Here are select quotes from John Lynch’s post-roster-cuts conference call.
Q: Can you take us through the Joe Williams situation? After the game, he didn’t seem to think his ankle injury was serious at all.
LYNCH: Yeah, that was kind of a surprise to us, as so often is the case. Joe did get checked out, had to come out of the game. Ferg right away said, “Hey, we’ve got something going on with Joe’s ankle. We’re going to scan it in the morning.” Once they did scan it, we made the decision along with our medical staff that this was the best course of action for Joe. That’s a tough loss because he’s a guy that we felt could really contribute in a big way for us. I think everybody saw the unique capabilities Joe has. He has game-breaking speed, tremendous vision. He’s going to be a big part of our future in my mind. So, disappointing that we had to put him on Injured Reserve, but the right thing to do in our mind.
Q: Would you look to bring Tim Hightower back at some point?
LYNCH: I think options are available. Right now we have three (running backs), and that’s likely what we’ll dress. We have three and our offensive weapon in Kyle Juszczyk. We’re pleased with that, but Hightower made a big impression on us. He’s someone that Kyle is very familiar with. We’ll continue to look at him and any other option that can improve our chances.
ME: Can you say exactly what Joe Williams’ injury diagnosis is?
LYNCH: I’m uncomfortable with that. I didn’t like it when people talked about my injuries publicly when I was playing. Out of respect to these guys, other than what you know already and what our medical staff puts out there, I’m not going to get into the details.
Q: Can you walk us through Joshua Garnett, the decision to end his season rather than potentially bringing him back later on?
LYNCH: That was a tough call. We knew the diagnosis. They had the surgery. The thought process was to have him six weeks of really not doing anything other than rehab. At that point, then could go two weeks and try to get himself ready to play. There was concern that there could be some issues bringing him back that quick. At that point, Kyle and I challenged our medical staff to, “Hey, Josh is a big part of our future here. Are we giving him the best opportunity for a full recovery and a positive outcome here?” Once we did that, we all got in the conversation and we included Josh, and we all felt that that would be rushing it. We want to look at things, we want to win every game and we’re going to have urgency in every decision we make, but I think also to have prudence and be able to look at the long-term welfare of a player, we felt like giving Josh the entire year to really rehab this thing correctly was the right course of action there. And so that’s the one we took with Josh’s blessing. He was very much a part of this decision. We presented it to him, he got comfortable, it gave him peace. When he’s happy, we’re happy and we think it’s the best situation for him.
Q: Who is the backup center going into the season? Is it going to be Eric Magnuson? Does it give you pause that a rookie is going to be in that role?
LYNCH: The answer is yes right now — he has guard/center flex. And no, it doesn’t give us pause. We understood his versatility. He was a tackle in college. He came here and played guard and center. He was kind of that guy that had tremendous versatility, but also played at a high level. But you’re right, that’s something you have to do on every offensive play — that center-quarterback exchange. There’s a lot to that position. He has the aptitude that centers have to have — they’re making a lot of calls. But he also just played clean in there. He was a guy we liked, had the confidence in and he will be that backup center coming in. We also know that Zane (Beadles) has been a backup center and could get us through a game as well.
Q: Why was Jeremy Kerley expendable?
LYNCH: That was a tough one. As you guys know, we made a decision on Jeremy early. One of the harsh realities of this league is that Jeremy was just a victim of circumstance in that when we signed Jeremy, we didn’t have any of these receivers on our roster. Trent Taylor was drafted. Aldrick, Pierre and Marquise were free-agent acquisitions that we were really happy with. And then the rookies Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden just impressed us thoroughly with their play. We know that Jeremy Kerley is a fine player and a productive player in this league. If I had to predict it, he’s not going to have trouble hooking on with a team. And so, that was a tough call but a call that, once we got Trent Taylor for that slot position and once we saw that Trent could handle it and handle it right away, we said it would going to be hard at that point for Jeremy to make the roster. We had good, honest discussion with him the last couple of days, and then went ahead and pulled the trigger.
Q: You are No. 2 in the waiver-wire priority. How active do you expect to be tomorrow?
LYNCH: It’s a nice spot to be sitting in. Kyle and I consistently from the start said, “Any opportunity to improve our team, we won’t hesitate to do so.” So, there has been a ton of preparation in terms of trying to prognosticate people’s rosters throughout the league and here’s some people who could be out there. We’ve been tireless in our efforts to do that. That continues today as we start to see cuts come out, and then we’ll see the official wire. And if we feel like someone can help us and improve who we are as a team, both in the short term and long term, then we won’t hesitate.
Q: Will you place Ronald Blair on I.R. tomorrow?
LYNCH: That is likely. Him making the roster here today is a good thing for Ronald. With the short-term I.R., we got a couple shots a guy, so it better be someone you really believe in. And we believed in Ronald. He’s a versatile player. He’s a very good player, one we like. So, that’s a likely outcome.
Q: How big of a role do you see Matt Breida having in the running back group?
LYNCH: I would tell you that all three of those guys. If you watched Kyle over the years and Mike Shanahan who was my coach, Bobby Turner, these guys — if you’re on the roster as a running back, you’re likely going to play. Raheem Mostert gives us a tremendous asset as a special teams player as well. Carlos is going to be featured in this deal, but Matt Breida is very much a part of our plans. He’s a guy who from Day 1 showed up here, and you didn’t have to be a football savant to see that guy can move, and he can move fast and he’s a smart football player and he has the intangibles. I remember early in camp he went down with what looked like a hyper-extended knee, and the trainers got near him and he almost physically pushed them away, like, “I’m not missing a snap.” Little things like that tell you that he had the makeup that we wanted. We continued push and give him opportunity, and he continued to prove what we thought to be the right assumption exactly that. And so now, with all these rookies, they’ve got to go show they can do it on the big stage, but we feel very positive about Matt Breida and what he brings to the table.
Q: Were you at all wavering on keeping Adrian Colbert on the final roster?
LYNCH: I think that’s a good pick up on your part. But I would tell you that our evaluations, it’s the whole picture that we looked at. I can tell you with Adrian, he came out throughout the offseason and impressed, early in camp really impressed. He hurt his ankle, and then even when he came back we weren’t seeing the same guy. The other night, he showed up as that same guy. He provides versatility in that he can play corner and safety and he’s an excellent special teams player. That’s what we knew when we drafted him. We saw it early in camp, and then we were kind of going, “Oh no, what’s happened? He’s not the same guy that we’ve seen. He hurt his ankle.” Even when he was back, he wasn’t all the way back. Fortunately for him and as a credit to him, he came out in the last game and made some plays. Often times, that last impression is critical. I would say that in his case it was.
Q: When do you think you’re going to be able to get Jimmie Ward on the field? Will he be available Week 1?
LYNCH: That’s still fluid. I was watching Jimmie outside my window here earlier going through a great workout. We’re going to do what’s right for Jimmie and what’s right for the team Week 1. We will update you guys as we know. To be perfectly honest, we don’t know that right now. He’s pushing, he’s doing everything he can and our trainers are doing a great job with him to try to get him back and healthy. But we want to make sure that when he comes back, he’s back for good.