Q: The injured players that didn’t practice are at the same place they were yesterday pretty much?
Coach Allen: I haven’t talked to [Head Trainer] H. Rod yet to find out how they did in their rehab, but they’re probably pretty much the same as far as where they’re at. I think the further we go into the week, the last chance there is for those guys to play, so we’ll have to have plans in place in case they can’t go.
Q: Any chance you’ll have to add a guy at the line like you were talking about?
Coach Allen: Yeah, if we got some guys that aren’t able to go, then we’ll add
Q: What did you guys like about
Coach Allen: Big guy. Athletic. He can really run. He did some good things there with the Saints. He does some good things on special teams. He’s got some rush ability and he’s a good guy as far as coverage linebacker. So we thought he was a guy that we wanted to get in here and take a look at and see what he could do.
Q: Is it kind of bittersweet at all to have to cut Christo [Bilukidi] considering he was one of your original draft picks or is that just the nature of the business?
Coach Allen: Really it’s the nature of the business. This is a production business and we’re going to continue to try to do everything we can to upgrade our roster to help our football team. We felt like being able to take a look at Martez was a good chance for us to upgrade the roster. When you look at those guys that we drafted our first draft class, No. 1 – our first pick was a compensatory pick in the 3rd round and it’s tough for those guys that are down the line to make it in this league. But then we were also able to pick up some guys that we got as undrafted free agents that have really come in, stepped up and helped us. Two guys are starting for us right now. I think part of the draft process is picking up some players and if you have numbers and volumes of players, your percentages of hitting on those guys are pretty good. It’s been unfortunate that
Q: Could [Martez] Wilson help this weekend?
Coach Allen: No, I don’t see a scenario where we’d have him up where he could help us this weekend. I think get him out here at practice, watch him move around, see what he can do and then see how fast can he pick up on the system both defensively and in the kicking game to see if he can help us.
Q: Bilukidi had a sack recently so you just hadn’t seen enough development despite that?
Coach Allen: No.
Q: Is Wilson an outside linebacker?
Coach Allen: He’s going to play SAM linebacker for us and he’ll also put his hand down in the nickel stuff to help us with the pass rush.
Q: Have you seen progress with [Sebastian] Janikowski through the bye week?
Coach Allen: Yeah, listen, I think he’s going to be fine. Everybody goes through a little bit of a rough patch. He obviously has. Obviously with the expectations that we have of him, and I think we all have pretty high expectations that every time he trots out there he’s going to kick it through the uprights, but it’s just been a situation where he’s got to be mentally strong. He’s got to continue to battle through it and he will. When you look up at the end of the year, I think all of us will be pleased with the results of what we’ve seen out of him.
Q: Was it any more disconcerting that the one he missed last time he came up short, which I don’t know if we’ve seen that for a long time that he basically mishit a ball that came up short instead…?
Coach Allen: Either it goes through or it doesn’t. And that’s really all we look at. Did it go through or did it not go through? I still have confidence I can trot him out there at any time and feel good about the ball going through the uprights. My confidence in him hasn’t wavered at all.
Q: You have those conversations with him. I know all the coaches do before every game and the head coach, ‘Okay, what do you think your range is today?’
Coach Allen: He’ll lie to me every time. No, so we feel confident really once we get 40-yard line and in, in a normal situation, we feel pretty good about it. Obviously, if it’s to win the game, we’ll extend that out, but he’s still got a strong leg. He can still knock it through from a good ways out there. I’m not worried about him.
Q: What’s been your assessment of
Coach Allen: I think he’s done a good job. I think when you look at our secondary as a whole, I think they’ve done a lot better job of defending the pass. We’re not giving up a lot of explosive plays and we have to continue to do that. I’d like to see all of us get our hands on the ball a little more. That’s something that we’ve stressed. That’s something that we’re going to continue to work on and I think as we keep going, we’ve got enough good players back there that the interceptions will come.
Q: Pretty good match-up with
Coach Allen: Big and fast. He’s really physical on the line of scrimmage. He does a great job of getting his hands on guys. He’s really good in press coverage and there’s not a lot of big window throws when you’re throwing against him. Everything is pretty tight coverage. He’s been a good player in this league for a long time and he’s still playing at a high level.
Q: You mentioned competitive reasons, competitive advantage, in the past. Steelers have signed two former Raiders in the recent weeks; anything to read into there from your perspective?
Coach Allen: I don’t know. We’ll see. I think we’ve got enough that we can throw enough at them. I think sometimes that’s a little overrated. I’m sure with certain guys there’s a lot of information you can gather, but I’m not really concerned with that.