Lamar (Miller)?' And he'll say, ‘Over to the right.' ‘What arm should you have the ball in? And he'll say to the right.' So we saw the play last night and the other night and low and behold I think he was carrying the ball, he running down the left sideline, had the ball in his right arm and you had an opportunity to knock the ball loose. Football's not a complicated game. We tell those guys all the time, you have to do things right and consistent. That's a huge play in the game. We would have been down, what 14-3? Huge play."
(On how big it was to have TE Charles Clay back in the lineup against Tampa Bay) - "It was great to have him. You all know what he did last year. He's one of the harder working guys on the football team and he sets a great example on the practice field and in meeting rooms, off the field as well. He's an important part of the team. He's a respected player on the team, I know by his teammates and the staff. So it was good to see him out here."
(On if leadership in the NFL is something concrete or abstract) - "I think it's concrete, but I think it can be taught and developed, and worked on on a daily basis. It' like, I don't know that somebody is born with a great voice and they never work at it and they all of the sudden (turn it on). We've heard the term that ‘he's a natural leader' and certainly there is some instinct and some natural things about playing football or leading or journalism, I'm sure. But I think you have to work at it to be great. To be a great leader, I think you have to work at it and it's not just, ‘Yeah I'm a great leader and I always was and I always will be.' I think it takes time, it takes effort."
(On the low yards per carry numbers the past two games and what would be an ideal average) - "It's more about the efficiency of the running game to me than a pure average. I could sit up here and say that yeah, we'd love to average, I think we've been around 3.9 and 4.0 my two years here, somewhere around there, give or take. I think it's more about the efficiency, being able to run the football when you want to run the ball or when you have to run the ball. So I don't want to get tied down to a number. Certainly, I think four yards is a little bit of a measuring stick. We'd like to be above that, certainly. But I think more important than just looking at a piece of paper and saying we're averaging four yards a carry or 4.5 is how are those yards coming? Did we have two 80-yard runs and a bunch of one-yard gains? Are we efficient? Are we moving the sticks? There is a lot that goes into it. Certainly, you'd like to be above four."
(On if it was nice to have owner Stephen Ross out at practice) - "Did you notice I was coaching more today? (joking). Yeah, it was great to have Steve here. He was down here a couple of weeks ago with the guys. He'll be here Saturday again. He's coming back Saturday. The more he's here, the better. He's shown more interest, more determination and persistence to get this thing right than I've ever seen in the two and a half years I've been around. So it's been great."
(On his dance at the Kickoff Luncheon) - "Yeah, I had to be a good sport. I got called out in the middle of the luncheon. Again, I had to be a good sport and show those famous, I guess they're becoming famous moves now."
(On what about this team makes him optimistic that this is going to be the year) - "I like the way they prepare every single day. I like the attitude they have when they come into the building. I like the way they work with the staff, with one another, the way they treat other people. I thought they've done a good job on the road on the two trips we've taken together. It's a good group of men. It's a high character group. I'm excited about what they're going to be able to accomplish together."
(On if with X's and O's, this team is in the best position since he's been here) - "Well, offensively, it's a new system, so we're still working through some of that stuff. But I think we've made good progress there. As we watched the film from the other night, we didn't see a lot of mental errors that sometimes you would associate with a quote new scheme. I like how the guys are picking up the system. Certainly, defensively, we're further along than we've ever been."
(On if professional football players understand where they are when they get to the third preseason games) - "I think most of these guys are pretty smart guys. Again, we've been at it together for what has it been three weeks and change? Most of them are pretty intelligent. They sit in the meeting rooms and they watch the film and they watch the guys at their position groups and they know how the reps have gone and they know what the coaches think of their performance. We're very clear and candid and honest about how we feel they're doing. I had a young player up in my office today talking about some of those things. I don't think there's necessarily any confusion about it or you have to urge them. The good news is we have a lot of guys that have the sense of urgency on their own to make this ball club and they want to contribute."
(On if that's something that has evolved during his tenure here) - "I think it's evolving, but I think this year has been the best that we've had."
(On how much uncertainty he has about who the kicker will be on opening day) - "We'll see, we'll see. We've got a lot of time. I think we have almost three weeks before we open up and we'll see what happens."
(On if the kicker spot is open for competition) - "We're open to anything. We haven't named any kicker. I don't know who's going to be kicking for the New England game yet."
(On how encouraged he's been by WR Rishard Matthews thus far) - "I thought he made some good plays in the game the other night. He's been productive here on the practice field. The one thing that we talk to the guys all of the time about is taking the practice to the game, taking the meeting room to practice, taking the practice field to game field. By and large, I think he's done a good job of that."