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Head Coach Bill Cowher - Aug. 28

Was it hard to start making cuts?

Going to 75 wasn't a tough cut. The next one will be. There will be a lot of tough decisions to make.

How did you know Chukky Okobi was ready to practice?

With the diagnosis from the doctors, we had to make sure he had his strength back. He went out today and had a chance to hit. He said he feels good. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. We'll work with John (Norwig) and the doctors to make sure we don't put him at risk.

Is it good to have depth at that position?

Yeah, injuries are a part of the game. If nothing else we've given Kendall (Simmons) a chance to work and increasing some of the versatility that we have.

How are the other injuries progress, Jerame Tuman and Hines Ward?

There's been progress. Not a whole lot but there's been progress.

Is Joey Porter hurt?

No, Joey had tonsillitis this morning. The first 24 hours are highly contagious. We kind of kept him out of here. He should be back tomorrow. He should be fine. He wasn't feeling well today but he'll be back tomorrow.

Are you any closer to deciding on a starting FS?

No, I'm not ready to make an announcement yet.

Will Deshea Townsend be ready by the season opener?

I'm very encouraged. He's out there practicing now with the cast on. He'll play with something less than that but I'm encouraged.

Were you happy with Duce Staley's performance?

I thought he did fine. I think it's hard at this time, considering that we're not game planning, it's hard to pinpoint any one person. I'd like to see us be more consistent running the football. I thought overall that he's fine.

Is he fighting for a roster spot?

I'm not ready to sit here and say that he isn't or he is. The bottom line is that we have some tough decisions coming Thursday. I like the experience that he brings and what he's done. He's gotten better each week.

Re: Game-planning.

I don't know; I can't speak on behalf of a team so it's hard to say. I really don't concern myself with other teams. I'm just assessing us and we're we are. We've gotten a little bit better each week, to be honest with you. I'm encouraged by that. There are still a few things showing up. The two elements are turnovers and big plays. Those are the two things that have been showing up in these games. We may be winning 80 percent of the snaps but then we turn it over and you have nothing to show for the effort. Or you win (on first and second down) and then lose a third down and then you have nothing to show there. There are some things we have to do better and more consistently but I'm encouraged by how we've played in the first halves of these games.

Are you going to watch Carson Palmer tonight?

I'll probably take a look but not really. We don't play them until the third week of the season and a lot of things will be pretty defined by then. We're concerned with our football team and not anybody else's.

How well is Okobi progressing?

He went through practice today; we'll see how he feels tomorrow. Hopefully, he'll get a chance to play this week. He's a little rusty I think but the fact that he's been able to go in there, go live and hit some people, hopefully he'll be able to do that again Thursday, will relieve any apprehension that he may have. We'll work closely with the doctors to make sure we're not taking any unnecessary risks. I'm encouraged just talking with him about how he feels, particularly after going in the 9-on-7 today.

How did Simmons do at center?

Kendall did well. He's been fine. He did well in the game the other day. We may take a look at him (at center) in a series in this last game. I thought he did fine.

Will you use your starters differently with the game being on Thursday?

I'll discuss that tomorrow at the press conference. I might not say any more than I'm saying now. I'll discuss that tomorrow. It will factor in.

How is Santonio Holmes progressing?

He has gotten better. He really has. The other night he did a lot of really good things. I'm encouraged by where he's at. Being around his demeanor on game day, I really like it. He's going to be fine.

What do you like about his demeanor?

It's not too big for him. He will accept whatever role he's been given. I can see the comfort he's getting within this offense. The kid missed all the coaching sessions. He came into camp and he's fought through some things at camp and I liked that. He had a groin issue. A little birdie might have been saying to shut it down but he kept working through it. I respect that.

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