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Payton's Thursday Presser

Coach Updates Injury Report, Previews Steelers Contest

Opening Statement:

"Going through the injury report first, tackle Zach Strief (knee) was full today; Anthony Waters (hamstring) was full; Leigh Torrence (shoulder) was full; Darren Sharper (knee) was full; Julius Jones (shoulder) was full; Will Smith (groin) was full; Jahri Evans (ankle) was full; Scott Shanle (hamstring) was limited; Jonathan Goodwin (groin) was limited; Jabari Greer (shoulder) was limited; Tracy Porter (knee) was limited. Then the two players that did not practice: Reggie Bush (fibula) did not practice and Pierre Thomas (ankle) did not practice."

There's a report out that Reggie Bush isn't going to play. Is that true?

"I saw that. Right now, both with him and Pierre, there's a little bit of wait and see. They'd have to do something more than what we've seen these first two days. In Pierre's case, we put him in a walking boot to take some of the pressure off after his workouts leading up to this week, trying to rest it. So it will be unlikely that he gets to practice and then with Reggie we'll just monitor him again. We'll list the game status tomorrow without getting ahead."

Is Pierre's injury just lingering or has it worsened?

"It's lingering some. We had a local foot and ankle specialist put his eyes on it two days ago, which has been the third doctor. I think the feeling from all sides was to get the weight off of it here – the swelling has gone down – and see if we can get the pain to calm down as well."

Tracy Porter was limited. So he's improving?

"I'm encouraged with both Tracy and Jabari in their rehab. They were able to go some today, both with the defense and on the scout team. Obviously they have two entirely different types of injuries, but their progress has been encouraging. I'm going to see how they are tomorrow and I was encouraged with the work that they got today."

In the second quarter last season, you outscored your opponents by 40 points but this year you're being outscored by 25. Are teams making better adjustments this season in the second quarters of games against you?

"I would say that the turnovers have more to do with that and field position. Certainly when you play somebody and you're coming off the season that we had a year ago, you're going to get their best effort but I don't know that the adjustments are taking place. With the amount of stuff that we have on the sidelines with the photos and all of that, people – including ourselves – play their base defense and offense and there are some little things that you do in regards to matchups to take advantage on either side of the ball, but I think it would probably be more of the turnovers and some of the things that we can correct, without taking away the play of some of the teams that we've played."

Drew Brees said yesterday the interceptions are on him, but that ultimately you want to be aggressive. Is there a fine line between those two things?

"I think you're always walking that. Each game can be a little different. Paying attention to the type of game you're playing one week to the next can vary entirely based on your opponent. I think there is that fine line. Certainly we study those and we pay attention to those. He's someone that more often than not is making the right decision and is going to be the reason we're successful more often than not. There are times when you're less aggressive and there are times where you're more aggressive, based on the game plan."

Looking at his history, he seems to have bounced back more often than not after a difficult week. Is there something you attribute that to?

"I think you'd start with his resiliency. He's very strong, very confident and very experienced. I think typically with younger quarterbacks that's difficult to achieve. With his experience and the success he's had, he's very confident in his abilities. I think starting with myself and everyone else, we feel the same way. That's his resiliency, his work ethic and film study. All of those things go into that."

You guys don't use injuries as a crutch. People talk about defenses attacking you differently without Reggie Bush. Does your offense lose its identity a little each week you have to work in a different player with a different skill set?

"I think you start always with trying to highlight what your own players do well. We've gone through injuries in the past. I think that it's foolish to try to even use those as an excuse. The nature of what we do and the nature of our league is that you're going to have to deal with injuries on either side of the ball during the course of a season. The next player's going to have to step up. That next player might not have the same skill set of the player he's replacing, but the key is to try to take advantage of what we feel that next player can do very well on either side of the ball. That's part of the 16-game regular season schedule."

Do you feel like with Pierre Thomas that you are being backed into making a decision with his health soon?

"No. Number one, we're not outlining any time frame. But number two we're working aggressively and the player's working aggressively to get healthy and we're making sure that we look at all the possibilities in regards to the injury."

Is surgery ruled out? "Number one, I'm not ruling anything out. Number two, I don't think that's been something discussed with the nature of his injury."

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